A NIGHT OF PERSIAN JAZZ @ The Sewing Room gets 7/10

Kohesia Presents: A Night of Persian Jazz @ The Sewing Room
Wednesday, January 30, 2019


The last Wednesday of January marked the first of two performances of Kohesia Ensemble’s A Night of Persian Jazz at The Sewing Room in Wolf Lane. The show started relatively promptly, with bass player and bandleader Kate Pass introducing the musicians and offering up a brief explanation of what we could expect for the evening. Essentially, Pass’s original songs on show here incorporate microtones that are used in Persian music, but performed by a modern jazz band with several additional Middle Eastern instruments. The fretless double bass, along with the other stringed instruments, makes this more easily attainable.

Overall, this blending of styles was a success, with most of the numbers having that ‘transportative’ quality that takes you deep into a song. The selection ranged from slower and more contemplative, right up through pacier numbers that appeared later in the set.

Solos were frequent, with the whole band getting a go sooner or later, but with Pass rightfully performing the most. Especially impressive were the musicians on the Middle Eastern instruments. Because of the rarity with which we get to hear them here out west, the saz, oud and daf musicians were fascinating to watch. But perhaps owing to this rarity, the sounds of these instruments was occasionally lost under the crash of the drums and blare of the trumpet from the more conventional jazz instruments.

Highlights on the night were Moon Gate, with a hypnotic, cascading bassline that kept a steady pace up for the band to make some wonderful contributions. Point of Departure began as a low-key, contemplative affair, but kicked in with an off-kilter time signature that propelled the tune forward. Final song Edge of Reason featured more fine bass work from Pass, who admirably held down the bass and the band with aplomb.

Being a mash-up of styles, not all moments shone, but kudos for getting the combination to work. Some of Pass’s banter was not as polished as her playing or like that of seasoned jazz veterans, but this may have been a combination of youth and enthusiasm for the opportunity to play to the receptive Sewing Room crowd. The Sewing Room is a gem of a Perth venue (aside from a few columns), and was a fine setting for the show (although some more seats would have been welcome, especially in the lacuna of space in front of the stage).

There’s one more Night of Persian Jazz on as part of FRINGE WORLD this Sunday, February 10, so head down to the Sewing Room if you’d like to experience a fusion of styles performed by highly skilled Western and Eastern, younger and older musicians.