International jazz musician Tim Jago is sitting out COVID-19 in Perth and Garry Lee says Perth jazz fans are the winners.
Tim Jago Quartet ·
The Ellington Jazz Club, 18 August 2020 ·
It was once a matter of speculation to suggest Perth’s leading jazz musicians were of world class standard. Today it is proven fact and Tuesday’s sell-out concert at The Ellington demonstrated this. In a jazz venue that also is world class thanks to the vision of its founder, the late Graham Wood, the Tim Jago Quartet presented a program of variety and virtuosity.
The Florida-based Jago is part of a coterie of West Australian jazz musicians who reside in the US. They include pianists like Konrad Paszkudzki and Tal Cohen, Dane Alderson, electric bassist with Yellow Jackets and Linda May Han Oh whose world tour with Pat Metheny came to an abrupt halt in March.
After living in the US for over a decade, Jago returned to Perth to sit out COVID. On Tuesday evening the guitarist led with masterful ease a quartet formed with Perth’s The Grid trio members: Tom O’Halloran (Fender Rhodes), Karl Florisson (double and electric bass) and Ben Vanderwal (drums). It was evident these were musicians rejoicing to perform together again and their enthusiasm shone through.
With an introduction from O’Halloran – “All the way from America, Tim Jago” – the band commenced with a quirky version of Duke Ellington’s “Take the ‘A’ Train” that double timed in the bridge (presumably as the train passed through the more dangerous of New York’s subway stations!). The standard was set and the contrasting repertoire of mainly Jago originals provided ample opportunity for all musicians to demonstrate their advanced technique.
Technique for its own sake is never sufficient on a jazz bandstand, however these four artists provided an interplay of intelligence and humour that was always strongly appreciated by the audience. I especially enjoyed “Calypsoish” that featured a drum solo backed by a 7/8 ostinato by the band and, from the second set, Tim’s contrafact (a new melody based on the harmony of an existing standard tune) on Bronislaw Kaper’s “On Green Dolphin Street” titled wittily “A New Porpoise”.
I had not heard Tim Jago on guitar for some years and I have always been impressed by his playing but on Tuesday I found he had reached another level with his soloing and concept demonstrating confidence, maturity and lyricism with effortless virtuosity.
Pictured top: Florida-based guitarist Tim Jago is back in Perth.
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