JOHN Buchanan’s wonderful Classic Jazz Ragtime and Swing Festival was on in Mittagong over the weekend 20 and 21 April, and as expected, reports back from attenders have been ecstatic. One of Australia’s most prestigious jazz festivals, Mittagong always presents a satisfying experience for those who want to listen to the music without having to do battle with the social chatter, the programming is always creative, and the music is played by some of the best talent in the country.
Without doubt, the outstanding rave of this year’s Festival was for visiting American jazz/blues/gospel singer Marilyn Keller who had three major slots in the program, as well as making guest appearances in some of the other segments.
Marilyn’s first set was The Great American Songbook which she performed with Paul Furniss (reeds), Peter Locke, (piano); Graham Conlon,( guitar); Stan Valacos, (bass) and Anthony Howe, (drums). She was thrilled with their brilliance as musicians and the way they complemented her stunning versions of Georgia, But Not for Me, At Last, What a Little Moonlight Can Do, The Sunnyside of the Street, It Don’t Mean a Thing, The Joint is Jumping etc. Following this set, Marilyn had the audience spellbound and in the palm of her hand.
On Saturday evening she did a set called A Night in New Orleans with Geoff Bull’s Olympia Jazz Band when she took the audience back to Storyville, Over in the Gloryland, to Bourbon Street, Atlanta Blues and wowed an audience of 400 plus with ‘Tain’t Nobody’s Business.
At the Sunday morning gospel service in St Judes Anglican Church, Bowral – probably the biggest congregation ever and the most responsive – Marilyn was backed by the Paul Furniss San Francisco Jazz band (Paul Furniss , reeds; John Bates, trombone; Paul Baker, banjo; Stan Valacos, double bass; Viv Carter, drums; and guest Stephen Grant on piano), and gave moving renditions of Amazing Grace, The Old Rugged Cross, The Sweet Bye and Bye, and Just a Little While to Stay Here
For those who didn’t make it to Mittagong, there’s another chance to hear Marilyn Keller, this time in Melbourne, her first visit to our city. This will be at the Bentleigh Club on Sunday 5 May under Diana Allen’s Jazz Australia banner. On this occasion Marilyn will be backed, supported, enhanced by the great Bob Sedergreen and his Quartet.
By all reports, Marilyn Keller is a majestic and beautiful woman with a unique voice and a rivetting stage presence. As one of her many previous presenters has said, she has the vocal power to move audiences, and a way of reaching into the soul of the songs she sings, then being able to convey this to her audience.
Don’t miss this opportunity for a truly memorable afternoon of music with one of the current divas of jazz/gospel/blues.
Tickets are $70 which includes a beautiful two course luncheon.Doors open at 11.30am for a midday start. Please either post a cheque made payable to Jazz Australia, to Jazz Australia, 25 Peterho Boulevard, Point Lonsdale 3225, or make your payment by bank transfer to Jazz Australia CBA Hawthorn 063 138 1001 3193. Your payment will confirm your booking and the sooner it is received the better your seating position will be! Given the late date, it would be wise to ring Diana to let her know you want tickets.
Phone 5258 3936 or Mobile 0409 019 067
Here Marilyn sings with one of her regular backing bands, New Orleans Delight, in Falkoping, Sweden.