Presented by Nexus Arts
Reviewed 3 November 2018
This musical double-bill, jointly hosted by OzAsia and Nexus Arts, brings together two outfits with the same aim: to fuse Australian jazz with Carnatic music (the indigenous sound of Southern India).
First up was Lyndon Gray’s Carnatic Jazz Project. Bass-player extraordinaire Gray (known outside of the jazz world for his work with The Audreys), composes and arranges works, using Carnatic rhythms along with Western jazz rhythms. His outfit consisted of Jason McMahon, Django Rowe, Ed Heddle, Stephen Neville and Eugene Ball, all of whom are outstanding musicians. The Project presented three pieces: the first two originals and the third an amazing rendition of the Charlie Parker standard Ornithology, which segued from swing rhythm to Carnatic and back again. The playing was impeccable.
Second act for the night was The Three Seas, after whose album the evening was named. Band leader and saxophonist Matt Keegan and bassist Steve Elphick have teamed up with three outstanding musicians from West Bengal: front-man and khamak player Raju Das Baul, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Deaoashish Mothey and drummer Gaurab Chatterjee.
Baul’s voice is a force of nature, filling the room with sounds that surely come from the angels! Mothey’s work on a variety of traditional instruments sent shivers down the spine. Gutsy, bass sounds, combined with lilting traditional singing in a musical marriage that sent the room into ecstasy. This truly is the sort of work which tips music over from being an aesthetic experience, into being a spiritual one. The audience would happily have kept them playing for another two hours.
Sadly, they only played the one show for OzAsia, but keep your eyes open for either of these incredible outfits, should they pop up again. This is going straight into my list of top-ten-gigs-I’ve-ever-been-to!
Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Rating out of 5: 5
One Night Only – Season ended