Late Night Fridays are known for spoiling their audiences with high quality music, but on the 27th of May they raised the bar even higher by presenting two New Zealand jazz legends: Paul Dyne on double bass and Noel Clayton on guitar.
Both are well-known and respected performers and teachers, and both are former residents of the Lido Café stage. Dyne, whose band the PDs were regulars at the Hacienda Cabaret in Timaru in 1960
(how old were you?) has musical credits far too long to list here, but they include more than 150 radio programs, 35 CDs and albums, and backing work for over 100 international artists visiting New Zealand. He spent the 1970s playing jazz in Montreal, Canada while teaching chemistry because, as everyone knows, jazz is all about the chemistry.
Clayton is no slouch either. He’s a Wellington guitar legend who has performed with a wide array of bands as well as with his own band, Eel. And dare we mention the wonderfully-named Doodletown Boptet?
Imagine gloved hands gently lifting an adorable white rabbit out of a hat. That was the feel that these two musicians produced, and with the same mix of surprise and joy.
Undulating waves of therapeutic, soothing sound spread bliss and goodwill to all within earshot. These old friends, having known each other for decades, went together like copy and paste. Their performance gracefully ascended to sheer effortlessness as if it could go nowhere else.
The set was a beautiful mix of famous jazz songs and well known standards by Gershwin, Allen, Jobim, Blakey, and Monk to name but a few. Paul’s strokes were soft and gentle, but confident. They brought forth a deep, sensitive sound. Noel’s riff stories were quiet, but full of images.
Use whatever words you choose… you will never fully convey the enchantment of that evening at the Whirinaki Whare Tonga. You had to be there (hint). These events are free and supported by Art and entertainment trust. So next time check it out for yourself. A delicious dinner at the Dough (doh!) is another great bonus of a Friday evening well played in the Upper Hutt.

By Charlie Queen