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Jazz Festival Review: The Little Bushman

Jazz Festival Review: The Little Bushman

Reviewed by Kate Kennedy


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The Little Bushman – Warren Maxwell, Joe Callwood, Tom Callwood and Rick Cranson
Friday 3rd November
The Frontroom


I’d never seen this band before – a friend of mine said it was a must see. I had been going to leave but found myself completely enraptured in their amazing music. I swear these guys will be the next big thing – they already are!

Warren Maxwell (Trinity Roots) has a serious set of lungs on him along with some awesome rhodes action that creates a frenzied passion. Together they tell their stories through music with amazing ability to create tension and release – the climatic reverb cries of Warren and Rick’s drumming style was reminding me a little of The Verve, The Stone Roses or Ian Brown and then - WHAM! - suddenly it changed into this tragic Blues tune. The transition between the two was immense – these guys are tight!

It was the sort of blues where you’re in your own movie… in America... in the front window of a run down diner… in a haze of cigarette smoke and everything is a burnt yellow colour… due to the filter on the camera lens… OK… maybe I can see why they have been likened to the psychedelic flavours of The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin!

Then again it changes. The use of the rhodes, the bowed bass (Tom Callwood) and this crazy thing that looked like a theremin-guitar hybrid or something! Anyway, it created a wicked sound when it was all put together whatever it is - and Joe (Callwood) really used it effectively.

So now we’re into a kind of latin feel, and now the beat is pounding through you and all you want to do is get up and dance… bring it on! Then it changes again into this Pink Floydesque landscape of heroin and fluffy clouds and a flight of ecstasy – the constant changing of rhythms keeps you on your toes and just as you think its all over there’s more. The key changes to heighten the ecstatic journey just adds to their power. These guys really do put on a good show. Rick Cranson has an awesome drum solo – and to watch him is wicked! He is so powerful, exceptionally talented and innovative. Then Tom comes back in with this one note on the bass (bowed I think) and fiercely plays it over and over and as the others join in it sounds like a Didgeridoo almost. That’s what I mean… they seem to come together in this awesome landscape of sound.

What can I say? The Doors meet Latin, meet Rock, meet Pink Floyd, meet Dub meet Trance meet seriously eclectic! Check them out – a must see.

Kate Kennedy, International Musician.

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Jazz festival homepage: www.jazzfestival.co.nz

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