Bussey Building – 8th June

Despite being located on opposite ends of the globe, Melbourne and London share a musical connection. With neo-soul/jazz group Hiatus Kaiyote hailing from the Australian city, they have since acted as a touchstone for a recent new wave of London jazz artists, including duo Yussef Kamaal, drummer Moses Boyd and tuba player Theon Cross. Likewise, Melbourne producers Tornado Wallace and Andy Hart follow in the footsteps of London’s Dan Shake and Dan Beaumont with their disco-inflected, ambient house productions.

Acting as something of a metaphor for this connection, Rhythm Section head-honcho Bradley Zero has spent recent years travelling from South London to Melbourne, this time bringing back with him disco-house producer Harvey Sutherland and his Bermuda band to play with London saxophonist Nubya Garcia.

A firm fixture of this new school of London jazz and following the recent release of her debut album, Nubya’s 5ive, Nubya Garcia took to the stage of Bussey first. Set to a disco ball backdrop, Garcia’s lyrical, keening saxophone lines weaved through tracks taken from the 5ive release, including a rousing rendition of ‘Fly Free’ featuring a high energy electric violin solo from Harvey Sutherland member Tamil Rogeon. At times the vibrant gospel licks of drummer Femi Koleoso drowned out the subtler variations of keys and upright bass, yet on the whole the band provided a firm backing for Garcia’s melodies, ending on the tight groove of stand-out composition ‘Lost Kingdoms’.

It was violinist Tamil who provided the energetic showmanship for Harvey Sutherland’s own headline set. With his playing veering from melodic, choral lines to amorphous guitar-like distortion, he provided an added texture to the sharp disco-influenced rhythms of keys player Mike Katz, aka Harvey Sutherland, and drummer Graeme Pogson. Mining the irresistibly danceable grooves of ‘70s disco on tracks such as ‘Clarity’ and ‘Expectations’, taken from their most recent Expectations EP, the group avoided nostalgia by injecting their compositions with room for improvisation. Katz’s rig of Korg and Juno synths provided a pleasing buzz throughout, forming a counterpoint to Pogson’s forward-moving drumming. Reaching a crescendo on crowd favourites ‘Coast 2 Coast’ and ‘Bermuda’, the band had the entire room moving and radiated optimistic energy to an audience nervously anticipating the results of the day’s general election.

Photos: Alex Zalewska

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