Sunday, May 4, 2008

MJIF 2008: Day Three

Friday 2 May: Day Three

Friday began with a visit to Jon Weber’s stint at the Piano for Kids series. Click here to check out my blog post on just how much fun THAT was!

From there it was back out into the windy, sun-blotched Federation Square for some Movin’ and Groovin’ Orchestra action on the freestage. I met up with one of my best friends, jazz singer Melissa Western and her lovely mum Row. We decided we would all go and sit in on the Tord Gustavsen Trio master-class at the BMW Edge.

This innocuous little session turned out to be the highlight of my festival experience so far. You can click here to read my post about why this was so inspiring.

It was a bit weird going back out into the busy, chaotic world after such a calming experience. Funnily enough, I guess the Zen thing to remember is that they’re actually one and the same place and experience. Blaring car horns and multiple sources of clashing music are made from the same stuff as quiet reflection on beautiful piano trio interactions. But still – aaaahh!!!

Melissa decided the only logical remedy was soup. She’s pretty wise like that. She led us to a homey soup shop on Degreaves and we warmed our souls with various tasty broths. After some good chat and with full bellies, it was time to part ways and I helplessly gravitated towards more jazz.

At 5:30pm I listened to Aaron Choulai’s Sextet play some really involved, very impressive original music. The stark contrast to the elegance of Tord’s trio was a little too much for my ears to adapt to. I got a few highs, especially from the really organic phrasing and heavy deliberateness of the melodies, but most of it washed over me and left me feeling a bit overwhelmed. Ah well, it was bound to happen eventually!

The rest of the evening was spent with Melissa attending the opening of her friend’s play Venus in Furs, playing at Theatreworks in St Kilda. It was exciting to have a break from jazz and yet still be soaking up rich art. The play was quite engaging and it was nice to not only be entertained but made to feel so many things, being dragged into the emotional tug of war between the two main characters. It’s a story about a sado-masochist relationship and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes independent theatre.

What can you do after having your emotions whipped to a quivering pulp except go and eat chocolate? After a quick burger to get savoury pseudo-nourishment out of the way, we slid into a booth at San Churros and ordered the most ridiculous thing you ever saw – chocolate tapas. I’m not going to try to describe this – just eat it. Fly from wherever you are to Melbourne immediately and eat this.

We crawled into the car and motored on over to Bennetts Lane just in time to be told it was sold out – almost before the music even began! Good for them and for the musicians, that’s really awesome that this event is doing its thing and attracting lots of people to experience the jam atmosphere.

It was probably also good for us in some ways. Our ears were just about as chockers as our tummies and the relatively early night gave much-needed extra hours of snoozing, dreaming of chocolate jazz.