I am a director, playwright, and theatre critic with a Masters in Writing for Performance. You can check out my my portfolio and musings at www.samsaradunston.blogspot.com.au
The finest live music comes to Club Voltaire
Callum Watson is emerging as one of Australia's most exciting composers and pianists and is about to take up a monthly residency at Club Voltaire after a stunning debut in December last year.
Watson has a musical pedigree to match anyone and his extended family were all there to laude his work. It is not a wasted pedigree either. Watson truly is an amazing pianist and his classical/jazz compositions are fun, fabulous and executed to the best recital hall standards.
The performance was in two acts - one featuring jazz improvisations of the most challenging kind with saxophonist Flora Carbo, and the second featuring his arrangements of classical composers, such as Lecuona and Velazquez, as well as his own superb compositions. The rousing Tarantella from the Malageuna with his fabulous ensemble of Jessica Zuke (flute), Joel Hands-Otte (clarinet) and Flora Carbo was outstanding.
Jessica Zuk, Joel Hands-Otte, Flora Carbo, and Callum Watson
The interplay, challenge and syncopation of the jazz work between Watson and Carbo was fun and fascinating. It is rare you really get to see good jazz improve and in the intimate room upstairs at Club Voltaire, I could almost feel myself breathing with Carbo as she mixed it up with Watson's lightening finger play on the keyboard.
A great start to the evening, the second act matured into a recital many will be eager to hear. In his own compositions, Watson demonstrate a skill and mastery over the classical form, yet he manages to make it so contemporary and accessible through an ability to use the form to communicate emotions such as mourning and humour.
Watson does this with a judicious use of his jazz talents, but he has the rare gift of being able to bring these two styles into a blended whole rather than causing them to clash in a battle of the generations. Club Voltaire is a wonderful place for this kind of modern recital. It is comfortable and informal and interacts with other nightlife and entertainment along Errol Street in North Melbourne, in a way that other recital centres around Melbourne can't and don't do.
You can come and see Watson and his merry musicians as your main night out, or you can begin with dinner, enjoy great music and then carry into the early hours at the local pubs. This residency really does close the generation gap and Watson's music has something for everyone.
Upcoming performance dates include March 24th, April 28th & May 26th from 8:30pm at Voltaire