Tuesday, June 20, 2006

And the loser is .... the Steinway.

Further to the previous post about the Freedman Jazz Fellowship the announcement has just come through that "Julien Wilson has been selected as the Music Council of Australia/Freedman Jazz Fellow for 2006." This is the line up that he won the fellowship with - it is unusual to see a Piano Accordian in a Jazz band but I did like the total sound the Julien Wilson Trio produced and the laid back look of the whole group - it is jazz after all.

That is more than I can say for another group who had a decidedly avant-garde approach to their performance. Part of their set was performed on a Steinway Grand Piano that was later used by one other performer. During rehearsals the pianist placed a few pieces of metal on the bare strings and the tuning pins a la Steve Reich and others. During the actual performance the "placement" changed to "bash", "drop metal rods and rummage chains". I could only watch with my mouth agape in horror. Just before the house opened I had watched Terry, the piano tuner, carefully and sensitively tune that lovely instrument to it best. Needless to say when the next poor sap sat down on the piano seat the thing sounded like a honky-tonk saloon upright. I hope that this had no bearing on the fact that the group didn't win - but as a consequence of the previous group's 'artistic expression' there were many wincing moments that jarred the enjoyment of the piece.

If I was that pianist I'd be taking the bloke out the back (helped by the piano tuner and a couple of mechs) for a tuneful, expressionistic use of the metal rods and chain.

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