Re-imagining Bob Dylan’s songbook – Kate Ceberano, Joe Camilleri, Paul Grabowsky

Monash Jazz Greats Weekend Kate CeberanoWith Musical Director Paul Grabowsky on piano, Rob Burke on saxophone, Luke Andresen on drums, and Jonathan Zion on double bass, the assembled band were more like a musical internal combustion engine, cutting a fascinating path through both Dylan’s recent work as well as the classics.

Joe Camilleri had two modes: 1. Super cas’, hands in pocket, cool-cat-vibe to maximum; 2. Guitar or sax slung over shoulder going full throttle. Sharing vocal duties was Kate Ceberano, who was a marvel on stage. Her presence grew as the night went on, ending with the sort of gospel-esque performance that almost wants to make you want to believe in something.

Joe took the helm on a rollicking rendition of Things Have Changed, helped by some splendid clarinet work by Rob Burke. Blowing In The Wind was made empowering, not wistful. A walk of shame without the shame, Jonathan Zion played well with Kate’s voice to gave this standard – as the kids say – a fresh new sound.

Kate stuck around for a molasses-sweet turn at Make You Feel My Love before leaving the stage for a smidge, allowing Paul Grabowsky to take the helm on a tumbling version of Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right, walking a compelling instrumental high wire between chaotic and coherent.

Backed by some crisp military-esque percussion from Luke Andresen, Joe led the group through a Forgetful Heart that sounded like survival instinct, a man clawing through dirt up into the light. Hands in pockets like the regular from the corner bar shuffling home at dawn, Joe and the band shuffled through a melancholic Just Like A Woman.

Kate gave Forever Young a majestic scope, the song a sonic blue whale swimming beautiful and expansive over the audience. She then followed this into the dark earth with grinding performance of The Wedding Song, the PJ Harvey sound she sought (at her own admission) pitched just right.

Joe kept things subterranean with a lovely murky To Fall In Love With You, before giving One More Weekend an enjoyable airing. Kate joined Joe for the final number, I Shall Be Released – a jazz / gospel/ Je ne sais pas rendering that soared, giving the whole night the feeling of an aubade, rather than an arbitrary collection of fan and performer favourites. There was good stuff here.

Re-imagining Bob Dylan’s songbook – Kate Ceberano, Joe Camilleri, Paul Grabowsky
Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University, Clayton
Performance: Sunday 26 March 2017 –  7.30pm

Image: Kate Ceberano (supplied)

Review: David Collins