Monday, November 30, 2020

Hatnohahat - Henderson/Dyne/Cranson

New Zealand Jazz
This was the last night out for the Wellington Jazz Cooperative before the Third Eye shut up shop on Sunday night. Hatnohathat - Jeff Henderson, Paul Dyne, and Rick Cranson - made it an evening to remember. Jeff doesn't get down here all too often, so this was a gig I didn't want to miss.

Free interpretations of standards/jazz tunes was the modus operandi. "Bye Ya", "You Don't Know What Love Is", "Impressions", "Blues Connotation", "Friday the 13th", "Holy Family" (Ayler) and "Red Car" (David Murray) were the ones I noted down. I think they opened with a tune of Jeff's. Often the pieces were link by, or emerged from collective free improvisations. At times it was full throttle stuff - Rick being an excellent choice - from the first beat you knew he wasn't messing around. P.D was particularly fleet fingered on this evening. "Relaxed intensity" is what I scribbled in the notebook. Perched on his stood, eyes closed, fingers flying.

Probably my favourite pieces of the evening were "You Don't Know What Love Is" (with Jeff on baritone) and "Blues Connotation". The former being a well placed ballad and the latter serving a reminder that, as much as I enjoy him on baritone and soprano (he has a fantastic soprano tone), Jeff is an alto player through and through. His alto playing has that bubbly, buoyant thing going on, and a singing tone. It swings too. As swinging as any alto player I'm aware of in New Zealand. This side of his playing doesn't always reveal itself, but when it does, it's a real treat. Maybe at times on "Blues" his phrasing reminded me a bit of Ornette, but melodically it was quite different.

Wellington Jazz Cooperative

At first it seemed like it was going to be a small turn (I was suspecting a case of jazz festival fatigue), but it there was a late turn out and in the end a pretty decent crowd fronted. Hopefully some of the university students were there (I've lost touch with who's at school these days) as it would have provided them with a different perspective on how to approach these tunes.

The only thing I'll mark it down for was the live sound. Seems to be a common theme of late (I'm getting fussy in my old age). Things seemed to settle down by the second set, but the first set was way over-amplified (and loud). Paul's bass tone suffered the most - especially when the dynamic level did drop. I'm not sure why they even used the PA. In that size room Rick and Jeff aren't going to have problems being heard! And it's not like they are battling a noisy room (like at Rogue and Vagabond). Anyway, I won't harp on. I'll survive. It will be interesting to see where the Wellington Jazz Cooperative finds a home in the new year.

New Zealand Jazz

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