Joanna Funk

music, gardening and my dog

Glorious chaos: Valtozash at BJC

, Glorious chaos: Valtozash at BJC

Their horns assault you with a stabbing dissonance.  An electric guitar invades your mind with frenzied brilliance, then wails like a banshee. Bass guitar and drums build that sound of despair, the relentless thudding eventually impales your heart.

If you survive all that you’ll be going, “Oh my god! It’s metal! Valtozash Big Band is metal jazz!”

Led by Andre Bonetti, who plays Electric vibraphone, Valtozash Big Band sounds like glorious, deliberate, melodic chaos, which only skilled musicians can really pull off.

Here’s their sterling line-up:

John Stefulj – Soprano, sopranino, bass clarinet
Julian Palma – Alto, baritone sax, flute
Billy Saunders – Baritone sax
John Granger – 1st trumpet
Jacob Hills – 2nd trumpet
Angela Gadd – 1st trombone
Sean Mackenzie – bass trombone

Andre Bonetti – Electric vibraphone, vocals
Lachlan Bell – Guitar
Zac Sakrewski – Bass
Ben Shannon – Drums

What would I give to see the orchestral scores for this music.  Apart from insane key changes and merciless chopping and changing time signatures, Andre must have directions like:

“Trumpets and trombones be maniacal!”  “Abrupt stop!”  “Bass horns growl here.”  “Horns be pretty and slightly quirky for 8 bars. It is the prelude to Doom.”

They played original compositions and did crazy covers, like their version of Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage, aptly named Iron Maiden Voyage.

They covered Bill Evans, with their song called Aerial Nardis. I thought: “Oh no. Not my beloved Bill.” They did. It was beautiful, it was brutal.

They played superb full-on Hard Bop just to show they are masters of their art.

Andre said Charles Mingus was “so metal, before there even was metal!”

Then the baritone sax blew the opening line for Moanin’, and Valtozash could have been the Mingus Big Band. They played ferociously and faithfully to Mingus, and it wasn’t out of place one bit, because Andre was right. Mingus was metal! I loved it so much.

There were countless awesome solos from saxes, trumpets, guitar, bass. Andre let fly on the vibraphone. The drummer watched Andre like a hawk for his cues. I couldn’t help but think of the movie Whiplash.

Young musicians with a lifetime of playing ahead of them. What a life! But seniority had its place, and John Stefulj’s skill and musicianship is exemplary: he was their rock.

Here is Fighting The Wizard Bird. Andre gives a good preamble, you’ll get the picture!

Valtozash rock! And screech, and throb, and wail. They make your heart soar and you leave feeling euphoric. Go see them!

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About Joanna

Joanna is British Australian. She worked mainly in financial news in London. In her forties she moved to her parents’ birthplace, Sabah, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo, where she became a pianist in a hotel and wrote a blog about musicians. The blog became a book before Joanna came to Australia in 2012. In this blog she writes mostly about music, gardening, and trips to Sabah. Oh, and Wookie the Havanese.

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