By BRUCE DENNILL
Unplugged At Redfest / Directed by Angie Mullins / Redhill School 6
“Dominant 7” is a fairly in-your-face name for a high school jazz band. Clever chord reference aside, it suggests a level of confidence not always evident in the collective’s performance in their showcase concert at RedFest 2018. This is not to say that the youngsters were poor – indeed, they played with a great deal of fluidity most of the time – but that the ability to instantly recover from a glitch that comes with long-term experience has yet to properly bed in in some of its members.
The band will have benefitted from the proficiencies in that area of stage stars Craig Urbani and Timothy Moloi, who performed – together and as soloists – a wide range of of standards, ranging from the repertoire of Frank Sinatra to the hits of Buddy Holly, with various iterations of Dominant 7 providing the backing.
Moloi’s rich soul tone and Urbani’s strong, crisp clarity meant that there was variety in the sound of the songs as well as their provenance, and this was further explored by backing some songs with a just a trio – piano, drums and bass – others adding brass and wind, and still others adding Urbani and his guitar to the mix. His playing alongside some of the young instrumentalists allowed him to gently and subtly correct a bandmate by stressing his own hand positions on the fretboard. He and Moloi were also unfailingly supportive in their comments and applause for their backing outfit.
While not the most technically adroit performance the young musicians will give, Unplugged At Redfest was nevertheless an enjoyable outing for the audience (particularly a contingent of singers who added their own colourful harmonies to some pieces) and a fine display of low-key mentoring by the professionals involved.