By Mae Anthony
Photo from Perth International Jazz Festival website of Lionel Loueke & The Vampires
The third day of the Perth International Jazz Festival was a triumph. I got to enjoy some sweet, diverse jazz tunes, spanning over four venues across the city at some great Perth haunts. The sunny and cosy setting of the Northbridge Piazza was an amazing location for the Festival, with some real go-get-‘em Perth and international talent sharing the stage. The Ellington also hosted a firecracker of a show featuring some of the world’s most gifted Jazz musicians.
Ali Bodycoat & Libby Hammer (PER)
These two glorious local hummingbirds put on an entertaining and sophisticated show at the Northbridge Piazza. Singing clever arrangements of famous tunes by the Gershwin Brothers, Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, these fantastic singers blended together with a beautiful richness that was welcomed warmly by the large, enthusiastic audience. People walking along James Street were invited to stop and listen to a show that was what I like to think of as “Fireside Cabaret” – all the fun, humour, and sensitivity, but without the big hype. Ali Bodycoat was a treasure to listen to, with fruitful and delicate vocal intentions, her voice was supple and refined. This was only enhanced by the supportive and earthy richness of Hammer’s famous vocal prowess. Having done so for nearly 20 years, they perform together regularly – I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to see the superbly polished act of Ali Bodycoat & Libby Hammer.
Quentin Angus & Ari Hoenig (USA)
At Perth’s home of Jazz, The Ellington, the evening kicked off with Quentin Angus, an Adelaide-born guitarist who now resides in New York, and Ari Hoenig, an American drummer and one of the world’s leading Jazz figures. This set was filled with both original compositions and covers: classics like “Segment” by Charlie Parker and, to the audience’s collective surprise, a couple of pop covers were thrown into the mix, such as “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls, and Oasis’ all time classic “Wonderwall”. Angus’ original pieces were eclectic and engaging, particularly between sections, and served up a distinct portion of delicious expressive sounds with a fine presentation of expert playing. Hoenig’s drumming was sweet, sensitive, and mind-blowing in its driving, possessive delivery. The pop covers were a little more unsettling, largely because I was expecting them to be re-arranged with Jazz inflections, but all the same, it was a sweet sentiment and a nice addition to the unique atmosphere that these two highly renowned and ethereal players created.
Lionel Loueke & The Vampires (USA/SYD)
Lionel Loueke, one of the world’s best guitarists, joined forces with Sydney’s mystifying Jazz Quartet The Vampires for an hour-long set of tunes filled with soulful grooves, percussive undertones, and a multitude of exotic tonalities. I was very impressed with the progression of musical concepts within these pieces – one minute they were like waves in a sea of drowning effects and the next they were percussive and vocal in their construction. Lionel Loueke was simply incredible; I’ve never seen such an outstanding guitarist live before. It was simply mesmerising. The drums held a strong presence in guiding listeners through some of the more eclectic soundscapes, and the regular changing of different instruments, such as the saxophone and clarinet, and electric and acoustic guitars, made for some interesting textures. Filled with syncopated horn-lines, this was an exciting act to witness. I stood in awe of the surge of creativity coursing through this impeccable line-up of all star Jazz musicians – a perfect way to end my exciting PIJF journey.
That’s a wrap to my Perth International Jazz Festival experience.
Check out their website for more information on all the bands who played this year and be on the lookout for next year’s program!