Monday, September 23, 2019

Arthur Street Loft Orchestra: The Big Troubles

New Zealand Jazz
Last Monday night saw the final installment of season seven of the Arthur Street Loft Orchestra. It was great to have a packed house with standing room only (get there early folks!). It has taken a while to build the following but they seem to get solid audiences on a pretty regular basis now. Hats off to Jake.

This week, John Rae was back with The Big Troubles, a group comprised of strings (2 each of violin, viola, cello and bass), brass (2 trumpet, 3 trombones), reeds (3 sax, 1 clarinet), vocal, guitar and drums. Unsurprisingly, it was a night of good vibes and plenty of energy. Maybe it's just the flow on effect of having 20 musicians on the bandstand, but there seemed to be a real buzz in the room before the music started.

That energy carried through into the performance, and it was more about the collective energy rather than listening for delicate inner moving parts (although they do exist). There were some nice solo moments too - Ben Hunt's plunger work and Al Campbell's blues solo - but it was Tristan Carter's violin solo was my pick for the evening (with bonus points applied for the scarcity of string soloist on the local jazz scene). Vocalist, Eugene (what's his last name?) had a couple of features (the same two tunes as the last time I heard the group). Once again, the blues was excellent. Last time I heard them I wasn't convinced by their take on “Crazy He Calls Me”, but it must be growing on me (the vocals and the arrangement) as I started getting into it this time around. The balance of the band seemed better, so maybe that helped.

After a short break, ASLO will be back for season eight. If you're in Wellington on a Monday night, they're well worth checking out.
Arthur Street Loft Orchestra

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