Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I went out to the Hyde Park Hotel on Monday night for another burst of jazz. It was great, as it always is. You'd think that some of these people came out of their mothers' wombs with a tiny trumpet or guitar clutched in their bloodied little fists, such is the ease with which they play. I was disappointed that no one wore a suit, but then I always am. To me suits and jazz go together like flares and wocka-chicka-wocka music, but only one of the performers even bothered to tuck his shirt in. I'm sorry, but jazz played while wearing a stripey polo shirt is NOT REAL JAZZ, no matter how good it sounds.

There are some lavishly talented musicians in the Perth jazz scene, but with such a small pool, it's not surprising that they all tend to sound the same. Not bad, by any stretch of the imagination, but very samey. Listening to their music is the aural equivalent of watching a gang of beer- and testosterone-charged footballers jostling each other to see who can piss the highest against a wall.

Or, to put it another, less rambunctious way, Perth jazz is like a dizzyingly intricate Persian mosaic.

It's incredibly busy, with details crammed in to the point at which your eyes (or ears, as the case may be) lose their focus. It's enjoyable, but more because you marvel at it rather than because it touches you.

What I'd like to hear is jazz that's a bit more like a Matisse sketch.

Just a few lines, deceptively simple but placed so perfectly that they are sufficient to convey all that the artist desires to convey. I'd like to hear jazz that uses the silences as well as the notes. I'd like to hear jazz that's intimate and sensual.

When it comes to a choice between delivering jazz by blitzkrieg or seduction, I know which I'd prefer.


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