Lovebite Bar provided the setting for a pleasant evening of jazz hosted by Mark Lockett and Wellington Jazz Cooperative on 24 of March 2022. Trumpeter Michael Costello showcased a new set of original pieces, ably assisted by Duncan Haynes on piano, Seth Boy on the big bass, and Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa on drums.

When the twenty lucky audience members were seated and ready, the band launched into a roller coaster of emotions. There were upbeat, energetic numbers, like Newtown shuffle and Nice Weather We Are Having, and sweet bossa Fall from grace, and mind disturbing provoking pieces like False flag and Sludge machine, and many more. 

The band played an old Jazz standard All of you by Miles Davis. A beautiful ballad with a warm heartfelt bass solo by Seth created a gentle mood in the room.There were not enough keys on the piano to express all the tenderness, so Duncan had to use his signature “ghost” key, which despite being ghostly was heard by everyone in the room. 

The evening finished with an original composition Mountain temple. Starting with oriental notes resembling  “Caravan” by Duke Ellington, the music evolved and rolled on you like a powerful round rolling stone. And suddenly a piano melody weaves through the mountain scape, like a road going up and up, climbing multiple stairs and reaching the top of the mountain. A thick, not hiding in the small room drums solo triggered the change in the mood and prepared for a stormy background picture by everyone but trumpet, which solo sounded confidently calm above the raging elements, like a temple through the time. 

Due to the Covid restrictions the audience was small, but a good mix of ages. Though it felt that people were shy, you could see the love for music in the eyes and feel the groove in the moving along the rhythm bodies. 

The band played in harmony, the members obviously knew what they were doing, and knew it very well. The collaborations between parts, intrinsic solos and overall unity led the audience through the evening to the overall feeling of joy of music, joy of jazz.

It is always entertaining to listen to original compositions and watch the Wellington jazz scene growing. When I asked Michael how he comes up with new compositions, he told me that sometimes it starts with a melody, sometimes with a catchy bass line, then it unfolds into the sketches, he gives it to the musicians and then the magic happens and new music is born. It means each performance is unique. But that’s why we all love jazz and go to live events, right? We look forward to the next show from the Michael Costello quartet with a new program.

By Charlie Queen