The Brisbane Jazz Club has drawn me once again in its low-key and dedicated way, to a night of sparkling and highly entertaining music from a highly skilled and devoted concert group, The Mark Pradella Band: with a bonus set from the Late Shift Big Band!
Under the careful and concerted eye of Grant Mason, alongside the sweet and mellow vocal of Stephanie Dick, The Late Shift Big Band draws its 20 members from across the societal spectrum by a love of a crazed and dynamic facet of music — the J-word.
Seemingly, the Late Shift sport the cojones to strive and diversify a repertoire to suit the modern palate, by way of exploring and elaborating on the more quirky and left-of-centered side of swing and Big Band music. The range and timbre of the standards and original compositions, be they the more energetic, flighty material or the sombre and more dulcet pieces, were of high quality and the group were enthused and attentive.
Keeping to Masons’ wishes and cues, yet unified in an eccentric ensemble, the impressive and ebullient brass and wind section of the Late Shift were shining and on the money, having drawn upon the maturity of experience and knowledge by way of the addition of the Mark Pradella Band into the backline.
Mark Pradella is a staple talent in these parts; with a mild twist to his playing, he has been enriching the musical mind of Brisbane’s youth for many years, performing with some of the most talented players in the area.
The Mark Pradella Band is an incarnation of the working-man’s group; keeping focus on the living aspect of music while retaining the love and the energy of your own performance and enjoyment.
The group have a large and broadly defined repertoire, with many oddities and vagaries present, their arrangements were consciously of a more Latin and Motown/ groove aspect than a swing or concert band feel — hey! Electric wind instruments are the bomb.
The backline were enthusiastic and very keen, with an energy that belied the solemnity inherent to the group. Staid and laidback, more so, than required in my mind; the freedom from the constraints of the free sections can be drawn out and elaborated upon with barely the touch and effort required to keep to the form.
As above, so below and the adage has never been truer, as the members all continue to grow and evolve, even as they continue to help the young aspiring musicians of today to find their musical centre.
The Late Shift and Mark Pradella bands have proven to us all, through the medium of the Brisbane Jazz Club, that there is vast room to breathe and enjoy the myriad and labyrinthine world of the J-word.