Jazz: NOW Wired June 6


Perhaps live music video streams are here to stay – especially when the sound is this good. Of course they’ll never replace the electricity of musicians and listeners crammed into the same room, but now that we’ve adjusted to them in the COVID-19 age, streams could possibly serve as an adjunct to live music: spreading the word and reaching more people. Although coaxing viewers to pay even a pittance will always be problematic, options like streaming sold-out gigs may work.

Virna Sanzone and Phil Stack. Photos supplied.

The sumptuous sound quality of this stream of singer Virna Sanzone and bassist Phil Stack (from a recording studio) highlighted the intensity they attained with no audience, most notable on Angel Eyes. Here Sanzone dipped down into the warmth of her chest voice as well as using her more urgent upper register, making her singing more compelling than when she stayed exclusively in her higher range. Relaxed and unaffected, Sanzone’s voice danced across Almost Like Being in Love with irrepressible swing, and yet, because of how she likes to use it, it was even better on Fats Domino’s I’m Walking, riding on a locomotive shuffle from the bass. Enthralling throughout, Stack was at his best soloing on Triste, sustaining the bossa nova groove, while studding the surface with exhilarating melodic ideas.

Jazz: NOW Wired is a new streaming series augmented by clips from the 2001 ABC TV series, The Pulse. So after Sanzone and Stack we were treated firstly to the Bernie McGann Trio (with guests Sandy Evans and James Greening) and then the Mike Nock Big Small Band. Hearing the late McGann again other than on his records was a particular pleasure. The lines in his solo on Salaam began and ended in improbable places, with timbral changes that were just as startling, the whole thing bucking and jolting over the energised playing of Lloyd Swanton and John Pochee. In the little interviews between clips McGann opined that the older you get the better you should get. It certainly worked with him.

Nock observed that he just wanted to be around musicians who excited him, and he had that in the Big Small Band, a unit that dashed between boisterous fun and ravishing lyricism. Such clips remind us of the rich heritage of local jazz.

Jazz: NOW Wired: