Sunday, March 17, 2019

Blair Latham Quartet at Rogue and Vagabond

New Zealand JazzBlair Latham (ts/as/b cl) Al Campbell (g) Paul Dyne (b) Thomas Friggens (I think? d)

Due to the regular slot clashing with the vigil for the mosque shooting victims, the gig started early. Although I was in town in time, social media algorithms failed to work in my favor so I was unaware as I followed up a honk in the park with a cup of tea thinking about band ideas. I showed up early for the regular kick-off and they were just about to start the second set. While I expected to hear some original tunes from Blair, instead, I was treated to a set of standards. It was great to hear Blair on alto again - I don’t recall hearing him play alto since he made the switch to tenor many moons ago (I feel he managed to bring some of the buoyancy of the alto across to the tenor). They finished things off with Coltrane’s “Spiritual”, which seemed like an appropriate choice in light of current events. Al’s use of e-bow and various effects could easily have been over done but I think he got the mix just right. I was disappointed to catch only one set but it was enjoyable nonetheless. 
New Zealand jazz

While I was a Rogue, Chris mentioned that Ben van Gelder was playing at LBQ. I knew he had been in town last week with Reinier Baas but I hadn’t realized they were still here. I arrived during the set break and contemplated bailing so I could get the next train home - but I stuck around to catch the second set which featured: Ben Van Gelder (as) Chris Beernik (bass) Myele Manzanza (d) Reinier Baas (g) Brad Kang (g). It was my first chance to hear Brad live - particularly interesting him and Baas (who played one tune) playing on the same set up (shows how much sound is in the hands/feel). It was definitely a “jazz school” crowd - the first I’ve come across since I’ve been back. I don’t get the applauding solos thing, maybe it’s something you learn at school? I used to do it but stopped when I realized I didn’t know why I was doing it. It was a little bit too much on the “epic contemporary jazz” side of things for me, but I’m still glad I didn’t get the early train. 

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