Tuesday, April 1, 2014

AUSTRALIA??????? (Down under is coming up in Allen Kanovsky's jazz world!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 04/01/14

We always hear about the JAZZ scene in Europe. France, Germany, England , even Russia. Well, if the three musicians I listened to last night are representative, there's a heck of a lot of good JAZZ in the 'Land Down Under. At The Gussman (Frost School of Music), Tom Jago (guitar) was performing a Doctorate Recital with his trio. Special guests were Troy Roberts (tenor sax) and Chad Bernstein (trombone). The 2 other members of Tom's trio were Eric England (bass) and Ben Falle (drums). Troy is enjoying, well deserved, success in The Big Apple but flew down just for the recital. Ben is studying music at UM. Tom, Troy and Ben are Australian. If that 'really big' island is producing JAZZ musicians like this, prepare for the invasion. The program was made up of Mr. Jago's original compositions. The first, "Unanimous Decision" was written in 2010. Tom and Troy played some intricate unison sections and then 'follow' solos. The room was filled with great sounds. Ben at the drums did 'just enough' without overblowing Tom or Troy. The title of the next tune is an interesting play on words---"Unfinished Busy Nest"---The tune itself was almost a 'BLUES". Not in the traditional sense. More in the mood of the genre. Tom showed why he is deserving of the doctorate degree. "Major" was composed in 2011. Troy rejoins the trio and Tom opens with some very soft guitar with Eric supplying interesting bass chords. Ben is using 'broom rods' in place of brushes and they add depth to the sounds of the percussion. The melody is hypnotic. It could be a lullaby. Chad Bernstein joins all of them for "Kind Minded". I ponder the rhythm for a while and decide it is in '6'. Tom will confirm it later on. Troy takes the first solo and transports me to the day after tomorrow. Chad's tone is masterful and alacrity, non-pareil. Eric has impeccable technique and is very imaginative. Ben adds a very tasty drum solo. Tom's earlier days had him involved with 'heavy metal'. The genesis from that to JAZZ is displayed in his composition "My Sugar". He and Eric take you from the depth of "heavy" to the heights of JAZZ several times during the course of the tune. It eventually fuses the two for a very musically interesting conclusion. UM and the Frost School of Music have one of the top Music Departments in the country. 

Prior to the concert, I had the opportunity to talk with one of the students at Frost. Her name is Victoria Pamukora. She is not studying music. Her major is Music Business. Parts of that program are Arts Representing, Personal Development and Live Entertainment. Her passion is for "the show" and hopes someday to have some role and participate in the programs and future of Madison Square Garden. My buddy Bill was there, our friend from the Fish House, Georgine. With her was aspiring guitarist Ben Suarez. David Leon's parents were in the audience. Randall Dalahan and Gary Lindsay were there representing the school and support Tom.

Troy by making the quick trip to be there for Tom showed what friendship is all about. If the rest of the week is as musically satisfying it will be a heck of a way to welcome Spring.   

Al's Disclaimer:
A short note: The reason I write this is because I love music and words. I do not book acts. I do not promote acts. I do not accept invitations to review artists. I go to venues of my own choice. When and where is not influenced by anything other than who I would like to hear that night or day. If I don't like what I hear, I won't write about it. When I like it I let you all know. I never mention a name without asking permission. "Pardon me, Miss. Would you like to dance?"       

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