Moody and often misunderstood, jazz can leave its listeners guessing. That was not the case from Sassafras: A Night in Paris.
A clear French theme with familiar swing classics and gypsy jazz radiating with attitude.
Playing to a packed house at the Ellington Jazz Club, Jessie Gordon lit up the room with her charming banter and sparkly golden gown. Gordon’s soulful, yet buttery voice will have you swaying along and dreaming of the streets of Paris. She takes the classics and makes them uniquely her own. Her vocal versatility is impressive and her ability to engage with her audience is a joy to watch.
Adrian Galante steals the show throughout the evening with his clarinet solos and long-winded rips, but the band happily keeps up. Pete Jeavons on double bass, Aaron Deacon & Lachlan Gear both on acoustic jazz guitars remind the audience that the strings, very much, have a strong presence in jazz and swing. A standout was the guitar duo between Deacon & Gear.
Each artist shares their talents with the audience as they blend together in beautiful harmony but battle out the rhythms in eloquently composed solos; showcasing the well-balanced talent of this local Perth band. The passion and energy that Sassafras display pulls the audience right in and craving the mentioned “wine and cheese” – fortunately both are on the menu at the Ellington Jazz Club.
Sassafras plays Parisian inspired favourites from Sidney Bechet and Django Reinhardt with some fun and flirty tunes from Ella Fitzgerald, while sneaking in a couple of Walloon songs. They may have swayed a little from the true roots of Paris, yet the theme remained. Sassafras transports with their music, not only to the cobblestone paths of France’s capital city, but also to a different time; a slower time where art was the centre of society and cafes were full of Bohemian writers, singers and painters.
One hour of this charismatic band was, certainly, not enough, leaving the listeners longing for their next encounter.
Sassafras will be pleasing audiences at the Ellington Jazz Club, nightly, until the 4th of February.