Roy Ayers @ Bennetts Lane (3rd show) Monday 23 February
It had been a mighty long time since I last attended a gig at what is probably the best known Jazz venue in Melbourne, Bennetts Lane. I have always been a fan of Jazz even though I have never really actively sought out Jazz recordings or listened to Jazz on the radio. That has all changed recently and the more I hear of the genre the more I want to hear. So when the opportunity presented itself to see one of the modern Jazz greats in an intimate setting I jumped at the chance.
The crowd was lining up early to get prime position in the small club. Once inside and the band took the stage it did not take long to realise that we were going to be in for one hell of a show. To quote one Steve Wonder "Just because a record has a groove. Don't make it in the groove. But you can tell right away at letter A When the people start to move." And move they did!
The band were seriously in the pocket, to say they were tight would be a serious understatement. They played with the type of feel that only comes from years of playing and learning your instrument inside out. It was also vividly obvious just how much they were enjoying themselves which in turn seemed to infect the whole crowd. The music ranged from the smoothly sublime to the downright funky and even though my personal taste is more towards the funky scale I loved every second of this show. There was a strange “Danoz Direct” type segment during the middle of the show which was somewhat cringeworthy but thankfully that did not last long and the band were soon back to playing at their white hot best.
Special mention has to be made of the rhythm section who I feel stole the show. The drumming especially was just crazy good. At the end of the night I left the venue smiling from ear to ear as I'm sure just about everybody else did also. The only thing left to say is if you are a jazz music fan you don't know the name Roy Ayers then learn it!! In the meantime I'm off to track down his back catalog.