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Woolston Brass

Winter Jazz
Conductor: Tyme Marsters
Sunday 30th July
Charles Luney Auditorium

This wasn’t Woolston Brass’ first concert foray into the jazz idiom. A couple of years ago they launched a CD called ‘Rhythm ’n’ Brass’ and found that swing might very well be their thing, even on a bitterly cold July afternoon in Christchurch.

Thankfully, a slightly warmer evening saw an excellent audience turn-out at the Charles Luney Auditorium for this ‘Winter Jazz’ concert - drawn along by some slick PR that promised sophistication and innovation. 

They got it: Right from the start in fact, with Nestico’s vivacious ‘Fascinating Rhythm’ featuring Riwai Hina’s waspish piano playing. 

Juggernaut

‘Big Band Jive’ was full of sumptuous horn, euph and baritone playing, with the band’s juggernaut tuba team cut in half to enable the rhythm section to shine: Stu Macfarlane (string bass), Riwai Hina (keyboard) and alternating kit-drummers Robert Petch and Cameron Burnett did that in spades.

Vocalist Kate Taylor was the gorgeous lead with ‘Orange Coloured Sky’, followed by ‘Georgia on My Mind’: Hoagy Carmichael may have wrote it, but tenor sax Gwyn Reynolds owned it.  It was spell-binding.

Full quota

With the tuba section at full quota the band dusted off a couple of chestnuts from its own library: Denzil Stephens’ tribute medley ‘Miller Magic’ and Philip Sparke’s take on ‘Birdland’, were slickly presented before Kate Taylor gave a tasty rendition of the Hoagy Carmichael standard, ‘Skylark’. Cameron Pearce sustained the blissful melancholy on flugel with ‘Here’s that Rainy Day’.

Either side of the interval came contrasting elements; Jim Fieldhouse’s ‘Nefarious’ funked whilst early carefree jazz was recalled with ‘Black Bottom Stomp’‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’ and ‘Bring Back that Leroy Brown’.

Either side of the interval came contrasting elements; Jim Fieldhouse’s ‘Nefarious’ funked whilst early carefree jazz was recalled with ‘Black Bottom Stomp’, ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’ and ‘Bring Back that Leroy Brown’.

Uninhibited

Trombonist Scott Taitoko was an uninhibited lead on ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’, before Brian Eckersley, Rob Lobker and Richard Hogarth joined him in the spirited trombone quartet ‘Peace like a River’.

Soul time over, more swing came with Kate Taylor’s rapturously received ‘For Once in my Life’ that led into the splendid finale as Tyme Marsters rounded things off with a slick ‘Marguarite’ with improvised solos from each of the guest performers.

As an encore, ‘Bourbon Street Parade’ brought the curtain down on a night of classy jazz inflections.  

Arthur Stone



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Conductor, adjudicator, teacher (ABBA)