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June 10, 2014

John Hoffman Quintet – Gig Review


[L-R] John Hoffman, Elly Hoyt, Helen Svoboda, Lachlan Hawkins & Sophie Min

[L-R] John Hoffman, Elly Hoyt, Helen Svoboda, Lachlan Hawkins & Sophie Min

Last month, I was thrilled to share the stage with John Hoffman and Elly Hoyt at the Gold Coast City Jazz Club – a great fortnightly concert held at the Southport Bowls Club. The audience was very receptive and appreciative of our performance. Col Atkinson, Gold Coast jazz musician and member of the Club, put together this review of the concert.

The GCCJC was privileged to host the John Hoffman Quartet on Mon 19 May, John being without a doubt one of the Premier Flugal Horn players in Australia today. John came to Australia from the United States more than 20 years ago and apart from his busy playing schedule he has also taught many of our current young and fine musicians that we have today at the Brisbane Conservatorium and living up to that reputation, John brought along with him some of the very finest young musicians that he is currently teaching today. So – Young Min (Piano) Lachlan Hawkins (Drums) Helen Svoboda (Upright Bass) and John also had an ace card up his sleeve as the also brought with him the James Morrison award winning songstress Elly Hoyt to top off this fabulous quintet.
John and the band opened with the tune, Just In Time, a favourite of everyone’s, followed by Gee Baby Aint I Good To You, and then John and the band actually played one of my favourite tunes called Softly As In A Morning Sunrise. Elly then got up and wowed the crowd with a nice boss nova and Dianna Krall song called, Este Seu Olhar followed by My Funny Valentine. John then asked So – Young to play one of her own compositions to end the first set which was called A Breath Of Fresh Air and if the audience hadn’t already warmed to So – Young, they warmed to her now because the applause was overwhelming for her as her Piano playing was superb and an ovation was well deserved.
John opened up Set Two by playing one of his favourite tunes called, Weaver Of Dreams, followed by a very nice bossa nova called, Moon Alley. Elly returned to sing that timeless classic What A Difference A Day Makes and the audience were thrilled when she also sang for them, God Bless This Child. Both John and Elly then had a well earned rest and left it to So – Young, Helen and Lachlan to play, Darn That Dream. John came back to play What Can I Say After I Say I’m Sorry and then So – Young, Helen, John and Lochie as he is affectionately known played a roaring rendition of Pete Kelly’s Blues, then Elly finished the 2nd set with a composition she wrote herself, quite aptly called Elly’s Blues.
John open the 3rd set by playing that great Joe Henderson tune called Recorder Me, which in Spanish simply means Remember Me. Awesome stuff John. Elly then came up to sing another song that she had composed and dedicated it to an old friend. The song was written in ¾ or waltz time and was called, I Hope To See You Again One Day, then Elly and John did some great counterpoint together as John played and Elly sang, Stompin At The Savoy. So – Young then played another one of her compositions called Self Portrait and once again So – Young was very warmly received.
It was time to close the show and so the band finished up with an old favourite called, It Could Happen To You but after a great night of Jazz and appreciation by the audience for every individual musician, an encore was inevitable and so John and the gang played The Girl From Ipanema and for a change they did it in a swing style instead of the normal Latin feel.

So – Young’s Piano playing and improvisation was brilliant, Helen’s Bass playing and improvisation was awesome, Lochie was equally as good on kit and just the sound alone that John produces from the Flugal Horn is stunning and along with his immaculate improvisation, there’s not much more you can say about John Hoffman. We haven’t of course forgotten about Elly who was magnificent and very much appreciated by the audience. So I think everyone went home having a wonderful time and therefore the GCCJC would like to say a very big thank you to all that came to the show. Till next time, Yours in Jazz, Col Atkinson …