Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Street Theatre until 11th August.

Sunday 4th August reviewed by Bill Stephens

Although the 2013 Capital Jazz Project kicked off auspiciously on Friday night with the John Mackey Quartet performing the world premiere of Mackey’s “Canberra Centenary Suite”, my first opportunity to sample the offerings came last night when, along with an impressive number of other adventurous Canberrans, I arrived at the newly extended Street Theatre.  .
Marvelling at the artfully- lit paper spheres suspended from the ceiling in Street One, I settled down for the first program, by pianist  Joe Chindamo and violinist, Zoe Black. Having admired their stunning recording “Reimaginings”, on which they brilliantly re-interpret popular classical and classic jazz compositions, I was a little fearful that they might disappoint in the flesh. I needn’t have worried because their program, which commenced with their unique version of Puccini’s “Nessum Dorma”, followed by Chopin Prelude, was sheer bliss.  They could have played the phone book; such was the inventiveness of their variations, which often become so complex that it was sometimes difficult to remember what tune they were reimaging. This was a sublime performance by two consummate musicians and certainly one to be relished.
Then into the delightfully reimagined Street Two, now decked out trendily with pretty chandeliers and little black chairs, for a performance by the 2012 James Morrison Jazz Scholarship winner, Liam Budge, accompanied by brilliant young pianist, Tate Sheridan. Although they presented an agreeable selection of jazz standards and original material I found my ability to enjoy Liam Budge’s work severely compromised by his distracting facial contortions, silly body gyrations and total disregard for the meaning of the lyrics. Hopefully these are a passing phase, in which case, Mr. Budge could well become a very good jazz singer.
The final concert for the evening was a performance by the extraordinary Tawadros Brothers who specialise in the Arabic lute and Egyptian tambourine. They teamed with electric bass player Steve Hunter to charm their audience with an intoxicating mix of mostly Middle Eastern music, brilliantly arranged and performed. An unexpected highlight was a delightful Q & A with doyen Barbara Blackman, seated in the front row, which suggests Joe Tawadros could possibly aspire to a second career in stand-up.  

(An edited version of this review appears in the August 14th - 20th edition of  CITY NEWS )

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