The Chet Baker Story
Tim Draxl. Festival Theatre Stage – 17 to 19 Jun
Sweetly melting chocolate, this is the image that conjures when one hears the sweet sounds of Tim Draxl. In a show dedicated entirely to the life and times of Chet Baker, Draxl takes us on a journey as both narrator and character, through the self-induced highs and self-induced lows of a Jazz superstar.
Far too often nowadays, singers demonstrate their ‘vocal dexterity’ by pitch shifting and note bending. Refreshingly, Draxl holds some of the longest, sweetest notes this reviewer has ever heard without the vocal gymnastics which are so commonly associated with the music of this century.
Draxl has captured Baker’s persona so completely and so passionately, that even a relative unknown to the Baker phenomenon will be compelled to the music.
Draxl is dangerously good. Picture if you will, the warm venue of the Festival Theatre stage, decorated in rich reds and lit by the flicker of a candle and a warm stage light. The wine is flowing and the music – simply divine. Now close your eyes, only for a moment to enjoy the sweet melodies and gorgeous gentle vocals of this talented performer, and you are at risk of drifting off to sleep. Some did. But this is no comment on the quality of this performer, oh no! Gazing around the room, the contented looks on the faces of audience members was evidence of the absolute skill of this singer - simply stunning.
Draxl, who unlike Baker is not an accomplished trumpeter, is joined on stage by Eamon McNelis from Melbourne. Winner of first place in the 2010 National Jazz Awards, it is clear to see why McNelis is a title winning musician as he gently and skilfully plays the Jazz phrases dotted amongst Draxl’s lyric.
The performance from these two astonishing performers is liquid gold to the ears. Accompanied by a 3 piece orchestra on Piano, Bass and Percussion the ensemble is complete. A wonderful inclusion for this years cabaret festival, literally hitting all the right chords with the audience. Watch out for Draxl, this guy is unbelievable, and although I'm not in the habit of making predictions, I am predicting something big for this talented young performer. Watch this space.
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