Jamie Oehlers Double Drummer Band @ Goodwill Club – The Rechabite
Sunday, November 8, 2020
Having started back in early 2000s after Oehlers accidentally booked two drummers for a gig at Melbourne’s hallowed jazz club Bar 303, Jamie Oelhers Double Drummer Band were one of the standout acts of the 2020 Perth International Jazz Festival.
Performing on the festival’s closing night, the bands’ smoky jazz was a perfect fit for the sold-out audience at the Rechabite Hall’s underground Goodwill Club. Starting slightly late due to Oelhers’ unexpected jaunt to Duncraig and back for a missing neck piece, or as Oelhers described it, “the price for rehearsing,” the tenor-saxophonist led his band through a remarkable and expressive set of jazz originals inspired by 70s era Miles Davis and the drumlines of New Orleans.
The tapping and boom-baps of the two drummers; Daniel Susnjar and Ben Vanderwal, never threatened to overpower the rotating solos and subsequent interplay between the stringed instruments. Both drummers expertly controlled the rhythm of the pieces, dampening to enhance ambient phases and freely playing off one another to heighten tension.
The interplay between the stringed musicians was likewise breathtaking. Guitarist Matt Gudgeon‘s fingers were a blur of jazz phrases and solos that expertly fit between the solid groove of Zac Grafton’s bass, Oehlers’ tenor-sax and the fluid piano mastery of Grammy award winner Tal Cohen.
While it was hard to the pick highlights from such a solid set, the frantic free spirited fun of Anthem, the Big Easy ride of Sidecar and the thoughtful Solace, from the group’s You R Here LP were particular standouts.