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A Lark Ascending

Australian Jazz

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I know there are a few Australian/New Zealand posters here.

Thought you might like to know there is an article in the November issue of Jazzise by Stuart Nicholson making a big noise about the virtues of contemporary Australian jazz.

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I lived there in the fifties and sixties. There were not many top-notch players, but those that were good were terrific. I wonder who's still around. I know that Bob Bertles and Don Burrows, superb reedmen, still play.

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Thanks for that Bev. We don't get that rag down (?) here, and I couldn't see that piece on their website. Could anyone post it?

Nicholson spent a few days in Melbourne in his role as judge/chairman of the first ever Australian jazz Awards, having heard hundreds of artists before he arrived and was duly (and rightfully) impressed.

I interviewed him on my radio show while he was here. He had very set ideas about which he was determined to tell me and my listeners no matter what questions I lobbed his way.

Stll, if he's talking up contemporary Aust jazz it's a good thing, as there's no doubt it's the equal or better of any "jazz" music being made anywhere. I'm sure it's pretty difficult to get ahold of the stuff I mean in the northern hemisphere, but I reckong Bev (having some familiarity by now with your approach and tastes) would dig much of it very, very muchly.

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I lived there in the fifties and sixties. There were not many top-notch players, but those that were good were terrific. I wonder who's still around. I know that Bob Bertles and Don Burrows, superb reedmen, still play.

Burrows and Bob are for sure still going around, very much as elder statesmen these days.

What I'd love for the greater world to be experiencing are any or all of the following (and heaps more):

Joe Chindamo

Ishish

Kynan Robinson's En Rusk

Paul Williamson (trumpet)

Paul Williamson (saxophone)

Gai Bryant

Sandy Evans

Andrea Keller

Jamie Oehlers

Scott Tinkler

Peter Knight

Frank Di Sario

Alister Spence

James Sherlock

Fiona Burnett

James Muller

Adam Simmons

Theak-tet

Michelle Nicolle

Frock

Sam Keevers

Clarion Fracture Zone

Tim Wilson

The Java Quartet

Willow Neilson

And many, many more - so many approaches, so much talent, so little heard! Arghhhhhh!!!

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I have a couple of lps by Serge Ermoll's Free Kata (with Lou Burdett, Eddie Bronson and, on one, John Clare. Are these people around anymore?

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I've sent you a PM, Kenny. Let me know if it gets through intact.

If not if you send me your e-mail address via PM I'll get through that way.

The article mentions:

Graeme Bell

Paul Grabowsky

Bernie McGann

John Pochee

Scott Tinkler

Sandy Evans

Julien Wilson

Judy Jacques

Andrea Keller

Aaron Ottignon

Mike Nock

Yes, I can imagine Nicholson would be rather single-minded. I really enjoyed his book on Jazz Rock. But in the last few years he's become obsessed with this idea that jazz in the States is a spent force and that all the exciting stuff is happening elsewhere. Up to now he's hyped Europe but it would appear that Australia has provided another arrow for his quiver. He concludes (quotes from Mike Nock):

'Sure, the level of playing in the States is excellent. But what is really lacking is new, exciting music from the underground - from young people. 'Jazz there seems to be a music for older people or conservative younger people. It's quite bizarre to me. I feel Australian jazz is now closer to what jazz is all about, it's a bit irreverent and above all it's about self expression. I think those qualities are here in spades and there's some hugely talented musicians here and pretty soon the world is going to hear about them!' So, don't say you haven't been warned.

Here we go again.

He's also got into hot water in the letter column of Jazzwise recently. The Australian article ('Kind of Roo'...Ouch!) is in his regular column. In the early part of the year virtually every article seemed to be a rant against the Iraq War, Bush or Blair with some very tenuous jazz links. Pretty undergraduate politicking at that.

In his favour he's always there to speak out for newer music and music from places not normally associated with jazz. I do wish he'd get a sense of balance, though!

Incidentally, can I use this platform to nominate Kenny for the Blindfold CD in the near future. I'd like to hear some of this stuff in a nice compilation!

Edited by Bev Stapleton

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Chuck: Serge Ermoll is still around - I heard him at he Wangaratta Jazz Festival a few years back playing some tasty more-mainstream stuff than was the case with Free Kata. John Clare is better known these days as a Sydney writer/critic/proselytiser.

It's interesting that when Australian jazz is mentioned online I often get names thrown at me that are even more obscure to me than some '50s/'60s US hard bopper. I love the past decade or so and the new generations, and would love to backtrack to the '70s and '60s of Australian jazz history, but only a few CD reissues - such as John Sangster's classic Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit - have been forthcoming. The Australian jazz record biz is a tough one for those involved without even thinking of reissues.

Bev: Regarding Stuart Nicholson and US jazz - that accurately reflects what happened when I interviewed him. I'm all for supporting the brilliant music being made here but I'm not sure being part of someone else's agenda is a great way of going about.

While I'm a (print) journalist of long-standing I'm not so experienced at broadcasting journalism. Had I been, I might not have let Nicholson get away with such a broad, blanket condemnation of US jazz. After all, even a wide-ranging critic in his position could not have heard all - or even close to all - the independent/small label music released in the US in the past decade. What does he think of 8 Bold Souls, Quartet Out, Organissimo for instance?

While he was going on about the bankruptcy of US jazz he also, several times, strongly stated that Michael Brecker was and is the best thing going in the US.

And this, according to a thread at Jazz Corner, from a man who has just recently portrayed the Dave Holland Quintet as being full of soulless techocrats with bugger all to say!

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I'm afraid Nicholson is a classic case of someone who has developed what he considers a 'big idea' and intends to defend it and make all the facts fit it regardless.

Something you frequently meet on bulletin boards!!! I suspect many of us have been guilty to a greater or lesser extent!!!!! (let me explain how the Australian jazz experience once more proves the non-existance of 'art'....).

The difference is that Nicholson gets to put his notions into print and on the radio!

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Kenny,

Perhaps when you have a few moments you could tell us a bit about some of these names.

I like the idea of an Australian jazzer doing Bartok!

Edited by Bev Stapleton

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A shrewd but unfortunately brief survey of the underlying issues that have shaped jazz in Australia is Terry Martin's chapter "Jazz In Canada and Australia" in "The Oxford Companion to Jazz." Martin, a native of Adelaide who has lived in Chicago for many years, rightly emphasizes the remarkable work of the best Australian "revivalists" (the Bell brothers, Ade Monsborough, and above all the late Dave Dallwitz), who aren't really revivalists but musicians who have at their best built something beautiful and new upon their fondnes for bits and pieces of the jazz past. (Dallwitz is one of the great jazz composers; check out his "Ern Malley Suite.") Among Australian modernists, I've been knocked out by Bernie McGann (again, that homemade deep transformation of non-Australian impulses is present) and am interested by Mark Simmonds, and Scott Tinkler.

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and am interested by Mark Simmonds, and Scott Tinkler.

Tinklers "Dance of Dilulian" on Origin is really excellent, just received it but I can already tell it will have plenty of spins.

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Saturday, November 22nd.

BBC Jazz Line Up Live from the London Jazz Festival

To include performance by Jamie Oehlers.

A chance to hear this player who is getting a great deal of attention.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/jazz/jazzlineup.shtml

Wonder if George W. will be attending?

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Bringing this back up - five years old! Clunky was asking in the Italian thread.

Since 2003 I've bought a fair bit of Aussie jazz, fired by some discs Kenny kindly had sent to me. Believe me, there is some corking stuff down there.

My two favourites of recent times:

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Jazzhead records are very quick with delivery - and some of their stuff is on e-music.

In fact use your e-music credits on these two small big band recordings:

product_68700.jpg

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Wonderful!

Edited by Bev Stapleton

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How about this one?

723622_CD_L_F.jpg

Film and TV soundtrack music composed by Libaek but played by the cream of 60s and 70s Australian jazz session players (John Sangster and others).

Edited by sidewinder

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I thought we mentioned Andrew Speight before; guess it was in a different thread. Aussie transplant now living in San Francisco. He was the director of the jazz dept. at MSU when Jim and I were there in the late '90's. Pretty ridiculous what he can do with the horn!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8LjTzLvxsw

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Spoke with Australian-born tenorman Brandon Allen when he was playing with the Dylan Howe Quintet at the Wigan Jazz Festival in 2006. We both named The Sound of Sonny as a favorite disc.

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My most recent Aussie record is this one:

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I'd also recommend hunting for this from a few years back:

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The 'Meeting of the Waters' record is up at e-music. Well worth exploring. In fact there are some excellent recordings there:

http://www.emusic.com/browse/l/a/-dam/a/0-...00159039/0.html

Allan Browne is interesting too. Plays in several styles, but one of his groups has an essentially 20s pre-swing feel...except that it goes other places that make it quite different to a revivalist band - Ornette Coleman for example. I've not heard anything quite like it. This record is marvellous:

422.jpg

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Thanks for jump-starting this one Bev. It's prompted me to give this one a spin:

61OlvWE0i1L._AA240_.jpg

Excellent band, particularly Eugene Ball on trumpet. But the whole band, really ... very tight -- somewhat reminiscent of Dave Douglas, but with softer edges, maybe a little more contemplative at times. Beautiful compositions. ... Shannon Barnett on trombone is wonderful as well, featured nicely on the cut "Twenty-Ten." And Gian Slater's voicings fit perfectly here.

Edited by papsrus

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Bringing this back up - five years old! Clunky was asking in the Italian thread.

Wonderful!

thanks Bev.

now spinning Andrea Keller- Thirteen Sketches -Newmarket, good compostions , recommended.

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Andrea Keller is excellent.

She's on this fantastic live 2CD on electric and acoustic piano, along with Jamie Oehlers. Up therewith the electric Dave Douglas of recent years, though treading wider stylistically:

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Paul Williamson - 'On the Surface, in the Core'.

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Hey - great to see youse guys still flying the flag and keeping up with the good stuff.

For those who don't know, I myself have moved ina different direction. My buddy Roger Mitchell has taken over coverage of Ozjazz for the Sunday Herald Sun here in Melbourne.

My own journey over the past coupla years has encompassed great noodly slabs of Grateful Dead, various psychedlia artefacts, heaps of vintage jazz and country and a whole lot more. Basically American music of a certain age to over a century old.

My radio show has also switched to a slightly out of the way timeslot that allows me the heady freedom of switching from Charley Patton to Bunk Johnson to a half-hour 1969 Dark Star to Bob Wills or Floyd Tillman to John D Loudermilk and Roger Miller and back to the Allmans or the Sons of Champlin. Yippeee!

The psychedelic thing has me turning often to John Coltrane and Sun Ra, so who knows? Maybe before too long the musical winds will blow me back to Ozjazz!

Edited by kenny weir

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The SIMA.com web site is a useful intro to what's current in Australia, or rather, Sydney. Thanks to Terry Martin, some of the good ones made it to the Chicago Jazz Festival: David Dallwitz band in the 1980s; Bernie McGann, quite a distinctive alto player, in the '90s; the band 10 Part Invention a few years ago. In t he 00's Ross Bolleter made a tantalizing CD of piano improvisations for Emanem (owned by a one-time Australian). Any other worthy outside players there?

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Australian cornet player Bob Barnard has been running a Jazz Party once a year for quite some time. They usually bring in a few musicians from the USA, Canada and/or Great Britain to play along with the Australian musicians. A number of sessions from these events have been issued on the Australian Nif Nuf label.

Here are the CDs I have on the Nif Nuf label:

Danny Moss At Bob Barnard's Jazz Party 1999

Danny Moss Returns To Bob Barnard's Jazz Party 2000

Danny Moss Swings Again At Bob Barnard's Jazz Party 2003

Ralph Sutton & Ruby Braff in Concert at Thebarton Hall, Adelaide,Australia, 1981

Australian Bob Barnard has also recorded a number of CDs for the Canadian label - Sackville. Sx CDs as leader or co-leader, and 2 CDs as a sideman.

I also have a couple of CDs on the ODE label from New Zealand:

Alan Broadbent Trio - Over The Fence

Mike Nock Trio - Beautiful Friendship

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For those who don't know, I myself have moved ina different direction. My buddy Roger Mitchell has taken over coverage of Ozjazz for the Sunday Herald Sun here in Melbourne.

Easy to understand, Kenny. I often find myself on sabbaticals in classical or folk music and wondering why I listen to jazz - though I return quite quickly!

My radio show has also switched to a slightly out of the way timeslot that allows me the heady freedom of switching from Charley Patton to Bunk Johnson to a half-hour 1969 Dark Star to Bob Wills or Floyd Tillman to John D Loudermilk and Roger Miller and back to the Allmans or the Sons of Champlin. Yippeee!

The psychedelic thing has me turning often to John Coltrane and Sun Ra, so who knows? Maybe before too long the musical winds will blow me back to Ozjazz!

That sounds like a great radio show!

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Spoke with Australian-born tenorman Brandon Allen when he was playing with the Dylan Howe Quintet at the Wigan Jazz Festival in 2006. We both named The Sound of Sonny as a favorite disc.

Review in today's Guardian of a new album, Given Time, by the Clark Tracey Quartet which features "the dynamic young Brandon Allen on tenor". Gareth Williams is on piano and Arnie Somogyi on bass.

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