Tag: jazz

Review: High Tea Live – Steaming Jazz with Stevenson’s Rockets 

Toe-tapping jazz that’s good for the soul

By Narelle Wood

There is perhaps no better ways to spend a Sunday afternoon in Melbourne than sitting in The Pavilion at the Arts Centre, overlooking the city, eating scrumptious food and listening to “Steaming Jazz” with Stevenson’s Rockets.

The Stevenson’s Rockets are as smooth as they come, entertaining with numbers such as Scott Joplin’s Solace and the more laid back Riverside Blues, mixing it up with jazz styles from songs with upbeat Latin-American rhythms, to the Dixieland stylings of Ice cream. The quartet, consisting of Jo Stevenson (reeds), Steve Grant (piano), Chris Ludowyk (bass, trombone) and Ian Smith (drums, trumpet and vocals), effortlessly moved between styles, instruments, and solos, each song just as entertaining as the last.

This is perhaps to be expected given that Stevenson’s Rockets have been around for some time. But what added to this already stellar performance was that the Stevenson, Grant, Ludowyk and Smith also seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves, the music, and each other’s company, as well as the performance itself.

And just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, we were treated to a rocketing-rendition of Irving Berlin’s Puttin’ on the Ritz, compete with Smith on the washboard. It was certainly a crowd pleaser that left me wondering where exactly one might find a washboard.

If the toe-tapping Jazz performances are not quite enough to tempt you into purchasing as ticket, then the addition of high tea should certainly seal the deal. There are bubbles on arrival, with non-alcoholic options also available, and continuous tea and coffee refills. There are both sweet and savoury options, of sandwiches, pastries and cakes. And of course, any high tea wouldn’t be complete without scones, jam and cream.

So if you’re looking to spend a couple of hours soothing the soul, decadently eating and listening to, not just good, but great music, I highly recommend high tea on a Sunday afternoon at The Arts Centre.

Venue: The Pavilion, The Arts Centre, Melbourne

Tickets: from $79

To book tickets for the November or December High Tea Live go to www.artscentremelbourne.com.au

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REVIEW: Jessamae St James is TIED UP

Bending and bonding over cabaret

By Myron My

It’s always a risky move when a performer takes an unsuspecting audience member on stage and makes him get down on all fours so she can sit on him. But when that audience member is your reviewer, you better damn well hope you have a great show to move on with!

Tied Up

Fortunately, burlesque performer Jessamae St James does have just that, and in the context of her show my participation was quite – er – tame… As part of this year’s Melbourne Cabaret Festival, Tied Up looks at fetishes and BDSM, including ‘forniphilia’ – a form of bondage and sexual objectification in which a person’s body (namely mine) is incorporated into a piece of furniture.

Wearing a black, body-hugging corset, St James easily captures the audience’s attention as she talks and sings her way through some more lesser-known but just as intriguing fetishes. Once the sometimes lengthy monologue describing each fetish is completed St James breaks into a song and this is where she truly does shine.

Her voice is sultry and seductive, and appropriately, she nails each and every number she sings. Moreover, St James is joined on stage by an amazing four-piece jazz band whose skill and talent take the musical aspect of this show to a whole new level.

St James does create a highly intimate and sensual environment overall, but considering the obvious impact of the music and her vocal ability, I feel less talking and more songs would have kept the enjoyment level of this show at a maximum.

I must als0 admit I would have liked to have been confronted even more with Tied Up. St James is discussing some highly sexual and often taboo themes and it would have been great to see her push some of those boundaries herself on stage, which I am sure she would be capable of doing, given her exciting performance history.

Having said that, Tied Up is still a highly entertaining show, I made a particularly fine stage seat, and I’m certainly keen to see where St James dares to go from here…

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 256 Collins St (entry via Carson Place), Melbourne

Season: Until 7 July | Sat 7:00pm, Sun 6:00pm.

Tickets: $28 Full | $25 Conc

Bookings: http://melbournecabaret.com

Review: THE GREATEST MEDLEY OF ALL TIME

Gotta love a show that lives up to its title!

By Dean Arcuri

Seasoned Butterfly Club performers Jade Leonard and Trevor Jones combined their musical prowess to create a non-stop cabaret train; having enjoyed their solo works before, I was eagerly anticipating this combination.

With the entire performance being one long medley of camp and classic songs, we were in for a real treat.

Creating The Greatest Medley of All Time is a daunting endeavour but with Jones accompanying their vocals for the full hour of performance as he and Leonard changed tones, styles and tempo with ease, they certainly hit the nail on the head.

Channeling a wide range of musical numbers they opened their mammoth medley with The Lady is a Tramp, but having Trevor sing that the tramp was actually Jade meant we immediately settled in for a night of fun!

Joking they were the best wedding band of all time, the two performers contrasted great jazz, music theatre and diva showstoppers with classic love ballads  like Endless Love and The Mirror Has Two Faces, changing tempo and mood by clever segues into Man in the Mirror and Valerie in tributes to musicians past.

Jade sings with such sweetness you would think her diaphragm is dipped in honey. This is singing with a tone and beauty that seems to surround and engulf the space around you, leaving the listener to be swept up by the sounds of this siren.

Trevor balanced with ease between fine vocals and continuous accompaniment: he never tired and his exuberance and uniquely enigmatic style was intoxicating. Sharing the spotlight we are swept up in the power of their duet ballads as well and the sass and spunk of their solo numbers.

The only problem with a never-ending medley is have to pick when to applaud, but the audience seemed content to wait till the show’s conclusion to cheer and even sing along when we hit the fabulous Grease Mega Mix.

Both performers have a sense of showmanship and musicality that carried through from number to number, keeping me transfixed. Many moments were spent fighting the temptation to just close my eyes and soak in the sounds: for while the staging was simple, closing my eyes would have meant missing the sight of the obvious joy they both brought to the medley

An hour was not enough – we need more! Fingers crossed for return seasons of this vibrant cabaret show in the near future…

 

The Greatest Medley of All Time  was performed at The Butterfly Club from 22-25 March.