Tina Harrod & Kate Wadey

Tina Harrod & Kate Wadey

Jazz in a church on a Friday night is an inspired choice.
St Stephens Uniting Church, with its sandstone walls,
towering pipe organ and delightful stained glass windows,
has a history of supporting music and musicians, and the
church’s involvement with the Sydney International
Women’s Jazz Festival is an extension of this association.

The opening set featured vocalist Kate Wadey with pianist
Matt McMahon and Samuel Dobson on double bass. Kate
opened with East of the Sun, a smooth and balanced track.
The acoustics in the cavernous church were excellent and
the fine piano solo and bowed bass solo effortlessly filled
the space.

The set featured mostly original songs and her vocals suited
the themes of love and romance. Lyrics such as “The clock
stops ticking, The world stops turning,” were charmingly
conveyed. Another original song, written with Matt McMahon,
was Forever Like This, a melody inspired by a Dvorak
composition, had a heartfelt Eastern European sensibility and

The trio performed cover versions of two songs. I Have Never
Seen Snow by Harold Arlen with beautiful lyrics by Truman
Capote, a writer with an exceptional turn of phrase. They closed
with a soaring and beautiful Joni Mitchell song, Little Green.
Kate’s excellent phrasing and storytelling was a perfect way to
finish the set.

The second set featured vocalist Tina Harrod with pianist
Matt McMahon, Jonathon Swartz on double bass and Evan
Manell on drums.

They opened with a warm and accomplished rendition of Joni
Mitchell’s Court and Spark. Tina’s powerful voice was well matched
by Matt McMahon’s rolling waves of piano. An original song
followed that Tina and Jonathon Swartz co-wrote, the stirring What
Becomes of People.

As Paul McCartney was in town they performed Here Comes the
Sun. I think Nina Simone’s version was the inspiration
for this version of the song and it featured an outstanding
performance which really energised the band. The evening was
becoming an homage to Joni Mitchell as an understated rendition of
The Tea Leaf Prophecy followed. Later we were treated to more Joni
Mitchell songs: River and Coyote.

The highlight of the set was rhythmic and soaring I Wish I Knew
How It Would Feel to Be Free, Billy Taylor’s great civil rights
song made famous Nina Simone. The powerful negro spiritual
feeling had the audience moving and swaying in their seats.
The band of highly accomplished and expressive musicians
were excellent and continued with original songs: Temporary
Songs; plus Dear Henry which featured some extraordinary
bass playing and the closing number Man with a Paper Cup.
Tina’s powerful voice was especially suited to Van Morrison’s
Caravan, one of the great songs featuring in the evening’s

Tina Harrod & Kate Wadey performed at St Stephens Uniting Church,
197 Macquarie Street, Sydney as part of Sydney Int’l Women’s Jazz
Festival, presented by SIMA (Sydney Improvised Music Association).
The festival runs until 5th November and includes a rich and diverse
program and is highly recommended. See https://sima.org.au/siwjf/