Salient: An organ of student opinion at Victoria University, Wellington. Vol. 23, No. 5. Wednesday, June 15, 1960
Some little time ago over thirty people turned up to a S.G.M. of the Jazz Society and found they had nowhere to meet. That's how the Jazz Society has been treated at Victoria.
Nowhere to play—the Little Theatre has been jealously occupied by the Drama Club and Extravaganza. Extravaganza has had the sole university piano.
On Easter Sunday night eight musicians from the Jazz Society staged a concert for Tournament visitors and hosts. Seven numbers were presented, not altogether faultlessly—two were original. Over 100 students attended.
Musically, the concert was a success. After a little nervousness on the part of some of the per-formers, the music attained a good standard, reaching its peak in the last number, "Haitian Fight Song," by Charlie Mingus. The execution of ensemble work was patchy in parts, perhaps accounted for by nervousness and the fact that the group had only two rehearsals. The overall impression was very favourable, thought. The musicians are sincere in what they are doing, and this comes out in their music.
The audience reacted in various ways. About two-thirds applauded solos, and were generous, if not discriminate, in their participation. Some were openly hostile, while others merely tolerated the music. Many showed ignorance. A girl later told me that she likes Jazz, "when it flows smoothly not when it stops and jerks all the time." I presume she applies thepage 11
same rules to her mother's motor car. She is going about it in the wrong way, of course. The musician in question has either lost his place, or he is doing it for certain effect (usually the latter).
This comes a little late, but I think some comment is necessary. The concerts were terrific, as are the musicians themselves. Brubeck might be the leader of the group, but I think that Desmond, the alto-saxist, leads them in musical sensitivity. His ideas were coherent and moving—how many New Zealand musicians play with feeling? The others matched him only by their mastery of technique—another thing not often seen in New Zealand. Gene Wright was inspiring and humorous on bass, his twinkling fingers were delicate and precise.
I hope the record companies noted Brubeck's remark about the time it takes Jazz records to reach the market out here. If you see a record less than two years old either it is pretty commercial, or you are very lucky.