Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sam Keevers Nonet

Back in the Malvern Town Hall tonight, to hear Sam Keevers Nonet. A couple of personnel changes from the advertised lineup. Ian Chaplin, Geoff Hughes and Des White replacing Bernie McGann, Stephen Magnusson and Philip Rex on their respective instruments. Could have been a bit of a downer for anybody who turned up specially to hear a particular musician, but seemed to work fine for the rest of us!

And having Geoff Hughes on guitar tonight gave us some special moments. In the band's second tune 'Pachyderm Picasso' something happened we were treated to some beautiful Geoff sounds. I even went so far as to write 'guitar!!!' in my notebook. It made think about how guitars particularly, to me, have such a range of possibilities, depending on whose hands they are in. Goeff's sound has alot to do with something particular that i am drawn to in the Allan Browne Quintet CD Drunken Boat - the suite is also being performed at the festival on Wednesday in the Chapel off Chapel series.

Now, microphones. Ahem. What happened to the saxophones?? Maybe it was where i was sitting (I was with a table of friends in the downstairs 'cabaret style' seating area at a large round table) but they were a bit distant. Like Jamie Oehlers and Ian Chaplin had gone out the back for a bit of a blow...

But here's another soundy thing, and an interesting one too. The Malvern Town Hall is a very big room, as you would expect from a rather large suburban town hall, I suppose! When Eugene Ball was trumpeting out to us in the third song of the set, I could hear the sounds coming out to us amplified and unamplified, and the sound was alive! I coulda listened to that for alot more bars, but alas we had to move on.

Other highlights were the drumming at the beginning of 'Pachyderm Picasso'... Javier Fredes and Simon Barker treating us to a prolonged conversation between their disparate drummy things. Rythms changed and stayed, and sped and slowed... Africa wound through it too...

And speaking--as we were--of pachyderms, Mr Keevers told us about his obsession with (perhaps it would be politer to say intense interest in) elephants. He revealed to us that recent studies have shown... that only three species have a sense of self - human beings, dolphins and elephants. I spent most of the following piece wondering how one could check that. How does one check one's own sense of self. Do I need to have a sense of self to even ask that question? And are we completely sure that kittens don't have one? Does my kitten know that it is hungry or sleepy or does it just feel the hunger and the sleepiness and then act on it. Does the kitten ever say to itself 'I am hungry' and more to the point, how would I ever know! Wouldn't it act the same way whether it had a sense of self or not? By, for example, going to the food bowl and eating?

That's the trouble with jazz... it makes you think...

Photo: Jamie Oehlers, who is also in the nonet

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