13 October 2005

Alison Wedding at Dizzy's

Sometimes when you think you should go out, but you're feeling a little bit tired and could quite easily just get a video, you really should listen to your inner teenager and go out. I'm glad I did on Saturday night, otherwise I would never have seen and heard the wonderful Alison Wedding at Dizzy's.

Dizzy's is a jazz bar on Swan Street in the eccentric old Richmond Post office building, across the road from the Corner Hotel. If you've never been, you should. It's probably the best room for a small band I've ever been in. As far as I know, there's no such thing as a bad seat, and it's the kind of place that makes you feel cooler just being there. Red walls, long bar down the far end, and the bandstand nestles in a womb-like semi-circular alcove, which probably does wondrous things for the acoustics.

Alison has an amazingly supple alto voice, with a long range, and she can scat and not manage to sound like a cliche. In fact, her singing is informed by a real musician's sense of intonation and how to hang a lyric on a phrase just so. She also manages to say something with her lyrics. They're never just an excuse to show off.

Did I mention she's gorgeous? With the most American teeth I've ever seen. She has a smile that warms a whole room, and it's worn with absolute sincerity. Either that, or her polished show-biz schtick is so good, it can convince a room of jaded Melbournites that this little gig is the most fun she's had in ages.

I should also mention the band, with Dizzy's partner Roger Clark on alto sax. I can't remember seeing such an unlikely group of jazz musicians. Roger looked like he could break into "The Man From Snowy River" at any minute, with what looked like mole-skins, tucked-in shirt and R.M. Williams boots, though he played bright bop solos like Zoot Sims or Art Pepper. The band also featured Geoff Kluke, who is a virtuosic double bass player with an unfailing sense of melody, and a drummer with a strangely brittle hard-bop style that took a while to get used to, but good.

Apparently there are two albums out, which I'll be looking up very shortly. Check her out.


I am the Queen of F*%&ING EVERYTHNG...OK!! said...

You sound like you are in lurve??? Lotsa nice spots like that about and sometimes you just stumble upon them like a gem in the rough.

Crritic! said...

Well, maybe something else starting with L.

Actually I always seem to fall for people on stage. Something about being able to hold one's attention with a special talent.

jazzer said...

For your information, Alison is playing at Dizzy's again tonight, October 22, and her new CD launch is November 10 at Bennetts Lane in the city. Check out the website www.alisonwedding.com