Saturday, December 9, 2006

Aloha 2006

ALOHA 2006

It's time for our end of year bash. This is happening at Rics Bar on Tuesday 19 December. It features the Trevor Hart Quartet and my new band Bacalau.

Bacalau, the Spanish for a slated fish that makes some delicious dishes, is a venture into flamenco, tango and North African by myself, Andrew Veivers on Flamenco guitar and Simone Pope on percussion. Sometimes John Rodgers joins us on guitar and piano. Bacalau has a lightness in its sound and feel.

Amantes in some ways.
THQ is nearing its 10th anniversary at Rics Bar. It must be some type of record in long gig runs and I'm sure there'll be some type of celebratory event to mark the occasion early next year. THQ'll perform some new works that are counterpoint, ie each musical relates to the other and has the same importance. These new pieces are a new direction in our music and are a return to the earlier music of Amantes in some ways.

It was the best of Times...
2006 was the best of times and the worst of times. It has been such a joy and a challenge to witness the growth of our daughter, Fizzy D, from a baby to a little girl. Walking, talking, laughing and crying like all of us humans. Fizzy D represents the hopes for the future.

And truly we are living through the worst of times with ignorant US foreign policy laying countries to waste and civil war. Iraq slips into bloody civil war; a brutal US condoned invasion of Lebanon. Howard is ever the faithful Bush lackey, grotesque in his half truths (flour as a chemical agent) and lies (lest we forget:children overboard). Aloha 2006 is the title of our end of year bash for its humanitarian connotations. According to Aloha is more than a word of greeting or farewell or a salutation. It means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return. Now Howard and Bush could do with a bit of that!

The image for the poster comes from cheap 50's Mexican graphics. I particularily like its off register screen print. Mexico has a strong history of graphics. Jose Gaudalupe Posada in the 1910-20's did some amazing woodcuts for newspapers.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

In Praise of Lester Bowie

This may well turn out to be a series 'in praise of ' trumpet players and composers that have influenced me.

Lester Bowie dressed like a lab attendant or sometimes a pastry chef. He was the purveyor of “serious fun’ a lineage that come out of Louis Armstrong.

To me Lester Bowie was a font of brilliant iconoclastic trumpeting ideas. I saw him in London playing solo trumpet with an all male African choir. The impact of this performance on me at the time was to show me alternate routes for the improvising trumpet.

His notion was to expand the vocabulary of the trumpet: to imbue this noble with a depth of emotive language. One critic called his music ‘a hybrid, with roots and branches of varying hues’. But what has attracted me is his tone that speaks so full of the joy and sadness of life.

Lester joined Roscoe Mitchell , Joseph Jarman (woodwinds), Malachi Favors Maghostut (bass), and eventually, Famoudou Don Moye (percussion) in the Art Ensemble of Chicago , among the most influential and creative groups in modern music. They’ve been playing for over 3 decades and, if you haven’t heard them, download some tunes and listen to them.

Some of his solo efforts for ECM included such gems as “Miles Davis meets Donald Duck” and the sublime “Everything Must Change” sung by his wife Fontella Bass.

Lester’s final venture was the "avant pop" of Brass Fantasy. Made up of assorted trumpets, trombones, French Horns, tuba and drums, it played a crazy mix of free jazz, standards of decades past, funk, Latin, R&B. One brilliant track is an angry arrangement of Strange Fruit made soon after the LA riots in the early 1990’s.

Lester died on Nov 8 1999 and I think that day should be a Serious Fun public holiday.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Back to the hills

The Tom Waits show at Brisbane's Powerhouse Theatre for the cabaret Festival is over. A short period of hard work rewarded with a successful show.

And I'm glad to come back to the hills for while.

It's been a couple of years since THQ (the Trevor Hart Quartet) did a gig in my local area. Over 2 years. Most of my playing is done in the Valley bars and I've always had the intention of playing a concert in my area but there's always plenty of excuses. Not any more!

We're returning to the beautiful old oak village hall in Montville where we recorded the Amantes suite over 10 years ago on Sunday 3rd December. It's picturesquely placed on the edge on an escarpment that falls suddenly some 400+ metres into a hidden valley at the back of the Sunshine Coast. Wonderful acoustics and a great place for a concert.

We'll start at sundown when the world cools down a bit.