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by reception
posted 02/12/2019

Review: Kristin Berardi and Sam Anning concert

Review of Kristin Berardi and Sam Anning concert, Riverside Theatre, Parramatta, Sunday 24 November, 2019

I’ve seen Kristin Berardi perform several times since she won the Freedman Music Fellowship for jazz in 2009, the only vocalist to have achieved this. In my opinion, she is still the most accomplished pure jazz vocalist in this country, becoming more impressive all the time, and a songwriter of increasing abilities.

Sam Anning honed his craft in the city where, if you can make it there you can….well you know the rest. Since returning to Melbourne, four years ago, his bass playing and composing have seen him making considerable contributions to the local music scene.

Kristin Berardi and Sam Anning first began performing together in 2017, drawn together by their deep affinity for the love of song writing. Their first recording together “Our songs, not songs” out through Earshift Records, features “mostly original compositions that intertwine their improvisational virtuosity with an expression more akin to folk music” from the Earshift Music press release.

The first half of Kristin’s concert at The Riverside Theatre on November 24th drew on material from her album with Sam Anning.  In the second half Kristin performed some beautifully arranged standards with the Mike Nock Trio. This review will focus on the former.

Memorable performing is all about truth and connection. The songs that Sam and Kristin gave us, written by one or the other, but not together, were “unified by expressions of the complexity of the human condition, serving as a connection to self, others and mother nature” from the Earshift Music press release. Their rapport on stage was palpable. Not an accompanist and a singer, but two equals, artists sharing a common goal. The setting and acoustics in the Lennox Theatre at Riverside were a very pleasant step up from many of the jazz venues downtown. And with the new M4 tunnel from Homebush to Haberfield, this gorgeous venue is now considerably closer than ever.

Kristin is a glory to behold in concert, using every muscle in her face and arms and hands to give maximum expression to her material. If you weren’t amongst the fortunate to see this unforgettable show, try and catch it when it comes round again. And in the meantime, get yourself a copy of the album. Nine great tracks.  One features Andrea Keller on piano; another a melody (piano improvised solo actually) of Brad Mehldau’s to which Kristin has written lyrics. Otherwise it’s the Kristin and Sam show.  A flourishing poetic and melodic union.

Kristen Berardi and Sam Anning "Our songs, not songs"

Kristen Berardi and Sam Anning concert

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