In a slight variation of the standard model of the Adelaide Music Collective’s bi-monthly sessions, Friday 29th May saw the event pay homage to the Jazz legends that have called South Australia home. The night heavily featured the late Mike Stewart, the Adelaide jazz legend who passed away prematurely last year aged 41. Hosted by none other than Mr Keith Conlon, who was across the genre and was the perfect choice to host the evening, it was a fine session that once again highlighted our best and brightest musical talent both current and past.
Marmalade Trio opened the music component of the evening with a slick set that whet the appetites of the discerning audience members and set the pace for a sophisticated night of impressive musical talent. The trio were smooth as silk in their original number ‘About A Friend’ along with another original dedicated to Mike Stewart, which told a story without saying a word with its cacophonic confusion that climaxed with a sudden ending. A fitting tribute indeed and one that was followed by a back door chord progression (or doggy door progression according to Mark Ferguson) that was rather funky, showing off the Latin element.
The New Cabal, who have residency at La Boheme’ every Wednesday, were equally as good and were fortunate enough to be complimented by the very talented Mr James Muller on guitar for their set. Led by Lyndon Gray on Double Bass, these guys were true to form and exhibited an impeccable standard of musicianship.
After a short break, audience members were treated to a glimpse of Robert Stigwood’s recent induction into the SA Music Hall Of Fame in London last month by way of a short video. For a boy who came from Port Pirie, Mr. Stigwood climbed the ladder to success as an international music industry icon and producer who worked with some of the biggest names in music. He was inducted by Enrico Morena last month, who flew to London to induct the icon for services to the music industry at a private ceremony.
The SAMHF inductions followed, the inductees being Bill Polain, Bob Jeffery, Bob Hower, Hal Hall and the late Mike Stewart (p). In addition to having pure jazz pedigree, all had amazing stories to tell of their careers and some of the big names they’d worked with such as Sammy Davis Jr, Frank Sinatra, and Peggy Lee to name a few. The level of experience among the inductees alone is something our great state should be very proud of, and their place among the Hall of Famers is more than deserved.
After the 4 living inductees departed the stage, the parents, sister, and partner of the late Mike Stewart were invited to the stage to accept the induction on his behalf. In a moving gesture, Keith Conlon spoke with Stewart’s loved ones fondly about a young man who gave so much to the music world in such a short time, and was a huge loss to those close to him, the music industry, musical education, and of course to the jazz genre.
Bill Polain and his Sextet treated the audience to a splendid set that consisted of ‘Sunny Side of The Street’ and ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)’. The legendary trombonist was in fine form as were his band, but the best was yet to come.
It was only appropriate that the night ended with Mike Stewart’s Big Band, and these guys really lifted the roof off of the Goodwood Institute with their sound putting the Big into Big Band! A cameo by Bob Jeffery was a pleasant surprise, but young sax player Emile Ryjoch was the emerging star of the night, playing a solo ballad ‘Hope For Tomorrow’ with such commitment and passion that it transcended music and connected with the soul.
In the first session since the passing of David ‘Daisy’ Day, there can be no doubt that the AMC and SA Music Hall Of Fame’s legacy will endure and go on to greater things. Founder Enrico Morena, along with fellow devotees to the cause Gary Burrows, Victor Marshall and others, have cemented the AMC into the annals of SA music history, and for that we are truly grateful.
The next session (Number 9) will see Eric Bogle, Trev Warner ,John Reynolds and Patsy Biscoe inducted with musical numbers by Julia Henning and Cold Chisel’s Dave Blight at the Goodwood Institute on Friday, July 10.
Support SA music and book quickly at http://www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=138053, as these nights sell out fast.
Reviewed by Darren Hassan