Focus on the Land
Band plans to take flight on a mystery tour . . .
Thursday, September 13, 2012
MUSIC - WHEN composer Jonathan was contracted to come up with a soundtrack for the Te Rangimarie pageant — held in Gisborne to mark the turn of the new millennium — he came up with pieces that were ethereal, dreamlike, reminiscent of sound from the depths of the ocean.
But that’s not the sort of music he always likes to play.
The former New Yorker is heavily influenced by the Jewish folk cultures of his hometown, genre that often involve a lot of whooping and foot-stamping.
He showed that off when he returned to Gisborne a couple of years after the millennium, in 2002, performing tracks from jazz and sea shanties to Jewish tango and late-night cabaret as a member of five-piece Auckland band Bravura.
And now Besser is combining the two, the ensemble he next week brings to Gisborne playing a lunatic soup of jazz and classically-inspired music, all spiced with the sounds of Hebrew high times from across Europe.
To help Besser take listeners on an imaginative journey through musical genre that link New York, New Zealand and another, unnamed imaginary land, the musician/composer has put together an ensemble of artists who have had extensive journeys of their own — jazz bassist Tom Dennison, contemporary drummer Alistair Deverick, and vibraphone player (and university tutor) John Bell.
It will, they say, be an opportunity for them to build on the programme they put together for the 2011 Auckland Arts Festival, which turned out to be the surprise hit of that year’s Sydney’s Shir Madness music festival.
■ Jonathan Besser’s Gimel plays the Poverty Bay Club next Wednesday, September 19. Tickets at Mediterranean Living (PBC) or at the door.
BESSER’S BRILLIANCE: Composer Jonathan Besser (above) brings together some wildly disparate genre to come up with the music he performs with his touring ensemble Gimel, which plays in Gisborne next week. Picture supplied
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