Review: The Louise Denson and Martha Baartz Quartet – Thursday June 23rd, 2016
On a beautiful, cool and calm early winter’s evening by a sparkling Brisbane River, the pre-chilled audience quickly warmed to the mood created by this first time combination of four talented and popular Brisbane musicians.
Featuring Louise Denson at the piano, Martha Baartz on alto sax, Helen Russell on double bass and Paul Hudson on the club’s brand new Gretsch Brooklyn drum kit, the quartet presented a night of dynamic and evocative original compositions, complemented along the way, by several standards, each beautifully arranged and played.
While the four instruments cleanly, clearly and crisply stood alone, together they combined to create a vibe which encouraged an entranced audience to sit back, close the eyes, gently shake the head and tap the feet.
Louise’s piano tinkled, dinged, donged, sang, rolled, smiled and cried.
Martha’s sax soothed, awoke and excited; evoking images of classic black and white movies.
Helen’s laid-back bass cruised, cooled, calmed, penetrated and provided shade.
And the tick-tick, tap-tap, tish-tish, kicks and booms of Paul’s drums outlined the soul, the source, the inspiration and the style of each piece.
Highlights were many, such as when Louise took us down to her place by the river, with one of her original compositions, ‘Souvenirs de Montreal’. (Leonard Cohen’s home town). Or Martha’s original, the up tempo, ‘She Can’, which was dedicated to the many talented female Jazz musicians around town, three of whom were on the stage that night.
This quartet’s cool, clean, slick jazz added another brushstroke to the 42 years of musical legacy that is painted into the walls of the Brisbane Jazz Club; a history, an atmosphere, that pours from those walls and fills the air on a night when the best musicians are in the house. Tonight was just such a night.
By Alan Smith