Songstress Kristin Berardi has assembled some of the finest players in Sydney to record her band’s debut album, which will be unveiled this weekend.
Berardi’s voice has not fallen short of critical praise. Her biography reads like a road map to international jazz fellowships and prizes. What reviewer John Shand calls her “ephemeral vulnerability” and colleague pop crooner Katie Noonan calls a “luminous personality” coalesce in a performance swinging between two poles: a relaxed bravado, and a willingness to croak out a little heartache. And her pitch is pretty much faultless.
Gracing her on the date will be members of the new Kristin Berardi Band: the precision brooding of veteran pianist Mike Nock appears again, impressing his talents on upcoming Sydney jazz bods after so many years. Guitar shredder James Muller will also lend his surprising structural genius to proceedings; bursts of escalating ferocity come at unlikely moments, catching the idle listener off-guard, pounding a tune into unforeseen intensity. David Theak of Theak-tet adds his versatile saxes.
Rhythm section features two chameleons: the dizzyingly prolific Tim Firth on batterie has an innate sensitivity ripe for any milieu, and is a credit to each band he shares a stage with – a rising star of a drummer, if it didn’t sound like hype I’d say the man could make a foghorn duet sound like gold. Mike Majkowski, a member of both the Mike Nock Trio and devastating sound art ensemble Splinter Orchestra, is another young musician of diverse faculty.
While her songs hit a traditionalist vibe – broken heart of the jazz diva, phrasing her lovelorn into cool – Berardi’s excursions outside of the music she has written can sit you up. Witness sparse and intimate moments from her album of duets with James Sherlock and attention-grabbing scat hurlings, twisting her scales instead of leaning on them. They betray adventurousness in ascent.
If you want to know what developments from this adventurousness will be seized on and extracted by the cream of the Sydney jazz scene, be at the Sound Lounge for the Kristin Berardi Band’s debut album launch on August.
Kristin Berardi Band – Debut CD Launch
The Sound Lounge at The Seymour Centre
Corner of City Rd and Cleveland St, Chippendale
Tickets: $15-$20, 9036 6292 or www.sima.org.au