Monday, May 26, 2008

Julien Wilson

Following immediately after BAZ (i.e. without the three day gap you see here on the posting timeline!) was Julien Wilson. Apologies for the blog delay to all who have been following these observations. I have to admit I hit the end of my capacity to listen and appreciate. Heaven forbid! And then of course 'family' commitments kick in eventually even when you're having a wonderful time going out every night and hearing Australia's best improvising sounds. Princess Buckethead (pictured) has been a demanding flatmate for the last few days, imprisoned in a cone of safety so that she doesn't rip her stitches out! Ah well. Life goes on.

But we were here to talk about Julien Wilson's Band's gig. Did you know that when you've got two bands on, then the second band does their sound check first in the afternoon, followed by the first band. Thus the set-up for the first band is nicely in place for when they come on... and things can be easily re-configured for the second band between sets. On my list of 'things I learned at Stonnington Jazz'. This system was messed up on Thursday because Julien Wilson's band had to do their sound check late. Why? Well for one thing, Stephen Magnusson had 'just flown in' (keeping in mind that's half way around the world!) from London and then taught for a full day, before strapping his trusty guitar on his back and coming to Chapel off Chapel. And Julien had been teaching all day as well, I think. Anyway, upshot of it was that the soundcheck system that normally works so well was completely stuffed up. The result was that for the first time this festival I saw milling around and disorganisation on stage before the band started. The only word for it was 'faffing'. That's alright guys, we'll just talk among ourselves. The emcee (Simon Bonney again) was so entranced by slow dance of disorganisation that he almost forgot to announce!

But the music is what we go for, right?! And you'd be right to worry that maybe Stephen might want to have a snooze and maybe the musicians might be distracted... but no. Bunch o' professionals this lot! Julien was of course the - no doubt proud - recipient of the Jazz Musician of the Year Award at the Secret Squirrels this year (so secret that if you put bell awards into google, they don't show up - you have to know stuff. Like that they are linked -somewhat tenaciously- to Melbourne Jazz so if you go to that site, and have the brilliant idea of navigating to the links page, you can finally get to the bells site. How about some SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), guys?? ).

But back to the band (again) Julien Wilson on tenor saxophone, Stephen Magnusson on guitar, Colin Hopkins piano, Philip Rex bass and the incredibly versatile Dave Beck on drums. I've seen him in some very different groups at this festival and he sounds great with all of them, varying his style in line with the music.

It was dark up in the tiered seats and I can't read what I wrote up there, nor remember all of what I've heard (it's been three days!). I do remember being struck by how different this band sounded to the recent CD that Julien put out with Stephen, and Philip from this line-up with Steve Grant on accordion, Simon Barker on drums and Jordan Murray on trombone. I liked tonight's sound alot. And in case you were wondering, could hear nothing of the previously mentioned faffing coming through in the music :-)

Highlights: Miya-gawa and Something about Something. Google tells me that Miya Gawa is the name of a river in Japan. I have noted down (astoundingly legibly!) that the rythms and sense of Miya Gawa put me in mind of the essence of the 7:35 tram on the 109 line that I often catch into work in the city. I'll leave that with you. Punter number S01 (the s is for Stonnington to differentiate from punters at other festivals) was very struck by Something about Something as well. Stephen's guitar particularly beautiful.
Photos: (from top to bottom of post) Princess Buckethead (aka Mikki) sitting on my mouse so I'll pay her some attention. Julien Wilson (photo from Bell Awards website), Colin Hopkins (photo supplied by Stonnington Jazz)

1 comment:

shashi singh said...

nice article.