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The best gigs according to ...

Michael Griffin · Phoebe Day · Keyna Wilkins · Juliana Areias · Nick Parnell · Waldo Fabian Garido · Nicola Milan · Todd Hardy · Hannah James · Tony Barnard · Chris Poulsen · Aaron Michael · Arkady Shilkloper · Steve Barry · Ken Allars · Natalie Dietz · Ben Carr · Andrew Gander · Kim Lawson · Sarah Collyer · Guy Strazzullo · Brendan Berlach · Casey Golden · Alex Pertout · Ben Hauptmann · Marialy Pacheco · David Tolley · Jeremy Rose · Adam Simmons · Miles Thomas · Sarah McCallum · Carl Morgan · Paul Cutlan · Leonie Cohen · Jan Preston · Tom Vincent · Abel Cross · Briana Cowlishaw · Tim Clarkson · Tim Rollinson · Paul Derricott · Michael Galeazzi · Joseph Tawadros · Andrew Dickeson · Mace Francis · Jonathan Zwartz · Steve Hunter · Daniel Weltlinger · Jacam Manricks · Eamon Dilworth · John Hardaker · John Harkins · Daryl Aberhart · James Greening · Joel Woolf · Jess Green · Mark Ginsburg · Phil Treloar · Jason Bruer · James Ryan · Bonnie J Jensen · Alister Spence · Mark Harris · Darren Heinrich · Bob Barnard · Gerard Masters · Andrew Robson · Neilsen Gough · Simon Tedeschi · Jane Irving · Blaine Whittaker · Lucian McGuiness · Stephen Morley · Becky Fox · Cam McAllister · Elizabeth Geyer · Chris Cody · Peter Knight · Andy Fiddes · Matt Baker · Tim Bruer · Spike Mason · Mississippi Shakedown · Matthew Ottignon · Peter Farrar · Dan Barnett · Kristin Berardi · Catherine Hunter · Sean Coffin · Adam Pache · Will Guthrie · Simon Barker · Joe Chindamo · Carl Dewhurst · Carrie Lakin · Paul Williamson · Al Davey · Virna Sanzone · Kim Sanders · Mike Nock · Sandy Evans

Michael Griffin - "...I remember the feeling of loving what they were doing though and I learnt so much playing with them..."
Phoebe Day - "...I'd love to create something people can connect to..."
Keyna Wilkins is a versatile composer-musician at home in many musical worlds
Juliana Areias - "...two main musical influences of my life: Antonio Carlos Jobim and Rita Lee..."
Nick Parnell - "...The Burton sound, technique and approach has influenced the way I play the vibraphone more so than any other musician...."
Dr Waldo Fabian Garido - musician, author, scholar
Award winning singer, musician, cartoonist, published author and poet Nicola Milan
Todd Hardy - "...I couldn’t wait to get to New York...this Jazz Mecca..."
Hannah James - "...I have a soft spot for any group that allows the bassist to feature heavily!..."
Tony Barnard - "...The interplay between them was surreal at the time and still brings a delicious feeling to me when I hear recordings of them...."
Chris Poulsen - Band leader, session musician in various genres, and well-known visual artist
Aaron Michael - "...This was the first time that I realised how much positive influence good music can have on people..."
Arkady Shilkloper - "[goes] places that horn players aren't supposed to go without a net, map, seatbelt, crash helmet, overhead air support and a note from their mothers"
Steve Barry - "...My 5 Top Gigs - Easier said than done..."
Ken Allars - "...I’ve never felt such strong emotions through music...easily the greatest musical experience I’ve had..."
Natalie Dietz - "...I did not believe
that kind of intense energy could exist on a bandstand..."
Ben Carr - "... It may have been
a pivotal moment in my life, stearing me well away from my ambitions of being an Airforce Fighter Pilot..."
Andrew Gander - "...Allan Turnbull changed my life in about the first 20 seconds ..."
Kim Lawson - "...His response was simply, "what are we going to do… play like crap??"..."
Sarah Collyer - "...I am forever drawn to deep rich female voices..."
Guy Strazzullo - "...I am not that choosy when it comes to witnessing history..."
Brendan Berlach - "...Brendan got into the saxophone because his Dad had one laying around..."
Casey Golden - "... I’ve never seen someone cut changes so hard while sight-reading a tune..."
Alex Pertout - "...I was always fascinated by the freedom..."
Ben Hauptmann - "...when you improvise, you are only limited by your imagination..."
Marialy Pacheco - "...It was perfection. The Orchestra, the music, the dancing - heartfelt, impeccable, honest..."
David Tolley - "...I focus on 5 people of particular significance to me rather than 5 performances..."
Jeremy Rose - "...genres as wide as reggae, afrobeat and hiphop, to Indian Classical and Tango music..."
"Adam Simmons is a monster" - Robert Spencer, Cadence Magazine (USA)
Miles Thomas - "...I still do a fair amount of audio work, but only jobs that I really like!..."
Sarah McCallum - "...Distortion in a supposed classical concert? Yes please!..."
Carl Morgan - "...Swedish metal band Meshuggah were a big influence on me in 2009-2010..."
Paul Cutlan - "...their notes, soared freely across their ensemble and managed to merge just as mysteriously back into the texture..."
Leonie Cohen - "...The music is seductive and melodic and the solos are often exquisite..."
Jan Preston - "...Australia's Queen of the Boogie Piano..."
Tom Vincent - "...a musician who does not merely recycle what he’s heard, but will really take music somewhere of his own..."
Abel Cross - "...I can safely say that the five gigs below really changed the way I thought about music..."
Briana Cowlishaw - "...I was in a complete trance from start to finish..."
Tim Clarkson - "...It was a coming together of all the music I had been exploring, listening to..."
Tim Rollinson - "...Jim Hall to me is the father of modern jazz guitar..."
Paul Derricott - "...it feels like everything you see is the best thing you’ve ever seen..."
Michael Galeazzi - "...I couldn’t believe the hypnotic effect the music..."
Joseph Tawadros - "...The drones had put me in a type of trance and I got this feeling of peace..."
Andrew Dickeson - "...At that moment I realised that the sound is in your mind not in the instrument!..."
Mace Francis - "... I still get goose bumps thinking about it..."
Jonathan Zwartz - "...for me, it was like super condensed brain food..."
Steve Hunter - "...I recall going home afterwards and playing my bass through the night, trying out some of the things I’d seen ..."
Daniel Weltlinger - "...5 hours of totally mesmerizing hypnotic music making. Unbelievable!..."
"Jacam Manricks - A composer beyond the confines of genre perception..." - DownBeat
"The talent-packed Dilworths are a band to watch out for..." - John McBeath
John Hardaker - "...Never got the nerve up to tell George how much I loved his playing though..."
John Harkins - "...Sonny came out looking like Moses..."
Daryl Aberhart - "...we were transfixed from the first note..."
James Greening - "...I cherish this lesson that I had learnt from Don and the musicians..."
Joel Woolf - "...His tone speaks volumes to me and I almost feel like I could eat it..."
Jess Green - "I will never forget the physical feeling of trying to contain myself and shrieking and yelping at what I truly thought to be magic!"
Gordon Brisker - "Mark Ginsburg communicates his sincere warmth through an overflowing love for music..."
Phil Treloar - "...If one must make a written gesture towards this emergent madness, better it be expressed simply as music..."
Jason Bruer - "...The late great Michael Brecker has always been a massive influence on me..."
James Ryan - "...I was fortunate enough to hear and perform with these inspiring, creative forces in action many times..."
Bonnie J Jensen - "...Turned out that we were two tired, lonely girls on the road..."
Alister Spence - one of the most outstanding pianists and composers in contemporary jazz in Australia.
Mark Harris - "...The seemingly telepathic communication between the players was startling..."
Darren Heinrich - "...Seeing Stevie live at the height of his powers was a privilege and although it might sound trite, a spiritual experience for me..."
Bob Barnard - "...This was a performance featuring three generations of my family..."
Gerard Masters - "...I would not be doing what I do today if I hadn't picked up Mike’s record ‘Ondas’ in a second hand shop back in 1996..."
Andrew Robson - "...The simplicity of the concept and the purity of the sound were breathtaking..."
Neilsen Gough - "...James Morrison used to sneak me in as a kid..."
Simon Tedeschi - "...This duo - playing Hoagie songs - is an indelible musical memory for me..."
Jane Irving - "...My ears have always been my primary learning tool ..."
Blaine Whittaker - "...To hear his sound and agility over the horn was strangely life changing..."
Lucian McGuiness - "...Everything they played seemed to mean something particular and important..."
Stephen Morley - "...It's hard to pick out just five, but here goes, in no particular order..."
Becky Fox - "...I regard myself primarily as an interpreter of songs..."
Cam McAllister - "...The band was so swingin' it was ridiculous..."
Elizabeth Geyer - "...I was completely knocked out by everything he played. He sounded like no trumpet player I had heard..."
Chris Cody - "...It was quite a challenge to try and whittle down over three thousand concerts or so that I must have attended to forty, then twenty, and then finally just five!..."
Peter Knight - "...This concert was hallucinatory (can you aurally hallucinate?) ..."
Andy Fiddes - "...Five amazing gigs? Not too sure about which ones to choose!..."
Matt Baker - In 2003, the Matt Baker trio was selected as the house band, to perform seventeen nights straight in the Montreux Jazz Club
Tim Bruer - "...I remember it as being one of those special nights where at the end of it you feel totally musically satisfied..."
Spike Mason - "...It made me want to go and buy an electric guitar..."
Mississippi Shakedown - ..."What the hell's this...?"...anyway, he said..."let's rock" ...
Matthew Ottignon - "...The music was thick in the air, you could smell it..."
Peter Farrar - "...I completely lost a sense of time, and I have always thought that music is successful if it accomplishes this..."
Dan Barnett - "...Wow, 5 favourite gigs, you gotta be kidding, what a hard ask - I dunno!..."
Kristin Berardi - "... is a very special musician whose voice has a quality of exquisite beauty..." (Tony Gould)
Catherine Hunter - I'd love to see a resurgence of appreciation for great interpreters of standards and performers that are valued for their craft, not just the marketing buzz surrounding them...
Sean Coffin - I don't remember specific tunes, what they started with and what they ended with…it wasn't about that …it was the music and/or conversation that took place....
Adam Pache - This was an informal performance in the living room of a Kuwaiti architect's house. The man was in his 60s...
Will Guthrie - While writing this I thought often of how difficult it is to choose only 5 inspiring 'ultimate' concerts...
Simon Barker - After hearing this astonishing music I decided to dedicate a large part of my life to finding out more about Korea's magnificent musical history...
Joe Chindamo - When Jazz and Beyond asked me to name and write about my five favourite gigs, my first response was that it's impossible...
Carl Dewhurst - he obtained his first electric guitar when 12 years old and started playing the music of Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, The Police and George Benson...
Skilled and polished enigmatic singer Carrie Lakin
Paul Williamson - These particular five gigs have stuck out in my memory for their spontaneity, group interaction...
Al Davey - with recognition as one of the truly versatile musicians in Sydney, Al is playing authentic 'trad' jazz, be bop and beyond...
 Virna Sanzone - There have been so many moments in my life when I have found myself moved by a sound...
Kim Sanders - World Music Pioneer
Mike Nock - twenty five years working with greats - Coleman Hawkins, Yusef Lateef, Dionne Warwick, Michael Brecker and others
Sandy Evans - These aren't the "definitive" best, but rather five I chose because if I didn't settle on something, you'd never get to read this!

Michael Griffin's High Five

1. JAMES MORRISON - The Basement, 2005.
James Morrison is by far my biggest influence of all Australian Jazz musicians. To me not only of course his skill and talent as a performer but his ability to capture any audience. Grab the attention and interest of even non-jazz fans to me is incredible. His presence on stage and the fact he can be so entertaining had such an influence. Anytime i got to chat with him while I was a finalist at Generations in Jazz I was always asking him about that. This performance at the basement was one of many great times watching him had an impact on me. It was always my dream to play in his band, but that was not to be. Regardless, my biggest Australian Jazz influence.

2. DALE BARLOW – Various
Having Dale play in my band several times was always such a thrill and inspiring. The first time we did a Cannonball/Coltrane tribute at Foundry 616 in 2015. We've since done Manly Jazz together and Annandale Creative Arts Centre where he played in my Sextet. Having him play in my band was a great way to push myself. I was always truly grateful when he accepted to play with me and not only do I admire his career achievements, but his playing and language on the saxophone made a great impact on me. Certainly I can sing a few Barlow lick's in my head that really stuck with me. Certainly had the biggest influence on me of all Australian Saxophonists. Other than my dad who introduced me to the saxophone.

3. SONNY ROLLINS- The Sydney Opera House, 2008
This concert was a true thrill for me as an 18 year-old. To see the world's biggest living jazz giant and a man who had also played with all of my hero's including Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk was incredible to see him in person. I still remember the audience going nuts when he opened his St. Thomas solo with the same bit from the record. It was also the first time I was introduced to the song "They say it's Wonderful"(Berlin) which he opened with. That has since become my favourite song.

4. NYC Subway Busking – 2013
When I went to NYC for the first time in 2013 the whole experience was incredible. One memory that impacted my life was I on my 3rd day there I decided to go for a walk around West 4th St. I didn't make it far though because once I arrived at the station I could hear these 2 incredible Alto Saxophone players playing with Bass and Drums. They were busking on a platform in the Subway. They were actually working Jazz Musicians. I remember standing there amazed, not just at their skill and so forth, but they were playing real modern Bebop language that I hadn't quite explored fully yet. They asked me to play with them and they tried to test me out by making me play a whole chorus of Cherokee very fast without the Bass and Drums. I passed the test. To me though i remember the feeling of loving what they were doing though and I learnt so much playing with them. I thought to myself "THIS is what I came to New York for!" We must have played about 3hrs. I recorded it on my phone and tried to transcribe and study some of what they were doing.

When I was in the Thelonious Monk competition in 2013, there were so many Jazz giants staying in the same hotel that weekend. Wayne Shorter, Kurt Elling, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Heath, Roy Hargrove (god bless him), Branford Marsalis and the rest. I got to meet them all which was awesome but when they had the Finalist concert, they all played and it was the most superstar jazz concert you could ever see. I can still remember everyone going nuts when Roy Hargrove walked out to sit in with another band, but even Herbie and Wayne played together. All of the Saxophone Judges played Jimmy Heath's Gingerbread boy together. It was like watching a modern day Jazz at the Philharmonic. Even Thelonious Monk's Son played drums. Incredible.

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Phoebe Day's High Five

Smooth and sultry, jazz-infused soul.

Born and raised in Sydney Australia, Phoebe is her own flavour of silky smooth soul. With an unmistakable vocal, the sultry tones of her music are a unique blend of old and new inspired by the greats of jazz, soul, RNB and blues. There's a quiet vulnerability in Phoebe's music. It transports the listener into her world, extending a warm invitation to look around and stay a while. Tasty, sophisticated melodies, soothing harmony and laid-back grooves complete her signature sound.

Phoebe spent most of her childhood listening to her father's records and was heavily influenced by the likes of Chet Baker, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O'day, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles. Infatuated with these sounds, Phoebe's great love affair with the romantic tones of jazz and soul began with piano lessons...at five years old. Although her relationship with the keys flourished for many years, Phoebe's true passion for music was only discovered when she found her voice. There's an depth and maturity in Phoebe's voice that doesn't develop by chance or practise. At the tender age of fifteen, Phoebe was hospitalised after emergency lower back surgery. The following four years were filled with five more surgeries, post-operative infections and complications - leaving Phoebe in hospital for weeks at a time and with severe scaring. Unable to walk or sit, she was bed-ridden for months. Phoebe describes these years as the most painful and testing time of her life. Not only battling immense chronic pain, she struggled with depression and anxiety. Songwriting had become a safe place to escape trauma and re-focus. Phoebe credits her ability to express emotion so poignantly through her voice, to the pain she faced during these years. "I learnt more about singing in those five years than I have in my entire life. When you sing through tears just to ease pain, something changes and your voice is never the same." Phoebe spent four years studying at The Australian Institute of Music (Sydney). Here, she developed her skills as a vocalist and songwriter recording original music in the world-class studios at AIM. Phoebe has performed in some of Sydney's most renowned venues such as Foundry 616, Venue 505 and PLAYBAR. She has worked with various local artists, composers and producers including saxophonist Joel Sena. The couple began working together in 2015 on Joel's debut, self-titled EP (released November 2016). Phoebe's voice was the perfect match for Joel's sax-drenched soul. After a successful release, Phoebe received praise for her performances on Truth and Be With You feat. Phoebe Day. Phoebe has also worked in studio with Sydney based composer and lyricist for stage and screen, Maria Alfonsine. Phoebe was the featured vocalist on Maria's original composition Changing Seat, which aired on Episode 4 of the ABC TV series Pulse (2017).

After 18 months of writing all new music, Phoebe's debut single Place In Time was released in September 2017. Inspired by the deep desire for human connection, Place In Time tells the story of two people finding a sense of belonging in each other when feeling as though they don't belong to the world. The single received praise across various publications and radio stations including TheMusic.com.au Northside and Eastside FM. "Centering on Day's smooth, enchanting vocals, [Place In Time] utilises heavy jazz influences — in both instrumentation and arrangement — to create a truly distinct and engrossing soundscape, filled with sparkling piano, sweet, sweet saxophone, hushed percussion and unexpected melodic shifts to keep the listener invested from start to finish." - TheMusic.com.au Releasing two more associated singles over September/October 2017 (Fading and Without You), Phoebe has written a collection of carefully crafted songs inspired by the changes in her life. There is an honesty in Phoebe's songwriting that evokes emotion and resonates with the listener. Together, all three singles tell one great story on Phoebe's debut EP Place In Time. The recording showcases her raw and original sound, exploring tones of jazz, neo-soul, blues and RNB.

"I'd love to create something people can connect to. A recording that I know is a true and honest reflection of myself as an artist. I'm still learning and growing, but mostly I just want to create great music that adds something to someone's day."

The Place In Time EP features some of Sydney's finest musicians including Mike Pensini (Deni Hines, James Morrison), Buddy Siolo (Delta Goodrem, Jessica Mauboy) and Joel Sena. Phoebe is thrilled to accompany her debut release with live shows and plans to record all new music in 2018.

1. CHICK COREA AND HERBIE HANCOCK - The Sydney Opera House, 2015.
I don’t know of a single jazz-piano connoisseur, who wouldn’t regard this dynamic duo as one of the greatest of all time. While I was watching these incredible players on one of the most prestigious stages in the world, I couldn’t help but feel like I had been invited over to watch life-long friends having a jam in their living room. This was quite possibly the true beauty of the night. Positioned opposite each other in front of two stunning grand pianos, Corea and Hancock bounced ideas off one another in what can only be described as a truly unique musical conversation. While Corea took care of the complex technical skills with impressive runs and impeccable time, Hancock provided a smorgasbord of tasty melodies and poignant emotions. The pair weren’t afraid to experiment with crazy keyboard sounds either. I recall Hancock sneaking in a few cheeky ‘Yo!’ and ‘Hey!’ synth sounds. For a while, the audience seemed to forget they were in an Opera House (perhaps Corea and Hancock did too) as we all ended up scatting with Hancock and introducing Corea’s ‘Spain’ by singing the opening chord. It was the most entertaining piano concert I’ve seen.

The only serious big-band shows I had seen before this performance were in New Orleans, in 2013 (more on that later). As you can imagine, it was a tall order to fill. I suppose if anyone could fill the shoes, it would probably be Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz Lincoln Centre Orchestra, right? Well they definitely filled them - and then some! Marsalis was a charming gentleman who knocked on the door and asked our fathers’ if he could take us out on journey through the eras of jazz. He began with a sweet introduction into the origins of New Orleans Jazz and ended the evening with some daring Coltrane. Needless to say, we were all swooning and not quite ready for the night to end… I have never heard such a rich orchestral sound from such virtuosic musicians. Marsalis was all too happy to take the back seat and personally introduce us to his jazzmen. I can still recall an original composition by bassist Carlos Enriquez. With an impressive contemporary sound, the groove was infectious. This inspiring collection of musicians was warm and welcoming, giving the audience a fun evening of great music.

I’d like to begin this story with expressing my deepest regret for never asking the names of the musicians playing that night. In 2013, I travelled to New Orleans with my music-loving family, looking for some inspiration. I found so much more than I hoped. Never have I seen so many venues filled with live music every hour of the week. One in particular really caught my eye. Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse is tucked away behind a red velvet curtain on Bourbon Street. The venue prides itself on providing a lush, old world experience of live jazz. As we stumbled in one evening, already buzzing with excitement, I noticed a quartet playing in the corner. Now when I say in the corner, you should know that a corner in New Orleans is the equivalent of a prestigious stage in a Sydney supper club – where everyone is listening. Intently. This inspiring group was fronted by a young trumpeter/vocalist. Every song was a super cool and effortless jam. Aside from having a voice as sweet as chocolate and the smoothest tone on his horn, this front man was quite the showman. After every tune, he would ask the audience to take a sip of their drink. It wasn’t until halfway through the evening that this jovial performer revealed his agenda: “Now I know y’all are probably thinking why this guy’s insisting on you takin’ a sip of your drink after every song. You see, every sip you take is gonna make the next song sound a little better.” I suppose sometimes it’s nice to be inspired by a mystery. I doubt I will ever know the names of these musicians or discover their identity, but I definitely won’t ever forget that night. I left with a whole new level of admiration for the New Orleans live music scene.

4. BUDDY GUY - The Enmore Theatre, 2012.
Buddy Guy was the very first artist I ever saw at the Enmore. I remember walking into the venue and feeling an instant wave of infatuation rush over me. My eyes didn’t know where to look, I was completely mesmerized by the theatre. It’s still a dream of mine to one day be able to play there. As for the man himself - even in the 76th year of his extraordinary life, Guy simply brought the goods. I’ve never seen a blues performer with such vibrancy and presence. He would tug at your heartstrings singing of love lost and before you knew it, he’d have you in stitches of laughter. If personality is the mark of great performer, then Guy must be the greatest. The performance was electrifying and Guy’s guitar skills left nothing to be desired. Complete with flamboyant licks, crazy bends, fuzzy chords and signature distortion, it was hard to fault the man’s playing (and singing for that matter). Guy is one of those singers who just know, intuitively, how to do it right. It’s the voice of a man who has stood in the face of real struggle and lived to tell the tale.

5. LIANNE LA HAVAS - Oxford Art Factory, 2016.
Honestly, there aren’t many contemporary vocalists who truly inspire me. Lianne La Havas certainly does. What I think I love most about La Havas’ music, is her ability to place the heart of soul music into a modern and relatable context. She is an excellent storyteller with incredible facility as a vocalist. La Havas was in town supporting Coldplay’s world tour and I just couldn’t miss her headline side gig. My partner, Joel surprised me with tickets for my birthday. To my surprise, La Havas played a sold out show for almost three hours straight. Solo, with nothing but her voice and her guitar. I was impressed to say the least. La Havas had the undivided attention of everyone in the room for the entire show. She was unapologetic and unafraid to showcase her huge voice. La Havas’ rendition of ‘Say A Little Prayer’ was something special. I think what I enjoyed most that night was the warmth and honesty radiating from this soulful star. She humbly embraced the imperfections in her performance (granted they were very few and far between) and reminded me of what’s truly important as a vocalist – creating a connection with your audience.

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Keyna Wilkins's High Five

Keyna Wilkins is a versatile composer-musician at home in many musical worlds. With international classical training at Bristol Uni and Bath Spa Uni (UK), Hildesheim Uni (Germany) and postgraduate composition at Sydney Conservatorium, she has branched into jazz, experimental live theatre, flamenco fusion and improvisation. Weaving a mosaic of unique tonal patterns and rhythms creating an original intuitive musical voice, her works are a hybrid of her sonic experiences and a reflection of a multifaceted modern world. Exploratory, open-minded and globally inspired, hints of impressionism, jazz and the influence of contemporary Australian composers can be heard in her music.

She has performed around Europe and Australia including Sydney Opera House and the Basement, and many hotels and bars, in a wide diversity of ensembles and had compositions commissioned by Sydney Conservatorium since immigrating from UK in 2009. Highlights include opening the Adelaide Fringe Festival with Flamenco Australia in 2012 and opening the Picasso Exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW with French noir trio Les Violettes in 2011. In 2015 she formed her own ensemble, Ephemera Ensemble, to perform and develop her compositions and have had a series of successful shows around Sydney.

Since 2011, nine of her compositions have been published by the Australian music publishing house, Wirripang. In 2016 she completed her Master of Music Composition from Sydney Conservatorium under the supervision of Professor Anne Boyd and Doctor Rosalind Page. Her compositions have been performed around Europe and Australia including the Art Gallery of NSW, the Basement, Seymour Centre, Sydney Conservatorium's Verbruggen Hall, Venue 505 and Old 505 Theatre and many more. She has written in a range of idioms from contemporary classical to jazz songs to theatre and dance music. In 2013 Sydney Conservatorium Spanish Encounters piano festival commissioned her to devise one of her own pieces Luna Llena for a piano ensemble and Marquez Laundry Theatre Company commissioned her to write the music for the abstract play Fred and Ginger at Sydney Fringe Festival.

Keyna teaches piano, flute and theory from her home studio in Ashbury, with a passion for helping students achieve their potential. She is also the mother of 2.5 year old twins.

I went to some of Divergence Orchestra's shows at Foundry 616 in 2016, after hearing alot of positive things about the ensemble but having been out of the scene a bit as I had twins in 2014. I was impressed with the level of cohesion of the group and freshness of the whole project. Jenna's dedication and follow-through in setting up and developing the group is awe-inspiring. Also her talent for jazz composition is astounding, as is her ability to MC the event (which is something I struggle with at times!). She also has great judgment in choosing different soloists within different jazz styles creating very a dynamic range of tone colours and textures. She has made her vision a reality, which in this industry, is a difficult thing to achieve.

2. ESEN PRICE - Various solo improvised shows, 2012-2017
Elsen Price is an incredibly inspiring musician who seems to have no limits to his abilities, technically or stylistically. Indeed at times if you are not looking you would be forgiven for thinking you are listening to a virtuosic violinist! I have seen him many times over the years, but it's his solo shows, which have been everywhere from 5 hour improvisations in cafe corners to recital hall concerts, that have really blown me away. He never holds back on his level of enthusiasm and sheer passion for the music he is playing, which is infectious, and gives you the sense that you are witnessing something very special - an all-encompassing total performance. I feel he really taps into something deep and intuitive he plays. Also I really love how he often incorporates aspects of pop, rock, jazz, folk and experimental classical music into his improvisations - after all, it's all music.

3. CHACHY PENLAVER & BYRON MARK – Various Flamenco shows, 2012-2014
I have worked with these amazing artists in flamenco ensembles Pena Flamenca and Arrebato and have also gone to see their shows. Chachy is an amazing contemporary flamenco dancer who really showed me the amazing level of, at times super-human, precision, complexity and raw talent that is possible in a flamenco show, playing with shifting time signatures and complex rhythms. Like an actor, displaying all the human emotions, but through movement, beautiful movement. Byron is equally talented at his instrument with incredible improvisatory brilliance and raw rhythmic talent. When Byron and Chachy work together as a duo the result is very exciting, almost euphoric, as if you are entering another dimension.

4. ELODIE SABLIER - Various solo piano shows, 2011-2014
I worked with Elodie as a duo and part of a trio during these years and attended her solo shows. She is an extremely sensitive and subtle performer, a delight to watch, as her hands dance about the keys. Also she really owns whatever she is playing and puts her stamp on it. When you watch her play it is as if she is in a trance, and puts the whole audience in a trance also. Her playing communicates deep facts about the human condition: longing, happiness, forgiveness, regret, hope - it's all there in her playing. I learnt a lot from working with her.

5. DAN JUNOR TRIO – Bohemian Gove, 2010
I saw saxophonist Dan Junor's trio a few years ago and was inspired by the intimacy of a trio performance at Bohemian Grove, as if you are peering into somebody's inner-most workings of their mind. The way the musicians seemed to intuitively understand each other and flow through the tunes; then totally loose themselves in the improvisations and speak a musical truth, was very inspiring.

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Juliana Areias's High Five

Recently compared to renowned contemporary bossa nova singer Bebel Gilberto by Brazil’s acclaimed EPOCA Magazine and with over a year of consecutive sold out concerts around Australia, Brazilian Singer Juliana Areias is already a reference in the local music scene and abroad. Juliana’s music embraces several shades of the Brazilian music spectrum and its resonance with jazz and other international musical styles. Her authentic Brazilian voice, sense of groove, engaging charisma and a very personal and passionate stage presence are the trademarks of her work.

Juliana was personally introduced to the Bossa Nova founders when she was a teenager by legendary Brazilian Music historian and journalist Ruy Castro who also named her “The Bossa Nova Baby”. This direct learning and unique experience have inspired her to become a professional singer.

Juliana Areias has lived for many years in Europe (Switzerland) and New Zealand prior to moving to Australia. Always working in the music circuit, her career includes performances at major international festivals such as the revered Montreux Jazz Festival, Auckland Festival, and American’s Cup (NZ).

Most recent performances include, a concert at 505 in Sydney, The Kings Park Festival, The Perth International Jazz Festival, New York’s exhibition “Van Gogh, Dali and Beyond” at The Art Gallery of Western Australia, and Ritmo Festival at The Darling Harbour, performing for over 30.000 people.

1. ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM & BAND – Concert at Ibirapuera Park, Sao Paulo, Brazil – 28/11/1993
11am - I was there in the first row! 50.000 people came to watch it. This concert happened just about a year before his death on 08/12/1994 in New York. It was always my dream to meet Jobim, my favourite composer and one of the fathers of Bossa Nova. Jobim performed with his band called “Banda Nova ”, featuring his son Paulo on guitar, the great Jacques Morelenbaum – cello, Tiao Neto – bass, Paulo Braga - drums, Danilo Caymmy -flute and his unique female choir always singing in unison: Ana Jobim (his wife, not on stage that day), Elizabeth Jobim (his daughter) , Paula Morelenbaum, Maucha Adnet and Simone Caymmi . I still have the printed program of the concert. Jobim generously performed 25 songs, being 23 of his originals including bossa classics such as “Girl from Ipanema”, “ One note samba” and “Waters of March” as well as beautiful more contemporary songs such as “Passarim” “Borzeguim”. He also included 2 non-original songs “ Maracangalha” (by Dorival Caymmy, father of Danilo) and “Choro Bandido” (by Edu Lobo and Chico Buarque). I was there,18 years old, in ecstasy watching this masterpiece. It was certainly one of the most important experiences of my life which inspired me to become the “bossa nova baby”.

2. RITA LEE - “Show Lanca Perfume” at the “Palacio de Convencoes do Anhambi” in Sao Paulo, Brazil 1980
I was a lucky child for having a mum and dad whom would take me to live concerts since I was a baby… Mind you we had a military dictatorship in Brazil at the time. Kids below 10 years old officially could not attend concerts. Many artists in this period went to jail and in fact most people believed that concerts where not a safe place even for adults. My father took me to this concert when I was 5 years old and I fell in love with Rita Lee’s theatrical stage presence and her “Bossa n’ roll” songs. Yes, she is the queen of Brazilian pop rock, yet, she has a soft voice and made some quite unique collaborations with “Joao Gilberto” the father of Bossa Nova as a rhythm and artistic aesthetic . They recorded together the songs “Brasil com S” and “Jou Jou Balaganda”. The first song I sung “in public for an audience” in my life was Rita Lee’s “Lanca Perfume” the song title of this concert. I performed it , in a bus, standing at the top of the bus motor box, beside the bus driver. My first original album “Bossa Nova Baby”, released now in 2015, is actually dedicated to these two main musical influences of my life: Antonio Carlos Jobim and Rita Lee.

3. LENY ANDRADE - show: “Eu quero ver”, at “Inverno e verao” Bar in Sao Paulo, Brazil on 22/09/1990
I was introduced to the fabulous work and talent of Leny Andrade by my Aunt Silvia Mendes, who took me to see this show adverting me: “ This is Leny Andrade, you will hate it or you will love it, there is no other middle possibility”. I loved it. Leny is probably one of the only Brazilian singers who improvises like jazz singers do without losing her “Brazility ”. She has a brilliant and unique sense of rhythm. This was an intimate performance with her amazing trio composed of pianist Joao Carlos Coutinho, drummer Adriano de Oliveira and bassist Luizao Maia. Leny is the singer I have most watched live in my whole life since then. She still performs around Brazil and USA, with these same musicians. Leny has influenced my sense of rhythm and has introduced me to the world of jazz. Thank you Leny!

4. LENINE - show: Cite, at “Cite de La Musique”, Paris, France on 30/04/2004
Well, I must confess that I was not there, but I wish I was. This is the best live DVD show I have watched in the past 15 years. Lenine is a contemporary Brazilian composer, who started to become famous from the late 90’s. He is my third favourite composer (after Antonio Carlos Jobim and Djavan). He is from Pernambuco, in the northeast of Brazil, the land of the rhythms “Frevo and Maracatu”. His music has these roots and yet, it is universal at the same time. This concert has a magic balance of intensity and serenity. It is organic, it’s alive and pulsating, it is full of light and shadows, and it’s real. It was masterly performed by only three people on stage: Lenine ( voice and guitar), Cuban female bass player and singer Yusa and Argentinean percussionist Ramiro Musotto. Ramiro is unfortunately dead already… We are very lucky to have it recorded in DVD, I truly recommend it to anyone interested in pure and raw musicality. This concert keeps my faith in great live music.

5. SADE -The Esplanade - Perth, Australia on 06/12/2011
Well, I was wondering if I should finish this High 5 list with Sade or Stevie Wonder, who also came to Perth on 15/10/2008 performing at the Burswood Dome. I had the privilege of watching both concerts and I am a fan of both of them. Stevie’s concert was delicious to watch but the stage and sound system were far too distant. Unfortunately I could not feel connected. The Sade concert, in the other hand, had a huge production with magnificent stage level changes, sound and lights for an open air concert . She performed with her original band, displaying great respect and friendship between them on stage. They were having a party and so did the audience. The level of energy, professionalism and musicality was high and I could feel connected. Sade’s music has that softness aesthetic similar to Bossa Nova, which I really appreciate. This show reveals that even an “alternative” band and intimate voice like hers can also benefit from a big production if made with great quality.

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Nick Parnell's High Five

Celebrated as one of the most exciting vibes players in the world today, Nick Parnell makes old music new again, injecting energy into a repertoire that might be familiar to some, but definitely inspirational to all. With a spirit of recklessness, Parnell takes one of the newest of classical instruments and gives it a genre-bending makeover.
Steel yourself for his mallets of musical mastery.
Vibraphone/noun - a musical percussion instrument with a double row of tuned metal bars each above a tubular resonator. Contains a pedal to control sustain. Most impressively (and physically) played with four mallets. Emits a mellow and smooth singing tone.
Born in the Australian outback town of Orroroo, Nick Parnell began teaching himself drums in his parents’ sheep shearing shed at the age of ten.
Such humble beginnings ignited a passion in Parnell that has led to accolades including first place in the International Melbourne Percussion Competition, the Centenary of Federation Medal awarded by the Australian Government (for contribution to the arts) and the Dame Roma Mitchell Churchill Fellowship.
Parnell underwent formal training at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide (Australia), where he completed his PhD. During this period he also studied and undertook master-classes with many of world’s great percussionists including Uffe Savery from the famed Safri Duo, Evelyn Glennie and Gary Burton.
A creative spirit who believes a greater level of artistry is possible, Parnell very quickly became attracted to the musicality, subtlety and beauty of the vibraphone, to which he has applied his dexterity to become one of the world’s great vibraphone virtuosos. However, his talents extend across a range of percussion instruments – 50 at a guess – including marimba, tuned gongs, bamboo chimes, cymbals and various exotic ethnic drums.
Parnell continues to strengthen his performing skills with a cache of international ensembles – including the English National Ballet, Russian Ballet Company, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, West Australian Symphony Orchestra and Australian String Quartet. He has appeared at the Australia High Commission (UK & KL), Melbourne Recital Centre, Sydney’s City Recital Hall, and was the first solo percussionist to play in the Art Gallery of NSW’s prestigious Resonate concert series.
Festival appearances include Adelaide and Melbourne International Festival of the Arts, International Canberra Chamber Music Festival, Musica Viva, Adelaide Contemporary Music Festival, International Barossa Music Festival, Womadelaide and Australia's first International Percussive Arts Society Festival.
Over the years, Parnell has proudly shared the stage with a number of inspirational artists, the likes of concert pianists Simon Tedeschi, David Helfgott (as immortalised in the biopic Shine) and Michael Kieran Harvey (1993 Ivo Pogorelic Piano Competition joint winner), shakuhachi grand master Riley Lee (TaikOz), didgeridoo virtuoso Mark Atkins (Led Zepplin/Philip Glass) and marimba soloist Bogdan Bacanu (Austria). He has worked with many distinguished conductors including Gunther Schuller, Lorraine Vaillancourt and Olari Elts.
A renegade on many fronts who actively embraces the crossover between different music genres, Parnell was the featured soloist in the ASO’s 2006 Edge series where he performed orchestral versions of rock songs. He has given numerous performances for ABC Classic FM’s National Sunday Live programs and made Australian premieres of new compositions including Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür’s percussion concerto, Magma.
Parnell attracted world-wide attention by recording one of the world’s first solo classical vibraphone albums, Classical Vibes, for ABC Classics in Australia, which followed his debut album, Generally Spoken It’s Nothing but Rhythm. His subsequent performances were met with critical acclaim. Also a passionate educator, Parnell has presented hundreds of master-classes from schools to universities including the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Elder Conservatorium of Music, West Australian Academy of Performing Arts and University of Melbourne.
As one of the first musicians to bring the vibraphone to the attention of the classical music world, Parnell’s ongoing ambition is to break down the elitism of classical music and make it available for everyone to enjoy.

1. EVELYN GLENNIE WITH QSO – Elder Hall, Adelaide
The first ever percussion soloist I saw play was Evelyn Glennie in Elder Hall in Adelaide. I was 12 years old at the time. Seven years later she returned to Australia to play James Macmillan's percussion concerto Veni Veni Emmanuel with the Queensland Symphony. After a two day drive from Adelaide to Brisbane with some uni mates, we finally arrived and were ready for the gig. Her percussion instruments rose out of the floor amongst a haze of smoke and then she appeared. A tiny lady, but from the first note it was obviously she played with the power of giant. Her energy was infectious and the audience was left in no doubt that she wasn't here to take prisoners. I was so inspired by her performance that years later I learnt the concerto for a performance with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Because of her many performances of the piece, it has affectionately become known as Veni Veni Evelyn Glennie!

2. SAFRI DUO - Adelaide Town Hall
I was about 20 years old when I saw these two Danish percussionist do their thing. The stage was covered with every type of percussion instrument you could imagine; drums, timpani, vibraphone, xylophone, Chinese gongs and most impressively two giant grand marimbas. The Safri Duo played a program of contemporary works by composers such as Miki, combined with classical transcriptions. The most striking was their renditions of J.S. Bach's suites with they had adapted for two marimbas. I was awe struck at their power, grace and commitment to the music. So much so that the next year I moved to Copenhagen for a time to study with them. They have shaped my playing ever since.

3. KEIKO ABE - Nashville Tennessee
Before I discovered the beauty of the vibraphone, I was a mad marimba nut! I loved it, I couldn't get enough of it and my favourite marimba soloist was Keiko Abe from Japan. So when I saw she was performing at Percussive Arts Society convention in America, I went straight down the travel agent and bought a plane ticket. From the very first note I could tell she had magic in her playing. There was something about her touch, the way she moved and was at one with the music that you just can't explain. Then came the rich, powerful chords as she she struck the low end of her giant 5 octave marimba - the sound is undeniably "Keiko Abe". No one sounds like her, and no one ever will. A living treasure of the percussion world - the God Mother of the marimba.

4. GARY BURTON AND CHICK COREA - Hammer Hall, Melbourne.
Gary Burton is my favourite vibes player. He not only popularized the method of playing with 4 mallets (known as the Burton grip), but re-defined what was technically and musically possible to achieve on the instrument. But what I believe really defines him, is his sound. Smoother than his predecessors such as Lionel Hampton and Red Norva, and yet more exciting due to the power with which he plays. Put Gary Burton together with one of the great Jazz pianists of all time, Chick Corea, and you've got a match made in heaven. The atmosphere was electric in Hammer Hall as these two masters took to the stage. For the rest of the evening I was mesmerized with the ease in which Burton and Corea played their instruments. The Burton sound, technique and approach has influenced the way I play the vibraphone more so than any other musician.

This is the most recent performance I've seen of Gary Burton. It took place only a couple of years ago in New York's famous Blue Note jazz club. It featured his new band including Julian Lage on guitar, Scott Colley on Bass and Antonio Sanchez on drums. Witnessing interaction between all the group members was fascinating. The bass would suggest a rhythmic idea, and the drums would respond with just the right pattern on the snare and cymbal. The vibes and guitar when played in unison was quite hypnotic, almost sounding like one new instrument. And of course the master Gary Burton, with his amazing improvised solos, never ceases to amaze!

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Waldo Fabian Garido's High Five

Waldo Fabian was a founding member of The catholics. He is a bassist, composer, singer and producer who has worked with various pop, Latin and jazz bands and musicians such as The Party Boys, Floyd Vincent, Disco Montego, Swoop, Anthony Copping and Robin Loau as well as having two solo Latin albums to his credit (Dejame Tocarte, a South American release through Sony and Loco (Festival/Mushroom records). Waldo has played along-side some of Australia’s and Latin America’s top Jazz and Latin musicians.
An active writer signed to Albers Music, Waldo has just released his new Latin album ‘Groovy Cumbia’ out through Bambozle/MGM. Waldo has also completed a Chilean influenced Jazz album with Carl Dewhurst, Sandy Evans, Ed Goyer and Jacskon Harrison.
His versatility also includes writing film scores including Random 8, winner of a Bronze Palm in the Feature Narrative section of Mexico International Film Festival and on Emma-Kate Croghan’s film Strange Planet.
Waldo has finished his PhD Music at Macquarie University under the supervision of Dr Andrew Alter where he also lectures and tutors in a number of units in music. He also held tenure as an associate lecturer at Southern Cross University and his results of his thesis will be released as a CD and published as a book.
As an academic, Waldo has written and published a number of peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and presented various conferences on popular music, small island studies and music psychology. He is working on a number of publications with world renowned academics like Professor Philip Hayward, Professor Bill Thompson, Dr. Dan Bendrups and Sandra Garrido amongst others.
Waldo is currently writing a book on the history of music publishing in Australia as well as conducting a number of research projects on popular music, small island studies, music production and music psychology.

1. DAVE HOLLAND QUINTET - 7th Festival Internacional Providencia Jazz Santiago Chile, 2008
In Chile, there is very well organised and popular Jazz festival. This Festival takes place in the city of Santiago. I was fortunate to be able to see the Dave Holland Quintet in the 2008 version of this Festival. In this occasion, Holland was backed by a formidable group of musicians that included Robin Eubanks on trombone and cowbell, Steve Nelson on marimba and vibraphone, Chris Potter on saxophones and Nate Smith on drums. The music was a mixture of progressive post-bop and avant-garde jazz, with asymmetrical rhythms, creative harmonies, emphasis on group improvisation, and extended forms. The repertoire was a both accessible and edgy.

This concert took place a long time ago therefore, it is difficult to remember exactly the tracks that they performed. The opportunity to witness such an incredible performance was invaluable as a developing young bassist. Stanley Clarke is my biggest influenced as a bass player. I have followed his work since the day my dentist played me a Return to Forever track while trying to calm me down as he proceeded to inflict some incredible pain on me; I was 14 years of age then. He and Miroslav traded chops and beautiful lines with both artists demonstrating their amazing techniques and musicality. I remember going home and spending the whole night listening to both Weather Report and Return to Forever and feeling very inspired.

3. LOS VAN VAN - Sydney Opera House, 2010
The opera house audience were very receptive. On this night the band was made up of a 16-piece band on, among other instruments, flutes, violins, keyboards, trombones and percussion, and the four singers. I really looked forward to this event as every Latin musician know that Los Van Van is the greatest Cuban dance band of the modern era. What the Wailers are to Jamaica or the Beatles were to Britain, so Los Van Van is to Cuba. It is very difficult to stay still to Cuba's most famous orchestra. My wife was pregnant and the baby would not stop moving to the rhythms of Los Van Van. One of the most impressive features of the band is the drummer Samuel Formell, son of Juan Formell, the bandleader. He mixed clave rhythm with timbale-style hits and killer grooves. There were some great solos by the rest of the band. The brass section was incredibly vibrant and tight, typical of Cuban music. This was a great concert.

4. JOAO BOSCO - 9th Festival Internacional Providencia Jazz, Santiago Chile, 2010
I saw Joao Bosco perform at the ninth Festival International Jazz Festival, Santiago Chile in 2010 during a research trip to Chile. I have always been a great fan of Brazilian music and in the work of this great musician. Bosco combines samba, bossa nova, rock ’n’ roll, jazz and ethnic styles. His music on the night was an eclectic, intensive and challenging mix. Some tracks were reminiscent of Airto Moreira’s music with long percussion and vocal scat solos. This was a superb concert. In fact, I could watch a show like this five times, each time focusing on the unique talent of each musician. His accompanying musicians are among Brazil’s best. I was lucky to have been in Chile that year.

5. RICHARD BONA - 9th Festival Internacional Providencia Jazz, Santiago Chile, 2010
On the same festival, I was incredibly fortunate to see Richard Bona perform with his band. This group consisted of drums, percussion, trumpet, sax, guitar, keyboards and Bona on vocals and bass. This was the first time that I had ever heard Richard Bona. I was so impressed by his versatility and virtuosity with blistering fingerpicking, his left hand speeding up and down the fretboard with amazing precision. Bona’s voice was equally impressive and sweet sounding. Moods varied from relaxed ambience to deeper, sharper grooves and smooth jazz.

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Nicola Milan's High Five

Sophisticated, romantic and alluring, Nicola Milan captivates with her unique, silky vocals and relaxing, emotive compositions. Likened vocally to Julie London, this Australian singer/songwriter performs her own mix of easy listening originals with the versatility of Eva Cassidy and Melody Gardot.
With songs about love, romance and heartache Nicola’s music is as exotic as her Welsh/ Anglo-Indian heritage as she effortlessly blends jazz, blues, Latin and Celtic tinged folk. It has been noticed how well crafted her work is with her bossa nova ‘Love Me More’ being chosen over thousands of entries to become a finalist in the coveted John Lennon International Songwriting Contest in 2013.
Nicola’s cheeky swing number ‘No Room For Promises’ also won a finalist spot in the UK International Songwriting Contest and also in the Australian Songwriting Contest; both of which also receive thousands of entries each year and are judged by industry heavy weights such as Sting’s producer Kipper Eldridge, legendary producer Stuart Epps (Elton John, Robbie Williams, Oasis) and top producer and arranger Richard Niles (Paul McCartney, Kylie Minogue, Take That, Mariah Carey) to name a few.
“Witty, sophisticated and original, it is exciting to see such an intelligent and honest artist and songwriter surface in Australia.” – Limelight Magazine (Australia’s premier Arts and Classical and Jazz Music Publication)
Nicola has her songs placed in feature length films, written music for a popular web series, released a debut EP ‘Little Rendezvous’ in November 2011 which went straight to #1 on the jazz charts in Honolulu and Wisconsin in the USA.
This year Nicola recorded her debut full length album “Forbidden Moments” which was released on 10 May 2013 to a sellout crowd. The result of two years of Nicola’s songwriting work, the album boasts an incredible line up of musicians and has received rave reviews from the music industry, media and fans. Nicola is touring Australia nationally in January 2014 to promote her new album with shows scheduled for Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
“Milan sings through the rest of the world with her confident alto voice, well-balanced, inside and out. She shows that she can readily compose and sing in any genre or subgenre she chooses whether the gypsy-tinged tango of “The Scent of Her Perfume” or the American stage ballad “I Begin To Understand.” -allaboutjazz.com (USA)
Nicola is also an award winning cartoonist, published author and poet. In the 2011 Rotary Cartoon Awards “Women on the World” competition Nicola took out an award for her cartoon about women and the glass ceiling. Nicola‘s new fully illustrated book “Monster-in-Law…and the rest of her rotten family” co-authored with Judy Davies and published by Junic Productions is available on her cartooning blog milansmischief.com. Nicola also writes funny poetry and has competed in the Australian Poetry Slam Competition for poets and writers that perform their work.

I was fifteen years old when I went to this Andrew Lloyd Webber classic and it really set the bar for me musically up until this day. It was one of the first live shows I had even seen and the not only was the cast superb but the staging effects, props, lighting were all spectacular. I know this is not jazz but the clarity of the vocals has always stayed with me as well as the concept of creating a visual feast onstage along with great music. The highlight of the performance was firstly when The Phantom lured Christine down to his lair and the 'boat' on stage was shrouded in soft billowing smoke and I remember wondering how they managed to make it look like the boat was literally on water, floating across the stage. The second highlight was when the Phantom (you know, I can't for the life of me remember who the cast member was - but I was 15 so you'll have to forgive me) hit that magical pianissimo top note in 'Music of the Night'. Such amazing vocal control.

2. JOSE LUIS GUTIERREZ QUARTET (Spain) – Bremen 2012
I really enjoyed the performance from Jose and his band during the Jazzahead Showcase evening in Bremen 2012. There is such passion in the way the musicians from Spain played. It really fed across all the bands that performed that evening (It was a Spanish showcase that year) and the other common theme was how simple the chord progressions were and how much emphasis was on vamping but whenever they lacked in musical complexity they made up for it in emotion. From my experience at WAAPA, I personally feel that in WA at least, we sometimes get caught up in playing the most challenging music we can but to the absolute detriment of emotion so this performance was a good kick in the pants to remind me that music is about emotion first and foremost. The other thing I enjoyed about Jose and his band were their onstage antics. They were highly entertaining and the drummer Tommy Cagiani had the audience in stitches with his soft toy throwing and use of non traditional performance apparatus (to say the least)!

3. NORAH JONES - Perth Convention Centre - 2013
This was not a performance I enjoyed at all in fact, I'm including it in my list because having enjoyed Norah's music for years, I was utterly disappointed at her unenthusiastic, run of the mill performance and it has stood out as as an example of how to loose a fan for life, so I thought it was worth mentioning. Norah looked like she really didn't want to be in Perth performing at all and it definitely showed. She barely acknowledged the audience and her band just stood there bored. The set list was badly thought out and her new material was crud. It was pretty obvious which songs she had written herself and those that were written for her. Harsh, yes, but I'm just giving my opinion here so feel free to disagree with me.

Again, I'm breaking the rules but my time in New Orleans has had a profound effect on my sense of community in music. There I was, little ol' me taking a pony ride around the Latin Quarter when I started happily chatting to the driver about music. He just happened to be one of the dancers cast in the new HBO series 'The Treme' and he invited me to hang out with him and some muso friends that evening (I won't go into names). His friends were unbelievably amazing players and music seemed to come as naturally to them as breathing plus they were so welcoming and friendly. I felt completely at ease and had such a good time jamming with these insanely skilful musos and the focus was just on having fun and inclusion. No egos, no elitism just music, fun and friends.

5. SIMIN TANDER QUARTET - Jazzahead Showcase Night, 2013
Again part of the Jazzahead showcase for 2012 (I really need to go back!) I had the chance to discover an amazing Afghani/German vocalist called Simin Tander. I didn't think much of her compositions but her voice really spoke to me and on stage she was mesmerising. Very seductive and alluring but done in an effortless and sophisticated way.

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Todd Hardy's High Five

1. ROY HARGROVE, MICHAEL BRECKER, HERBIE HANCOCK - University of Southern California, 2001.
This was one of those amazing gigs that you chance upon when travelling overseas. In 2001 I was lucky enough to spend a few weeks in the US dedicated to studying with some great players and listening to as much music as I possibly could.
After spending a day being very inspired by Wayne Bergeron the amazing lead trumpet player I somehow navigated my rental car through the crazy streets of LA to USC to hear this phenomenal gig. Hargrove, Brecker and Hancock were joined by the fantastic John Patitucci and Brian Blade for this gig which was a tribute to Miles and Coltrane.
The musicianship of each player was unquestionable, however what blew me away was the unspoken communication and raw energy of the ensemble. This particular gig was near the end of an extensive tour the group had undertaken and the audience at USC was spoilt by hearing such amazing musicians playing so well together with unbelievable energy.

2. GERRY WELDON – Venue 505, 2011
This was one of those fantastic gigs which you hear about via the grapevine. Harry Connick Jr was in town and his “Boss” tenor player Gerry Weldon from New York was going to doing a gig at Sydney’s 505.
It was a Sunday night, 505 was packed and I was sitting right in front of the band in the front row. As far as I remember the band was Gerry, Andrew Dickeson, John Harkins and a killer NY bass player who was also out with Harry Connick.
Gerry has the fattest, most solid sound I’ve heard and he happily aimed his horn at different sections of the room to give everyone a taste of his massive swinging sound. Did I mention swinging? Because he swung his backside off at this gig – fantastic and inspiring old-school boss tenor!

3. STEVIE WONDER – Acer Arena, 2008
I hate to admit, that when I first heard that Stevie Wonder was coming to play in Sydney in 2008 I thought he may have passed his prime and hesitated on buying tickets. He played 2 gigs at the Acer Arena on a Monday and Tuesday night.
After not buying tickets, I woke up on Tuesday morning to hear and read amazing reviews of the Monday night gig – people were raving…. and tickets were still available for the second show.
I quickly jumped on line to buy tickets to one of the best shows I have seen. Stevie was in fine form playing and singing all of those tunes he is known for, as well as a few that I had forgotten he had written.
There was no flashy show, no lighting effects, not rotating stages, and no smoke machines, just a fantastic band with Stevie out the front playing and singing the bejeezus out of it.

4. MINGUS BAND – Fez Bar NYC, July 1997
As soon as I finished my Jazz degree at the Sydney Con I couldn’t wait to get to New York to experience first hand what I had heard about this Jazz Mecca.
On a Thursday night in July 1997 I visited 380 Lafayette St and stepped down into the Fez bar to hear the Mingus band do its thing. It was a wild night of groove, blues, dissonance, mass improvisation and above all – energy. This band had the most amazing energy as an ensemble with extraordinary solos from Craig Handy on Tenor/Soprano and Ingrid Jensen on trumpet (sitting in that night). It was not only the fantastic music which grabbed me this night, it was the great scene of a buzzing club full of punters feeding of this amazing music.

5. TOM BAKER CHICAGO SEVEN – Strawberry Hills Hotel 1991
When I was studying music at High school I was lucky to have the most supportive parents who not only shuttled me between band rehearsals and school concerts but also took me to Sydney from Port Macquarie to see musicals, shows and gigs. When I was 16, on the recommendation of Peter Locke my parents took me along to the Strawberry Hills Hotel to see Tom Baker. I already knew of Tom and had a copy of his album “Absolutely Positively”, but to see this band swinging like crazy in this old pub was fantastic. I clearly remember Paul Furniss on Clarinet, Don Heap on Double Bass and Pat Qua on piano. I listened intently for the first 2 sets and after talking with Tom in the break I “sat in” with the band in the last set.
A vey swinging band full of great musicians, playing great tunes to an appreciative audience and the first time I met and was inspired by the legendary Tom Baker.

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Hannah James's High Five

Hannah is a bassist and composer currently working in and around Sydney Australia. She grew up in Hoskinstown, a small rural town outside of Canberra. She began her musical training in classical piano, taking up the double bass as part of her schools year 7 beginner band program.

After high school Hannah was awarded a scholarship to study jazz performance at the ANU School of Music completing her honours there under the tutelage of the bassist Eric Ajaye.

In 2011 she was the recipient of the Jann Rutherford Memorial Award for up and coming female jazz musicians. She then formed the Hannah James Group and recorded her debut album at ABC studios. In the same year the group was invited to perform at the Brisbane Powerhouse, Bennett’s Lane, SIMA Sound Lounge, Kinetic Jazz Festival and on ABC Radio National and ABC Dig Jazz.

In 2012, the Hannah James Trio was formed with Ed Rodrigues on drums and Casey Golden on piano. The trio has since been fortunate enough to be invited to the 2012 Wangaratta Jazz Festival, Sydney Women’s International Jazz Festival, the 2013 Jazzgroove Summer Festival and the Canberra Capital Jazz Project, as well as undertaking performances at Venue 505, Bluebeat and Jazz at the Gallery.

As well as leading and writing for her own group, Hannah also regularly works as a sideman for a number of projects in and around Sydney.

Hannah’s High 5 are in no particular order!

1. ILLMILIEKKI QUARTET - Finnish Embassy Canberra, August 2011
Illmiliekki are a beautiful group from Finland. This was the third time I had seen them play. I saw their gig in Sydney a few days before this one, however for me this stood out for a number of reasons. It was held in the Finnish embassy to a much more intimate audience than the Sydney show. The musicians all played completely acoustically and the sound was magic. There has always been something particularly special and unique in feeling and hearing purely acoustic instruments up close without the interference of amplification. They have such a unique and distinctly euro flavour to their sound that I have always really loved. Each instrumentalist had the most beautiful tone, the blend and balance was incredibly and you knew you were listening to a real band.

2. ROBERT GLASPER EXPERIMENT/JOSE JAMES- The Oxford Arts Factory, June 2012
Possibly the antithesis of the gig described above was the Robert Glasper Experiment with an opening set from the José James Band. This was the first time I had seen either of these bands live and I hadn’t heard of José before getting tickets to this gig. The sets by both groups were definitely something I will always remember! Firstly, I got to see two of the heaviest bassists in one amazing night - Ben Williams with Jose and Derek Hodge with Glasper and they seriously did not disappoint! The most lasting impression from the José James set was the ‘tight flexibility’ of the band. It was like listening to a DJ spin/cut/mix between tracks at will, except executed by a live band. They continually referenced so many different genres and tunes within the one song. If someone hinted at something musically, everyone was on it and inside it within a split second. Loved it!
Probably the best word to describe Robert Glaspers’ set is intense. There was a command and presence from every player on that stage that was awe inspiring. It was also some of THE TOUGHEST bass playing I have ever heard!
After the gig, it was curious to hear the very mixed responses people gave to the experience but this is definitely something I would love to see again!

3. ALISTER SPENCE TRIO - Venue 505, Feb and August - 2012
The Alister Spence trio is hands down one of my favourite Australian groups. I try to go and see them whenever I can. Listening to this trio, I am always thoroughly hypnotised. The ‘analytical’ ears switch off, too caught up in the beautiful swirling textures and sounds. I always feel like I’m being let through this amazing ‘sound-scape‘ with changes in colour, texture and mood always occurring at the perfect moment and never breaking the spell. The ability to hold an audience or listener for whole sets like that is incredible. This is a band that always reminds me of the big difference between being a true artist vs a musical trades person and never ceases to inspire.

4. WILL VINSON TRIO - The Bar Next Door, Sept 2012
This is a gig that was really made super memorable by the circumstances surrounding it, as much as the amazing music! The band was Will Vinson on Sax, Orlando LeFlemming on Bass and Jonathan Blake on Drums. This was my first time in NY and one of the first chances to see some of the incredible players I had been listening to for the past few years. All three musicians are some of my favourites and just seeing them all together was exciting in itsself. To top it off, the venue was tiny and it was a very quiet night so I could really listen and watch with little distraction. It was great to see these guys on one of their ‘working’ gigs, see them as real people who were really really good at what they did instead of these very distant musical idols. This might sound funny, but I loved the fact it sounded just like their records, all these familiar sounds that I knew through the recordings, only even better in real life! The chance to have a chat in the breaks and at the end was just an added bonus!

Ever since I first heard of Ambrose when he toured with Linda Oh in March 2009, he has been one my all time favourite musicians. I was still at uni when these guys came out and they ran a workshop at the Canberra School of Music. I was blown away by everything about the guy. Firstly he had an incredible command of his instrument, a true virtuoso. The control, poise and focus he brought to every note he played, was a lesson in itself. Secondly, you really felt he said something every time he played. There were no throw away notes. Music and art emanated from every aspect of his person. When he spoke about music there was that same serious focused attitude, no b.s., just a dude dedicated to an artistic craft in a very palpable way. I greatly admire Linda Oh, she is another amazing bassist and this was also the first time I had heard of her. I really enjoyed both the trio gig in Canberra and at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival. It was a unique sounding trio with just the drums, bass and trumpet. The melody and harmony has to be conveyed through two single melodic lines which can be a tough ask but when done wel,l is one of my favourite approaches to composition. This trio certainly didn’t disappoint and I have a soft spot for any group that allows the bassist to feature heavily!

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Tony Barnard's High Five

Tony is an Australian guitarist and composer currently living in the UK. Tony made his first recording at age 16 with Don Burrows, John Sangster and Bob Barnard

Tony has appeared at most of Australia’s jazz festivals, accompanied visiting jazz and show-biz stars from overseas, won ‘best guitarist’ polls, Formed Australia’s first 5 guitar big band ‘Interplay’, led his own bands and worked as musical director on cruise ships.

Tony has a diverse range of albums to his name (36 and counting) ranging from jazz to blues and classical, and has played with a wide range of artists including The Australian Chamber Orchestra, The BBC Concert Orchestra, The Ronnie Scott’s jazz orchestra, Barney Kessel, Earl Hines, Nat Adderley, Nancy Wilson, Dave Liebman, Keely Smith, Barry Humphries , Dan Barrett, Cliff Richard, Rufus Reid, Jim Mullen, Curtis Stigers, Don Burrows, Billy Field, Louis Stewart, Georgie Fame, Kevin Spacey, Steve Winwood, The Inkspots, Ronnie Corbett, Clare Teal, Jacqui Dankworth, Claire Martin, Scarlet Strallen, Peter Grant, Marti Pellow, Tony Hadley, John Colianni, and Monica Mancini, amongst others, and is currently a member of the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra . He has also composed for and appeared in television and stage shows.

Now based in the UK, Tony performs regularly at Ronnie Scott’s and other top London jazz venues. As well as performing all over the UK and Australia, he has also performed in Paris, Montreal, Venice, Brussels, Amsterdam, Verona, Singapore, Berlin, Cologne, Istanbul, Edinburgh, Dublin, Dubai, Sydney, Aalborg, Auvers- sur -Oise, Auckland, Arillas (Greece), Suva, Noumea, Vila, and even tiny Samurai island (new guinea) Amongst others.

Tony has performed for HRH Prince Charles, HRH Queen of Denmark, HRH Prince Turki al Faisal, Sultan of Brunei , Australian Prime Ministers Hawke, Keating, Fraser and Howard, President Giskard of France , Sir David Attenborough, Sir Richard Harris, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Sir David Frost, Sean Connery, Sophia Loren, Sir Richard Attenborough, Sir Ian McKellan, Sting, Ozzy Osbourne, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Daniel Craig, Paul Hogan, Keith Emerson, Paul Newman, Sam Neil, Nicole Kidman , Hugh Grant, Kathy Bates, Liz Hurley, Barbra Windsor, Bryan Brown, Chick Corea , Elle MacPherson , Sir Cliff Richard, Andrea Bocelli, Jeff Beck, Miranda Richardson, Shirley Jones, Bert Weedon, The Cast of Eastenders, Rolf Harris, Jodie Kidd, Lulu, Bryan Ferry, Sir Tim Rice and Matt “Guitar” Murphy amongst others.

1. GRAEME BELL’S ALL STARS - Chevron hotel in Surfers Paradise, 1966/7.
I was 7 years old at the time and my father Bob was playing in Graeme’s band at the Chevron along with Graham (Speddo) Spedding on Clarinet, George Brodbeck on Trombone, Harry Harmon on Bass and Tuba and. It was a roaring band and they used to do all sorts of comedy routines as well as play hot stomping jazz. I was used as the stooge several times, sitting up front in the beer garden, whilst Speddo chased my father around with a shaving cream pie, dressed in tails and fright wigs accompanied by the mad sounds of the “Cotton Pickin Peckin” overture. I would always get the pie in my face! I loved it. Speddo would also play an incredibly long note during his solo on “Golden Wedding” whilst taking his clarinet apart. It was great jazz and very entertaining. I remember that everyone had such a great time, and thinking that not many kid’s Dads got to do this for a living. It was a profound moment and set me on my way as a musician.

2. HERB ELLIS, BARNEY KESSEL & CHARLIE BYRD - The Great Guitars: Sydney Town Hall about 1973.
I was about 14 years old and I was so impressed with these guys when I saw them. I could not believe the way they all played together so perfectly. The interplay between them was surreal at the time and still brings a delicious feeling to me when I hear recordings of them. I was learning to play classical guitar at the time, as well as dabbling with improvising, so it was a big eye opener for me then. Once again, these guys told jokes and had an enormous amount of fun on stage and it really struck me that music, especially Jazz music, was a very special kind of thing. I was determined then to play like those guys.

3. HERB ELLIS & BARNEY KESSEL - The Basement Sydney, 1978.
When the Basement in Sydney opened its upstairs bar, I was fortunate enough to get the Midnight to 3 AM spot three nights a week, playing in a duo with Bass player Chris Paton and later guitarist Dave Smith. I was 19 years old. This led to me be able to hang out with Barney and Herb for the three nights that they played there in that year. I was sitting up front every night never taking my eyes off their fingers, it was a truly marvellous experience and I learned a lot. Barney even came to my house one night, I was blown away.

4. TONY BARNARD QUARTET - Pinball Wizz 1978. Sit ins Dave Liebmann.
It wasn’t my band that is the top thing here, it was the fact that during our regular gig with Jim Piesse on drums, Chris Paton on Bass and Steve Dagg on Sax one night, in walked Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Dave Liebmann. All our jaws dropped to the ground. Now I wasn’t the best of improvisers at the time and when Dave Liebmann asked to sit in I was a bit freaked out to say the least. Steve Dagg put his sax down and hid somewhere. We played a blues and he took about a million choruses playing stuff over the changes that I had no idea about. It was a whirlwind of musical colours and just astonishing. When he finished his solo he looked at me to take my turn. I cringed inwardly, gritted my teeth, swallowed the butterflies (again) and determined to do my best, launched into a some sort of chaotic chromatic fantasy that had nothing to do with anything really, I threw in everything I had and some stuff that I didn’t. Compared to the slick performance that had gone before me, it must have sounded like the proverbial fire in a pet shop, it was awful. Afterwards, Chick Corea congratulated me for being so brave! Just shows what a nice man he is. It was a big turning point in my musical life and it made me do some serious woodshedding!

5. RONNIE SCOTT’S JAZZ ORCHESTRA – London, 2006-2013
I have been lucky enough to be a part of one of the most amazing big bands in the world for the last 7 years. When I was first asked to join I was terrified, even after nearly forty years of experience. The musicians in the band are second to none and are incredible improvisers as well as being able to read the most frightening and complicated charts I have ever come across. It has a repertoire of hundreds and hundreds of tunes and arrangements. As well as our residency at the famous jazz club, the band has travelled around Europe and even to Turkey and the Middle East. We have backed a huge range of international stars as well, including John Faddis, Buddy Greco, Keely Smith, Curtis Stigers, etc, the list goes on. To this day I still sit on the stage and look around while the band is in full roar thinking to myself “I’m in this band!! How did that happen?” It is one of the best musical experiences of my life so far.

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Chris Poulsen's High Five

Chris Poulsen is a professional jazz pianist, band-leader and composer. Having played professionally since 1999, he has more than ten years of experience performing around Australia, NZ, USA, UK and Nepal within various groups and settings. Chris’s impressive memory of jazz standard repertoire and understanding of harmonic theory comes from a wide range of influences and disciplines, and has enabled him to develop significant concepts and applications of music in many contexts. It has also informed his incredible improvisational skills, allowing true expression and flexibility in his performance. Chris is most known for his work with Brisbane-based jazz ensembles SCAT, and The Chris Poulsen Trio.

As front man of The Chris Poulsen Trio – an intensely energetic jazz/fusion combo – Chris draws upon his jazz-fusion, gospel and 60’s post-bop influences, channelling jazz greats such as Herbie Hancock and Medeski, Martin & Wood. The Trio, which was birthed in 2004, sees Chris join forces with bassist Jeremy O’Connor and new drummer, Sam Mitchell, and is full of dynamic colour, improvisational interaction and adventurous aggression. The Chris Poulsen Trio has supported jazz big-names: Mike Stern; The Yellowjackets; Cindy Blackman; James Morrison; and is set to support US jazz front-runners, Snarky Puppy, in June 2013. The Trio has just released their long-awaited studio album, David & Goliath, which takes the listener on a conceptual and musical journey through the ancient Biblical narrative of giant and boy.

More recently, Chris has branched out into solo-piano works, and played his first solo performance at the Brisbane Jazz Club to a sold-out crowd. He will be recording his first solo album early next year, focusing on his musical interpretations and arrangements of classic hymns.

Having recorded and co-produced many albums, and working as a session musician in various genres, Chris is also well-known for his work as a visual artist, having painted art-works.

1. CHRIS POTTER’S UNDERGROUND - 55 Bar, New York 2005
Chris Potter - tenor sax; Wayne Krantz - guitar; Jason Moran - rhodes; Nate Smith - drums
I remember squeezing in to this tightly packed venue, standing squashed right up at the bar, looking over Jason Moran's shoulder witnessing this vibing band explode with energy! These guys were playing right on the edge of their ability, taking risks and flying high with crazy melodies and odd rhythms. Moran's enthusiasm was such that he snapped a few tines on his Rhodes, and Nate Smith's gusto lost him a drumstick to the front table of listeners. I really loved how Potter and Krantz were able to weave lines in and out with each other. It was so inspiring to see that level of intensity and interaction.

2. VNMG - Brisbane Jazz Club, Brisbane 2000
Will Vinson - alto sax; Steve Newcomb - piano; Thomas Morgan - bass; Peter Gabis - drums
On return from study at Manhattan School of Music, my then piano teacher Steve Newcomb brought with him a group of musicians from around the world whom he had met at the college and recently recorded a bunch of original material together. As a wide-eyed young musician, I watched this band present something really fresh and optimistic. There was a real sense of beauty and exploration, both in the composition, and the performance. I think a lot of the harmonic ideas have really stuck with me.

3. WAYNE SHORTER QUARTET - Carnegie Hall, New York 2005
Wayne Shorter - tenor sax; Danilo Perez - piano; John Patitucci - bass; Brian Blade - drums
This was an incredible experience! I had been a huge fan of these musicians individually as well as a band, and to see them perform live was nothing short of amazing! They had just released the "Beyond the Sound Barrier" album and performed material from that. The level of interaction - listening and dialoguing within this band blew me away! Wayne Shorter showed what it means to be a band leader, guiding his fearless rhythm section through very open spaces of improvisation, and subtly connecting ideas and phrases, building tension, creating beauty and taking the band and audience on a real journey. The use of rhythm and dynamics - especially from Brian Blade and Danilo Perez, really captured my attention.

4. HERBIE HANCOCK HUNTERS 05 - St Louis, MS 2005
Roy Hargrove - Trumpet; Kenny Garrett - alto sax; Herbie Hancock - piano; Lionel Loueke - guitar; Marcus Miller - bass; Terri Lyne Carrington - drums
I hadn't planned on seeing any music while in St Louis, but when we heard about this line-up coming to town, we decided to stay a few extra days and catch it. It was a really cool gig! Roy Hargrove and Kenny Garrett were cooking as expected, and I really enjoyed hearing their interpretation of the old 70s Herbie rep. Marcus kept it funky, and I appreciated Herbie's apparent sense of trying to keep it 'fun' - not a lot of snobbery in that band. I remember we were pretty young and excitable and decided to sneak in a few hours early to see the sound-check, then hung out later to meet Roy and Kenny, and a brief 'hello' with Herbie. It was just a fun night.

Chick Corea - piano; Stanley Clarke - bass; Lenny White - drums; Frank Gambale - guitar; Jean Luc Ponty - violin
I had seen Chick Corea perform live before, but the thing that struck me about this concert was how incredibly 'all over it' he was this night. My wife and I managed to get front row seats, and eye-ball the musicians as they played. Always a fan of the legendary Lenny White's slightly loose yet phat grooves, but mostly we were glued to Chick ripping it up on Rhodes, synths and piano. He nailed all those characteristic lines with precision, but he still seemed to be pushing his own limits and improvising with a real fire. It was great to feel so closely drawn into that, and to communicate to the band with smiles and nods, our appreciation of every phrase - a real sense of band-audience interaction.

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Aaron Michael's High Five

Stemming from a musical family, Aaron began playing the alto saxophone at an early age and after finishing high school went on to study Jazz at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music during which time he made the switch to the Tenor Saxophone. Studying with Col Loughnan, John Hoffman, Tony Buchanan and James Ryan he quickly developed a high level of craftsmanship on the tenor saxophone.
In 1999 Aaron moved to Sydney and has since become one of the busiest and most in-demand saxophone players on the scene today. Aaron has performed with an array of artists that includes international touring acts such as The Brand New Heavies, Tower of Power, Michael Bolton, Tony Hadley, Go West and ABC. Local artists include James Morrison, Dan Barnett, David Campbell, Phil Emmanuel, Katie Noonan, Wendy Mathews, Sydney All-Star Big Band and many more.
While being highly in demand as a session musician, he has also recorded two albums with the legendary Australian singer Jeff Duff. Aaron helped produce the singers show “Ground Control to Frank Sinatra” which sold out three shows at the Sydney Opera House Studio and headlined the Adelaide cabaret festival and toured extensively throughout Australia over a period of four years.
In February 2012 Aaron and fellow Saxophonist James Ryan formed the 13 piece Sonic Mayhem Orchestra. Comprised of some of the best Jazz musicians in the country. SMO has already played over 20 performances.
November 2012 saw the release of his first solo album. Simply titled “Aaron Michael” this debut album features a line-up of some of Sydney’s finest musicians; Matt McMahon (piano), Paul Derricott (drums), Duncan Brown (bass) and Dieter Kleemann (guitar). The album was featured as 89.7fm Eastside Radio’s ‘album of the week’
“Most of the memorable moments for me at live gigs have been getting to see my favourite musicians play live for the first time.
There is a level of energy and excitement that existed for me on these gigs that is very similar to being a young musician discovering Jazz for the first time.
In no particular order here are five gigs that spring to mind.”

1. YELLOWJACKETS - the Basement, Sydney 2001.
Bob Mintzer - Saxophone/EWI; Russell Ferrante - Piano/Keys; Jimmy Haslip - Bass; Marcus Baylor - Drums
They played three nights in a row. I caught two of them and I still have a bootleg of the other night which a friend made. I have seen the band again since but for me I don't think they will ever sound as good as they did on this tour. A friend's wife commented after the gig saying that although she didn't understand the music, she felt uplifted and inspired. This was the first time that I realised how much positive influence good music can have on people.

2. BRANFORD MARSALIS QUARTET – The Sydney Opera House 2001
Branford Marsalis - Tenor/Soprano Saxophone; Joey Calderazzo - Piano; Eric Revis - Bass; Jeff "Tain" Watts- Drums
The band was touring its latest album which is one of my favourite albums - Requiem. This gig speaks for itself. All I can say is that Branford's sound is the only reason that I even own a soprano saxophone.

3. STING – The Brisbane Entertainment Centre 1996.
The "Mercury Falling Tour" with Sting - Bass; Dominic Miller - Guitar; Kenny Kirkland - Keyboards; Vinnie Colaiuta - Drums
I've been a big fan of Sting ever since I discovered the "Bring on the Night" video as a kid. It was great to be able to see Kenny play on this gig before he passed away.

This is the only time I have seen Pat Metheny, one of my favourite musicians, play live. It was a whole other experience than listening to records. He had an authority and strength in his playing that seemed to project itself straight to the heart of the listener. Incredibly inspiring.

5. This may be cheating a little bit so I won't describe these next gigs too much but they definitely changed my life as much as the others.
Chris Potter Quartet @ Ronnie Scotts 2008
Mike Stern Trio @ Van Gogh's Earlobe, Brisbane 1994 or 1995
Kenny Garrett Quartet @ Ronnie Scotts 2007
Quentin Collins/Brandon Allen Quartet @ any of their gigs in London 2007-08

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Arkady Shilkloper's High Five

Moscow-born French horn and alphorn virtuoso Arkady Shilkloper was invited to open this year's Sydney Festival. This is the second invitation to play at our Festival.

Educated as a classical musician with a long history of paying with the best symphonic orchestras, Arkady is always looking for new horizons - jazz, world music, experimental...

He "[goes] places that horn players aren't supposed to go without a net, map, seatbelt, crash helmet, overhead air support and a note from their mothers" (Jeffrey Agrell, The University of Iowa).

Now Arkady resides "between Moscow and Berlin", plays up to 100 concerts a year, travels all over the world, teaches, creates new music, records new CDs (ECM).
His 2002 CD (with his Mauve Trio) «Mauve» (Quinton) was awarded the prestigious Hans Koller Prize of Austria as the «CD Of The Year».

1988 - Miles Davis in Warsaw ("Jazz Jamboree", Warsaw, Poland)
Unbelievable charisma, totally absorbs you from the first sounds and enshrouds you with it's mighty energy!

1996 - "Tower of Power" (North See Jazz Festival, Haag, Holland)
What a stunning drive and rhythmic arrangement! This music forces you to move!

1998 - "YES" in Bayreuth (Bayreuth, Germany)
2001 - "YES" with a symphony orchestra in Glasgow (Glasgow, Scotland)

This is a group that I have a special bond with! I am a long-time fan of Yes! Yes broke all possible boundaries of traditional rock sound and a created unique musical language as complex and expressive as the language of classical music. The highest level of their mastery and musicianship, their imagination, youthful energy, unexpected rhythmic, harmonic and compositional solutions surprises, amazes and inspires listeners towards their own musical adventures. Later I even created a full program with a symphony orchestra - "Tribute to YES" dedicated to this group. In this program I did not try to copy or imitate Yes. Rather, it is more of my personal feeling, understanding, and the experience of navigating through this music.

2005 - Hermeto Pascoal Band (Nijmegen, Holland)
From my interview soon after this concert:
Q: What was the most memorable musical experience in recent times?
A: I think it was the concert of Brazilian composer Hermeto Pascoal. Some time ago I was at the festival in Holland, not performing, just listening to one of the concerts. During the break the musical director introduced me to Pascoal, we spoke a bit, and he immediately asked me to go and play with his band on stage. Unfortunately I did not have my instrument with me. I regret this, because to play on one stage with Hermeto Pascoal would be a great honour for me. I was just sitting in the front row and listening - it was a revelation. His band - it is not a just randomly assembled group of people, these musicians think together, feel each other and live a common life for many years and you can hear it! I was amazed by the contrast between the total freedom in their playing and its very strict discipline. This is what they said about their daily routine - "rehearsals every day from nine 'til three, except for the days when one of us died, or when we are on a tour". This is the commitment to the ensemble!

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Steve Barry's High Five

Since moving to Sydney from New Zealand in 2009, Steve Barry has quickly made a name for himself as an accomplished pianist, improviser and composer. Demonstrating a natural creative flair, technical facility, and artistic maturity, Steve forms a part of the new generation of young Australasian artists exploring both the jazz tradition and modern approaches to improvisation and creative music.
Steve released his debut album in December 2012 through Sydney's Jazzgroove Records. Featuring his longstanding trio of bassist Alex Boneham and National Jazz Award winning drummer Tim Firth, as well as special guest Carl Morgan on guitar, the album has already been gaining critical acclaim.
Steve is currently undertaking a PhD in solo piano performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
He is also in high demand as a sideman, having worked with many prominent Australasian and international artists including John Hollenbeck (USA), Theo Bleckmann (USA), George Coleman Jr. (USA), Arun Luthra (USA), Chris McNulty (USA), Tricia Evy (FRA), The Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, Dale Barlow, Simon Barker and James Muller (AU).
Steve is the recipient of numerous awards including a University of Sydney Australian Postgraduate Award (APA), and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Diane Fisher Award. He has also received the Most Outstanding Musician, Best Pianist, Best Composition and Band of Festival awards from the Tauranga International Jazz Festival.

"...equally onvincing building irresistible momentum into convoluted rhythms, or shaping the wistful melody of Ambulation with the softness of a watercolourist." - Sydney Morning Herald

My 5 Top Gigs - Easier said than done!

1. CHICK COREA - solo - Auckland Aotea Centre 2007.
This was an incredible gig, it was great to see Chick live rather than just on record. Chick has a beautiful touch and approach to solo piano and covered a few standards, a few pieces from Children’s Songs and a few Chick classics like Spain and La Fiesta. He’d also set up some percussion next the piano and would do this little comedic jump up mid-song to add something tasteful on Marimba or drums. At the end of the two set show with the lights up and people slowly filing out, Chick came back out on stage and told the audience he felt like playing a for another half an hour or so, and we could stick around if we liked. Talk about humility!

2. DAVE HOLLAND QUINTET - Wangaratta Festival 2007.
This was one of those mind-blowing gigs that happen every so often, and part of the initial stimulus for me moving to Australia. I was going through a big Dave Holland phase listening to albums like Prime Directive and Not for Nothin’ but as always seeing the band live was something else - both in terms of their individual virtuosity and the seamless unspoken communication between them, especially between Chris Potter and Robin Eubanks. The whole festival that year was a big eye opener, in particular to size and quality of the Australian scene and the opportunities we have here.

3. BRAD MEHLDAU TRIO with Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard - The Basement, Sydney 2009.
I remember leaving this gig and wandering down to Town Hall for the train home in a total musical stupor. Brad is a total monster musician and one of my biggest influences, and it was something pretty special to see him live for the first time. The gig closed with a 3rd encore - No Moon At All - and Brad playing this line in the last chorus of his solo which had the whole audience spontaneously exploding in applause. This was still in the relatively early years of that band and it seemed like everything was still new and exciting for them - I saw them at North Sea Jazz Festival in 2012 and it seemed like that initial energy has faded a bit. But they were still monstrous!

4. TERENCE BLANCHARD QUINTET - Melbourne Jazz Fest 2012.
This was another great gig, with Terence’s current band of Brice Winston - tenor, Fabian Almazan - piano, Joshua Crumbly - bass and Kendrick Scott - drums. The band ebbed and flowed around the occasional short excerpt of a post-Hurricane-Katrina interview with the philosopher Dr. Cornell West, which gave the gig a deeply emotive vibe. Fabian Almazan really blew me away - he has this really unique, sophisticated sense of harmony and it was great to hear him stretch out with such a supportive and creative rhythm section.

5. ARI HOENIG QUARTET - Smalls Jazz Club, New York 2012.
With Johannes Weidenmueller, Shai Maestro and Tivon Pennicott. This gig was one of the best things I saw over the month I was in NY. The band danced around a range of standards and originals in a plethora of odd times with total fluidity and musicality. It was great to see Ari’s playing facials in real life (check it out), and it was also the first I’d really heard of Shai Maestro - an unbelievable improviser and piano player and another guy to keep an eye on!

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Ken Allars's High Five

Ken Allars is one of Australia’s most in demand young jazz trumpeters, performing regularly throughout Sydney with many of the finest musicians in the country. Winner of the 2011 Generations in Jazz Scholarship, and the Jazz Prize at the Melbourne International Festival of Brass 2010, Ken has recently returned from a semester on exchange at the Jazz Institute Berlin and is in his final year of study at the Sydney Conservatorium. Last year Ken recorded an album with the Mike Nock Trio Plus, entitled ‘Hear and Know’, which won Best Independent Jazz Album at the Independent Music Awards 2012.
"Mike Nock has uncovered a formidable talent; a young trumpeter who thinks unique melodic
- John Shand, SMH.
Ken has also recently recorded an album with The Cooking Club, leads his own trio, and is playing in multiple other projects. In 2012 Ken was one of three finalists nominated for Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year at the Bell Awards, and is a recipient of the Big Brother Jazz Award Scholarship for 2012/13. Ken is looking forward to using the scholarship money to travel around Europe, continuing to create lots of music and musical contacts.

1. SIMON RATTLE & THE BERLIN PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA – Berliner Philarmonie: Mahler 2 “Resurrection”, February 2012
Mahler’s 2nd Symphony has been one of my favourite pieces of music for a number of years, since having the chance to perform it in Tasmania at the AISOI (Australian International Symphony Orchestra Institute) in 2009. When I found out the Berlin Phil were playing it conducted by the legendary Simon Rattle, I knew I had to see it. After failing to buy a ticket, I turned up to the concert hall an hour and a half before the show to line up for the uncollected tickets, which go on sale 5 minutes before the concert starts. I managed to get a half price ticket right in the middle of the A reserve section and sat down seconds before show started. The whole symphony was incredible and faultless. I’ve never felt such strong emotions through music as I did in this performance, easily the greatest musical experience I’ve had.

2. THE NECKS – WABE Theatre, Berlin, November 2011
I’m a big fan of the Necks, and had seen a few shows in Sydney prior to this one. They played two sets of music at this gig. The first was great, very similar to the other gigs I had seen. The second set however, was on another level. Tony Buck was playing some incredible textures, layer on top of layer of beautiful continuous sounds. Chris Abrahams played swirling washes of piano that became more dense harmonically as the piece went on, while Lloyd Swanton held the band together with a simple rhythmic figure. Quite often The Necks music builds to an amazing climax and gradually tapers down to end. This piece continued to accelerate until the very end when the whole band stopped at the same time and the sound of the drums and piano rang out until complete silence. It was a very dramatic performance and left a big impression on me.

3. D’ANGELO – X-TRA, Zurich, February 2012
I have a bit of a soft spot for neo soul, and so seeing D’angelo on his comeback tour was a must. The band included Chris Dave, Pino Palladino and Jesse Johnson. After about an hour and a half of amazing music, the band left the stage, and D’angelo came out and played another half hour just solo keys and vox. He played a medley of all the hits from Brown Sugar and Voodoo, which really showed what a talented musician he is. The band then came back out to join him for another half hour or so of music, almost 3 hours in total, it was unbelievable!

4. SHOWA44 - Bohemian Grove, June 2012
Showa 44 are one of my favourite bands in Sydney, I try not to miss any of their performances. This duo consisting of Simon Barker and Carl Dewhurst always leaves me with a profound feeling of inspiration. I find that their music takes me into a kind of meditative state and I don’t feel the urge to be critical or analyse the music in any way. I am just free to enjoy the performance and let my mind wander for a little while, this always leaves me feeling refreshed. This specific gig was especially inspirational as it was in the small and cosy space of Bohemian Grove and I was sitting right in front of the band.

5. PHIL SLATER QUARTET - the old 505, September 2009
I was in my first year at the Con when I saw this gig. My first, and most memorable, time seeing Phil’s quartet. I think this was the moment where I realised the real strength and beauty that accompanies having a unique and individual sound, as every member of this quartet does. What else struck me was the control and use of dynamics of this band, not many musicians sound that good at both ends of the spectrum. It was overall a very special gig at a very special venue that has left me inspired for a number of years.

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Natalie Dietz's High Five

Jazz vocalist and rising star Natalie Dietz has made an indelible impression on the Australian jazz scene in such a short time, impressing both audiences and critics alike with her trademark warm, sensual tone and varied vocal abilities.
Accepted into the elite jazz vocal program at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2009, Natalie honed her performing skills under the tutelage of Australian jazz luminaries like Judy Bailey and Mike Nock. She studied voice with jazz vocalists, Kerrie Biddell and Kristin Berardi, as well as composition with jazz pianist Matt McMahon. Prior to this, she received tuition from the Australian Opera title role soprano, Anke Hoeppner, cementing an important foundation in classical voice.
Since graduating with a Bachelor of Music (Jazz Voice Performance) in 2012 at age 25, Natalie has become a regular on the Sydney music circuit. She has performed at renowned jazz venue 505, the Jazzgroove Association, and SIMA at the Sound Lounge. She has already shared the stage with some of Australia's most distinguished jazz musicians including Matt McMahon, Gerard Masters, Brendan Clarke, Tim Firth, Jonathon Zwartz, Evan Mannell, Jonothon Brown and bassist Waldo Fabian.
Her original compositions are attracting considerable attention among her contemporaries with their complex harmonies combined with strong melodies. She is inspired to blend and create textures with the voice within an ensemble, using wordless melodies as well as lyrics. Her compositions explore the breadth of modern styles, distinguishing her as an innovative and multi-skilled artist.
Recently, Natalie’s approach to jazz singing saw her awarded the Australian Government initiative ‘Artstart’ grant and the Performer’s Trust Foundation grant. In December 2012, she will be using funds from these grants to relocate to New York where she will further her studies in both voice and composition.
She plans to record her debut album in 2013.
A bright new talent on the Australian jazz scene, and “a young woman with much to say” (jazz.org.au), Natalie is a particularly gifted vocalist and composer, and one to watch – and listen – for in the years to come. Stay tuned…

"Natalie is a fresh and much-needed voice on the Australian music scene. As a great singer, who has developed a unique compositional style, she is one of the leading lights in a brilliant new wave of original music coming out of Sydney.” Jazz pianist Gerard Masters

"She writes and already has, not just a semblance of her own distinctive style or stamp, but a clear idea of where she's heading with it. She has, no doubt about it, a sense of herself and it manifests in a cohesive set of songs, delivered, largely, with wordless eloquence.” Brad Skye, jazz.org.au

1. WAYNE SHORTER QUARTET - Sydney Opera House, 2010
This was a life experience I’ll never forget. I was sitting in the front row directly in front of the incredible Brian Blade. The repertoire for the concert consisted of various fragments of Shorter’s compositions, blending and weaving into each other, avoiding the traditional full statement of a melody. The intensity of the sound, fascinating use of tonal palates by Shorter and the indistinct soloing format kept me constantly engaged. I did not believe that kind of intense energy could exist on a bandstand until witnessing this concert.

2. TERENCE BLANCHARD - Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2012
This was the first time I’ve seen Terence Blanchard play, and was captivated from start to finish. Terence’s technical virtuosity on the trumpet is astounding. While his sound is cutting edge, his influences reflect a wide and informed span of the history of jazz. Performing a combination of standards and original compositions, all the players of the rhythm section blew me away. Fabian Almazan creates such interesting shapes and textural ideas in his solos, and Kendrick Scott’s time feel is incredible. The range of emotion in Terence’s playing, ranging from beautiful sadness to a screaming intensity created a strong impression on me. The gig was a lesson in itself on how to use dynamics effectively.

3. KRISTIN BERARDI & JAMES SHERLOCK - Café Church, Sydney 2009
This was the best performance I have seen from Kristin, and it moved me very deeply. She has an ability to rouse such a wide range of emotions by manipulating the timbre and dynamics of her voice. The originality in her method of interpreting lyrics to standards is always impressive, and she really shines in this duo format. This was the album launch for their duo record ‘If you were there’. Kristin’s music truly reflects her spirit, emitting pure joy, soulfulness and beauty.

4. SARA SERPA - 505 jazz club Sydney, 2010
This gig made a big impression on me, and inspired me to explore this style of singing and composition. She sings mostly wordless vocals without vibrato with excellent range, technique and dynamics. Her original compositions were excitingly fresh, and she is one of the best vocal improvisers I’ve ever heard. There were a lot of complex melodies which were effectively doubled by guitarist Andre Matos, strengthening the lines and creating interesting textures during improvisations. What I particularly loved is that she utilizes and explores darker tonal palates in her music.

5. ROBERT GLASPER EXPERIMENT - Bennett’s Lane, Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2012
I saw all 3 performances of the experiment when they came to Australia, however this was my favourite, as in a more intimate jazz club setting I was able to hear the soloing with complete clarity. Seeing the experiment live was amazing, and I enjoyed their takes on known tunes ranging from Nirvanas ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’ to Coltrane's 'A love Supreme'. Robert sounded fantastic, Derrick Hodge was astoundingly good on bass, and Casey Benjamin has not only a very unique sound on alto, but his use of the vocoder is so effective in creating moods, almost hypnotic. I definitely plan on seeing them live again soon!

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Ben Carr's High Five

1998 - 2000. Studied at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne.
1999. New Blood, avant garde trio formed and led by Adam Simmons.
2000. New Blood release debut album ‘Heavy Water’, tour Eastern Europe and performed at the Wangarratta Jazz Festival.
2001. Archaeopteryx, led by Classical Harpist Diane Peters toured Holland and France after the successful release of their self titled album ‘Archaeopteryx’.
Joined the Bucketrider Bigband and performed John Coltrane’s ‘Meditations’ at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival and Melbourne International Jazz Festival.
2002. Formed the Ben Carr Trio. An invite from S.I.M.A. led to a tour of the Australian east coast. The trio performed for the Melbourne Jazz Co-Op, The Make It Up Club, S.I.M.A. and the Press Club in Brisbane.
2003. The Adam Simmons Toy Band was formed combining the Jazz Big Band with toy instruments, spontaneous choreography, general and overall sonic mayhem, Origami, vacuum cleaners, giant balloons and fireworks! The band released their first album Happy Jacket in 2004, toured regional Victoria, performed for S.I.M.A, St Kilda Festival, Wangaratta Jazz Festival, Meredith and Queenscliff music festivals.
2004. The Ben Carr Quartet featuring Sam Bates, Michael Meagher and Eamon McNelis, was formed. The quartet recorded 1 album entitled ‘Speed Demon’ and performed for the Melbourne Jazz Co-Op and Jazzgroove association in Sydney.
2005. Traveled to London and New York City. Studied with George Garzone, Donny McCaslin and David Binney.
2006. A second quartet banded, featuring the formidable improvisational forces of pianist Erik Griswold, drummer Ken Edie and bassist AJ Hall. The band focused purely on improvisation. The group recorded two sessions in 2007, and played the Melbourne Jazz Fringe festival in 2008.
2007. New Blood perform Brisbane Valley Jazz Festival and Melbourne Fringe Festival.
2008. A new trio featuring local Melbourne stalwarts, Leigh Barker and Phil Collings was formed. Ben Carr Trio perform Melbourne Jazz Fringe Festival.
2009. Ben Carr Trio release debut album ‘The Year We Turned It On’ at Uptown Jazz Cafe,Fitzroy.
2012 Melbourne Choro Group, ‘Trio Agogo and friends’ release ‘The Story Of Old Benji Constant’ at the Paris Cat Jazz Club, Melbourne. Travelled to NYC, studied with Seamus Blake and Joel Frahm.
2012. ‘St Art’ independent release by Ben Carr Trio launched at the Wesley Anne, Northcote.

The original eye opener. My teacher played me the album Dances and Ballads, and the dissonance put me right off with no ability to perceive what I was hearing. But he convinced me to witness the gig with him. It may have been a pivotal moment in my life, stearing me well away from my ambitions of being an Airforce Fighter Pilot and taking the saxophone more seriously.

These guys played sometime in Brisbane and introduced me to the power, excitement and attitude that can come from a saxophone led jazz trio.

Simon Barker and Adam Armstrong! Such an amazing combination. I remember watching Simon and Adam interact and pondered how the $%#! do you do that?

4. BRANFORD MARSALIS QUARTET - Village Vanguard NYC, 2004.
I’d been watching ‘Steep’ on VHS! since the 90’s and loved the quartet with Kenny Kirkland. Unfortunately Kenny Kirkland passed away before I could see the quartet with him. But this was a spiritually uplifting gig, there was a strong presence in the room, and I felt as though the John Coltrane quartet was actually on the stage.

5. WAYNE SHORTER QUARTET - Palaise Melbourne, 2010 ?
Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Brian Blade. Another gig with a presence, for me a continuation of the 1970 miles band, like Miles was in the room guiding the flow of energy. One big continuous 90 minute set full of power, grace, virtuosity and… ‘Effortless Mastery’ ha ha ha.

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Andrew Gander’s High Five

Andrew Gander is a Sydney based Australian jazz drummer. He has toured, recorded and performed with many local and international artists including Adam Armstrong, Alan Vizzuti, Barbara Morrison, Ben Winkelman, Blaine Whittaker, Bobby Shew, Carl Orr, Craig Scott, Chuck Stevens, Dale Barlow, Daryl Pratt, Dave Ades, David Starck, Dennis Irwin, Don Burrows, Ernie Watts, Eugene Pao, Gabriel Guerrero, Guy LeClaire, Harry Connick, Jack Wilkins, James Morrison, James Muller, Jamie Oehlers, Jim McNeely, Jim Pugh, Jimmy Witherspoon, Joe Chindamo, Joe Pass, John Hoffman, John Irabagon, John McLaughlin, Johnny Griffin, Julien Wilson, Kenny Kirkland, Kenny Wheeler, Kevin Hunt, Mark Fitzgibbon, Mark Murphy, Michael Brecker, Mike Nock, Mike Rivett, Nicholas Bouloukos, Paolo Levi, Paul Grabowsky, Peter O’Mara, Peter Scherr, Phil Stack, Randy Brecker, Ray Brown, Richard Maegraith, Sam Anning, Scott Dodd, Sean Wayland, Steve McKenna, Steve Magnusson, Tim Hopkins, Vince Jones, Vincent Herring and many others. Andrew is also an active educator and clinician. He holds a Masters Degree in Music Performance from Melbourne.

1. DAVE ADES - Venue 505: (David Goodman, drums; Cameron Undy, bass; Dave Ades, alto; Zach Hurren, tenor)
Chordless ensembles allow increased space for the drummer’s improvisational dialogue with bass and horns, pushing him/her to expand the time-functioning and comping roles beyond conventional formulae. The context also necessarily tends to entail a more vivid portrayal of form by means of alluding to changes and outlining structural markers in the absence of piano or guitar. David Goodman’s masterful playing with the Dave Ades Quartet delivered on all those requirements in spades. Moreover, he has forged a coherent voice that integrates a wide palette of diverse drumming influences - from Motian, DeJohnette and Higgins to Colaiuta, Novak and Rossy – with a self-consistent concept of drum tuning (Sonor Designer Maple Light: toms & snare - mid to upper-mid range head tension; bass drum - low-mid range tension, controlled resonance) and cymbal sound (Bosphorus Masters Series Turks: 22” & 20” – mid-light weight, focused, dry, warm, clean attack, low pitched wash, some with one rivet) that yielded a very satisfying & cohesive sonic blend, both within the music and the room, across a wide textural and dynamic spectrum.
Following the lead of Buell Neidlinger’s ‘Big Drum’ CD, David’s compelling take on polymetric interaction with this quartet reconciles the unbounded, angular territory of a-rhythmical ‘free’ drumming with what Colaiuta called ‘a scholarly approach to the axe’(i.e. one whose processes operate within certain parameters of math & meter). Dave’s overall angle of approach then is informed by a mature musicianship and technical discipline with a sensibility that is both visceral and cerebral, in that he manages as an improviser to loosely yet cogently deploy layers of rhythmic displacement, artificial subdivision and metric modulation while tactfully supporting the band’s dynamic/emotional contours and sustaining an open, organic, connection with the often highly abstract and emotionally free-ranging cross-conversations that characterize this quartet’s music.

2. CRAIG SCOTT – Venue 505: (Tim Firth, drums; Craig Scott, bass; Paul Cutlan, tenor & soprano; Warwick Alder, trumpet; Tim Fisher, piano), 2012
It’s thrilling to experience the sense of collective and individual freedom that emerges in a really cohesive band of great players, peaking on the back of an extended string of gigs with all the elements in place: unified ensemble sound, intuitive chemistry, trust and a thoroughly mastered and malleable repertoire, within whose parameters there exists massive scope for spontaneity, creative risk taking and highly personalized expressive nuance. That was exactly the vibe onstage and particularly behind the drums when the Craig Scott Quintet launched their CD Timeline at 505 after a week-long NSW tour. From the get go everyone’s chops were up and the collective groove surefooted, slow-burning and already in motion from the previous gig. Bandleader, composer, educator and world class bassist Craig Scott has assembled a definitive modern quintet of leading Sydney players, conspicuous among them the brilliant Tim Firth, who handled this gig with his usual aplomb and signature blend of time, precision, dynamics, propulsion, rhythmic displacement, unerring good taste, compositionally mature soloing and some very hip latino & breakbeat vocab: in short, a fully articulated contemporary jazz drumming concept that was literate, rooted in tradition (Louis Hayes, Philly Joe) and totally current (Hutchinson, Blade, Harland, Hoenig, Guilliana) with a technical apparatus perfectly suited to manifest it. The tuning of his snare drum (Brady 14” x 5.5”), 12” & 14” toms with 18”x14” bass drum (Yamaha) were tightly tuned, high pitched and singing, with crisp tension on the snare wires. That’s an exacting set up to play and a measure of Tim’s top class execution, self-assuredness and clarity of concept. Every note projected cleanly through the ensemble without ever either choking the flow of his thought or overwhelming the band, and Tim’s total sound palette - distinguished by this clean, focused, articulate drum sound in perfect symbiosis with the sustained resonance, warmth and velvety dark tones of relatively large thin cymbals (24"/22" Istanbuls) and functioning as a foundation of the quintet’s dynamic/timbral landscape - was on full and glorious display. A serious player in a great band on a great night.

3. BARKER/BRAID DUO – Venue 505 (Simon Barker, drums & percussion; David Braid, piano)
On a recent visit to Australia, Canadian pianist David Braid played a duo improvisation concert at 505 with the great Simon Barker. This gig was remarkable as a meeting of two very full and free-ranging musical minds playing in perfect spontaneous simpatico. The territory was totally open and ran the full gamut – Debussy, minimalism, high energy modern jazz - basically anything went, allowing Simon maximum improvisational scope to exploit his total repertoire of rhythms, sounds and influences. The drum set tuning was really impressive, amounting (in combination with the K Constantinople cymbals, Istanbul hi-hats and various gongs & other percussion items) to a mini orchestra, with all the frequencies and textures necessary for establishing the duo’s ensemble sound and sustaining that energy throughout the set in a really satisfying way. Simon exploited dynamics to the hilt – from his Korean inspired polyrhythmic tour de force to the gentlest whisper, functioning as accompanist, conversationalist, composer and soloist while maintaining a pure, self-consistent original voice throughout. In particular one stunning ballad-inspired, improvised mood piece was probably the best of its kind I’ve heard live. True musicianship on the drums.

4. BOB BERG QUARTET – Ronnie Scotts Nov 1996 (Gary Novak/ Dave Kikoski /Ed Howard)
Ronnie’s had a corner table right by the hi-hat in those days and I got lucky three nights in a row. Novak at that time, in that band, was just unsurpassably great and his hook up with Kikoski and Bob Berg was devastatingly strong. This seemed to me the ultimate and complete modern jazz drum-set language, incorporating everything I love about Jack DeJohnette, Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Buddy Rich, Joe Chambers and Billy Bobham with everything I love about Marvin Smith, Jeff Watts, Vinnie Colaiuta, Bill Stewart and Dennis Chambers. It was great to see and hear Gary up close tuning his 18” bass drum between tunes too - it had that kind of funky, open ‘oil-barrel’ quality to it that just set up an incredible, aggressive ensemble sound context – very raw and complex, but so punchy and articulate, which matched his whole set up perfectly (Sonor designers: 10, 12, 14, 16 toms, big, dark K Zildjians all around, plenty of sizzles and an Azuca with sizzles too – full on!). Gary’s control, power and endurance were just frightening and his sheer musical heaviness and maturity were so compelling I wanted to fall at his feet (in fact I did accidentally, but that’s another story).

5. BRUCE CALE QUARTET – Opera House 1977 (Allan Turnbull, Roger Frampton, Charlie Monroe)
I was fifteen year old boy whose understanding of music was based on 50’s and 60’s big band. Allan Turnbull changed my life in about the first 20 seconds of the first tune (Bruce Cale’s Rolling Thunder) that night. In retrospect I can clearly say it was coming out of Roy, Jack, Elvin & Tony, but at the time I’d never heard those guys so to me it was like hearing someone expound quantum theory in Sanskrit. I mean I just sat there in the front row (looking up at an 18” flat ride) practically with my thumb in my mouth while Al’s right hand effortlessly maintained a VERY up tempo, VERY broken time pattern that was so hip he could have just stopped there. Unfortunately for me, his left hand and right foot were simultaneously spitting out an impossible fusillade of very subtle, very clean, very fast, very creative eighth note multiple stroke (3’s & 4’s & 5’s) syncopations in razor sharp dialogue with the late great Roger Frampton. By about the five minute mark I was experiencing the proverbial ‘moment of clarity’ along with a feeling of mounting uneasiness about my own playing prospects as the sheer weight of the guy’s chops and drumming intellect descended on me and I began to grasp the scale of the problem facing me. It was a genuinely mind altering experience that opened the door to everything else, and that first feeling of contact not only with Allan’s technical depth, but with his whole overarching concept of time and accompaniment, has stayed with me ever since. My teacher :-)

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Kim Lawson’s High Five

Kim Lawson on saxophones, originally hailing from Cairns, is quickly establishing a reputation for his tenacious and inventive improvising and huge sound. Kim completed his BMus at the Sydney Conservatorium in 2005, where he studied with some of the most prominent Australian jazz icons such as Dale Barlow, Judy Bailey, Dave Panichi and Col Loughnan, just to name a few. Kim has been playing, recording and touring in and around Sydney for over 7 years, in a number of musical settings, ranging from swinging jazz, Latin, and hard hitting funk ensembles, to 18 piece big bands. Since leaving the conservatorium Kim has had the opportunity to collaborate with many of Sydney’s top musicians, in a diverse range of music. Lawson released his debut album as a band leader in 2010 ‘Alive and Kicking’, with virtuoso bassist Steve Hunter and power house drummer James Hauptmann.

During trip to New York, I was lucky enough to hear Donny play a couple of times and have a lesson with him. The gig that really stood out was with Donny McCaslin, Ben Monder, Boris Koslov, and I can’t recall who else. There were only 6 or 7 of us in the audience, but it was one of the most slamming gigs I’d ever seen. I remember a conversation with the bass player in the set; I was going on about how or why they are playing so amazingly considering there was only a few punters in the audience. His response was simply, ‘what are we going to do… play like crap??’ That is something I think about all the time.

2. THE SIDE ON CAFÉ – Sydney, Wednesday Jam, 2000
When I first moved to Sydney there was a weekly jam session happening at the side-on café on a Wednesday night. Coming from Cairns I wasn’t sure what to expect, assuming it was some reggae or dodgy funk thing. It turned out to be Roger Manins playing the most burning alto I’d ever seen! The whole vibe of the place was unbelievable, being so close up and to see all those instruments on stage playing straight-ahead jazz was really mind-boggling.

3. JAMES MORRISON – Cairns Civic Theatre, 1995 (I think)
Growing up in Cairns there were never any inspiring gigs to check out. The local scene consisted of the pub rock, reggae and grunge bands, and the old trad cats that we would see once a year at the Cairns Jazz Fest. Spoilt for choice, we ended up getting into bands like Grinspoon, Korn and Regurgitator, which we got to see at some all-ages concerts or festivals. Occasionally, a touring artist would come to town and it would be the most amazing music we had ever heard. There were a couple of note; Mike Stern, Billy Cobham with Randy Brecker, but one that really stood out was James Morison at the Civic Theatre. I can’t remember much about the gig, apart from the drummer taking a solo, getting off his kit and continuing his solo tapping on the stage and then on the wall of the theatre. That was cool! I’m not sure how it relates to whom I am as a musician, but I can remember the excitement and spontaneity was a good feeling.

Garzone has to be one of my all time favourite horn players. His trio called ‘The Fringe’, formed in 1971 and have been playing in Boston for over 30 years, which is amazing in itself. I’ve heard recordings of his trio, but when you’re in the same room as Garzone, it’s a whole other thing. As Mike Rivett once said, “just being in the same room as him playing is a lesson in itself”.

5. CHUCK YATES TRIO w/ Special Guests - The Bald Faced Stag 2001 – 2006
This is where I fell in love with Australian Jazz. The Stag had a weekly jam that featured some of my favourite players/teachers! Chuck Yates, Ron Philpot and John Pochee made up the trio. Some of the featured artists included Dale Barlow, Warwick Alder, Dave Panichi and Don Rader, just to name a few. I wish this gig was still going.

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Sarah Collyer’s High Five

Sarah Collyer has been warned. Love gets messy when you skew its rhythms and pluck at its raw emotions. But given the Sarah Collyer treatment - everything has the potential to become a jazz song. The sumptuous songstress has released her debut album Yesterday’s Blues, showcasing her sassy originals, her lush take on jazz standards, and most surprising of all - her transformations of songs by Blondie and Paul Kelly - sounding like they were born to be swung. Slinky and seductive, Yesterday’s Blues has been described as “perfect red wine music”.
With a luxurious voice and elegant approach to music, Sarah Collyer has been influenced by jazz greats like Nina Simone and Miles Davis, but finds inspiration in contemporary artists like Melody Gardot, Diana Krall, and even Tom Waits. Born in Brisbane, Australia, she studied classical and jazz voice at James Cook University and the Queensland Conservatorium, discovering early that jazz was the genre for her.
“My voice just seemed to feel more at home singing jazz than anything else. It just feels natural and really resonates with me. I don’t think I had much control over that!”
After a three-year stint living in Melbourne, working as a pastry chef and gigging, she returned to Brisbane to completely immerse herself in music, teaching singing by day and singing jazz gigs by night. In 2009 she released her debut EP “This Way” - a piano-driven collection of her jazz/adult contemporary originals - drawing much acclaim. The title track was shortlisted for a QSong Award; the song “I Wait” was selected for a national “Sounds Like Cafe” compilation; and the full EP has been receiving radio airplay around the country.
Since the EP’s release, Sarah has been performing regularly, most notably with a tour of Japan in 2010, singing with a jazz band in Kobe, Osaka and Kyoto. On home soil in Australia, she has performed at the Brisbane Powerhouse, the Noosa Jazz Festival, the Valley Jazz Festival, Warwick Jumpers and Jazz and the Gold Coast Arts Centre. In 2011 she held a residency at Brisbane’s iconic Cloudland lounge bar, and performed regularly at the Brisbane Jazz Club.

1. CASSANDRA WILSON - North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam 2008.
My all time favourite vocalist is Cassandra Wilson. In 2008 I was lucky enough to see her perform at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam. There were so many amazing artists on the line up that year, it was hard to choose between them all, but I decided the only artist that I definitely had to see, was Cassandra Wilson. By the time I got in the door the set had already started, but still I was happy to get a seat right at the very front of the auditorium. It was completely surreal to be there. Cassandra Wilson’s voice so deep and rich was like hot caramel – filling the auditorium as each song flowed seamlessly into the next with so little effort. Wilson’s approach felt incredibly natural and at ease, yet her presence filled the room. The whole ensemble oozed a similar, natural poise. The insanely talented young Jonathan Batiste at the piano mesmerized the audience with his classical stylings, tasteful accompaniment and killer solos. Lekan Babaloa added cheeky and inventive percussion - filling each moment with just that added extra sparkle on top of the ever solid groove laid down by Herlin Riley on kit. Reginald Veal on Bass and Musical Director Marvin Sewell on guitar completed the band and added to the joyful and playful vibe of the set.
I am forever drawn to deep rich female voices. Perhaps it is my early introduction to the music of Nina Simone - I’m not sure. Cassandra Wilson’s voice is it for me. It’s warm, deep and so velvety it’s almost tangible. No one phrases like Cassandra Wilson. Her ability to stretch and delay and anticipate is phenomenal – but she is also the queen of understatement. I love that she never goes off on a “chop fest” display of her vocal abilities – no need to sing the highest notes, the longest, and loudest. She just weaves a beautiful melody – and it’s sublime, refreshing and very inspirational.

2. HERBIE HANCOCK – QPAC Concert Hall Brisbane
Back in 2005 or 2006 I was fortunate to get free tickets to see Herbie Hancock perform at the QPAC concert Hall. I was there to do a review of the concert for 4mbs radio in Brisbane. Supported by his super talented band of Nathan East on bass, Lionel Loueke on guitar and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, and supplemented by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra - conducted be the Internationally acclaimed Robert Sadin, the concert was absolutely brilliant – it was very clear to me that I was in the presence of Jazz nobility. I was very happy to witness this!
Before attending the concert, I wasn’t sure that I really wanted to hear Herbie with the QSO, and I did wish that it were just he and his band. However, from the moment Mr. Hancock entered the stage and took his seat at the eagerly awaiting Steinway, all such notions were forgotten.
The Majestic sounds of the orchestra’s opening piece: Bach’s Das alte jahr vergangen ist, had barely come to an end when Colaiuta’s drum kit sprang to life and a collective smile illuminated the orchestra. Herbie Hancock entered, looking every bit the grand reverend of Jazz piano that he has become, and launched into a lively dialogue with the spirited drummer. At the close of this energetic interpretation of Gershwin’s Fascinating rhythm, Herbie remarked “Well, that’s my exercise for the day”. I was transfixed.
Robert Sardin’s conducting brought a dynamic energy to the night, his vibrantly bopping figure breathing a light-hearted and highly spirited breath of fresh air into the orchestra, who all seemed delighted to be part of such a magical experience.
Throughout the night, Herbie gazed intently with child like wonder at the piano keys, where his fingers proceeded to draw out the perfect combination of notes. As Herbie swung back and fourth between the Steinway and his Korg, Lionel Loueke treated the audience to his unique style of guitar playing, complete with percussive effects and vocalisations. The orchestra provided an immaculate sound scape, while Nathan East and Vinnie Colaiuta provided what must surely have been the strongest and most grooving rhythmic foundations the QPAC concert hall had ever felt.
Hebie returned to play a solo encore at the night’s close, his playing testament to the years of work that he has poured into his craft. What I found most inspiring, other than the sheer quality of the music that was delivered and the supreme level of musicianship displayed by Herbie and his band – was the joyful playfulness that flowed through everything that was played and all that was spoken. A truly positive vibe filled the music – It was thoroughly inspiring and uplifting (and practice inducing).

3. DIANA KRALL – With QSO, Brisbane March 3, 2010
Seeing my favourite performers with the local orchestra is not usually my preferred band format. I’m not sure what the “just add an orchestra” phase is all about. Kurt Elling with the Sydney symphony at the Sydney Opera house, just about put me to sleep – whilst Kurt Elling with his regular band is like a revelation. However, Diana Krall being one of my favourite artists, and me living in Brisbane, opportunities to see Diana Krall perform are, well, fairly rare – so you take what you can get!
I was, pleasantly surprised! Diana Krall and her band were subtly supported by an unobtrusive orchestral soundscape. The Krall Quartet was the central focus the whole way through while the orchestral arrangements simply complimented the Quartet – win!
I love Diana Krall’s understated, deep and husky vocals and am completely in ore of her piano playing. She has a beautiful touch – a really tender delivery of her solo lines and an effortless yet always tasteful style. Somehow Krall’s playing manages to be both delicate and strong at the same time. My favourite album of Krall’s is “The Girl in the other room” – which is markedly different from the rest of her albums. It features many co-writes with Elvis Costello and covers of Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits. Whilst this concert was a promo tour of her then new album “Quiet nights”, full of lush takes on bossa nova classics and bossa arrangements of standards – there was still room for a display of Krall’s “other side”; with a cover of Tom Waits’ “Jockey full of Bourbon”. This is the side of Krall that I adore - grittier and darker vocals that are much stronger and full bodied than the more breathy and sweet approach that she uses for Jazz standards. Her playing becomes more impassioned too.
After dedicating “PS I love you” to her late mentor Rosemary Clooney – Krall started the song, only for her voice to crack in the opening verse – Krall stoped the band, and restarted - stating that note would bug her forever if it was captured on the concert recording. It was a touching sign of humility from such an esteemed and brilliant performer

4. MELODY GARDOT – Brisbane, March 3, 2010
I had only heard a couple of songs of Melody Gardot’s when I went along to the Diana Krall “Quiet nights” concert in Brisbane. I wasn’t sure that I liked her music very much, but I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly impressed with what I witnessed that night. Melody Gardot opened the show (followed by a set from Madeline Peyroux – where Peyroux seemed to be struggling to keep time - while the musicians played the tunes note for note off the recordings) with the most carefully and wonderfully crafted set I’ve ever witnessed. Every single move seemed to have been meticulously thought out. From her dramatic first notes – leaning over and into the piano, plucking and striking at the strings from inside the piano, then moving to centre stage to play guitar to finally standing at the mic and slamming her gigantic heels on the floor, stamping out the beat in order to accompany herself with just that thudding beat (I can’t remember the song – but I remember the heel relentlessly hitting the floor).
Note perfect, it was like watching a superbly choreographed dance – complete with immaculate wardrobe hair and make up.

5. KURT ELLING – Powerhouse, Brisbane, 2010
Somewhere around 2004, ABC’s “live at the Basement” featured a Kurt Elling Concert. My dad, responsible for so many of my early musical encounters (including my introduction to the music of Nina Simone), taped the show and I got a hold of that VHS tape…. It was the best concert I’ve ever seen. Kurt Elling was in his absolute prime here – performing many songs from “The Messenger” “This time its love” and “Close your eyes” - including an incredible version of “Freddie’s yen for Jen”, “My love Effendi” and “Dolores Dream”. His soloing was phenomenal – inducing shrieks of excitement from me as I sat transfixed in front of the television screen. Kurt Elling here is inspirational in his ability to just let go and rip into a tune, leaving no corner of his range unexplored and squeezing every possible sound out of his unique and capacious voice. It’s a cathartic experience. He wails, squeaks, shrieks and moans, seemingly playing an imaginary Tenor sax – and at one stage imitating an old record player playing a smoky scratchy jazz recording. And with his very awesome collaborator Laurance Hobgood at the Piano – the sound is just perfection.
I was thoroughly disappointed however when I attended Kurt Elling’s Sydney Opera House concert in 2008, joined by the Sydney Symphony – the concert was decidedly soporific. It was as if someone had clipped Mr Elling’s wings and placed him in a small cage. There was the occasional outburst that was reminiscent of that former concert that I had witnessed – however on the whole Elling seemed tired and contained.
However, when Kurt Elling came to Brisbane in late 2010 for a show at the Brisbane Powerhouse - this time sans orchestra – I was not going to miss the chance of seeing him (hopefully) in full swing and free from the constraints of lush orchestral arrangements. He did not disappoint. Still – nothing compares to that earlier concert at The Basement – it will remain my favourite for years to come.

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Guy Strazzullo’s High Five (aka Guy Strazz)

Guy is recognized as a distinguished guitar master, composer, and educator. He has performed extensively at National and International jazz festivals. His long list of associations includes: Sandy Evans, Vince Jones, V M Bhatt, Furio di Castri, Martin Taylor, George Golla, Slava Grigoryan, Don Burrows, Roger Frampton, Dale Barlow, Mike Stern, and Matt McMahon. A recipient of the Australia Council Music Fellowship, Strazz also received APRA Nominations and a Jazz APRA Award. His 2@1CD, released with Matt McMahon, was nominated for ‘best jazz album of the year’ AIR Awards 08. He has released ten critically acclaimed albums as leader. He is currently a PhD research scholar at Macquarie University completing his creative thesis about Improvisation. New projects include: The release of Eastern Blues CD in May 2012, the reforming of the Passionfruit Trio with McMahon and Hevia, and the forthcoming recording of the Silk Road double Concerto for Guitar, Piano and World Jazz Orchestra in July 2012.
Eastern Blues is downloadable from CD baby & iTunes or hard copies from Rufus Records and selected CD stores.

1. RENAUD GARCIA FONS – Seymour Centre Sydney, 9th June 2012
A true genius! Half hour of pure bliss is how I can best describe hearing Fons. His solo work portrays the sounds of Mediterranean cultures; his palette of colours and techniques covers Flamenco, Taquam, Hindustani classical, Ravel, and Debussy. His hand drumming on the double bass confirms the depth and brilliance of the rhythms he applies to his melodic lines. There are chord, counterpoints, and bowing techniques used as compositional devices executed with ultra-virtuosic flair, and that is before he brings a discreet assortment of self-made sounds from his loop pedal board to deliver a fulfilling and rare musical experience.

2. REMEMBER SHAKTI – Central Park West NYC, June 2001
Inspiring! This was a free concert on a warm summer evening; unbeknown it would be on the same night, I had previously purchased tickets to see Chick Corea Trio and Wayne Shorter Quartet at the Lincoln Centre. Shakti started later than I had anticipated…It took three tunes to make me forget about Chick and Wayne. A tall order for anyone, but John McLaughlin exploded that night; I had seen him before and since. This was the start of their Remember Shakti World Tour, and the band was pumped up in front of a three thousand-strong crowd. Electric mandolinist, U. Shrinivas made gamakas (South Indian melodic ornaments) sound like watching Aurora Australis; Indian aesthetics juxtaposed with John’s scorching, yet spiritual bluesy lines. Zakir Hussain (tabla) and V. Selvaganesh on kanjira (south Indian frame drum), also on fire.

3. MILES DAVIS – Sydney Entertainment Centre, 1990
A treasure! Probably not one of Miles’s most memorable concerts, but I am not that choosy when it comes to witnessing history. In a moment of total silence, frustrated by the interesting, yet theatrical aspects of the performance, and Miles minimal blowing, a member of the audience shouted: “ Hey Miles! I (or we) have been waiting twenty-five years to hear you play the trumpet, please play! The Dark Prince looked up, pondered, and then unleashed some, which was a gift for all to witness.

4. WOODY SHAW QUINTET – Jazz Yatra, Bombay, India, 1984
Spiritual! I was playing at this festival with my early mentors, Roger Frampton and Phil Treloar. What a treat to hear this magnificent and legendary trumpeter/composer and musical geniuses in the history of jazz, a few years before his untimely death in 1989. I have not heard a trumpeter as good since that day. Close friend, and trombonist, Steve Turre was also thrilling, as he filled Bombay Cricket Stadium with the earthy, yet ethereal sounds of his conch shells.

5. SCOTT TINKLER – Wangaratta Jazz Festival, 2004
Folkloric! I’ll call this one: “Tinkler’s Good Night Blues”. As it happened, I had played with my group Passionfruit at the Festival. There were several highlights at the festival, but the most remarkable for me happened at 2 or 3 AM. All the shows had finished and I was about to go to bed, when I heard this distant sound of a trumpet coming from the street; it was punctuated by fairly long pauses, and then the sound would reach me from a different angle, still quite far away though. It took me a few seconds to recognise Scott’s sound…the feeling still lives with me.

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Brendan Berlach's High 5

Brendan got into the saxophone because his Dad had one laying around. Brendan's grandfather, a polish refugee and a great violinist and accordionist, had bought the saxophone in 1958. That investment was realised some time later when Brendan quit his chemical engineering studies to pursue a career in music. Since then, studying at Sydney conservatorium under Col Loughnan, Dale Barlow and Judy Bailey, Brendan had a 6 year tenure with Judy's big band, and released an album of original music with a quartet under his own name. Most recently Brendan has recorded and led Slide Albatross launching the trio's self-titled debut in October 2011.

1. EON BEATS – The Basement, 2002
This was one of the first gigs I went to when I turned 18. At the time I was blown away, Warren Trout has such a slamming groove.

This was the gig that really inspired me to pursue the saxophone seriously. It was a catalyst for me to drop my chemical engineering studies, to the great alarm of my parents.

3. WAYNE SHORTER QUARTET – Melbourne Jazz Festival, 2005
He is one saxophonist I have always loved and I whose playing I have tried to absorb.

4. BRAD MEHLDAU TRIO - Village Vanguard, 2008
I have seen him play a couple times since but this night just really blew my mind. I really appreciate how much care he takes with his tone and touch on the piano, which is a big lesson for any instrument.

5. GEORGE GARZONE TRIO – Sound Lounge, SIMA, 2010
To me I felt like this was the closest I could get to hearing the spirit of Coltrane live. Garzone’s playing was so deep and gutteral. I was amazed at how he drew in the band with his playing. James Waples was hitting his drums so hard he knocked his cymbal over.

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Casey Golden's High 5

Casey Golden is a Sydney-based piano player and composer. He was born into a musical family, and at the age of 17 (2005), won a BBM Jazz Award which allowed him to go to London and get involved in the jazz scene there. In 2011, Casey was a finalist for Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year in the Australian Jazz ‘Bell’ Awards.
He released his debut album ‘Clarity’ on Scrampion Records/Planet/MGM in 2010, which was favourably received by critics and audiences alike.
He has a Bachelor of Music majoring in jazz piano, and has studied with many notable jazz musicians including Alister Spence and Matt McMahon. He has also studied overseas with many internationally acclaimed musicians, including Aaron Goldberg, Barney McAll, Lage Lund, Aaron Parks and Shai Maestro.
Casey is working on a project with Australian jazz legend Bob Barnard, with recordings and gigs planned for the coming months. He’s also featured on upcoming releases from The Hannah James Group and Edband (Ed Rodrigues).
‘A very promising young contemporary jazz acoustic piano trio from Sydney that are in the rhapsodic EST mould, but with a clear personal vision in their mix of trancey melodies and live musical jump cuts.’ - Jazzwise (UK)
‘The young Sydneysider generates driving rhythms and improvises effervescent melodies on his own compositions ... a commendable debut.’ - Sydney Morning Herald

1. AARON GOLDBERG TRIO (w/ Reuben Rogers and Greg Hutchinson) – The Sound Lounge, Sydney, June 2008
This was the gig that really opened me up to what was possible in a piano trio. I was already a fan of all three musicians, but this was my first time seeing them live. They were playing material that I was mostly familiar with, but with an energy and presence that I’d never experienced before. The way they could open up on standards, how they could play really quiet, but still make it feel great. So heavy. I went both nights. This was the first gig I remember coming home from and immediately writing out a list of stuff I need to work on.

2. LAGE LUND QUARTET (w/ Will Vinson, Matt Penman and Rodney Green) – Smalls NYC, January 2009
This was a mad gig; an awesome rhythm section and two of my favourite musicians in the front line. This was the first time I’d seen Lage or Will play and since then I’ve seen them both as much as possible. They played originals from every band member, plus a few standards. Lage’s my favourite guitar player. His voicings and general harmonic concept are really unique and I’ve tried to use a lot of his concepts in my own playing. Will Vinson is unbelievable. I’ll never forget his solo on one of Matt Penman’s tunes. I’ve never seen someone cut changes so hard while sight-reading a tune.

3. ‘BROOKLYN BABYLON’ feat DARCY JAMES ARGUE’S SECRET SOCIETY – Brooklyn Academy of Music, November 2011
Generally speaking, I’ve never been much into big band music but this gig was unbelievable. The music is hard to describe because I’ve never heard anything else like it. It’s some of the most complex music I’ve ever heard, but really listenable. And it feels like something new. It was all new material written for these shows that paired the music with projections and live painting. This was the gig that everyone in New York seemed to be talking about at the time. I knew it was going to be something different, but going in, the thing I was most excited about was hearing John Ellis and Ted Poor play. As great as they were, the writing and orchestration was just on another level. Amazing.

4. GERALD CLAYTON TRIO (w/ Joe Sanders and Justin Brown) – Village Vanguard NYC, November 2011
I’d already checked out Gerald a lot on heaps of records before seeing his trio play, but these gigs still managed to be constantly surprising. This is a serious working band. No tunes were called and most of each set was segued. They’ve got an amazing rapport. I saw them three times during their week at the Vanguard and every set was completely different. They work really hard on getting new stuff out of each other on every gig, but it never sounds forced. Gerald’s intros and segues were particularly inspiring; always different and always going for something. They’re an awesome band. Everyone should check them out.

5. ALISTER SPENCE TRIO (w/ Lloyd Swanton and Toby Hall) – Various gigs around Sydney 2005-2012
Alister’s trio is the band that I’ve found to be the most consistently engaging and inspiring in Sydney over the last few years. I’ve been checking them out since I was in my final years of high school and they’re constantly presenting their music in new and interesting ways. Alister, Lloyd and Toby are three of the best musicians in town in my opinion, but what I like most about them is they’re always pushing themselves. Their music and general vibe has changed a lot over the last 6-7 years, but through these changes, they’ve always sounded fully committed to what they’re doing and the material is always really well thought out. All of this along with the rapport they’ve developed over years of playing together gives the music a weightiness that I really admire.

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Alex Pertout's High 5

Chilean born Alex Pertout has for decades being recognised as one of Australia's leading percussionists and with credits on hundreds of albums and soundtracks is undeniably one of Australia's most recorded musicians. Alex has also attained credits with television orchestras, in countless live performances and as a respected educator. As a founding member of the Australian Art Orchestra he has toured Europe, North America, Asia and Oceania, has performed as a soloist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, has recording, performance and television orchestra credits with an array of artists including Powderfinger, Badi Assad, Shane Howard, James Morrison, Paul Kelly, Casiopea, Jackson Browne, Little River Band w/John Farnham, Hunters & Collectors, Tina Arena and Archie Roach among many others and was a featured percussionist in The Lion King theatre production.
Alex has produced cds as a multi-instrumentalist/composer featuring guests including Mike Stern, Paul Grabowsky, Hossam Ramzy, Raul Rekow and Mark Levine, a book released worldwide by US publishers Mel Bay, and is endorsed internationally by Meinl percussion, Sabian cymbals and Vater sticks. Alex is a Senior Lecturer and Head of Contemporary Music Performance at the Faculty of VCA, University of Melbourne. He has a new release out now with Sri Lankan vocalist Nilusha Dassenaike, the project is ‘Alex & Nilusha’, the album Moments In Time (Whispering Tree Music through The Planet Company/MGM) and it features pianists Joe Chindamo and Tony Gould, trumpeter Miroslav Bukovsky, drummer David Jones, guitarist Leonard Grigoryan, sarodist Saby Bhattacharya, bassist Craig Newman and legendary Latin-jazz flautist Dave Valentin.

In Chronological Order
1. SANTANA - Festival Hall, Melbourne, 1976
At the height of their popularity and with a new album to promote, Santana toured Australia in 1976. This was the ‘Amigos Tour’. I had missed the famous ‘Lotus 1973 World Tour’ which made it to Melbourne (too young!) and so I was eager to experience for the first time the new incarnation of this Latin-tinged band, which had developed a new genre in ‘Latin-rock’ and had inspired a new generation of rhythmic percussionists around the globe, myself included. I still remember the concert vividly. This was the Santana band with the legendary Afro-Cuban master drummer Armando Peraza of George Shearing and Cal Tjader fame and Ndugu Leon Chandler on drums. It also included Tom Coster on keyboards. It was also staged in the days where people moved freely around the hall, so as soon as the concert commenced, everyone moved to the very front of the stage, it was amazing. I stayed there and watched the entire concert right in front of Armando 's wonderful three congas and to the side of Carlos, his days of wearing all-white and burning constant incense sticks.
Armando's sound and pedigree was first-rate and so for me this was an incredibly humbling experience. To be there, to see him and be able to watch his hands and hear this sound coming acoustically from the stage was something I will never forget. In the Australia of the late 1970s, it was actually extremely hard to find rhythmic percussionists with an understanding and knowledge of Afro-Latin American rhythms, so to experience someone of the stature of Armando, with his touch and rhythmic vocabulary, it was something truly unique. On a recent chat I had with Paul Grabowsky while on an Australian Art Orchestra tour we were discussing concerts attended and realised that as young teenagers we were both at Festival Hall on that particular Santana night! The Santana band of course has been back to Australia periodically and it has given me the opportunity to build life-long relationships with Armando and also with Raul Rekow, another inspirational mentor from the Santana legacy.

2. BRIAN BROWN - The Commune, North Fitzroy, 1980
Brian Brown performed regularly at a small room in North Fitzroy called The Commune. With only a few lamps around the room, the place was rather dark. The crowd would sit on the floor or on the benches that encircled the tiny room. Brian would welcome everyone, then the band would play freely for extended periods of time. It was so refreshing to witness this ever evolving sound, always a different experience. The band at the time included Bob Sedergreen on piano, Jeremy Alsop on bass and David Jones on drums. These were my developing years and Brian was at his creative peak, always extending himself and the players that surrounded him, the music was personal and in the moment. I was always fascinated by the freedom and the way the nights would evolve. It was always interesting and innovative. As a matter of fact I don’t recall any disappointing nights. It was the place to be.
Later I was to join Brian and his band in this creative environment, enjoying many years of inventive in the moment playing alongside Bob, Jeremy, David and later Virgil Donati on drums and Bobby Venier on trumpet. These nights at The Commune took place years before Brian would personally develop educational pathways for talented individuals at the VCA, becoming one of the pioneers of leading contemporary music performance education in Australia. Brian’s creative and highly individualistic musical philosophy, along with his sincere outlook has influenced my career deeply. No matter what environment I find myself in, from jazz, to pop, to orchestral, to rock, to world, to folk, it manifests itself in the manner I approach music making.

3. PAT METHENY GROUP - Melbourne Concert Hall, 1986
The Menethy Group sound inspired many of us when we were growing up. It produced a highly sophisticated sound, well orchestrated, performed at a high level, energetic and innovative, which was delivered over the years in highly refined album releases. The chance to see him in Melbourne with the quintet at its prime was quite exciting. This was the group that included Lyle Mays on keyboards, Steve Rodby on bass, Paul Wertico on drums and the wonderful Argentinian multi-instrumentalist Pedro Aznar.
My recollections are of a particularly well produced concert event, with a full stage set up that included some of the high-end technology available at the time such as the synclavier, Pat’s midi guitar as well as all the wonderful vintage and not so vintage sounds that Lyle contained in his arsenal. His set up also included a fully fledged grand piano that reportedly they were transporting from concert to concert. Pedro on the other hand covered an array of tasks, from rhythmic percussion and guitars to glock and of course his wonderful wordless vocals, a trademark of that Metheny ensemble sound at the time. The material captivated me and still does. I find so many interesting facets in the way Pat’s music is constructed, developed, arranged, performed and produced and it was a marvelous experience to witness it live. This was the period of First Circle and the material that took part in the soundtrack to The Falcon and The Snowman, a remarkable time in the group’s history.

4. KARAIKUDI MANI WITH THE AUSTRALIAN ART ORCHESTRA - New Delhi, Mumbay, Calcutta, India, 1996
Although this incredible experience could be classified as a shared performance, and it some ways it certainly was, as I was there as a participant, I also view this as an incredibly enriching musical experience from a concert observer’s perspective. The AAO toured India in 1996, yet another one of those awe-inspiring Paul Grabowsky developments, an adventure that I can firmly state here, touched and changed everyone involved. The concerts brought all of us very close to the mastery of Karaikudi Mani, whom we watched in performance throughout the tour leaving everyone spell bound. His delicate ways of articulating extremely advanced material, his patience in delivering and working through the music, his extreme enthusiasm and focus on the developing tasks and his overall professional attitude at all times, left all of us captivated night after night.
His percussive world certainly made a mark on me, made me reassess much and inspired me further in the development of new hand techniques, an extremely interesting rhythmic language and the acquisition of an array of fascinating percussive instruments. I feel that now due to these enriching experiences, I can impart some of this knowledge and incorporate some of the textures and new found sounds and techniques on to the wide ranging musical situations I find myself involved in.

5. PAUL SIMON - Rhythm Of The Saints Tour, Melbourne, 1992
This was a spectacle which featured a percussion section made of up of four of the top Brazilian studio percussionists at the time, Don Chacal, Mingo Araujo, Sidinho Moreira and Cyro Baptista alongside the legendary Steve Gadd on drums. The band also included Richard Tee on keyboards,Cameroonian guitarist Vincent Nguini and Michael Brecker on saxophone. The songs rhythmically arranged to embrace in the main Afro-Brazilian folk styles, were brilliantly executed live. This was presented in a refined and highly creative stage environment where the players and in particular the rhythm section players, excelled in the art of role play and ensemble interaction. Each percussionist had an incredibly defined role within the structures of the songs, yet they also freely improvised and further developed the patterns and overall ensemble sound throughout the concert. It was a remarkable musical offering, running and completing Paul Simon’s interesting lyrical songs.

Choosing five moments was exceptionally hard. I have so many great memories from so many other inspirational concerts attended, which while covering wide ranging musical areas, have also shaped the musician I am today, some of these include: Dianne Reeves with Trio and with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, James Taylor, Randy Crawford, Cassandra Wilson, Cat Stevens, Poncho Sanchez, Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nations Orchestra with Airto, Flora and Giovanni Hidalgo, Stevie Wonder, Deodato, Sergio Mendes, Inti-Illimani, Mercedes Sosa, Tito Puente, George Benson, Miles Davis…among many more…

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Ben Hauptmann's High 5

Ben Hauptmann is nationally recognized jazz guitarist. Winner of the 2010 Freedman Jazz Fellowship and 2nd place winner in the National Jazz Awards at the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz 2007. Ben has shared the stage with a diverse range of artists including Mavis Staples, Joss Stone, Katie Noonan, Lior, Bluejuice, Micheline Van Hautem, Paul Dempsy, James Morrison and Tal Wilkenfeld. Internationally he has performed in London, Paris, New York, Austin, Yogyakarta, Pekenbaru, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Wanaka, Rotorua as well as many major Australian music festivals including The Big Day Out, Wangaratta Festival of Jazz, Pyramid Rock Festival, Homebake, Woodford Folk Festival, Splendor In The Grass, Port Fairy Folk Festival and Apollo Bay Music Festival. Ben writes the ‘Lead Work’ column for The Australian Guitar Magazine and teachers casually at the VCA in Melbourne. Ben has contributed to over twenty recordings including the 2009 ARIA winning ‘secrects and lies’ by Bertie Blackman, he recently released his first self-titled release on vinyl and download stickers available at www.benhauptmann.com.

1. JACKIE ORSZACZKY - Tuesdays at The Rose 2001-2003
I grew up and studied music in Canberra. As soon as I got my 'P' plates at age 17, I would drive to Sydney to see gigs and get lessons. This would always include a massive Tuesday night at The Rose with Jackie Orszaczky and his band (followed by a 'debrief' up the road at The Townie). This was a gig that the younger musicians in the scene would be invited to sit in during the last set. Arne Hanna was Jackie's guitarist of choice and for me is one of my biggest influences, incredibly funky, I'm yet to experience anything as funky as those gigs at The Rose.

2. UNITY HALL JAZZ BAND - Fridays & Sundays between 2002-2006
When I moved to Rozelle in 2002 after being in Sydney for about six months, I found out that the longest running Jazz gig in Australia was at a venue just down the road. The Unity Hall Jazz Band had been in residency at the Unity Hall in Balmain since 1971. Gary Walford (piano) and Don Heap (bass) became great influences and supporters of myself and the other musicians I was living with at that time. I would head down to The Unity Hall any Friday or Sunday where I could to listen to the band and sit in on banjo. You had to be able to hear you way through the tunes being called, you'd get the band discount at the bar as well as the chance to spend time with some of Australia's most experienced traditional Jazz musicians.

3. THE STAG TRIO - Thursdays between 2002-2006 at The Bald Faced Stag.
Sydney's late night Thursday residency at The Bald Faced Stag with the Chuck Yates trio and special guests. Every week you could head down to hear the best in what the Sydney Jazz scene had to offer. This was such a great gig, a unique atmosphere with a free feed at midnight. You could sit in during the last set at this gig and have the chance to play with the greats including Dale Barlow, Don Rader, Joe Lane and John Pochée.

4. JAMES MULLER - every gig
He is, in my opinion, the greatest electric guitarist the world has.

5. DRUB - Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2010
This was a late night set at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, the venue was jam packed that night. Drub is Scott Tinkler, Carl Dewhurst and Simon Barker. The music the played that night was incredible. I remember being affected by this gig for a long while after. Carl is a master improviser and has been a huge influence on me. Every time I get to see him play he inspires me and reinforces the fact that when you improvise, you are only limited by your imagination.

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Marialy Pacheco's High 5

“Marialy is a rare kind of musician who has a perfect blend of knowledge, touch, tone and freedom in her music. She seamlessly weaves in and out of musical stories and delights the soul with free flowing improvisation that takes the listener by surprise, causing us to trust her with our hearts and ears! She’s HOT!!!” - Tommy Emmanuel, CGP (Legendary Australian Jazz Guitarist)

“Marialy takes you through a journey of passion for music that radiates the listener. It’s more than talent. It’s a gift!!!” - Karl Perazzo (Pecussionist, Santana)

“Marialy’s art can not be trimmed to fit into convention or category, in her playing is the unity of youth and experience, both the carefree and the careful desire to live and create.” - CD Universe

Marialy Pacheco represents the next generation of emerging Cuban musicians. Her music is a fine balance between Cuban tradition, jazz and her classical training. She brings the piano to life with an immense talent for highly nuanced improvisations.
Born in Havanna, Cuba in 1983, pianist and composer Marialy began her musical education at age studying piano at one of Cuba’s most prestigious Conservatoriums (Alejandro García Caturla Conservatorium). At age 15 she was accepted into the National School of Arts (Escuela Nacional de Artes) in Havana, studying under Olga Valiente. At the age of 20 she was accepted into the National University of Arts in Havana, (Instituto Superior de Artes de la Havana) where she studied composition under Tulio Peramo for three years.
At the age of fifteen she was invited to Asturias, Spain to the Festival de Jovenes Talentos for her first international performance. In 2002 at age 19 she won the Cuban competition Jo-Jazz, with Grammy award-winner Chucho Valdez presiding over the jury, and in 2004 she was invited to Bremen, Germany to record her first album Bendiciones with Weltwunder Records.
Relocating to Germany in 2004 she continued to tour Europe and build her international reputation. She was invited three consecutive years to perform in Festival Son Cuba, a Cuban performance that celebrates Cuban traditional music and tours Europe annually, as well as touring extensively throughout Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands, both as a solo pianist and with her trio.
In 2006 she was invited to perform with “Cuba Percussion” at the Dresden Jazz Festival, and in the same year she was awarded the Second Prize at Choral Gables Congregational Church Florida for her work for string orchestra “Güajira para Tulio”. In 2008 she was a guest soloist at concerts with Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel.
Marialy Pacheco has released 5 independent albums and in 2011 was a finalist at Europa Fest International Jazz Competition in Bucharest, Romania.

1. KEITH JARRETT SOLO - Berlin, October 12th 2009
Keith Jarrett has been my most beloved pianist since I was a teenager. My dream was always to have the opportunity one day to see him play live. Living in Cuba, that was almost an impossible dream.
Seeing him play solo in Berlin was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. My heart was pounding so fast, before, during and long after the concert was finished. I thought I was dreaming! That man playing the piano was not from this world, nor was the music emerging from the piano: it was magical!

2. PAUL GRABOWSKY & JAMIE OEHLERS DUO - Brisbane Festival Spiegeltent Jazz, Sunday, September 11th, 2011
I loved this concert so much! It was passionate, intoxicating and fun! The music flowed perfectly, mostly improvised yet so coherent. Paul's playing was so vibrant and colourful, a journey through a world of harmony. I couldn't stop smiling. It was so inspiring.

3. GONZALO RUBALCABA - Jazz Plaza Festival, Havana, December 2003
Gonzalo Rubalcaba is for me a genius of Cuban piano. He has inspired me and influenced my playing in many ways. At the Jazz Plaza Festival in Havana he played solo and with his Trio (Armando Gola on bass and Ignacio Berroa on drums). I was just starting to play jazz at the time and this concert gave me a bright vision of the many possibilities of the Trio and how Cuban music and Latin jazz can be approached in a more sophisticated way.

4. SWAN LAKE - Berlin State Opera, Staatskapelle Berlin Orchestra and Berlin State Ballet, January 2007
Principal dancers: Vladimir Malakhov and Polina Semionova -
I was extremely touched by this performance. It was perfection. The Orchestra, the music, the dancing - heartfelt, impeccable, honest.

5. TOMMY EMMANUEL - Die Glocke Theater, Bremen November 2008
I played as guest at this concert with Tommy Emmanuel. I played solo and one of Tommy's compositions together with him. It was a unique experience for me. Tommy is not only an incredible guitarist but also an inspiring man. We talked for hours back stage, about music and life. I'm honoured to have him as my good friend.

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David Tolley’s High 5

When Peter Wockner invited me to Artist of the Month – High 5, I proposed that I focus on 5 people of particular significance to me rather than 5 performances. I’ve chosen 5 musicians each of whom is associated with a major change in my life. Without labouring that aspect, I have placed them in an autobiographic context as an alternative to the usual CV of this column.
At different times in my life I have worked as artist, musician, composer and teacher, using various media and structures but music has been the most consistent element, focusing on improvised composition with bass violin and electronics as my instruments. This article is restricted to the music aspect but if the reader would like to look into the visual art of my life, then a visit to my blog may satisfy http://davidtolley.net

Trevor is remembered by few and, ironically, not to be found on any web search I’ve done.
I first got into jazz when I was about 14 and loved it immediately and completely. Like all young musicians, my friends and I checked out the local experienced ‘mature’ musicians as often as we could. Somebody mentioned the St. Kilda Life Saving Club one time and so we went down to catch Bruce Clarke, guitar, Charlie Blot, drums and Trevor Torrens, acoustic bass. I was transfixed with Trevor’s playing. He was the first bass player I came across. For me, he was super-real, mythical, the ultimate in modern jazz bass playing. Listening to him and watching his playing was the highlight of my life. He was classically trained and his technical authority well adapted to jazz but my pleasure in watching and listening to him was always marred by the nagging reminder of the limitations of my own self-taught playing. I was deeply impressed that he seemed to be able to hold the whole band together, rhythmically and melodically while at the same time making the bass really sing but I was far too nervous to ever approach him. THANK YOU Trevor. Without knowing, you contributed enormously to my music life.

Chuck is one of those artists who has managed a consistency of intention and practice to which I, come from a completely opposite position, can only respond with awe. I worked my way through the 50’s with art and jazz competing for attention, being part of communities in both but not a major player in either. Having gone through a Dixi phase in my last school years, playing sousaphone and bass, I drifted into ‘modern’ jazz in the early 60’s with Ted Vining, John Doyle and Chuck Yates among others. I met Chuck at the tail end of our adolescence where our exuberance morphed into dedicated posturing….we were JAZZ musicians. I was booked for some one-night gig somewhere by someone to play somewhere and they drove me in a truck to the gig. I remember vividly, climbing into the back and there was Chuck in the truck. That gig led to a highly productive music relationship and a long close friendship. We shared the same obsessions about jazz, talking and walking the same path. We emulated everything in US jazz that we regarded as hip….style, phrasing and inflection, clothing and mannerisms. The years with Chuck and drummers Chris Karen and later Roger Sellers, were a special part of my experience of jazz in the 60’s. The scene in Melbourne was small but varied. We free-lanced around town, lobbed at (‘jam’) sessions at various places (Roger Sellers mother’s house was a favourite) and played jazz whenever we could. All this was formalized in the unique Horst Liepolt venue, the Jazz Center 44, years. 44 was the venue for cutting edge jazz in Melbourne, mainly featuring colleagues my vintage and slightly older: Ted Vining, Brian Brown, Keith Hownslow, Bary Buckley, Stuey Spears, Chuck Yates, Dave Martin, John Doyle, to name a few. The relatively hard-nosed, driving, front-line and rhythm-section, quartet or quintet was the favoured format. But it was understood that it would be in the US mould with nothing too exploratory, unexpected or dangerous. We were all copyists with a shared understanding of what we were copying. In 1963, I decided to leave music behind and devote myself to my art practice. I moved to Newcastle, NSW, to take up a teaching position at the Newcastle Institute, School of Art. Music had to wait until I moved back in Melbourne in 1965 to take up a teaching position at Prahran Institute, School of Art. This lasted a year after which I moved into a hectic life of making sculpture by day and working 6 nights-a-week as a professional by night. I resumed contact with my Melbourne jazz colleagues, including Chuck who inspired me to finally seek a teacher and study the bass with classic intent. He had dedicated himself to the study of the piano and harmony and it was a great pleasure to witness his slow but methodical development from uninformed inept youth to musically articulate and authoritative practitioner. We spent hours analyzing and transcribing Oscar Peterson and Ray Brown material and later, unravelling some of the genius of Bill Evans and his various bass players. We shared a huge learning experience and a great love for the music and each other’s playing over many years but my other creative needs drew me away from THE PATH towards art consciousness and concepts. The breakdown of our intense focused communication grew into an irreparable separation. In spite of anything and everything, I THANK YOU Chuck for many unforgettable music making experiences.

Most readers will know that, in the late 60’s and 70’s, Brian Brown became a jazz luminary forging a unique path in Australian, mainly Melbourne, jazz history. My attraction to Brian’s playing in the late 60’s was his intense energy and conviction, delivered through a veil of offhandedness. I liked his approach to the act of playing and performing and responded to the raw and heartfelt sound that came from the body not the head. Ironically, his overall pitch always seemed to me to be flat. This was an issue of intonation, not tuning and it must have been his choice because it was consistent across the range of each of his instruments. I’ll always remember one particular time I heard him at The Fat Black Pussy Cat. I knew of no other tenor player who could blow the instrument with the feeling and power Brian seemed to manage with ease. He had a disarmingly mature understanding of what he was after; it was no accident; it came from him and from the way he interlocked it with an individualistic sense of notation and interval. My first experience of playing with Brian was with Tony Gould, piano and Ted Vining, drums. Though in the US mould it was a free flowing band and less hierarchical than others. Most importantly, we liberated the bass and drums from the role of rhythm section into the melodic and textural realms of the horn and piano. The conventional solo was dismantled in favour of democratic inter-activity. As our personal friendship developed, Brian leant more and more toward free form music. As we progressed, Ian Mausam replaced Tony and Bob Sedergreen replaced Ian. The music relationship between Brian and me was a constant creative challenge to each of us. There was much talk about ‘our own music’, ‘freeing ourselves from the tyranny of the US jazz’ and so on. My response to these exchanges was the development of a collaborative relationship with Brian, incorporating Ted, Bob and various ‘visiting’ performers in exploratory investigations. Brian saw the development of the quartet under his continued leadership… collaboration was not an option. The quartet’s successful Australia Council grant application in 1974 was a case in point. I proposed that we apply as a collaborative unit for a music development grant and prepared a first draft of the application accordingly. We talked it through, Brian agreed, took it away and redrafted it naming the Brian Brown Quartet as the applicant, with Ted’s and Bob’s tacit agreement. They saw it as an opportunity to reinforce the jazz aspect of the quartet and its existing form as an historic entity. I aquiesced, we were awarded $12,000, a substantial amount in those days, had enormous fun over the following year and made the seminal LP “Carlton Streets”. But all of it barely nudged the boundaries of jazz in this country.
In order to alleviate pressure on Brian and the Quintet and to accommodate my interest in totally improvised composition, I began CONNECTIONS - Dur-é Dara, Brian Brown, David Tolley. We recorded this trio during the Carlton Streets sessions, I arranged a couple of interesting gigs and Brian took part agreeably. But before long he wanted out. Ironically, as I write (Nov 27, 2 pm), Brian’s wife Ros MacMillan and Tony Gould will be setting up for a concert they have had planned to celebrate Brian’s music. When Dur-é informed me that the event was to incorporate all the musicians Brian had in his various ensembles, I was perplexed that I was not invited. I take this opportunity to THANK YOU Brian for many, many pleasurable events of vigorous and stimulating music.

4A. PHIL TRELOAR, 1st period (refer below for 2nd period)
Phil has always seen music in terms I understand, terms which can never countenance disagreement, terms that are founded in unencumbered feeling and spiritual consciousness.
At the height of the BB Quintet’s modest notoriety, we did a joint-bill performance at The Basement in Sydney with Sydney band the Jazz Co-op – top Melbourne meets top Sydney. It was an extraordinary night of highly energy packed jazz. As soon as I heard Phil Treloar playing with the Jazz Co-op I recognized a kindred spirit. Dur-é agreed with me. At that gig Phil’s playing struck me immediately as a combination of acute awareness of the complete sonic phenomena of each of the other musicians with whom he may be playing with a single-minded application of focus. I was thrilled to hear him lift the sound out of the drums, rather than hitting them into submission. He played the intrinsic pitch and tonality of a drum as though it was a keyed instrument. Our collaboration and friendship was fed with regular visits he made to Melbourne from his home in Sydney. Each visit meant a weekend of playing, and recording, listening and discussing, an intense period of highly agreeable, sympathetic and energizing interaction. Almost inadvertently, though with logical ease, Phil Treloar had become the third member of CONNECTIONS. Our intensive sessions led to performances in Sydney and Melbourne of partially composed and partially improvised material. This period of our interaction concluded around 1979. We had no indication of the highly successful interaction we have recently experienced… please refer below to PT 2nd period. 1978 – 1980 were significant years for Dur-é and me, producing and performing in performance-art and music-theatre events assisted by a number of close friends and several colleagues, among them magician Sam Angelico, film makers Peter Andrews, James Clayden and my brother Bruce Tolley. With their generous contribution of talent, support and time, I designed and directed a series of one-night and short-term events here and interstate.
• 1978, Began FALSE START, a quartet of incongruous membership morphing out of CONNECTIONS - Dur-é Dara and I were joined by James Clayden and David Brown, electric bass and guitar. Both James and David were my students and shared with me an art-based interest in the super-real. Packaged in the form of a conventional band but with content far from conventional, FALSE START provided a performance vehicle for James Clayden with film and David Brown in techniques which he still uses in a wide variety of contexts.
• 1979, FALSE START receives an Australia Council grant for Voices From A Fool’s House, a production written/composed by James Clayden and myself and presented over two weekends at the Open Stage, Melbourne State College.
• FALSE START continues with a program of concert-like performances at home and interstate with Brian Snowden, an extraordinary voice artist and harpist, replacing David Brown.
• Production of TOLLEY and DARA and DT solo performances, often quite elaborate, often incorporating film and photography by friends and my brother Bruce Tolley
• 1980/81, Released two LPs, TOLLEY and DARA, Cutheart, LP on Mirage and TOLLEY and DARA, You Know You Know, LP on Cleopatra.
• 1981, Took a year’s ‘study leave’ from teaching at PIT to prepare and perform a series of music theatre- art events at LaMAMA Theatre, Carlton, the University Gallery, Melb. University, and the Universal Workshop, Fitzroy
• 1989, Reunion with long time friend Daevid Allen – GONG, co-writing and rehearsing material for an LP and performance - David Tolley & Daevid Allen, EX - DON’T STOP, LP on Shanghai
• 1991, Reinvented my approach to the bass violin • 1992, Began THAT as a vehicle for totally improvised music with David Cahill saxophones and wind synth and Graeme Perry drums
• Coined ‘Spontaneously Performed Interactive Composition’
• Dur-é Dara, percussion, joins THAT. Her untutored, intuitive musical energy, the textural qualities and the manner of her playing had a significant influence on many improvisers, David Brown, Ren Walters, Anita Hustas. Adrian Sherriff myself immediately come to mind
• Julien Wilson, saxophones, joins THAT, replacing David Cahill
• Began organizing and recording improvisation interactions with various other improvisation composers in regular sessions in my residential studio as well as in performance on THAT PERFORMANCE PROJECT label

4B. PHIL TRELOAR, 2nd period
On Sept 3, 2010, Dur-é and I had an unexpected reunion with Phil Treloar. After a hiatus of nearly three decades we were able to call upon the vital creative energy of our past in terms totally relevant to the present. We did some improvised composing together rediscovered our deep running simpatico of the 70’s & 80’s and determined to arrange a return visit by Phil whenever possible. Our extraordinary music based relationship had resumed as though it had never been interrupted. I am referring to RRaPP, the ReUNION Retreat and Performance Project which resulted primarily from our desire to make again. But I also wanted to integrate the extraordinary talent of my Melbourne improvising composer colleagues and Phil’s very particular attitude to improvisation. I felt absolutely confident of the outcome and I sent him a bunch of CDs to familiarize him with their work. My trust was rewarded with notable success from the first to the last sound 16 days later.
• 2011, Conceived and planned RRaPP - ReUNION Retreat and Performance Project inviting Phil to take part as the guest of honour
• 64 titles of recordings on my THAT PERFORMANCE PROJECT label purchased by NMIT
• Oct 25 – Nov 11, RRaPP happened smoothly and inspirationally including my return to the bass violin.
For full descriptions, reports and comments on RRaPP, please refer to the following links:
RRaPP finally incorporated Carolyn Conners, voice, Dur-é Dara, percussion, Anita Hustas, bass violin, Scott McConnachi, wind instruments, Sam Pankhurst, bass violin, Adrian Sherriff, shakahachi, bass trombone, percussion, Tony Hicks, wind instruments, Adam Simmons, wind instruments, Ren Walters, guitars, Ted Vining. drums, Phil TreLoar, percussion, marimba, David Tolley, bass violin, laptop electronics. I’m not aware of anything quite like RRaPP having been attempted in Australia, so I was enormously gratified and privileged to have enjoyed such generous involvement from all the protagonists and all who assisted in the event. An enormous bonus for me was playing the bass again. In response to the warmth of Phil’s marimba, I reached for my bass and discovering that, after not touching it for 6 years, I could still produce my own sound and that my hands could function and co-ordinate. I was actually playing even though there was much to be desired technically. This was the result of being three weeks into a revised Parkinsons medication regime which was dramatically reducing the symptoms. I know that I pleased more than myself in the spontaneous decision to play the bass in preference to my electronics in almost every session and performance. Phil was more than reserved in his encouragement and praise. THANK YOU Phil for your focused being, being there.

“The ever inventive Ren Walters, guardian of real cool… of groove and ungroove… of the hidden and unfamiliar….… or not.” This is one of my descriptions of Ren Walters. Another would simply be, ‘enigmatic’. I believe his propensity for the latter is by default not intention, which makes it all the more engaging. Ren was another of my students at Phillip Institute, School of Art. We hardly communicated verbally but I know the environment and philosophy of that school nurtured his love of invention as it did for many others, David Brown, James Clayden, David Waddelton, Chris Knowles, to name a few. I remember a particular performance by Ren in the mid 80’s, for the Melbourne Improvisers’ Association, which morphed into the Make It Up Club. I think it was with Eric Gradman, the violinist, and my distinct memory of his playing being like a continuum of organic machinations. I found it really interesting and was keen to have him play with me.
• 1993, Ren Walters, guitars, joins THAT, replacing Julien Wilson.
• 1993 – 2003, A decade of focused practice in Spontaneously Performed Interactive Composition with many other composer/performers – a period of intense collaborations and the production of a spate of extraordinary performances
• Began THIS with Brigid Burke, clarinets, and Gary Costello. bass violin, presented in the form of classical trio
• Began THE OTHER, a varying personnel ensemble of at least 7 musicians that would have access to the dynamic diversity only possible with a larger gathering
• Began THE LEAGUE OF STRING MONGERS - the same concept as THE OTHER but restricted to string players
• 2004, Began ReMOVE – a quartet with Ren Walters, guitar, Tony Hicks, wind instruments, Ted Vining, drums and me playing bass violin
• 2005, Gave up the bass violin because of Parkinson’s
• 2006 – 2009, Intensive studio work with computer generated electronic sounding, discovering the idiosyncrasies of a hardware/software, laptop-based system to devise an improvisation ‘instrument’
• 2009, Resumed studio improvisation sessions with colleagues
• Accepted nominations by Anita Hustas and later Tony Hicks as an external teacher for their Masters’ Degrees
• Returned to the improvisation scene using the laptop system with a performance in MUSICA at La MAMA Theatre, Carlton, Sep. 4 My creative and personal sounding relationship with Ren has continued since 1993, unparalleled in my music life in terms of invention, consistency and mutual art consciousness. It has retained its relevance and intensity and THAT has remained my primary music vehicle. As well, Ren has contributed to almost all my ensembles and events. I am fully cognisant with the opportunities I have given Ren as his teacher and friend but he has returned my attention to his needs a thousand-fold. Hardly a month has passed in 18 years without some creative interaction which translates into a permanent place at my ‘table’ as my adopted son.. THANK YOU Ren for your loyal and creative friendship, your versatile invention and your caring.

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Jeremy Rose’s High 5

Sydney saxophonist and composer Jeremy Rose is one of Australia's leading next generation jazz artists. He completed a Bachelor of Music (First Class Honours) at the Sydney Conservatorium in 2007 and has since studied saxophone and composition in London, Oslo, and New York with George Garzone, Tim Garland, Geir Lysne and Dave Douglas.
Rose's music attempts to reconcile two very different art forms – composed and improvised music – he challenges himself to seek out different influences to forge with his deep respect for the jazz tradition. He has released six albums as both leader and co-leader and each have spanned genres as wide as reggae, afrobeat and hiphop, to Indian Classical and Tango music.
He has toured and performed at major festivals around the country with his various projects including The Vampires, The Strides, Jeremy Rose Quartet, Compass Saxophone Quartet and Chiba Quartet, as well as appearing as a solo artist in Japan and Norway.
The media has reported that “his compositions stand out from the pack” (SMH) and that “his playing shows subtle glimpses of a mature master” (Peter Wockner -Limelight Magazine). Rose has also received numerous awards, and in 2009 he received the Bell Award for Young Australian Jazz Artist. In 2011 Jeremy was selected for the SIMA 'Artists in Transition' program, and was awarded an Australian Post-Graduate Award to undertake a Masters in Music (composition) supervised by Matthew Hindson at the Sydney Conservatorium.

1. ATOMIC - Blå (pronounced like 'blue'),Oslo Norway, August 2006
This was one of the first gigs I went to see when I arrived in Norway as an exchange student in 2006. The band featured both Norwegian and Swedish musicians; Magnus Broo trumpet, Fredrik Ljungkvist saxophone/clarinet, Håvard Wiik piano, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Double bass and Paal Nilssen-Love drums. Their compositions were sophisticated and intriguing to me at the time, with some twentieth century classical influences, and a high level of improvised interaction between the players. The drummer in particular was virtuosic and his dialogue with the pianist was incredible.

2. DAVE LIEBMAN TRIO - Pizza Express, London 2000
I saw this gig when I was still in high school on a tour to UK and Finland. I was exhausted during the show (jet lag), but Liebman's unceasing energy inspired me to continue playing the saxophone for many years to come.

3. HONEST JOHN’S BIG CHOP UP - The Barbican, London July 2008
This gig was a collection of world musicians, including the Afrobeat legend and drummer Tony Allen, the master Malian kora player Toumani Diabati, the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble from Chicago, and Malian music maker Lobi Traore. All musicians had recorded for the record label Honest Jon's which has a celebrated shop of the same name in London's Portobello Rd. The name comes from Lagos, Nigeria, where a chop up is a lavish feast, in dance music culture at large. This gig was like a dose of medicine for me, since I had been living in London for a few weeks studying, composing and practicing. The spirit of the music was incredible and at one point, the whole Barbican audience stood up at once and started dancing (myself included).

4. KNEEBODY - Banff Centre, Canada June 2011
I was lucky enough to attend the Banff International Jazz and Creative Music Workshop led by trumpeter Dave Douglas in 2009 and again with my band The Vampires in 2011. Kneebody were resident artists for the final week of the workshop's three weeks, and the workshop particpants got to attend daily workshops, masterclasses and individual lessons with all of the band members – Ben Wendell saxophone, Shane Endsley trumpet, Kaveh Rastagar bass, Nate Wood drums, Adam Benjamin keyboard. The music could be described as grunge-jazz (the music actually avoids most stereotypes but just to give you an idea). The most interesting element in the group is their unique cueing system - they can signal changes in orchestrations, dynamics, time signatures, tempos and metric modulations (and many more) by just playing a short melody that everyone immediately hears and responds to. The music was fluid and took several dramatic shifts throughout the concert.

5. HERBIE HANCOCK & WAYNE SHORTER 1+1 Sydney State Theatre, 1998
I was very young at the time of this concert and I remember the music being quite challenging to listen to. However it was this curiosity that made me go and listen to the music over and over again over the following months. Stripped back to the purist of voices, the duo format allowed these two master musicians to fully explore their compositions and depart on intriguing improvised explorations.

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Adam Simmons’s High 5

Adam Simmons - saxophones, flutes, clarinets, shakuhachi, fujara & toys
Adam is a composer and sought after woodwind multi-instrumentalist, involved across many different scenes within Melbourne and beyond, performing contemporary jazz, punk, afro-beat, new music, traditional Japanese honkyo-ku, funk and free noise/improv. In 2004, Adam received a Special Award from the Freedman Foundation, facilitating a period of work and study in New York, Germany and Poland. As part of the 2006 Melbourne Fringe Festival, a special Retrospective of Adam's work was held - featuring over 200 musicians in 40 configurations over three weeks.
Current ensembles include: Adam Simmons Toy Band, Adam Simmons Quartet, New Blood, Nick Tsiavos Ensemble, BOLT Ensemble, Embers, Steve Purcell’s Pearly Shells, Big Fela, Collider and his latest project, Origami.
Other artists that Adam has worked with include: Ernest Ranglin, Nigel Kennedy, Peter Brotzmann, Odean Pope, Denis Colin, The Mavis's, You Am I, KK Null, Ursel Schlicht, John Hollenbeck, Ned Rothenberg, Jacek Kochan, CW Stoneking and Spontaneous Human Combustion.
Since 2009 Adam has also been working as a visual art, creating music box assemblages and is represented by Catherine Asquith Gallery, Collingwood. In Oct 2010 he exhibited at the National Museum in Szczecin, Poland and has been a selected finalist for several art prizes, including the 2011 Hutchins Art Prize.

As a musical director, Adam has been leading bands for over 20 years, including his larger ensembles, the Toy Band and Adam Simmons Creative Music Ensemble. In addition Adam has had directorial roles with projects as diverse as Ernest Ranglin (Jamaica), Gulsen Ozer/Dani-Ela Kayser (dance), Mabel Dawn Davis (USA - cabaret) and the Kingfisher Festival (Ceres - community music-making). Adam has won two Green Room Awards for Best Musical Direction and in 2007 he was invited to be Guest Curator at the Art Omi International Artist Residency in upstate New York, acting as a mentor to a select group of artists from around the world.

Adam's most recent release is with his trio, Origami called "The Blues of Joy" - featuring the unique spiral packaging of an actual origami design, the CD has been critically acclaimed so far, with accolades in The Australian and The Age, as well as having been an ABC Jazz Feature Album. The CD is available in physical and digital formats from www.listenhearcollective.com.

"Bloody wonderful!" - Owen McKern, Delivery, 3RRR FM

"Simmons is a monster" - Robert Spencer, Cadence Magazine (USA)

"Adam Simmons – a player with an astonishing dynamic and tonal range at his disposal" - Jessica Nicholas, The Age

"He created a massive, unremitting volume of sound on the threshold of pain which quickly drove one audience member from the hall. I loved it." - Geoffrey Gartner, Australian Music Centre

"I can think of few players I know of who are as gifted and as receptive to collaborating and working with other musicians." - Rick Moody (author of The Ice Storm), The Rumpus (USA)

1. MILES DAVIS – Melbourne Concert Hall, 1988
This was a very important gig and I now look back and see how lucky I was to have seen such an icon of modern music, performing at such a high level. The presentation, the persona, the freedom, the adventure, the control, the precision and rigour - it was exciting stuff indeed! I forget now which concert I saw, whether it was the first or second - but because the ABC recorded and broadcast the other performance I actually got to hear both. And I still have the tapes made from recording directly from the radio broadcast, that still work surprisingly after the hours I did playing along to Foley and Kenny Garret!

2. BILLY MINTZ – Oakland, California, 2003
I was staying with Phillip Greenlief in Oakland/San Francisco and he had organised a concert for Billy and himself, to both play solo and then together, and as it happened, I ended up being invited to play a solo set also. But All I remember is the solo set of Billy's - wow!! I don't claim to know much about him, other than from what I've read and he's played with the likes of Lee Konitz, Charles Lloyd and numerous others. But it was just sublime. He drove all the way directly from LA (approx the distance from Melbourne to Sydney). When he sat down to play, he waited for a moment and another... picked up a stick... waited... waited... and then put it down. He then selected another drumstick... waited... and then commenced to play the most sublimely beautiful improvised set of music. And to only an audience of three - Phillip, myself and one paying punter, a bassist friend of Phillip's!! And then at the end of the night, he graciously accepted a token offering as payment, and hopped in his car to drive directly back to LA. The absolute commitment to the music shown by Billy that night - and to playing the right music, not just doing the gig! - has long been an inspiration.

3. CECIL TAYLOR/MASADA – Jazz at the Lincoln, New York 2007
Its bloody hard trying to whittle it down to only five gigs, so maybe I can get away with at least mentioning a few others in a similar vein to place this choice in context... over the past few years, I've seen a number of amazing artists all in their 70's or older, including Ornette Coleman, Ernest Ranglin, Marshall Allen, David Tolley, Ted Vining, Ahmad Jamal, Tony Gould (some only just hitting the mark...) - there is something particularly special about jazz and these musicians in that they all continue to be inspired by the music they perform and are pushing themselves with new challenges and presenting new and interesting music to their audiences - and there is something to admire and respect about an artist who has maybe 50 or more years of experience!!
But I'm going to pick the gig where I saw Cecil for my High 5 - the contrast between Masada and Cecil was quite marked, especially in John Zorn's attitude towards an audience comment. Now I will preface this by saying Zorn has been a large influence on me and I know he has done a huge amount for contemporary music worldwide, but after a particularly rousing finish to a Masada tune, there was a cry from a member of the audience "We love it, John!!," - to which Zorn replied, "Well that's not why we're doing it!" This made me cringe as the poor guy was just expressing the feeling of the crowd as elicited by the vibe and the playing of Masada - this was challenging music, but eminently accessible due to its high energy, familiar and entertaining genre jumping cuts, groovy rhythms, etc. The crowd was right into it, so why chew someone out for enjoying it?
But then Cecil came out with Henry Grimes and Pheeroan Aklaff and it was a different story. First he read some poetry, which was not actually so audible, at least to me, and then they started to play. The music was so strong, and so unique. People started leaving - this was flabbergasting to me! Here was a man of almost 80, creating heavy, heavy music - and each piece was very different in sound and concept. There was nothing compromising about this music - it was from the heart and mind, absolutely personal and from musicians that have researched and explored this music for many years. The fact that even after so many years of playing, that people still were not hip and open to this music is incredulous to me... especially when I feel anyone with an interest in someone like Zorn should appreciate that he comes from the foundations laid by the likes of Cecil. So for staying true to his musical vision and for just the sheer endurance and strength at the age of about 78, I have to take my hat off to Cecil for this gig!

4. STEVE YOUNG – The Troubadour 1988 (and every time since)
Steve Young is one of my favourite performers - a fantastic bluegrass guitar picker, lovely balladeer and with a stunning voice. His records have him performing with ensembles, but I have only ever seen him play solo, and I must admit I think I prefer it that way. The first time I saw Steve Young, I went down to Melbourne in a car with a bunch of my Dad's friends, without really knowing much about him, other than they liked him. The first song he did had me breathless with the strength and technique of his playing - and then a string broke, which felt like it was broken by the strength of the music itself, rather than because of any physical action. And so, since then he has returned 3 times, I think, and I've seen him every time and its always been worth it!

5. TONY GOULD – Camp St, Ballarat 1989
This was just a small gig in a cellar in a bar/venue in Ballarat - maybe I should be mentioning my first big concert being Pat Metheny Group in 86 or 87, or maybe the small intimate experience of David Hirschfelder and David Jones, playing a raffle ticket, but I have included this as it was at this gig that Tony told me to make sure I actually went down to VCA for an audition, rather than just send a tape. He had just been my external examiner for my VCE/TOP Music course at School of Mines (Ballarat) and so having listened to my Dad's vinyl of McJad with Tony and Keith Hounslow, I figured it would be good to check Tony out at this small gig. He was a guest with some local musicians, playing trad jazz - I think it was Roger Vincent on trumpet, Ron Rosser on drums and maybe a clarinetist, but I'm not sure. Tony just made the whole thing live! I remember thinking it was like Cecil Taylor - the strong rhythmic drive and adventurous harmonies had me enthralled all night, with a sense of joy, humour and adventure. And I must admit, I've never seen him play like that again. He is one of the most lyrical and harmonically interesting instrumentalists I've heard, but I am glad I have experienced the "good time" side as well!! And yes, during the break when I asked his advice about getting into VCA, he strongly urged me to make sure I auditioned in person and he even offered to organise a band to play with and just to call him up. I did so, and he said just to come to his office on the day. And when I got there it turned out that he was simply going to accompany me himself!! And because of having seen him perform it was both an exciting and daunting prospect. But I ended up getting in and having the honour of learning Tony (and others) for three years - but always remembering the wild night of jazz in a small bar in Ballarat!

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Miles Thomas’s High 5

Musician, recording engineer, producer, and now… bandleader

Miles worked as the recording engineer for a few years at the famed Paradise Studios (with Billy Field) recording many local and a few international jazz albums.
"The lack of active creativity spurred my departure from full time audio work. It is totally dependent on who is being recorded. I love the drums… I hit something and I hear it back immediately!"
He currently plays in many different musical situations…Gerard Masters, Saloons, The Penetrators, Smoke And Silver, Billy Field, Gavin Ahearn and now Pen Island. The Miles Thomas led trio have just released their first recording "Just Blowing" on Ladder Recordings. The trio comprises Gerard Masters (piano) Brett Hirst (bass) and Miles (Drums) - "This is our interpretation of standards. A melting pot of all our influences"
"I still do a fair amount of audio work, but only jobs that I really like!"
Miles is currently working on the new Gerard Masters pop album, Guy Strazz World Quartet, MT&TheRVs and the groundwork for a solo album due out the end of this year.

1. GERARD MASTERS TRIO – The Basement, Sydney, 2008
This was the first piano trio gig that captivated me. The interaction, the groove and the fun these guys were having was infectious. Luckily, it was captured for a DVD release, so I still check it out every now and then. Evan Mannell is a constant inspiration - He's such a badass!

2. JIM BLACK’S ALASNOAXIS – Bennetts Lane, Melbourne, 2011
Hearing Alasnoaxis play a late set at Bennetts lane, as part of the Melbourne Jazz Festival was awesome! Jim has such a unique voice on the instrument, and his control of sound is phenomenal. The band was really firing, opening up some of the tunes for more improvisation, constantly aware of all members. Awesome! Contemporary music at its finest!

3. MATT McMAHON TRIO – Venue 505, Sydney (Jazzgroove) 2011
Simon Barker is a mentor/hero of mine. Seeing this gig totally reinforced my thought that he is one of the finest musicians on the planet! Simon has a beautiful touch on the instrument, and a concept of rhythmic smearing that I think I finally understood at this gig! The fluidity of communication between the trio was exceptional.

4. SEAN WAYLAND – Institute of Music, Sydney, 2010 (i think)
This was the first time I heard Mark Guiliana live. This was certainly a moment in my life when I heard some of the things in my head, being done cleaner, faster, cooler than I thought possible. This performance was a definite motivator for the shed and is a constant source of inspiration.

5. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE – Big Day Out, Sydney (200?)
Joey Castillo is a badass. This was hard-hitting rock music. Massive drum sounds! Awesome guitar sounds! I really dig Josh Homme's songs and the production of their albums. Seeing it live was great!

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Sarah McCallum’s High 5

“Miss Little is all about presenting the story of the song, in whatever way that blossoms. Sometimes it’s pretty and sometimes it’s challenging for the listener but it is always about being honest.”
So says Sydney based Miss Little front woman Sarah McCallum who is an accomplished composer, arranger and producer. And it is Sarah’s songs that are starting to make a name for Miss Little. Late in 2010 she won the Crowded House lyric writing competition after Neil Finn and band ran a global competition where they put up the backing track of a song they were working on minus any lyrics or melody.
The competition was to finish the song adding melody and vocals to the band’s track - and Sarah’s entry won. The band was so impressed by Sarah’s vocals that they asked her to get up on stage with them at the Hordern Pavillion in Sydney earlier this year.
Not your usual pop musician, Sarah grew up in New Zealand and made a name for herself as an award winning choral composer. Her father is a folk singer and her brother a saxophone playing dance musician, but it was her mother’s Classical violin playing and piano teaching that introduced Sarah to the classical world. She gained ATCL in oboe at the very young age of 15 and also topped the country in both school certificate and Bursary music (HSC Equivalent). She was the first person to receive the NZ secondary students choral composing award and gained a BMUS from Auckland Uni.
Sarah’s pieces have been sung by choirs around the world and her work “The Moon’s Glow Once Lit” featured on the 2006 Voices NZ CD, which won best classical album at the NZ music awards. In 2007 Sarah received a silver medal at the New York advertising awards for the music she composed for the Allblacks “Black Blood” campaign.
Sarah has provided string and brass arrangements to many Australian albums including Andy Walton, Uncle Jed and Johanna Cranitch and produced E.P’s for the Rougue Balloon, Katie Merryweather, Johanna Cranitch and Rosie Catalano. Sarah is also featured singing on Mr Percival’s album “Microphones”.

I was 12 and my dad took me to see Michael Jackson. It was awesome. I remember the theatrics and the sense of showmanship. I had never seen anything else like it. There was one point in the show where a giant tank came on stage and a little girl walks up to it and puts a flower in the end of the gun shaft - very cheesy but some-what powerful!

My friend’s dad was doing sound for Elton John and I got to go and sit in the sound booth. I met Billy Joel who was really funny. Elton John wasn’t feeling very well so alas I didn’t get to meet him but I still have a guitar pick from his guitarist Davey Johnstone who hang out with us a lot. Seeing two of the greatest piano/singers together really influenced me to start writing piano/vocal songs.

3. KRONOS QUARTET – Auckland Town Hall, 2005
This blew my mind. I love string quartet music but this was on another level. The combination of styles that this “classical” group embodies opened my mind to how music doesn’t need to be put in strict genres all the time. They had their instruments running through distortion pedals at one point and the sound really pricked my ears up. Distortion in a supposed classical concert? Yes please!

4. JACKIE ORSZACZKY – At @Newtown 2006
This was one of the first gigs I went to when I moved to Sydney and I always remember it. It was a Tuesday night, the place was packed, everyone was dancing their arses off, and the band sounded amazing! Hamish Stuart was on drums and Dave Symes was on Bass. Clayton Doley rocked up with a leslie speaker and organ on a trolley and I knew then that Sydney had a lot to offer musically!

There are so many gigs I could name but I wanted to talk about a very recent one. I am biased as Matt is in my band Miss Little but the music he is making currently with this line up is so thoughtful, beautiful and well orchestrated. The first time I heard these songs live I was so enthralled. Dave Ades and Matt (Two of Australia’s best saxophonists) have this incredible energy and connection when they play together and backed by Dave Goodman on drums and Cam Undy on bass, you can’t really go wrong!

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Carl Morgan’s High 5

Guitarist and composer Carl Morgan has quickly established himself as one of Sydney's top young musicians. A graduate of the Australian National University, Carl was a finalist in the National Jazz Awards in 2007. He has recently recorded an album of original music featuring Mike Rivett (Tenor Sax), Steve Barry (Piano), Alex Boneham (Bass) and Ben Vanderwal (Drums). He has also toured this group over the last two years performing at 505 in Sydney, Bennett's Lane in Melbourne and The Street Theatre in Canberra.
Carl is also a member of the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra and has performed with Kristin Berardi, James Morrison and Sean Wayland among others.

More information on the upcoming album and tours at www.carlmorgan.com

1. DAVID BINNEY QUARTET – 55 bar NYC, May 2010
This was simply the most mind blowing musical experience of my life. At that point I owned one Dave Binney album and enjoyed it so I thought I'd go and check out his band at the 55 bar on my trip to NY. What made the gig for me was the interplay between Binney and drummer Dan Weiss, and the incredible energy and groove that they developed over the course of a tune. Dave Binney has an amazing melodic concept and a fresh approach and is not afraid to turn jazz on its head. Dan Weiss was equally refreshing, he'd really meshed the Indian rhythmic stuff with jazz in a way I'd never heard. I left the gig in a laughing fit which didn't end for half an hour!

I was 16 at the time and to see these “jazz gods” was a big deal for me. Being from a small country town I hadn't seen any high profile jazz gigs before. I'd been John Scofield's number one fan for about 3 years and to hear his trio play the tunes off his album “Enroute” was surreal. Wayne Shorter's set had some high energy moments that had me on the edge of my seat. It was inspiring to see two of the world’s best drummers, Bill Stewart and Brian Blade at the top of their game.

3. MESSHUGGAH – Manning Bar, Sydney 2010
Swedish metal band Meshuggah were a big influence on me in 2009-2010 and to see them live was a great experience. I was standing right in front of the stage and it was LOUD! To hear and see them perform their unique polyrhythmic music was eye opening and inspiring on an ensemble and compositional level. Their guitarist Fredrik Thordendal is one of the most unique musicians I've encountered.

4. KURT ORSENWINKEL TRIO – Darling Harbour Jazz Festival, Sydney 2011
I've seen Kurt Rosenwinkel on a few occasions, being one of my all time biggest influences. His trio's performance at Darling Harbour this year blew me away. Kurt's music is an inspiration to all of my peers and his mastery of the guitar is unprecedented. The rhythm section were subdued which was perfect for the music, allowing Kurt to feature his huge sound and musicianship.

5. BEN WENDEL GROUP – Undead Jazz Festival, NYC 2010
On my trip to NY I checked out the inaugural “Undead Jazz Festival” held in Greenwich Village. I bought a ticket because it was a great opportunity to check out some new artists who I hadn't heard of. Ben Wendel's group was the first gig of the festival and featured some great musicians in Nir Felder, Ben Street, Gerald Clayton and Dan Weiss. This gig led me to check out the band Kneebody (another of Wendel's band) who have been a big influence on me recently.

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Paul Cutlan's High 5

Paul’s career as a versatile multi-instrumentalist spans many different styles encompassing contemporary classical music, world music and jazz.
Paul graduated from the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music in 1987 with Honours in Composition. After freelancing with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, he moved to Sydney in 1989, where he worked with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra. Notable jazz artists/ensembles with whom Paul has played include Jann Rutherford, Original Otto Orchestra, Ten Part Invention, James Morrison, Judy Bailey, Steve Hunters' Nine Lives, Craig Scott Quintet, Clarion Fracture Zone and Wanderlust. International acts with whom he has performed include Lou Reed, Bobby Previte, Jim McNeely, James Newton, Jerry Lewis and Michael Bublé.
In 1997 Paul joined world/jazz group and is featured on their ARIA winning album Live in Europe. With them he has been on numerous European, North American and Asian tours and for Musica Viva he frequently performs school shows Australia wide. Paul is a member of the Australian Art Orchestra, having recorded three albums. With this band his has played with Danish Trumpeter/ Composer Palle Mickkelborg, a quartet of Indian musicians, and played in Sandy Evans’ Testimony. Other projects include Ruby’s Story featuring Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter, with which Paul has travelled to Mexico City, Auckland and Malaysia, and Meet me in the Middle of the air featuring Paul Kelly, Vicka and Linda Bull.
Cutlan’s own group Coltrane Project has been frequently recorded by the ABC in the studio and live in concert. In 2003 he composed the music for and performed in the acclaimed theatre production Birth of the Cool for the Sydney Festival, celebrating the lives and poetry of the “Beat Generation” of American poets of the 1940s and ‘50s. Subsequent seasons were at the Seymour Centre and Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2005.
Since 2007 Paul led a trio at the Paris Quartier d’été, has co-produced the album Simpatico with fellow saxophonist Andrew Robson, and played in various shows such as Guys and Dolls and Wicked.
Most recently he performed in Neil Armfield’s farewell production of Diary of a Madman featuring Geoffrey Rush in Sydney and New York seasons, and is studying for a Masters Degree in Composition at Sydney Conservatorium.

I had been underwhelmed by the conservative music presented at Jan Garbarek’s quartet appearance at the opera house and thought this would be similarly ‘soundtrack –like’. I ended up overcome by a sense of how beautifully delivered this music was. The Hilliard Ensemble – a male a capella quartet sung with the most exact intonation and supernatural blend I have heard live. To add any other element to this should have diminished their complete sound, but Jan Garbarek matched their tone, their intonation, appeared from within their notes, soared freely across their ensemble and managed to merge just as mysteriously back into the texture. As a cameo, Garbarek performed a solo version of Albert Ayler’s Ghosts.

I had been trying to digest Alban Berg’s second opera Lulu on CD – 3 discs of dense, serial composition with lots of German words. On stage, Emma Matthews brought out the passion and aching desire from extremely tricky 12 tone melodies and the orchestra was overwhelmingly expressive. The sets featuring huge mirrors helped to make this a transforming experience. Over 3 hours of Berg left me feeling very affected and eager to study the score.

3. ORNETTE COLEMAN – Sydney Opera House, 2008
This was the big year of Ornette making his appearance, followed soon after by Sonny Rollins. Both were amazing and inspirational, knowing that one was witnessing performers who are pioneers, survivors and a big part of jazz music history... still going strong. Andrew Robson and I attended the Ornette concert together and had the honor of meeting him at the after show party.

With Hal Crook? Trumpet, Jim McNeely piano, Steve Gilmore bass, Bill Goodwin Drums, this gig stays with me as the first international group I saw. I was backpacking the U.K. and Europe and happened to be in Glasgow when Phil Woods was there - a superb concert.

5. ABORIGINAL GRADUATION CEREMONY - Maningrida, N.T. 11th Sep, 1997
I witnessed the graduation ceremony of a group of students at the Maningrida Community after the Mara band performed there. It was a big deal for each student, surrounded by their family in the shape of a boat in a ritual which combined the slow procession with their own song, declaimed by the men in high lamenting voices. At the end of each ‘stanza’ the group would pause, exclaim and stamp the ground, before continuing, then eventually opening up for the student to leave the group and claim their certificate.

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Leonie Cohen's High 5

Leonie Cohen completed the Jazz Course at Sydney Conservatorium in 1992 and is one of Sydney’s foremost jazz pianists and composers.
She has performed extensively throughout Sydney (Opera House, Angel Place, Basement, Sound Lounge) and has toured Singapore (Raffles Theatre), Shanghai (Glamour Room), Hong Kong (Fringe Theatre), Japan (JCS), Melbourne (Bennetts Lane, Spiegel Tent) and Adelaide (Cabaret Festival).
Leonie works regularly with Christa Hughes, Edwina Blush and Tango Saloon. She has toured around Australia with David Campbell.
Cohen has composed music for film, theatre, and dance productions. Most recently she composed the music for and played in the productions “Monkey Shines” and “Darlingwood Tales” with Liesel Badorrek - commissioned by and performed at the Sydney Opera House.
Leonie recorded her debut CD “Jerusalem” commissioned by the ABC in 2005. She is about to release her second album “Sideshow Pony”, also commissioned by the ABC, as a trio with Simon Barker (Vince Jones, Paul Grabowsky) on drums and Hugh Fraser (Cabaret, Don Burrows) on double bass.

“Cohen plays absolutely beautifully. Superb.” - John Clare - Sydney Morning Herald April 2005

“Cohen’s piano is glorious. Not only is her playing extremely tasteful and sure, her sound is beautiful - a considerable achievement on an instrument as impersonal as the piano.” - Greg Levine - Jazz Australia November 2005

“Cohen’s own playing is spacious and lyrical whether soloing or in support. The music is seductive and melodic and the solos are often exquisite.” - Dave Curry - Canberra Times, June 16 2005

1. DIANNE REEVES QUARTET - Enmore 2007 (I think!)
Just stunning - her singing, the band, the arrangements, the soloing. Top notch contemporary mainstream vocal jazz - beautiful, original and highly accessible.

2. PRETENDERS – Enmore Theatre 2005 (?)
Fantastic gig- sassy rock’n’roll. The band rocked out hit after hit, dispersed with new material of an equally high standard. As well as relishing all the hits, I fell in love with a song I had never heard before “It’s about the losing”.

3. STEVIE WONDER – Acer Arena, 2008
Stevie was compelling and amazing. The band was fantastic. At the start, he was escorted onto the stage by one of the female backing vocalists- later revealed to be his daughter, who sang a beautiful number. Stevie was gracious enough to play the hits we all wanted to hear with freshness and brilliance.

4. HERBIE HANCOCK QUARTET – Seymour center (a long time ago! Maybe early 90’s)
Herbie (in spite of the poor sound quality) is a master of jazz piano, and played extraordinarily – particularly memorable was his rendition of “dolphin dance”.

This piano competition (mostly classical) runs every 4 years in Sydney, with amazing performances from top classical pianists. I can’t narrow down a particular concert from the competitions that I have loved best, but to say that the level of playing has always been incredibly inspiring- technically and musically.

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Jan Preston's High 5

Jan Preston, the knockout boogie woogie pianist with the rich resonant voice, captures audiences with her mastery of boogie woogie and honky-tonk piano style.
Winner of 4 Best Female Blues and Blues Artist of the Year Awards, Jan plays festivals and concerts throughout Australia, NZ, and Europe, tours her own shows and writes music for films and television, such as the Theme to Australian Story.
Known as Australia's Queen of the Boogie Piano, Jan has a reputation as a magnetic live performer.
Visit Jan on Facebook www.facebook.com/pages/Jan-Preston/203189246368395

1. NINA SIMONE – Wellington NZ, 1993
I saw Nina Simone 18 years ago in Wellington NZ, and I can remember it as if it was last night. Ms Simone had a reputation for being a very moody live performer and her shows were always up and down depending on how she was feeling on the night, so I was extremely lucky to hear Nina Simone in concert at her very best. The independence between her singing and piano playing absolutely stunned me.

This was only a few months before Professor Longhair passed away and this concert was the final nail in the coffin of my classical piano career. I bought his current album (Live On the Queen Mary) and learnt just about every tune. I still play ‘Gone So Long’.

3. KATIE WEBSTER – Sydney, 1983
Aptly, Katie was called the ‘Two Fisted Momma’ and when I heard her hard hitting boogie piano style I felt a load off my chest. Here, at last, was a female player who approached the piano in the same percussive way that I always had.

4. LILI KRAUS - Hungarian classical pianist, Napier 1961.
She was the first female concert pianist I had ever seen, a great performer as well as teacher, and we were all overwhelmed to have Lili perform in our small town in NZ. It was like the queen was visiting.

5. PATTI SMITH - Enmore Theatre Sydney 2001.
I was dragged along to this show by a friend. I would never have gone and didn’t know any of Patti’s music. However I was enormously inspired by her extraordinary openness and honesty as a performer and it made me realise how much further I could take the audience/musician connection.

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Tom Vincent's High 5

Tom Vincent is a leading and dynamic jazz pianist who has been performing for over 20 years. His style is unique and influenced mainly by recordings from the jazz greats like Louis, Sarah Vaughn, Clifford Brown, Duke Ellington and so on. Vincent has lived and performed extensively in Europe and spent three years in New York where he was active in the jazz scene, performing and studying. His love of performing reflects the true jazz style of collaborating with other passionate aficionados. This has enabled Vincent, who is now based in Tasmania, to build a strong contingent of musicians across the globe, jazz musicians who are eager to reunite and perform with him.
In October 2009 the Tom Vincent Quaretet conducted a major tour of Australia. In 2010 Tom is touring the world, playing with over ten different musicians in various pockets of the globe including Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Zurich, Amsterdam, Paris, New York and Toronto.
An experience with Tom and his sidemen will have you sitting on the edge of your seat and moving at least one part of your body. Tom is charismatic, spontaneous, downright cool and an absolute genius at the keys. This music is rooted in the jazz tradition and a joy to see live as Tom combines this earthy original jazz feeling with fresh invention, surprising and delighting his side men, himself and of course the audience too. His infectious style of jazz brings people together to simply have a good time over some great swingin' grooves. His repertoire of hundreds of songs feeds a constant stream of music that is evolving right before you. Tom consistently deliver exciting and entertaining performances.
Tom studied composing / arranging and performance with Don Burrows, George Golla, Mike Nock, Roger Frampton. He graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium in 1989 with encouragement from Burrows to further his study abroad. Burrows described Tom as a trailblazer, “…a musician who does not merely recycle what he’s heard, but will really take music somewhere of his own.”
In 1993 he was awarded an International Study Grant from Australia Council for composition study in New York, where he lived, studied and performed for three years.

[This was] at the venue upstairs near the train tracks. His band - very good stuff. Very jazzy, but Zawanully. Nice. [I’m] making up words on the spot as they sang. Awesome drummer, bass player and guitarist. [It] blew me away. And the rave Zawinul gave at the VCA when he was there, was very inspiring. It was a cop out to take it too seriously when he told us (the place was packed!!) “Don't bother practicing so much, you're not going to get that much better”. In a way it's true. But now I think, he was probably more talking about himself. He was already pretty good though.

2. MIKE STERN - 303 CLUB NEW YORK CITY, about 1992.
That guitarist who played with Miles. Then he was famous. He was good. [He] took his time and it was cool. I think that club is still there and still has jazz.

Vinnie Coliutta at the Blue Note with Chick Corea's band. Bill Motzing Junior said "We have to go" and he made me line up in the snow out side the Blue Note in Manhattan in the West Village. I put plastic bags on my shoes to keep warm. We lined up TWO hours before the gig was to start in order to get good seats!! He was amazing!! Back then I had no idea what he was doing but all sorts of polyrhythms and different grouping -- but STILL grooving [he] stole the show.

John Hoffman used to play at Soup Plus in Sydney. My mum used to take me the regularly when I was a young teenager, 13, 14, 15. The very first time I heard John Hoffman play (I was a trumpet player back then; my teacher Vladamir Khusid had given me tapes of records of Clifford Brown and Wynton Marsalis which cemented my jazz addiction), I was blown away and in my mind his beautiful lines reminded me of the grace of Clifford Brown. And John had such a great tone too.

In 2010 my band toured Australia supporting Branford Marsalis. Each night we watched Branford’s band up close from the wings. It was a different experience being up close like that. Than, for example – miles away like some people were in the Opera House. The band was exhilarating! Joey Calderazzo played a few incredible solos on the tour that were way beyond any recording I had heard of him. Hearing live music is such a different experience to listening to recorded music. Branford also played some wonderful solos, they all did; Eric Reeves on bass and Justin Faulkner on drums. But most of all, as a group, it was fully pumping, fully swinging. The sound engineers did a brilliant job too. Getting to hear this band up close for several nights was without a doubt one of the most musically exciting times of my life.

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Abel Cross's High 5

Abel has worked as a professional musician, composer, and teacher since graduating from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2007. He is a dedicated ‘genre-hopper’, writing and performing with his own original contemporary music projects, and as a sideman with a diverse range of musical luminaries from Australia and abroad. In recent years, Abel has grown to take a keen interest in new media project development and performance, which he continues to pursue. He can be seen performing regularly with groups such as the Abel Cross Neo-Bop Quintet and 3ofmillions.
“To select only five concerts that have influenced my own musical development has been no mean feat. Though I’ve been enlivened and inspired by many innumerable performers over the years, I can safely say that the five gigs below really changed the way I thought about music and what I wished to achieve through my own playing.”

1. ZENI GEVA – Wollongong Youth Centre, 1996
I was all of 15 when I saw this trio from Osaka perform. I really didn’t know what I was in for, but an older friend of mine let me know that these guys were a ‘must see’. After being exposed to trad jazz in my youth, I’d migrated to the more abrasive sounds of punk/hardcore and switched the trumpet for a bass guitar.
Zeni Geva challenged a lot of my early preconceptions of music. They had two guitars, drums, and no bass?! They played on low quality equipment (probably not a choice, but a reality of international touring) but had an incredibly powerful and unique sound. Also, they played in time signatures that I never even knew existed, but always maintained a strong groove.
Above all of these things, I got to chat with the guys in broken English after the show, and found they were the most open and humble people. Nothing like what my teen perception of a rock star was like. This really affirmed to me the importance of being a good person, and then a good musician.

2. MARK HELIAS TRIO – The Basement, 2001
This gig was a turning point for me. The trio was Mark Helias on the bass alongside Tony Malaby on tenor, and Gerald Cleaver on the drums. The initial thing that struck me was the incredible tonal control that these three guys had on their instruments. It was obvious that everything they played was just like they were hearing it and they were totally in the moment. The tunes that they played were Helias’, and each was a vehicle for exploration. Such open compositions. Such free playing combined with such strong ideas and intent.
I’d been dabbling with the double bass at this stage, more out of an interest for the instrument that any style of playing. But I walked out on to Reiby Place after the gig thinking, that’s what I want to do!

3. THE NECKS - Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, 2001
This may have been the first free-improvised gig I ever attended. It was at this time that I’d begun taking the double bass very seriously, and trying to balance that with completing a BSc. After seeing some gigs around the place I was really keen to see these guys cut loose (particularly Lloyd on the bass!) but that’s not what they did at all.
There was so much space in the music this night. More so than any time that I’ve seen the Necks perform subsequently. It was as though each note was being plucked from thin air, with each new turn in the music appearing in the same way before floating and slowly vaporising back in to the aether. Chris, Lloyd and Tony each made their own statements but developed the music in such a unified way, each listening as much as playing. This gig really opened my eyes to the power of space and the strength of simplicity.

4. TIM O’DWYER TRIO - Wollongong Conservatorium of Music, 2006
This gig took place after I’d moved away from Wollongong to study at the Sydney Conservatorium. It was one of the first tours that Trio Apoplectic embarked on, and for this night we were sharing the stage with this trio of Tim O’Dwyer, Clayton Thomas, and Darren Moore. In retrospect, I was very glad that we played first, because they blew us off the stage.
It was a hot summer night, and from the first note Tim played the band was ON! Each of the guys had a ferocious sound on their instrument when played conventionally and each used a variety of extended techniques and preparations, which combined to create an amazing dynamic and textural range in the band. The boundaries between pre-composed and free-composed material were blurred as seamlessly as I’ve ever witnessed. It was a truly fantastic master-class in collective intuition, intent, and energy.

5. JOHN McNEIL/BILL McHENRY QUARTET – The Village Vanguard 2007
I attended this gig at the end of a month-long pilgrimage to NYC. Whilst there I’d taken lessons with Henry Grimes, Rufus Reid, Mark Helias, and Drew Gress and seen some amazing bands; Bley/Peacock/Motian, Paul Motian Trio, Trio 3 w/ Geri Allen, Ellery Eskellin & Jim Black. The whole trip had been such a jolt to someone who was weary from four years of study at music school. The decision to check these guys out was really on a punt. I didn’t know the band, but they were playing at the Vanguard so, why not?
This quartet turned out to be the best gig I saw on this trip to NYC. It was the last gig of their week at the Vanguard and they were cookin’. The focus of the band is to play a lot of old and obscure bebop repertoire but to perform it in an open and very contemporary way. It rocked my world. These four guys shared a deep intuition, razor-sharp wit, and respect for the tradition, and presented ‘old’ music in a way that sounded totally fresh. It was like hearing Ornette Coleman’s ‘Shape of Jazz to Come’ for the first time. Not so much for what they played, but for the vibe that was in the room. And of course to hear it in the ‘best jazz club in the world’ made it a most memorable experience.

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Briana Cowlishaw's High 5

Inspired by the sounds of Joni Mitchell, Elis Regina, Esperanza Spalding and Miles Davis, Briana Cowlishaw is quickly being recognised on the Sydney scene as a young and creative vocalist, with a distinct vocal sound. Already having performed with some of Sydney's finest musicians such as James Muller, Tom O'Halloran, Gerard Masters, Jonathan Zwartz, Cameron Undy, Evan Mannell and Cameron Reid, Briana was selected as 1 of 6 vocalists across Australia in both 2009 and 2010 as a finalist in the 'Generations in Jazz' Vocal Scholarship, directed by James and John Morrison. Exploring the limits of Jazz, Latin, Funk and Pop, Briana has recently been featured with her jazz trio ‘Shooting the Breeze’ and corporate covers band ‘The Usual Suspects’ at well known Sydney venues such as the Opera Bar, The Basement, The Sound Lounge, Star City’s Astral Bar, The Woollahra Hotel and the Park Hyatt. Other signi?cant performances include singing the National Anthem at Melbourne’s 2010 6-hour motorcycle race in Phillip Island, performing with the Jason Bruer Band at the Sound Lounge (SIMA) in 2009 and 2010 and at the Basement in 2010, performing with the Jubilation Choir at the 2008 Carols in the Domain under the instruction of Joy Yates, singing the National Anthem at the Royal Easter Show 2008, playing as a warm up act for Thirsty Merc at the Molong Music Festival March 2007 and Performing at the NRL Grand Final in 2008.

With a unique and creative flair for writing, and a Bachelor of Music Degree (Contemporary Performance) attained from the Australian Institute of Music in 2008, Briana is establishing herself as a one of Sydney’s newest young composers. Teaming up with esteemed Australian jazz musicians James Muller (guitar), Matt McMahon, Greg Coffin (piano), Ken Allars (trumpet), Brendan Clarke (bass) and Nic Cecire (drums), Briana’s Sextet most recently featured as a headlining act of the January 2011 Jazzgroove Summer Festival, and continues to pop up around town at original jazz venue’s such as Colbourne Ave and Venue 505.

“Her compositions already reflect a distinctive style, that promises to be unmistakable; her structures and arrangements are always interesting, her melodies transporting.” -- Lloyd Bradford Syke, (The Australian Stage) February 2010.

After a recent 3 month trip to New York during 2010, working with the great Kurt Elling, Gretchen Parlato, Gerald Clayton and Sean Wayland, Briana has returned home with an upcoming album on the way, co-producing the record with some of New York’s greatest jazz musicians, Aaron Goldberg (piano), Reuben Rogers (bass) and Greg Hutchinson (drums). Also featuring Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet) and Mike Moreno (guitar), the album is a collection of Briana’s original compositions and a couple of jazz standards, planned to be released by mid 2011.

1. THE PAT METHENY GROUP – The Umbria Jazz Festival, Perugia, Italy, July 2010
I had been listening to Pat Metheny a lot before I left on my overseas travels in mid 2010, and had booked tickets very early to see his group play at the Umbria Jazz Festival in July, so I was very much anticipating this gig. Not even my high expectations could have spoiled this performance, they simply made it all the more satisfying. I have never seen one musician take the stage so boldly and modestly, and captivate an audience so powerfully; I was in a complete trance from start to finish. The group were playing on the main stage, a huge performance space, and was made up of Lyle Mays (piano), Steve Rodby (bass) and Antonio Sanchez (drums). Aside from Metheny’s warm, silky smooth sound and solo’s that sounded like a collection of beautiful melodies, two things really took me aback throughout the performance. One being Antonio Sanchez’s dynamic approach on the drums, creating great intensity without being too loud and overpowering, and the other being Pat Metheny’s lyrical phrasing in ‘Midwestern Nights Dream’. So moving!!

2. GERALD CLAYTON TRIO + GUESTS – The Jazz Standard, New York City, August 2010
On my recent trip to New York at the end of 2010, I was lucky enough to hear and get a lesson from the New York based piano player Gerald Clayton. Over the 3 nights at the Jazz Standard at the end of August, I attended both the first and last night, 2 sets on each night. You might say that I couldn’t get enough of this band! I was so inspired by their collective energy, musicality and the way they all listened to one another and fed off each others ideas. I literally couldn’t leave the venue. The Gerald Clayton trio is made up of Joe Sanders (bass) and Justin Brown (drums) and on these particular gigs they were joined by Logan Richardson (sax) and Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet). You could really tell that these guys had been playing together for a long time, as they were such a unit and were constantly ‘creating’ together. The thing I loved the most about this gig was that each player had a uniqueness that added to the group sound; Gerald Clayton, a delicate touch and beautiful way of morphing different rhythmic ideas into one another, Joe Sanders singing along to his melodic solo’s, Justin Brown swinging his ass off and reacting to everything going on around him, and Ambrose and Logan fusing their horn sounds and counter melodies to create one voice out the front of the group. Inspiring stuff.

3. SEAN WAYLAND – The Basement, Sydney, October 2009
This gig for me was a huge eye opener compositionally. I love the way that Sean writes music and the ideas he plays around with harmonically, structurally and in particular, rhythmically. It was one of those gigs where I repeatedly thought to myself “this one is my favourite”, until it reached the end of the gig and I had said that about every tune! The Basement show was part of his Australian Tour with New York based drummer, Mark Guiliana, who similarly blew the whole of Sydney away with his ridiculous ability and unique and sensitive execution of the drum kit. He teamed up with James Muller on guitar and Brett Hirst on bass, playing a collection of his tunes from his album Pistachio, all of which were compositionally so different to anything I had ever heard, or could begin to understand at that point. I remember being particularly stumped with his rhythmic concept on ‘Arch is Enough’, and being SO frustrated that I couldn’t work out what was going on by the end of the song. I bought the CD straight after the gig and instantly went and put it on in my car to figure it out!

4. ELLIS MARSALIS TRIO – Snug Harbour, New Orleans, September 2010
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to hear and sit in with Ellis Marsalis when I was visiting New Orleans for a week in September 2010. I was going down to watch my friend Darrian Douglas play in Ellis Marsalis’s band, a drummer I had recently met at the Ascona Jazz Festival in Switzerland a month prior to visiting NO. It was a very different musical experience to the more modern jazz I had been overdosing on in NYC and listening to back in Sydney, and it really highlighted the concept ‘less is more’. Simply put, a good feel is everything!! Ellis Marsalis, Darrian Douglas and Jesse Boyd (bass) played beautiful arrangements of some well known standards in the first set, then after Darrian slipped in a good word for me in the set break, I was asked to get up in the second set. Singing some Antonio Carlos Jobim tunes and the standard ‘It could happen to you’, I will never forget how natural and free it felt to play with their group, despite the nerves (which seemed to evaporate when I heard Ellis play). I also managed to hear his son and great drummer, Jason Marsalis, play on this same trip at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse...man that family can swing :)

5. NANCY WILSON – Lincoln Centre, New York, September 2010
Nancy Wilson is one of the most natural and real performers I have ever seen. Getting into her 70’s now, this performance was quite amazing, as although her technique is probably not at its peak, her wisdom and ability to capture an audience is ever growing. She was so frank with the audience in her banter and introductions to the tunes that you couldn’t help but feel like you were sitting in her living room with a cup of tea, looking through old photo albums. Its even more phenomenal that she had the ability to do this in such a large ‘concert’ venue. It probably helped that Nancy Wilson, Llew Matthews (piano), Roy McCurdy (drums) and John B. Williams (bass) have been playing together for the past 30 odd years, so there was an immediate feeling of comfort and relaxation within the group. She played a collection of tunes from the many albums she has released, including ‘Never will I Marry’ on her Album with Cannonball Adderley, but the highlight for me was the encore ‘What I would do if I could’, which she dedicated to her children. After she finished the tune, she started speaking the lyrics very slowly to the audience, paused, and said, “Shit - how deep is that!”

6. VINCE JONES – The Basement Sydney 2009, 2010.
I know I am technically not allowed 6 .. but I just need to make a quick note of the many performances of Vince Jones I have seen over 2009 and 2010 at the Basement, and how he never ceases to amaze me with his tone, story-telling and phrasing!

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Tim Clarkson's High 5

Tim Clarkson began playing jazz at age 15 in rural Queensland. Since moving to Sydney in 1998, he has appeared with a diverse array of world-class performers in Australia, the USA and Canada. He has appeared with George Benson and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, blues legends Russell Jackson, Chris Kleeman and Bob Stannard (B.B. King), Montreal’s legendary Vic Vogel (Maynard Fergusson), Randy Waldman (George Benson, Barbra Streisand) and hip-hop outfit Side-C (Montreal). In Australia he leads his own projects and performs with multi-ARIA award winning ‘MARA!’, James Morrison, Lily Dior, Dahlia Dior, Dan Barnett Big Band, Matt Baker, FreeFlow and The Brad Child Orchestra. Tim recently followed up his Masters Degree research at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music on saxophonist Mark Turner by studying with him for 3 months in New York.

The Tim Clarkson Trio has performed together and individually at the 55 Bar in New York City, The Sydney Opera House, Jazzgroove, the Basement, 505, Bohemian Grove and Taylor Galleries throughout Sydney for the last three years, growing in versatility and intuitive understanding of the rhythm and complexity of contemporary jazz. All three members continue their education playing with the current masters of their instruments in New York and globally. Tim recently recorded his second album with ex-pat Barney McAll, and New York musicians Dan Weiss (David Binney) and Hans Glawischnig (Chick Corea) due for release in the coming months.

"Clarkson is constantly engaging and driving on alto and tenor saxophones..." - JOHN CLARE

1. FLY TRIO – The Jazz Standard, NYC January 2010
Mark Turner has been my strongest influence and mentor of the last few years, and his trio, ‘Fly’, with Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard is a formative influence for my own trio. While studying with Mark over Christmas 2009-2010 I saw 9 out of the 10 sets they played over four nights at the Jazz Standard. Their intense musical focus, measured approach and development of musical ideas over an entire tune or over a night or a series of nights was amazing to watch. The final set of the four nights saw the usually reserved Mr Turner let fly, no pun intended, with everything he had in his substantial arsenal, as all the threads of music, emotion and intellect finally joined in what was one of the best sets of music of my life. Larry Grenadier was at once supportive and open to the leading of other’s ideas, and taking phenomenal risks with his own directions, totally absorbed in the moment. Jeff Ballard has an amazing ability to gather intell listening to a soloist and accompanying, readying himself for the moment when he will create beautiful musical havoc through the most intense of dancing cross rhythms and cheeky nuances. Oh, and the Kansas City ribs were to die for.

This was a direction-altering gig from a number of perspectives. It secured Barney Mcall as one of my favourite composers of all time, and lead me to record with him in 2010. It enabled me to see Mark Turner’s other musical half, Kurt Rosenwinkel, up close and personal and talk to him after the gig about my masters research on Mark, with whom I had not yet been in touch. It was a coming together of all the music I had been exploring, listening to, trying to understand, feeling so keenly emotionally, and wondering about, in one amazing moment, right in front of my eyes. Achingly beautiful, ferociously adventurous, stunningly virtuosic and with such passion and commitment that it was overwhelming. It was also my introduction to the amazing musicality of fellow Australians Shannon Barnett (trombone) and Sam Lipman (tenor sax), who is residing now in Austin, Texas.

3. JOEL FRAHM TRIO with Joe Martin (bass) – Bar Next Door, NYC Dec 2009,
It’s no surprise that more than one of my favourite live gigs (or series of gigs) took place during 2.5 months in New York. Sitting in the intimate, and I mean intimate Bar Next Door, on Tuesday after Tuesday night within arms length of Joel’s bell was a hefty musical education. Joel is one of those rare and gifted human beings who is able to blow into one end of a tube with a reed on the end and raw emotional musicality pours out. For an amazing demonstration, check out his live playing posted on Facebook or YouTube with singer Cyrille-Aimée. Daudel. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of music on immediate hand, with which he phrases virtuosically and in the most heartfelt way, stretching phrases or compressing them. It’s like watching a master pizza chef spinning and rolling dough, getting exactly the right elasticity and spring, to be able to mould into scrumptious treats.

What I remember about this gig is that no prisoners were taken from the first to the last note. Joe Lovano’s solo introduction to the first tune was an articulate exposition of the history of the tenor saxophone. He and Scofield have been musical friends and associates for a long time, and every ounce of that connection was apparent in their often cheeky sparring. I remember each part of the music building through the most furious of climaxes, always riveting, that had band members laughing, cat-calling, and sweating. Like any good jazz concert should be. And the icing on the cake was an astounding guest spot by singer Katie Noonan, who was in top form.

5. DAVID BINNEY QUARTET with special guest Chris Potter – 55 Bar, NYC, February 2010.
David Binney is one of the most original musical minds I have encountered; highly intellectual, but soulful and passionate in his own way. His albums are very focussed, orchestrated and arranged, but his live explorations of those projects hover between the compositions and free jazz of an extraordinary level. Drummer Dan Weiss is the engine, with his heavy study of Indian tabla informing everything he plays in a jazz context. Binney’s main goal in a live setting seems to be creating the most heightened climax possible through the build up of the most excruciating levels of tension. This had already vapourised the minds of several people in the room one particular night, when Chris Potter (who appears on several of Binney’s albums and regularly joins the band after his own gigs) strolls in the back of the room from a minus 11 degree blizzard. He is immediately called up to play an unfamiliar tune, which he sight-reads and plays a mind-mangling virtuosic solo, ranging intensely through four octaves and sparring with Dan Weiss like their lives depend on it. This was the type of gig that reminds you why you work so hard and what’s out there to be had at the highest levels of music.

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Tim Rollinson's High 5

Tim Rollinson is a guitarist and composer who has played and recorded with many fine musicians and performers, including Vince Jones, Lucky Peterson, The Young Northside Big Band, Phil Slater, Tim Hopkins, The Black-eyed Susans and Barney McAll. Tim is probably best known as a member of Dig (Directions in Groove), a band which fused elements of jazz /funk and soul and was for a time, a surprise crossover into the mainstream, earning the band a gold record for the album Deeper as well as two APRA awards, a MO award and ARIA nominations.
Tim has two albums under his own name. The first, Cause and Effect, was released in 1997. In 2010, Tim has released a stripped back trio album on Rufus Records, You Tunes, featuring Hamish Stuart on drums and Jonathan Zwartz on bass.

What the critics said about Tim Rollinson’s You Tunes :
'This is Tim Rollinson at his best. The DIG guitarist has stripped back the musical environment to minimalist bass and drums from long-term colleagues Jonathan Zwartz and Hamish Stuart, respectively. In this near-naked environment, the native understatement and pensiveness of his playing glow like candles in a darkened room, with sudden little flickers and flares of something brighter or fiercer. The highlight is the 10 minutes of the superbly titled Lazy Circles, with its supremely melodic drumming, suspenseful bass and guitar lines made to glisten all the more with an adroit edge of bite to the sound. Elsewhere, laid-back grooves and lyrical improvising are the super-cool norm.' - John Shand - Sydney Morning Herald, Aug 2010

'There are no rough edges to Rollinson‘s second outing as leader' - Roger Mitchell - Sunday Herald Sun, July 2010

'This is an engaging and satisfying set, from three tasteful, skilful and like-minded musicians.' - Adrian Jackson - Rhythms, May 2010

As well as playing with his trio and with Dig, Tim is currently performing with Dave Reaston's 10 Guitar Project and vocalist Edoardo Santoni.

Live Review:
The night opened with someone else who knows a thing or two about space and phrasing: guitarist Tim Rollinson. Armed with a rich, almost lavish sound - one of the best guitar sounds in Australian jazz - Rollinson's lyrical lines arrived in chunks that left ample room to absorb the svelte ideas of bassist Nick Hoorweg and drummer Evan Mannell. Drawing on material from the impressive You Tunes album, they moved between brooding ambience, fairly straight-ahead jazz, extended journeys and howling climaxes.
- John Shand - Sydney Morning Herald, Nov 2010

1. OLD AND NEW DREAMS – Union/Footbridge theatre, Sydney University early 80's.
It was hard to choose between this gig and the Art Ensemble of Chicago at the Seymour Centre also in the early 80's. Both bands were capable of reaching back into history while presenting music that was also modern and futuristic. It was a trio performance, Don Cherry wasn't there. Ed Blackwell made it sound like Africa, New Orleans and beyond with his big open drum sound, Charlie Haden and Dewey Redman likewise played with freedom, groove and imagination. All giants, I'm glad I got to hear them together. The support, The Sydney Jazztet, was an odd pairing but remarkable because of the guitarist Steve Murphy, who along with George Golla, Jim Kelly, Dave Colton and Steve Brien was an important local influence.

2. JOHN ZORN – Performance of the album Spillane, Knitting Factory, NYC, 1993.
It was my first time in NYC; I picked up a Village Voice to see what was on and was incredibly excited to read that it was John Zorn’s 40th birthday celebration at the Knitting Factory. This particular evening was a performance of one of my favourite albums, Spillane. Amazing jump cut composition including spy music, spaghetti western, experimental and swinging jazz, hardcore a la Napalm Death, surf rock, lounge and more... also first time I had heard Bill Frisell live. What was not to like?

3. JOHN SCOFIELD – The Basement, Sydney, 1994/5. Hand Jive album tour.
I went back night after night. Great compositions played by a band that was well-rehearsed and had played many gigs together. The arrangements and dynamics were impeccable; the overall sound was warm and perfectly balanced. All great individual players. Larry Goldings, Bill Stewart, Dennis Irwin.

4. JIM HALL – Village Vanguard, NYC, 2001.
One of my favourite albums growing up was Jim Hall Live! The album was recorded in Toronto in 1975, with Canadian musicians Don Thompson (bass) and a young Terry Clarke (drums). My first opportunity to catch Jim Hall live was when I was living in NYC. A nice bonus was that Jim had Terry Clarke on drums for this gig. Jim Hall to me is the father of modern jazz guitar and he was still being highly creative and improvising in the moment. Jim wasn't afraid of the younger generation either, using Dave Binney on Alto.

5. BILL FRISELL – NYC gigs in 2000/01.
While living in New York I was able to catch Bill Frisell playing in various combinations, his trio with Tony Scherr (bass) and Kenny Wolleson (drums), in a larger band including Greg Leisz (pedal steel) and Joey Baron (drums) and a duet with Ron Carter on double bass. It's hard to pick just one of these, I'm not going to try, just think of it as a season of gigs. Frisell is an amazing synthesis of contemporary guitar, think of anything good about the electric guitar and Bill has absorbed it and managed to use it as part of his unique sound and personal approach. Like all truly great musical artists he has transcended his genre and become relevant to a wider audience while helping keep the jazz genre progressive.

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Paul Derricott's High 5

"I am interested more and more in new music, and distilling and unifying the purpose and the outcome of any of the music I play." - Paul Derricott

Paul Derricott, 27, is committed to developing his own strong musical voice.

Paul’s passion is improvised thematic music. During his time at the Sydney Conservatorium (B Mus Jazz Performance 2005) Paul studied with musical personalities such as Andrew Dickerson, Gordon Rytmeister, Dave Goodman, Andrew Gander, David Jones, Judy Bailey, Steve Brien. Paul also credits friend and pianist Sean Wayland as having a major impact on his playing and composing. Paul has established himself as a member of The Denominators Uncle Jed, Miss Donne, MG and The Frauds, New School Collective (Cairns), The Mark Lewis Quartet and The Matt Crane quartet. Paul has also worked with Carl Dewhurst, Brendan Clarke Dave Panichi, Nick Bowd, Sean Wayland, James Muller, Dave Theak, Chuck Yates, Jane Irving, Dale Barlow, Warwick Alder, Don Rader and as the leader of Arrow.
Paul has also dabbled in post rock with Sydney based band Zephyrs Dog and has also got some serious studio time under his belt working with Matt Jackson, Matt McHugh (Beautiful Girls) Donne, Uncle Jed, Leeroy Lee, M.G. and the Frauds, Lanie Lane and many other emerging pop acts. Recently Paul received the Buzz under 26 emerging Artist Grant from the Arts Council of Australia with this funding Paul has recorded his first full length all original album. Paul has just returned from a brief stint in the UK where he toured Europe with Aron Ottignon’s band Aronas, performed at the London Jazz Festival with The London Jazz Collective and also was a guest artist with the Oxford University Big Band on their tour to the North Sea Jazz festival.

1. ARI HOENIG QUARTET – Joel Frahm, Jean-Michel Pilc, Johannes Weidenmueller, Smalls 2005
I had not been to NYC before this trip and as is the case when going somewhere like NYC, it feels like everything you see is the best thing you’ve ever seen, but this gig was a watershed moment for me. Ari lead the band so strongly, it was swinging and subtle, Joel Frahm was commanding. I had never seen music at such a level of interaction and ferocity. It was the first time I had seen Ari, his take on the drums is quite unique and he’s got one of those musical voices that are hard to get out of your head from time to time. This gig got me so vibed I couldn’t get to sleep at all that night so I caught the ferry down to Staten Island, walked to the postcards memorial and watched the day start in NYC.

2. MARS VOLTA – Metro Theatre 22nd Jan 2004
The Mars Volta were a relatively new band when they came out on the Big Day out tour, I had burnt a copy of their album De-Loused in the Comatorium off a mate. I was familiar with their previous band “At the drive in” which I kind of liked. The debut album from these guys is a great album, one of my favourites, I had listened to it quite a bit before the gig and had the feeling I would be disappointed with the live gig. I guess I had that experience of listening to a “pop” band on record and when seeing them live realising they really couldn’t pull off the music very well. I should have been encouraged by the chance meeting of Drew Barrymore at the bar before the show. Cedric Bixler-Zavala brings that real “performer” vibe to the show Jon Theadore on the drums was like a hyper John Bonham. I was truly blown away by the control these guys had, the dynamic shape of the set was immaculate they segued the whole set but it went by in what seemed like a minute. The live show (and sound) was better than the record.

3. JAMES MULLER TRIO - Excelsior Hotel Felix Bloxom and Brett Hirst 04 (I think it was 04)
To have a musician of James ability around is really special; I had seen Muller playing allot before this gig, as he tends to do. I think this band had played a Jazzgroove before; obviously these guys had played down at the Excelsior with other bands so it wasn’t unlikely that this was going to be a good gig. From the first note this band was really on, it felt like the band were really channeling some 70s rock. Felix really gave it and Muller raged on. A great gig, luckily enough James had agreed to letting me and Mike Rivett record it for a Uni project on live recording. It still sounds great.

4. JACKY ORSZACZKY – Hamish Stuart Tina Harrod Alex Hewitson James Greening, The Macquarie Hotel 2007
I never had anything to do with Jackie other than watching his gigs. His humility was evident through his music. I had seen Jackie many times over the years, He was a real leader and I think he defined a musical generation in Sydney. The band always sounded great but I remember seeing him at the Macquarie Hotel in late 07 and it bringing me to tears, what wonderful music. Honesty and courage. There is a great album called “Ready to Listen” by his trio check it out for some of the vibe, one of the truly great albums to come out of Sydney.

5. ALCOHOTLICKS - Evan Mannell Ben Hauptman Aaron Flower, Side on Cafe
I can’t remember when this gig was but it must have been in the latter days of the Side on Cafe. The hotlicks played the first set trio then invited Carl Dewhurst and James Muller for the second set. Man! Amazing energy and joy in the music, burning, inventive playing and groovy. Couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. This was serious music played with a tongue in cheek attitude, Great OZ jazz!

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Michael Galeazzi's High 5

ARIA award winning and APRA nominated artist/composer, producer, label owner and session bassist, Michael has nearly two decades of national and international touring experience. From original projects such as The Java Quartet, Karma County and The Millionaires to providing bass for artists such as indigenous legend Jimmy Little, soap star Ronn Moss and international festival chanteuse Camille O'Sullivan, Michael remains a part of the contemporary music industry in both a creative and educational capacity.
As bandleader and bassist Michael Galeazzi formed the Java Quartet in 1994. Using the modal jazz styling of Miles Davis and John Coltrane as a starting point in the mid 1990s', the group has defined its own ambience through six albums, focusing upon ensemble improvisation to manifest their sound. At once driving, trance-like and reflective, The Java Quartet establishes their own corner of sonic territory.
The Java Quartet's first release Slumber For Nordic Wonder (a tribute to the musical chanteuse Bjork), garnered the group local acclaim as an improvising ensemble devoted to creating beautiful music. The ensuing album Glow launched an international profile with the group being invited to perform at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland) in 1997. The group’s global presence flourished with the albums Glow, Passages and Dark Garden being included in the pivotal publications The Penguin Guide To Jazz on CD and Cadence Magazine (New York).
"The Java Quartet is well schooled in the Jazz tradition and has built on those concepts in presenting music with dash and a contemporary flair." Frank Rubolino, Cadence Magazine.
On the local front they have played at every major jazz venue and festival in the country including; the Manly Jazz Festival, Darling Harbour Jazz Festival, Wangaratta Jazz Festival - the home of the National Jazz Awards, Thredbo Jazz Festival, Bellingen Jazz Festival, Queensland Music Festival, Darwin Festival, The Basement in Sydney, Bennetts Lane in Melbourne, The Governor Hindmarsh in Adelaide etc. The Java Quartet has been recorded in concert several times by the national broadcaster (ABC radio) and are critically recognised as at the forefront of the contemporary Australian music scene. The Sydney Morning Herald’s John Shand reviewed the album Dark Garden as “Album Of the Week” above all releases in any genre. The track “Shadow Dancing” was nominated for an APRA for “Most Performed Jazz Work” by the national performing rights association. Kenny Weir of The Sun Herald Sun (Melbourne) succinctly evaluated the group’s appeal when reviewing the next album Deep Blue Sea:
“Mostly, though, the Java Quartet inhabits its own space, unlike that of any other aggregation, in Australia or anywhere else - supremely melodic, full of taut, yet limpid, grooves and packed with soul”.
2010 finds the group extending its musical palette with Rejavanation, a collection of remixes and new material incorporating the meditative aesthetics of contemporary dj/dance culture and Hindustani ragas. Started as a part of Michael Galeazzi’s postgraduate research at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the group has invited guests of note (including virtuosos Bobby Singh on Tabla, Adrian McNeil on sarod, lap top performer Jonathan Palmer and Hip Hop producer Morganics) to explore notions of hybridity through contemporary hypnotic landscapes.

1. THE NECKS – Old Darlington School, Early 90s.
Pivotal to the development of The Java Quartet were a number of gigs by the Necks at the Old Darlington School in the Early 1990s. For me the penny dropped with regards to the relationship modal jazz has with the greater musical/cultural/spiritual picture. That crusty little hall was transformed into a swirling dome of transcendence when they played. I couldn’t believe the hypnotic effect the music had on the whole audience and myself. It was the first time I really wanted to be involved with instrumental music.

2. THE GREY SUITS – Round Midnight, Early 90s.
The Grey suits had a residency in a great little room that used to be up in the cross called Round Midnight. It was around the same time as the previously mentioned Necks Gigs. This series of performances was a wild amalgam of pop meets improvisation meets experimentation. Jackie Orszaczky, Carl Orr, Chris Abrahams, Tony Buck and whoever used to drop in. Tony Buck with chains on his kit. Chris Abrahams reading sections of books/magazines in lieu of a solo. Jackie usurping Orr’s guitar solos by rearranging his pedal settings mid flight. What a residency!

3. KEITH JARRETT TRIO – Umbria Jazz 1996.
My wife (then partner) and I spent a summer driving around Europe in 1996. This festival was one of the most picturesque music events I have ever been to. It was one of the trio’s first outings after Keith’s hiatus. The performance was a sunset concert that opened the festival in Perugia’s botanical gardens. They performed ‘When I Fall In Love’. I did.

4. JIMMY LITTLE – Messenger Launch, Hunter Lodge, Double Bay 1999.
I was performing on this gig but the event was amazing. It was Jimmy Little’s big comeback. There was a complete media buzz and Festival Records decided to make the Sydney launch a very exclusive affair down at Double Bay. Jimmy nervously secluded himself back stage. It was time to start and the band set up on stage and started the first tune. Still no Jimmy. Rolling the introduction for what seemed like ages the band got a little edgy. We didn’t realise what a complete showman Jimmy was. He was just milking the anticipation. All of a sudden there was this vision from side of stage. Like an angel Jimmy appeared in a majestic white suit and the whole room just exploded. He killed em. I was very lucky to be involved with such a great human being.

5. WAYNE SHORTER QUARTET – Melbourne Concert hall, 2005
The most seamless ensemble playing I have ever seen. I caught the plane down that afternoon and saw the show. I was so excited I stayed up all night, but made it back the next day for a 3pm Sydney sound check/show with Flacco and the Sandman that evening. My only regret was not being able to stay in Melbourne for John Patitucci’s workshop the next day.

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Joseph Tawadros's High 5

Joseph never ceases to amaze and at 26 has established himself as one the world’s leading oud performers and composers. A virtuoso of amazing diversity and sensitivity, Joseph continues to appear in concert halls worldwide dazzling audiences with his brilliant technique, his passionate musicianship and his joyous style of performance. Always willing to push the boundaries of the Oud and challenge traditional musical forms and rhythms, his efforts have led him to many unique collaborations, and he has recorded 7 albums to date: Storyteller, Rouhani, Visions, Epiphany, Angel, The Prophet: Music Inspired by the Poetry of Kahlil Gibran and his latest offering, The Hour of Separation. A resident of Australia since 1986, Joseph has been responsible for expanding the Oud’s notoriety in mainstream western culture and has also been recognized in the Arab world; recently being invited to appear on the judging panel of the Damascus International Oud competition in 2009.

This one is a weird listing because my brother (James) and I were involved in this concert. Hang on, hang on, let me explain, we were a part of a tour with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, but there were moments where we just sat on stage not playing as our pieces sometimes segued into others. This was the case of Tognetti’s arrangement of Pink Floyds ‘Shine on you crazy diamond’, the first twelve minutes is quite textural arrangement with strings screaming and droning. But why this is important for me is because I remember sitting on stage, having the best seat in the house, having the spotlight shining in my eyes. The drones had put me in a type of trance and I got this feeling of peace, a feeling that I was in heaven. And that made me realize how much I love music.

2. JOHN ABERCROMBIE QUARTET – Birdland Jazz club, NY, 2009
Months before we recorded with Abercrombie, my brother James and I were invited by John to a quartet performance with Joey Baron on drums, Mark Feldman and Thomas Morgan on bass. It was great finally watching John perform live for the first time (after listening to him on great records like Timeless), and how the ensemble interacted with each other. It was also our first NY jazz club experience and we were well taken care of.

3. RENAUD GARCIA FONS – Didier Lockwood, Paris. 2007
One of my favourite bass players is Renaud Garcia Fons so to finally see him play and meet him at the performance was a highlight. What made it even better was that he was accompanied by jazz violinist Didier Lockwood. Beautiful music and technique and the beautiful out door setting in an old Parisian House was icing on the cake.

4. ABDO DAGHER – Ministerly Palace, Cairo. 2008
Abdo Dagher is one of Egypts legendary violin pioneers, he has a very distinct style and a real father of Egyptian violin. He is now 75, but still an amazing improviser and performer. In this concert, he was performing at an old palace in Cairo which had an out door area on the Nile. He has a piece called “The Nile”, so it was extra special that he performed it actually in that setting.

5. DR L SUBRAMANIUM – Womadelaide Adelaide 2006
It was a very late concert but there were thousands of people waiting and he didn’t disappoint. I’m a big fan of the violin as an instrument, but to have seen it being played like that took it to a whole new level.

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Andrew Dickeson's High 5

Andrew Dickeson was born in Newcastle, Australia in 1969. He grew up in a musical family and studied a number of instruments before taking up the drums at age ten. He was working professionally from age 13 in both classical and jazz settings.
He moved to Sydney in 1987 and studied at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music. He quickly became one of the first-call drummers on the Sydney scene.
In 1991 he went to New York and commenced his studies with Jazz masters Art Taylor and Vernel Fournier. He performed with a variety of musicians during his time in New York City.
In 1992, still in New York, he was the only non-American finalist in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Drums Competition - judged by Roy Haynes, Jack DeJohnette, Alan Dawson, Ed Shaughnessy, Jeff "Tain" Watts and Dave Weckl.
On his return to Australia Andrew continued to perform regularly with the cream of Australia’s Jazz musicians as well as a great many visiting overseas Jazz artists.
Andrew has also performed in Europe, Brazil, Laos and Singapore.
He has led various incarnations of his own ensemble and is currently forming and shaping his latest, exciting band of talented young musicians.
As well as his performing schedule Andrew has a passionate interest in music education - focusing on Jazz. He is the lecturer in Jazz Drums at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. His list of former and current students comprises the majority of the young, happening drummers on the Sydney scene. He is also involved in school and private tuition, clinics and workshops and as a visiting "artist in residence" for various institutions.
Andrew has continued his own personal studies. His current teacher - really more of a coach or even "guru" is the amazing Michael Carvin. He has also studied recently with Bernard Purdie and Brazilian master Vanderlai Pereira.
Andrew is proud to endorse and perform exclusively on Canopus Drums - from Tokyo, Japan.

Andrew has performed, toured and recorded with the following artists:
Trumpet - Bobby Shew, Eddie Henderson, Brian Lynch, Valery Ponamarev, Bob Montgomery, Leroy Jones, Jon Erik Kelso
Trombone - Bruce Paulson, Dan Barrett, Al Herman, Wycliffe Gordon
Saxophone - Johnny Griffin, Lee Konitz, Richie Cole, Red Holloway, Branford Marsalis, Ronnie Scott, Vincent Herring, Junior Cook, Justin Robinson, Willie Williams, Ned Goold, Jerry Weldon, Scott Robinson
Piano - Ronnie Matthews, Kirk Lightsey, Mickey Tucker, Stephen Scott, Peggy Stern, Norman Simmons, Jim McNeely
Bass - David Williams, John Clayton, Eugene "The Senator" Wright, Peter Ind, Pat O'Leary
Vocalists - Mark Murphy, Annie Ross, Barbara Morrison, Vanessa Rubin, Giacamo Gates, Dee Daniels, Claire Martin, Andy Bey, Lea DeLaria
Guitar - Martin Taylor, Howard Alden, Sheryl Bailey
Hammond Organ - Michel Benebig, Tony Monaco
He has worked with almost all leading Australian Jazz musicians in a variety of combinations including - Tom Baker’s Swing Orchestra, Tom Baker’s Chicago Seven, Dale Barlow Band, Gordon Brisker, Errol Buddle Quartet, Don Burrows Band, Brad Child Orchestra, Sandy Evans’ Clarion Fracture Zone, Roger Frampton’s Intersection, Bobby Gebert Trio - Winner MO award Best Jazz Group, Renee Geyer, Bernie McGann Band, James Morrison Band, Mike Nock Quartet, Don Rader Quintet, Andrew Speight’s - Now’s the Time, Monica Trapaga, George Washingmachine, John Harkins Trio, Dan Barnett Big Band, Steve McKenna Trio, Darren Heinrich Organ Trio

I heard Billy play a LOT during my time in NYC. This particular night I was with fellow drummer Torsten Zwingenberger. The first set was good, but we were going to go somewhere else. Suddenly we looked at each other for no reason and said “We better stay”. The next set was transcendent. The groove was so intense and joyous. I’ve never experienced anything like it since. Everything they played seemed “inevitable” – like it was simply meant to happen. Billy played some solos and “fours” which had people jumping out of their seats. At one point his playing was so deep that the entire room sung a 4 bar in unison with him as he played it!

2. ROY HAYNES QUARTET – Village Vanguard, NYC 1991
This particular night I had arranged to meet Art Taylor at the Vanguard- to celebrate Roy’s birthday. At the bar, before the gig, AT introduced me to Max Roach, Elvin Jones, Jimmy Cobb and Walter Bolden ALL at the same time!!! I was unable to speak! The music that night was incredible. Craig Handy, Dave Kikoski and Ed Howard joined Roy. The intensity and creativity was awesome. AT pulled me aside and told me to listen closely – he said the intensity was like when he used to hear Roy with Bird back in the day! I still have cassettes of that gig (and the following 5 nights too!)

3. MAX ROACH QUARTET – Sydney Opera House forecourt early 1990’s
The quartet was made up of Odean Pope, Cecil Bridgewater and Calvin Hill. I had idolised Max since I was 10 years old so to hear him in person was SO exciting. He had been provided with a terrible sounding rock drum kit but before my eyes he managed, within about 2 choruses, to get the “Max Roach Sound” out of it! It suddenly sounded just like classic Max on his own drums. At that moment I realised that the sound is in your mind not in the instrument! The gig was absolutely inspiring – the level of musicianship and mutual respect on stage was phenomenal. The next day I got to spend several hours with Mr Roach – I was the happiest guy alive.

4. JOE HENDERSON QUARTET – Fat Tuesdays NYC, 1991
With Kenny Barron, Rufus Reid and Victor Lewis or Al Foster. I remember this gig because Victor played the first three nights and Al did the next three. I was there every night. Joe’s level of creativity and inspiration was phenomenal – he never repeated himself and had a never-ending stream of ideas. The rhythm section was totally on fire. The difference in the feeling between Victor and Al really showed me how much effect the drummer could have on the band.

5. MILES DAVIS – North Sea Jazz Festival, 1991
Miles’ band played the same day as both Wayne Shorter’s and Herbie Hancock’s bands. This was in the 90s when Miles typically not playing a lot of notes and his solos were often brief and quite minimal. HOWEVER…on this gig he came out totally on fire! He played long solos, incredible lines with a remarkable intensity. I would say it compared to his playing in the 67-68 period of his 2nd great Quintet! I couldn’t sleep for 2 days after this gig.

6. KEITH JARRETT – Carnegie Hall NYC 2007.
Keith played a solo version of “Stars Fell on Alabama” which was simply one of the most poignant, beautiful things I have ever heard. His sound, touch and melodic sense were simply magical.

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Mace Francis's High 5

Mace Francis is establishing himself as predominant figure and advocate for original Australian big band music. He moved to Perth, from Victoria, in 2000 to study composition and arranging under Graham Lyall AM and in 2004 graduated from WAAPA with First Class Honours. Since 2004, Mace’s focus on composition has awarded him the 2004 APRA Professional Development Award, the international Italian composition prize “Scrivere in Jazz”, three nominations for the WAMi Jazz Song of the Year and numerous national and international commissions including PLONK!, a 40min work featuring his own 14-piece Mace Francis Orchestra (MFO) plus woodwinds, French horn and classical percussion. MFO have recorded 4 CDs since forming in 2005, toured nationally twice (2006 & 2008), collaborated with indigenous artists - Djiva, performed with international artists Jim Pugh (USA), Jon Gordon (NY), John Hollenbeck (NY) and Theo Bleckmann (NY). In 2007 Mace was awarded the prestigious “Most Out-standing Individual Contribution to Jazz” by the Perth Jazz Society.

In 2008 Mace was appointed lecturer in Arranging and Composition at WAAPA as well as Artistic Director of the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) where he has implemented emerging composer commissions and guest artist programs. Since his appointment, WAYJO has performed with Fred Wesley (USA), Allen Vizzutti (USA), James Morrison and John Morrison. 2010 has been a successful year for Mace as he is about to embark on another national tour with his band MFO (see details at www.macefrancis.com) and he has been selected as a finalist in the prestigious MCA Freedman Fellowship which will be decided at a performance at the Sydney Opera House in August.

In July of 2004 I was lucky enough to go on the road with Bob Brookmeyer’s New Art Orchestra. I was able to see all their performances in Austria, Germany, and Croatia as well as see how a band at this level rehearses and functions. This big band’s live sound was just like the recordings – beautifully balanced, impeccable tuning and incredible playing. I still get goose bumps thinking about it.

2. VILLAGE VANGUARD ORCHESTRA – Village Vanguard NYC, January 2006
In 2006 I was part of the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra tour to New York where we played at the IAJE Conference. After 36 hours travelling we had arrived in Manhattan on a late Monday afternoon. Myself and some of the others guys went straight down to the Vanguard and was totally blown away by this band. As it turned out it was the first time the band had performed without deps for 7 months – very cool. I still remember the power of the sax section and the sound of the room – just like the “Live at the Vanguard” recordings. I was in New York for another 3 Mondays and made sure I was at the Vanguard each time.

3. BRANFORD MARSALIS QUARTET – Molde Jazz Festival Norway, 2004
This was an amazing set of music. The whole set built in intensity and dynamics. They started with a ballad and as each tune went by the intensity built. It was amazingly paced until the final tune when they were all playing at there maximum. Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts and Eric Reeves were yelling and screaming and the audience was right there with them.

4. CARLA BLEY – Essen, Germany, May 2006
In 2006 Carla Bley and Steve Swallow were artists in residence at the Essen Concert Hall. I saw Carla’s “jazz opera” Esculator Over The Hill. A totally bizarre performance which was like taking an LSD trip in India with Ornette Coleman playing your own personal soundtrack.

5. TONY GOULD & GRAEME LYALL – Wangaratta Festival of Jazz, 2006
Beautiful, beautiful music in the Cathedral at Wangaratta. One of the first times I have been moved to tears.

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Jonathan Zwartz's High 5

Jonathan Zwartz is one of Australia’s leading Jazz Musicians. He has played and recorded with many of the most outstanding Australian music artists including Katie Noonan, Renee Geyer, Vince Jones, Bernie McGann, Mike Nock, Dale Barlow, Sandy Evans, Tina Harrod, Steve Kilby and James Morrison.
He is in demand to back international stars on their Australian tours and has played with American Jazz artists Pharoah Sanders, Branford Marsalis, Chico Freeman, Andy Bey, Mark Murphy, Kurt Elling, Johnny Griffin, Barbara Morrison, Larry Goldings, Ben Monder, Tim Ries and Billy Drummond and UK Superstars Nigel Kennedy, Cleo Laine and John Dankworth, among others.
Jonathan co-produced a 10 part documentary series on Jazz in Australia titled ‘the Pulse’ involving over 100 musicians and 10 venues which has been screened and re-screened on ABC television since it’s airing in October 2001.
He has organised many noteworthy events in the Australian Music scene including the Starfish Club (which was co founded with Hamish Stuart, Jane Zwartz and Lisa Krieger and broadcast live to air on ABC Radio National) as well as live music programs for Sydney venues Winebanc and the Astral Bar. Winebanc particularly boasted some notable ‘unadvertised’ performances by stars such as Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Christian McBride, Joshua Redman, Carlos Santana Band, Alicia Keyes Band, and the Rolling Stones Touring band with Keith Richards and Ron Woods in the audience.
He has a Masters Degree in Music Performance at the Australian National University and also has an associate Diploma in Jazz Studies from the NSW Conservatorium of Music where he studied with Don Burrows.
Jonathan has also studied in the USA with Rodney Whitaker (Lincoln Centre Orchestra) at the Michigan State University, and with bass luminaries Ray Brown, Rufus Reid and Milt Hinton in New York.
He recorded a debut CD in January of 2008 with Barney McAll, Hamish Stuart, Doug deVries, Phil Slater and Fabian Hevia entitled ‘The Sea’ which was released in November 2009. This album won two prestigious ‘Bell’ Awards in 2010.
Jonathan is currently working with vocalist Tina Harrod, having played on her ‘Worksongs’ album and co-writing and co-producing with Tina, her follow up ‘Temporary People’.
‘Worksongs’ won a Bell award for best Jazz Vocal album, 2009.

“These are but five, but really there are many inspiring gigs I have seen here and overseas, and in different genres. Also there are players on the local Sydney scene who inspire me every time I see them, like Simon Barker, Phil Slater, Matt McMahon, Bernie McGann, Chris Abrahams, Tina Harrod, Carl Dewhurst, Zoe Hauptmann, Bobby Gebert, Andrew Dickeson, Dale Barlow, Kristin Berardi, Hamish Stuart, and many many more. They inspire me because they all are really good at what they do, they have an individual voice, and they never cease their quest for musical knowledge. They remind me that it's music itself that informs me of what I don't know, and therefore my next step…”

I still have a cassette bootleg of this gig somewhere. Larry Goldings would have been about 19 years old or something, he was playing a DX7 (remember those?) with a volume pedal to simulate tremolo and a mini moog that had half of it’s key tops missing, - they were replaced with Popsicle sticks. They played a selection of standards but it was Larry’s solo on ‘I didn’t know what time it was’ that really shook me, idea after great idea, groovy as hell, dynamic, lyrical, and building every chorus,- it sends shivers down my back thinking of it. One of those great musical moments that happen on a gig and I was lucky enough to be there when it happened.
There’s a certain intellectual cool about the way NY musicians play standards, it runs deep, it’s not only the arrangements but also how they play the song and use quotes as part of a musical language that comes all the way down from bebop and beyond.

2. ORNETTE COLEMAN BAND – Berne Music Festival, 1991
I was touring in Europe at the time and Ornette came on with his band that included Jamaladeen Tacuma on electric bass. This music was really out! I had listened to Ornette for ages but to see him with this particular band live was a very different experience…. I remember at one point in one of the tunes this amazing cacophony of 7 different instruments all playing in a different meter, and seemingly different tunes even, all going full steam ahead relentlessly until they all spiralled down on this one note, which was the end of the tune. I was amazed, like how did they do that?
Ornette has a really joyful sound to his playing, which I find to be something of a paradox when you think of the music he’s recorded, and how heavy and dark it can be.

3. WAYNE SHORTER BAND – Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, April 2010
This was one of the most amazing concerts I have seen. Controversial to be sure! People walked out. But for me, it was like super condensed brain food, the music a stimulating layer upon layer upon layer, and all the while the poor inadequate brain trying to catch up, until finally about 15 minutes into the concert it does catch up and suddenly the music is sublime. It was like seeing a continuation of the spirit of Miles Davis. Pushing the creative and artistic boundaries and using every single piece of musical skill possessed (and those musicians weren’t short of musical ability), to do it. Incredible musicianship sublimated to a musical idea. All happening in the ‘now’.
Amazing, and really inspiring.

4. MIKE NOCK SOLO – The Basement, Sydney, Jan 2nd 2008
Mike Nock playing solo anytime is great, but this night he was on fire. Mike is forever pushing the creative boundaries, and on this night his playing created this effect of shimmering notes. There was a flow to his ideas and it seemed as if he could play anything he heard, any idea in the inner ear…. Mike’s love and respect for music was/is beautiful, evident and understated. Music first, always.

5. JAMES MULLER & JOHN SCOFIELD – Wangaratta Jazz Festival Nov 1 2009
James came on the stage with his trio and played a one of his tunes before inviting John Scofield up to play. He admitted to being nervous about having his great inspiration and mentor play next to him on stage in his introduction, so everyone in the marquee began to feel this energy of expectation. John Scofield set the tone by starting with a duet arrangement of ‘We’ (Dizzy Gillespie) where they both played the head, and then playing in a way that encouraged an exchange of ideas and discouraged a cutting contest. And so what followed was this electrically charged concert with these two incredible musicians taking each other on an exploration of the music, and the audience totally hooked and along for the ride.

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Steve Hunter's High 5

Steve Hunter is a virtuoso electric bassist, bandleader and prolific composer with over one hundred of his compositions released, both on his own albums and those of many other artists. He’s played and/or recorded with many of Australia’s great musicians in addition to establishing an international reputation, having played with the likes of Billy Cobham, Chick Corea, Mark Isham and Ulf Wakenius amongst others. He’s also toured many times in various Asian countries both as a leader and sideman, and appears on albums by several of Asia’s leading jazz musicians. In addition to the Steve Hunter Band, Steve is also playing regularly with several other groups including The Translators, The Subterraneans and the Kim Lawson Trio, all of whom have newly recorded albums that feature his compositions.

1. PACO DE LUCIA AND BAND – Granada Bullring Spain 2004
I think the most inspiring gig I’ve ever seen was a concert by Paco de Lucia and his band at the Granada bullring in Spain in 2004. I was aware that I was seeing and hearing a truly great artist at work, a musician of the same kind of importance as Miles Davis or Duke Ellington. I had a lump in my throat through the whole gig. The music was absolutely beautiful and devastating. It was also great to see ‘the real deal’ performing in front of so many people; not just to aficionados, but to twenty thousand or so real people. The bullring also probably contributed to the vibe; like a huge concert in the round with the warm Andalucian night sky above. (It’s got to be a far better way to use a bullring than the slaughter of animals as entertainment.)

2. JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP - Hordern Pavilion Sydney 1976
In 1976 at age 16 I went to see Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer group at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney. I had Beck’s ‘Blow By Blow’ album and loved it, but Jan Hammer was new to me and I was blown away by him and his band. I’d been playing bass for around a year at that time and went home after the gig and played all night long; buzzing and inspired by the music and how the bass player Fernando Saunders played. After that concert I went in search of Jan Hammer’s music, which opened up the whole world of jazz and its offshoots to me. Through seeing Jan Hammer that night, I discovered all the great musicians that are lasting inspirations; Miles Davis, Weather Report, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Jaco Pastorius, Herbie Hancock and Tony Williams for example.

3. JOHN SCOFIELD TRIO – King George Tavern Sydney 1982
Another inspiring gig was the John Scofield Trio in 1982 at the King George Tavern in Sydney. Sco’s trio had Steve Swallow on bass and Adam Nussbaum on drums. I already owned a couple of their albums, so I knew what their slant was and liked it a lot. It was an especially inspiring gig for me as a young electric bassist interested in jazz and improvisation, because Steve Swallow really is the father of electric bass played in those contexts. It was great to sit just a few yards in front of him all night and, again, I recall going home afterwards and playing my bass through the night, trying out some of the things I’d seen Steve doing just a few hours before. Swallow turns seventy years old this year and is still going strong. He’s a real inspiration to me; an artful electric bassist and an excellent composer with a long life in music and a large high quality body of work.

In the thirty-five years I’ve been going out to hear music there have been tons of great gigs, but those three previously mentioned had a very perceptible and immediate impact. In my own thirty plus years as a player, composer and bandleader there have been a lot of great gigs too. One that comes to mind that had that bit extra was a gig at The Basement in 1987 as a member of Mark Simmonds ‘Freeboppers’ where Mark’s compositional ideas and concepts all worked incredibly well. Coupled with each of the players being ‘on’ that night, the band just grew wings and flew through the roof.

5. STEVE HUNTER BAND – Sydney 2006
Another gig where that happened was with my band at the Excelsior Hotel in Sydney in 2006 with what had been my regular line up for several years; James Muller on guitar, Matt McMahon on keyboards, James Hauptmann on drums and myself. Again, the music took off in a way that was magic and somehow better than the other hundred or so gigs we’d played.

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Daniel Weltlinger's High 5

Daniel Weltlinger is one of Australia's most unique and original musicians.
Born in Sydney in 1977 and of French-Hungarian-Israeli Jewish heritage he is predominantly a violin player with an ear and an eye for a mix of Gypsy-Swing, East-European-Klezmer and Experimental music and is world-renowned for his distinctive sound and improvisational approach to these musical genres. His main Australian-based projects "Asthmatix" and "Zohar's Nigun" fuse Jewish themes and kabalistic-inspired improvisation within the contemporary framework of styles including Hip-Hop and Jazz while his collaborative efforts with the remarkable German-Sinti guitarist/composer Lulo Reinhardt fuses Latin, Jazz and Gypsy-Swing performing to audiences around the world.
He frequently collaborates as a solo recording/performance artist with some of Australia's top musicians in a variety of different formats and is highly sought after both nationally and internationally for his technical and musical mastery over his main instrument. Musicians and ensembles he has performed and/or recorded with amongst many others have included Ian and Nigel Date, Edouard Bronson, Monsieur Camembert, Nadya and her 101 Candles Orchestra, Fuego Lento, Buddy Bolden Revival Orchestra, On The Stoop, Menino, I Gitanos, Mike and Moro Reinhardt, Swing de Gitanes, Swing Bien Sur, Waiting for Guinness, Mick Conway's National Junk Band, The Jews Brothers, Zero Hour, Glass, Chris Tanner and Virus, The Ticklers, Straightback Fellows, Peppermint T, Doch, Reuben Derrick, Oscar Jiminez, Bobby Singh, Slava Gregorian, Joseph Tawadros, Al Slavik, Clayton Thomas, Clare Cooper, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australian Youth Orchestra, STC Actor's Company, Belvoir Street Theatre Company, Theatre Of Image, Aerialise.

1 – MASADA NIGHT – Salle Pleyel, Paris June 2008
Masada Trio (Mark Feldman - violin, Eric Friedlander - cello, Greg Cohen - double bass)
Bar Kokhba (Mark Feldman - violin, Eric Friedlander - cello, Mark Ribot - guitar, Greg Cohen - double bass, Joey Baron - drums, Cyro Baptista - percussion, John Zorn - direction)
Masada Quartet (John Zorn - saxophone, Dave Douglas - trumpet, Greg Cohen - double bass, Joey Baron - drums)
Well, the lineup kind of speaks for itself. I've been travelling over to Europe every year since 2004 both to see the Django Reinhardt festival at Samois just outside of Paris which happens in June and also to hang out and play gigs with Lulo Reinhardt (in Koblenz, Germany) who has been a close friend of mine for ages. I managed to see this gig as a result of happening to be in Paris at this time as the Django festival was on concurrently and had the choice of either seeing Bireli Lagrene or see this concert! What's more it was a free ticket since I had met and befriended Mark Feldman some months before in the states - without question one of the greatest violin players in the world today - and he incredibly kindly offered me this freebee. Really don't know words to describe the music made that night. It was so Pure. It was also obvious that for these guys, despite the countless gigs they've done it was for them a really special concert. They were all dressed super casual and pretty much looked like a bunch of guys sitting in a living room just going for it on their instruments completely oblivious to anything, but the most beautiful sounds they could make with whatever they had to work with. There was a lady in the audience who was dancing wildly in the front to the music and singing in between the different lineups being set up. She got yelled at by an audience member to be quiet but the rest of the audience egged her on and let her finish her outburst of song and even applauded her when she finished. It was a very long gig. There were no intermissions and it lasted about 5 hours in total - 5 hours of totally mesmerizing hypnotic music making. Unbelievable!

2 - 3000th ANNIVERSARY OF JERUSALEM CONCERT – Jerusalem Convention Centre, Israel December 1996
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta with Itzhak Perlman / Isaac Stern / Shlomo Mintz / Gil Shaham / Maxim Vengerov - violin, Mischa Maisky - cello, Yefim Bronfmann - piano.
As a violin player to see so many legends in the one concert was totally overwhelming. This was my first time to Israel and was with my mum, first time to Jerusalem and some days before the first time I met my recently discovered family - my only direct aunt and first cousins in the world. The only things I remember repertoire wise, was the Bach double violin concerto played by Gil Shaham and Isaac Stern which was just beautiful. Stern was all hunched over and grandfatherly-figure like and Shaham grinned his head off and they were clearly having a great time playing together. I remember the acoustics were not the best and thinking how ironic that these guys were not playing in a better hall. The other thing I remember is Itzhak Perlman's playing. His sound was by far the biggest regardless of the bad acoustics and he had the warmest richest tone and was playing in piano trio form with Yefim Bronfman and Mischa Maisky. The night ended with the national anthem of Israel - 'Hatikvah' or 'The Hope' - which in the context of a 3000th anniversary concert for this ever suffering city and nation was extremely emotional to say the least all politics put aside.

3 – TCHAVOLO SCHMITT QUARTET – Django’s Erben Festival, Koblenz, Germany July 2007
Tchavolo Shmitt - guitar Mayo Hubert - guitar Costel Nitescu - violin Claudius Dupont - double bass
Django's Erben (literally 'Inheritors of Django') is a small festival run by members of Lulo's family in Koblenz. It is a real Gypsy festival not some trendy event put on by people with hats pretending to be from one culture or another (this is a real problem these days where a lot of musicians who do this, don't realise how much they are unintentionally trivialising other people's cultures). Tchavolo is the guitarist from films including 'Swing' and 'Latcho Drom' by Tony Gatlif, him and Lulo's cousin Sascha who runs the festival are old friends and he has made an appearance at this festival a few times. (He lives only a few hours away on the border region with France and would go out of his way to come and play and be amongst friends at a festival like this, as opposed to come play at some more elaborate staged event unless the pay is extremely good..) I'd been dropped off after a gig elsewhere and the set I saw at about 12:30/1 in the morning was entirely impromptu. The band and what was left of the audience were completely drunk and it was some of the best Gypsy-Swing I've ever seen in my life - both Tchavolo and Costel his violin player were playing their asses off. Tchavolo is really different to many guys playing this music these days who sometimes seem to be aiming to be too clever for their own good or shredders as opposed to making great swing music which is much more where Django Reinhardt was initially coming from. Tchavolo's playing is all heart, totally instinctual and he swings like an absolute mofo. Gigs like this where he is totally in his comfort zone you can't replicate in feeling.

4 – PATO BANTON & THE AFRICAN EXPRESS – Concert Hall Sydney Opera House March 2001
I went to see this concert with one of my closest friends, the keyboard player player Dan Pliner (who I play with in Asthmatix and Zohar's Nigun) and his mum. Again I have no program so I’m going by memory here. It was a Womad-related concert put on at the Opera House and opening the concert for the reggae master Pato Banton were these totally incredible Iranian finger percussionists who blew my mind away. When Banton and his band got up he seemed to be pinching himself that he was actually playing at the Sydney Opera House and had the cheesiest grin as he announced 'we are very honoured to play..the sydney..opera...house.." Everyone in the audience was sitting as is convention but he would have none of it and eventually convinced the entire audience to get up and dance from their seats - which I had never seen in a Classical venue before. Nowadays this is not so unusual but at this time it was. So to see more than a thousand people dancing to the fattest reggae sounds in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall was really something. (Apparently his band WAS the first reggae band to play the Concert Hall) I particularly remember the bass player who was this massive guy standing heads and shoulders above the rest of the band and had the most killer groove. The band also did some great theatrical 'stops' mid song where they would all freeze for a minute or so then relaunch as if nothing had happened.

5 – CHARLES MINGUS BIG BAND – Concert Hall Sydney Opera House March 2009
This was such a beautiful gig on so many levels. ALL the musicians in the band got a go at soloing and all were top players - there was no personality contest or unnecessary agro competition just great great music making. I really felt as I heard these guys play, that Jazz today is in good hands. Based in New York, they were continuing the tradition with respect, humility and fun and they made killer music. I heard day or so later that most of this band afterwards headed to Tattlers in Darlinghurst and played until the early hours of the morning. Me and my friends were a bit shattered after the concert. Had we known we would have headed over. Instead we had a few quiet drinks at, of all places, Lowenbrau since it was the only place open for a beer!

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Jacam Manricks's High 5

“A composer beyond the confines of genre perception …evocative…meditative…beautifully contoured…An impressive collection of pieces from New York based Australian born multi-instrumentalist/professor Jacam Manricks, Labyrinth creeps into your ears with a stealthy sketch, half written, half improvised” – DownBeat

“Labyrinth is a piece of work that does for jazz what author Walt Whitman did for existentialism, he gives the genre meaning that people can relate to and apply to their own lives.” –Jazz Times

Sri Lankan/Portuguese Australian born saxophonist/composer Jacam Manricks was raised in an extremely musical family. His parents were resident classical musicians in the state symphony in his hometown of Brisbane, Queensland and his grandfather was a famous Portuguese jazz clarinetist and saxophonist in Sri Lanka. As a child Jacam frequently attended his parents’ symphony concerts and was introduced to jazz at home through his fathers’ jazz record collection. Due to these surroundings, Jacam was able to build a diverse musical foundation from a young age that combined jazz and classical music, two genres that continue to influence his music today. Jacam began studying piano at age 5 and the alto saxophone at 9. His formal musical training continued in New York in 2001, culminating with a doctor of musical arts degree in jazz composition/performance/ pedagogy from the Manhattan School of Music in 2007.
As a saxophonist and woodwind player, Jacam has performed and/or recorded with some of the most prestigious international artists of our time, including Ray Charles, Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, David Liebman, Michael Abene, Bob Mintzer, Dick Oatts, James Morrison, Mike Nock, Ben Monder, Gary Versace, Joe Martin, Tyshawn Sorey, Barney McAll, Jerry Lewis and the Queensland Symphony to name a few. He is a popular figure amongst the New York contemporary jazz scene and a familiar face in venues such as the Jazz Gallery, Cornelia Street Café, Smalls, the Jazz Standard and Jazz at Lincoln Center.
As a composer, soloist and ensemble leader, Jacam has recorded three albums to date (Sky’s the Limit, Labyrinth and Trigonometry). Currently Jacam is promoting the release of his second album Labyrinth, which has received outstanding reviews in JazzTimes, Downbeat, All About Jazz-NY, Sydney Morning Herald and the Irish Times. Labyrinth consists of Jacam’s compositions for jazz quintet and chamber orchestra and features some of New York’s finest jazz soloists (Ben Monder – guitars, Thomas Morgan - bass, Tyshawn Sorey – drums, Jacob Sacks – piano & himself on saxophones/woodwinds).
Jacam recently recorded his third album as a leader in New York for Posi-Tone records in May 2009. The album is to be released in July 2010 and features Jacam’s most recent compositions for jazz quartet and septet, performed by himself and leading New York jazz artists (Gary Versace – piano, Joe Martin - bass, Obed Calvaire – drums, Scott Wendholt – trumpet, Alan Ferber on trombone & himself on saxophones).
Jacam has received a number of prestigious awards and scholarships for artistic excellence and touring, such as the Contemporary Music Touring Program awards in 2009 and 2007, the Marten Bequest Arts Fellowship in 2005, the Queensland Lord Mayors Performing Arts Fellowship in 2000, and the Australian National Jazz Award-third prize 2009. He has toured extensively throughout Europe, Australia, Canada and the US as a soloist and/or bandleader.
Jacam has composed works for a number of different ensembles worldwide. These include a suite for Symphony Orchestra and Big Band, which was presented as a part of the Manhattan School of Music’s 90th Anniversary Celebration Concert in New York in October 2007. The concert featured Jacam as composer/orchestrator and alto saxophone soloist. Other works have been written for the William Patterson University Big Band (New Jersey, USA), the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra (New York, USA), the Helsinki Polytechnics Pop and Jazz Conservatory (Finland), the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo (Norway) and the Queensland Conservatorium of Music (Brisbane, Australia).
In addition to performing and composing, Jacam is a very experienced musical educator. He has done master-classes and clinics at internationally renowned institutions such as the Manhattan School of Music, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Victorian College of the Arts, Queensland Conservatorium of Music, and the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York, where he currently works as a private saxophone and improvisation instructor.

1. MIGUEL ZENON QUARTET – The Jazz Standard New York 29th April 2008
Henry Cole drums, Hans Glawischnig bass, Luis Perdomo piano & Miguel Zenon Alto Sax and Composition.
Most of the music I've seen presented at the Jazz Standard over the last nine or so years while living in and around Manhattan has been first class. But this show stands out for many reasons. Firstly, it’s great to hear these guys play together. They sound like a band; musicians who clearly have a deep understanding of one-another’s musical intentions at most if not at all times. There is an amazing cohesiveness with this group. The rhythm section gradually builds behind each of Miguel’s solos, shifting gears slightly chorus after chorus, all the while spontaneously interacting with one-another and savoring each melody he delivers. Secondly, the combination of Latin rhythms, odd-meter claves and ostinatos, not to mention the virtuosic solos create an intensely powerful and moving energy. Also, I’ve seen this band play many times and there is always total commitment and 100% focus on the bandstand. Thirdly, the compositions are very involved and unique: most combining 20th century classical harmony, improvisation and a number of authentic Latin rhythms. Many of the compositions are heavily orchestrated too. Not something many jazz composers think about. Finally, these guys are absolutely nailing this difficult and very complex music. They have memorized the material they’re presenting and make it sound so fresh and easy. Very admirable and very inspiring!

2. BRAD MEHLDAU TRIO – The Village Vanguard New York 24th Sept 2008
Brad Mehldau piano, Larry Grenadier bass & Jeff Ballard drums.
This gig was one of the more spiritual concerts I’ve witnessed. Mehldau has definitely contributed to the evolution of ‘piano trio’ and this gig was an excellent example of why. There was a phenomenal sense of interplay between the band.
The pacing with which Mehldau conducts his solos is beautifully mirrored by his rhythm section Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard.

3. CHRIS POTTER QUARTET – The Village Vanguard New York Dec 2002.
Chris Potter (tenor saxophone); Kevin Hayes (piano, Fender Rhodes piano); Scott Colley (double bass); Bill Stewart (drums).
I’d only been living in NY a year or so when I saw this gig. I had seen some of these guys play with Dave Binney at the 55 bar in the west village before though. Those gigs were always a fairly loose but ‘killing’ - in the most musical sense of the word -. This gig was different though. They were promoting a new album and the music was very together. There was the usual ‘burn’, ‘kill & destroy’ ‘odd-meter stadium-jazz tunes but also some more captivating moments where Potter explored some extended saxophone techniques and Hayes experimented with effects on the rhodes and combining it with piano: i.e. one hand on each. They also played a ballad version of Stella by Starlight. It was a total reharmonization. Thank god for that. The song has been done to its death already. It was a very virtuosic and satisfying gig though. Bill Stewart shined as per usual and Scott Colley was the rock of solidarity. Am very happy to have caught this one.

4. THE STONE – East Village NYC, 3rd August 2009
The Tyshawn Sorey Quintet
Personnel: Tyshawn Sorey drums/compositions, Thomas Morgan bass, Pete Robbins sax, Jesse Stacken piano, Todd Nuefeld-Guitar.
This was not your run of the mill Jazz show. In fact, most gigs at this fairly new venue are not ‘Jazz’ per say. The music presented this night was thoroughly orchestrated with elements of improvisation included at times. The compositions were very interesting. They rarely maintained a continuous pulse and frequently changed in terms of texture, timber and melodic/harmonic colours.
You could say these are some principals one might follow when trying to create 20th or in this case 21st century classical ‘new music’. Except there was a Jazz instrumentation doing it. It was quite captivating. In general the music was quite dissonant but also somehow seductive and meditative, ambient even at times. Thomas Morgan’s bass playing was essential as was Todd Neufeld’s guitar. The bass, piano and drum parts were rarely scored together, unlike a lot of ‘Jazz’. And, often each was superimposed one rhythm/meter upon the other. It was contrapuntally thick writing. The music was very ‘heavy’ rhythmically and harmonically. Tyshawn’s drumming was explosive but also very refined and sparse at times. His composition skills were equally formidable.

5. KURT ROSENWINKEL GROUP - Village Vanguard featuring: 2006
Aaron Goldberg piano, Joe Martin bass, Mark Turner saxophone and Eric Harland drums.
The band was making a live album that week and they sounded fantastic the night I caught them. Aaron Goldberg was tearing it up on piano and the blend between him, Mark Turner’s tenor saxophone and Rosenwinkel’s guitar was mellifluous, melancholic and at times menacing. I had scene this band or similar line-ups just down the road at the slightly more affordable Smalls Jazz Club. Somehow this gig was on another level though. No doubt partly due to the fact the band had been playing every night for nearly a week. The compositions were all by Rosenwinkel and sounded super together with the band. His guitar playing was both virtuosic and spontaneous. Aaron Goldberg took several outstanding piano solos gelling with bassist Joe Martin, drummer Eric Harland and of course Rosenwinkel’s guitar comping. Its sad Kurt has now gone trio. The quintet provided more colors for his music, clearly due to the extra members/instruments, but also the harmonic and melodic vocabulary each player contributed to his music. If only touring with a Jazz group larger than trio was an economically sane concept.

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Eamon Dilworth's High 5

Eamon recently completed a Bachelor of Music (Jazz) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and was a 2007 James Morrison Scholarship finalist. He began trumpet at 8 years old along with Violin, French horn and Double Bass. He has toured Europe and America (Australian All star Big Band), New Zealand and Hong Kong (Pan Pacific Big Band), and Perth with Sydney hip-hop outfit Kid Confucius.
Eamon has performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Thredbo Jazz Festival, Montreax Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Manly Jazz Festival, Dubbo Jazz Festival, Wangaratta Festival of Jazz, Jazzgroove Futures Festival, as well as Splendour in the Grass with popular act The Beautiful Girls. He has also had the opportunity to perform with Dale Barlow, James Morrison, John Morrison, Dan Barnett, Dave Panichi, James Muller and Sandy Evans.
Eamon has played at many Sydney venues leading bands at Soup Plus, The Basement and the Side-On Café. He has also played in the bands of Judy Bailey’s Jazz Connection, The Kings of Swing Big Band (Feat. Errol Buddle), Jay Miller Group and leads his own quintet "The Dilworth's".
In 2009 The Dilworths released their debut album entitled “introducing The Dilworths” on Jazzgroove records and launched the CD with a highly successful gig at The Basement supported by the great Judy Bailey.
Eamon’s travels have allowed him to study privately in New York with Laurie Frink, Brian Lynch, Lew Soloff, Ambrose Akinmusire and Jim Rotundi as well as regularly in Australia with Phil Slater, Warwick Alder, Scott Tinkler, Judy Bailey, Mike Nock, Matt McMahon and Dale Barlow.

“If you like your modern jazz creative, swinging and with attitude, check out the DILWORTHS impressive debut CD. Wonderfully mature playing and exceptional compositions, this is an outstandingly talented group of young musicians who are already making waves and who we’re going to be hearing a lot more from in the future.” - Mike Nock, 2009

“The talent-packed Dilworths are a band to watch out for; their appealing compositions and articulate performances cannot be ignored” - John McBeath (Weekend Australian 2010)

1. OMER AVITAL – The Jazz Standard, February 2008
(Omer Avital - Bass, Avishai Cohen - Trumpet, Joel Frahm - Tenor Sax, Omer Klein - Piano, Ziv Ravitz - Drums)
In January 2008 I made my first trip to New York and experienced 2-3 gigs a night for 6 weeks, with almost every single one blowing me away. One great gig I saw was the Omer Avital group. I had recently been listening to these Jewish Jazz guys on CDs back home and seeing them live was such an inspiring experience. The atmosphere of the room was so uplifting. The people seemed to be there not only to listen but to be involved in the communal experience elicited through Avital's tunes. Members of the audience were audibly humming along to folk melodies quoted by the band. I was blown away by the energy with which they played, particularly the fiery sound of Avishai Cohen.

2. LONDON PHILHARMONIC – The Royal Albert Hall: Dvorak’s New World Symphony February 2009
This was the first orchestra concert I had been to on my own and for my own desire. I booked the cheapest tickets and sat behind the orchestra. I think this piece is remarkably beautiful. I was captivated by the simplicity within the thematic ideas of the piece. I came to the conclusion that when composing, I was trying to use so much material that I never actually developed the initial idea enough. This applied to my improvisations also. The things I love about hearing an orchestra in a concert hall are how freely each instrument's tone colour can resonate and the ability for such a large group to achieve a wide dynamic range. This piece is an example of great voice leading.

3. LINDA OH TRIO - at 505, October 2009
(Ambrose Akinmusire - Trumpet, Linda Oh - Bass, Tommy Crane - Drums)
I’ve been following Ambrose’s music for about 2 years now, starting with a Walter Smith III album Alex Boneham introduced me to. While in New York in 2009 (for my second trip), instead of getting multiple lessons again with heaps of different players I organised a lesson and hang with Ambrose. In the 4 hours we discussed music and what inspires us to achieve and he stressed to me how important it is to have goals, a five year plan and to be focused on your own sound and what kinds of gigs you want to be doing. He has since been such a big inspiration and hearing him talk about learning with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Terence Blanchard (some of my musical heroes) made me so excited to hear he was coming out with Linda Oh’s Trio. I saw their workshop and 505 gig and was not disappointed. Ambrose’s concept is so fresh and exciting. Along with Terence Blanchard, I feel Ambrose has a real gift for conveying beauty in music and transcending the complexities of harmony and rhythm.

4. PAUL GRABOWSKY – City Recital Hall, Angel Place - Tales of Time and Space, January 2005
(Paul Grabowsky - Piano, Scott Tinkler - Trumpet, Joe Lovano - Saxophones, Ed Schuller - Bass, Simon Barker - Drums)
In 2004 I bought a copy of the album, based on the names in the band and having no idea what it would sound like. This was one of the most modern albums I owned but I listened to it over and over and got so caught up in the melodies. My favourite parts of the album were the quartet moments with Tinkler who I think plays so lyrically. When it was announced they’d be bringing the band for the Sydney Festival 2005 I was naturally stoked and booked second row centre tickets straight away. The gig was interesting as it was the first gig I went to knowing the music back to front, so when they played all the songs from the album I was slightly caught off guard by the improvisations. Not that I mean to say the gig wasn't as good, but more of a testament to how great the solos reflected the compositions.

5. JOSHUA REDMAN DOUBLE TRIO – The Highline Ballroom NY February 2009
(Joshua Redman - Saxophones, Larry Grenadier - Bass, Rueben Rogers - Bass, Gregory Hutchinson - Drums, Brian Blade - Drums)
This was the launch gig for Joshua’s latest album Compass with the double trio. It was a bit of a dream band, with Greg and Brian set up facing each other, Larry and Rueben side by side, and Joshua centre stage. This band has everything for me. It has a wide appeal in that the music is deep enough for most musicians to dig and at the same time Joshua’s stage presence and rapport with the audience keeps everyone captivated.

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John Hardaker’s High 5

Unlike many of my esteemed colleagues on this website, I am not Bachelor of anything – unless it be Bachelor of Playing a Thousand Gigs on a Hundred and One Stages. I am an autodidact mainly, self-taught through just getting out there and playing playing playing. I did have one year of jazz guitar lessons from John Robinson, one of Australia’s first fusion guitarists of the 70’s – a guru in so many ways and a great musical mind – one year which really opened my head up and answered so many questions. I have been playing guitar for four decades - a lot of rock and blues and over the last few years, more and more jazz. For almost ten years I led the power-pop group ‘John Citizen’ and since 2007 have led ‘The John Hardaker Direction’, a shifting lineup that ranges from duo to little big band. In August 2009 I mounted the third ‘Kind of Kind of Blue’ – my tribute to Miles Davis and the ‘Kind of Blue’ album where I arranged each piece on the LP for a 14pc little big band. It was the crowning experience of the JHD for me – and pointed me in a new direction, that of arranging for jazz ensembles. This is the direction I am moving in now. The guitar is great but playing a group of horns is even better!

1. LED ZEPPELIN – Sydney Showground 1972
I was only a young teenager when i saw Led Zeppelin live and it put the fear of God up me. I was so moved by their power that I trembled where I sat. It was a pivotal moment for me as it was my first experience of the magical power of live music to move one almost to tears; utterly ecstatic, all four hours of it. The extended improvisations opened my head up as well. I remember thinking, how do they remember all that? When I later found out it was largely improvised I was equally staggered – hmmmm, ‘improvised’, I must look into this.

2. GEORGE GOLLA – Mosman Steak & Pancake House, late 70’s
George Golla played with his trio regularly at the Mosman Steak & Pancake House in the late 70’s. Tony Ansell was on keys and played keyboard bass as well. My cousin worked as a waiter there so I could go in and sit on a cup of coffee for two or three hours in the corner and just dig George. I had followed his work of course with Don Burrows, but away from Don he dipped into the hardcore swing repertoire and really cooked. I learned so much about guitar playing from watching and listening to that band - so much about the dynamics of a good jazz band as well. Never got the nerve up to tell George how much I loved his playing though...

3. ALBERT COLLINS – Balmain RSL, early 80’s
Albert (The Iceman) Collins was a Texas blues guitarist who was a major influence on my major influences. He played a stinging, howling Telecaster with a capo on the 9th fret – his tone and lines chilled me to the marrow, still do. As a guitar player whose head was full of scales and chords I was staggered by the effectiveness of Collins’ simple approach. He picked just the right note at just the right time and shook it just the right way. (This could of course be said of any of the great blues players - from BB King to SRV). This gig turned my head around – how does he do it? Then I realised that he was emulating the sound of the human voice with all its nuance and “wrongness”. I never forgot it.

4. ORNETTE COLEMAN – Sydney Opera House, January 2008
Ornette came on stage with three bass players and his son Denardo on drums. I thought, good on Ornette, still out to shock and surprise. After one piece, this odd, unbalanced line-up sounded just right. Some of the tempos seemed out of Denardo’s reach - he noticeably stumbled a few times - but Ornette flew through it all, light and bright as ever. I was lucky enough to be about three or four rows from the front – I could see the intelligent fire in his eyes. Ornette was quite old and frail but his eyes twinkled with the courage and humour that I had always equated with his music. His eyes said be brave and do your thing and don’t set out to please everyone; not in a bitter way, in a spiritual human way; very inspiring.

5. JOHN MCLAUGHLIN & CHICK COREA – Sydney Opera House, February 2009
Through a wonderful twist of fate I was lucky enough to see Chick Corea and John McLaughlin twice in two nites at the Sydney Opera House. This concert to me was like seeing Jesus and Buddha walk out on stage (don’t ask me which was which). These two masters and the bands they led in the '70s were the two poles of my musical flowering – the sun and the moon (once again, don’t ask me which was which) of my universe back then and, to a large extent, to this day. I would have happily paid to see either of the two perform separately (or for that matter any band led by their great sidemen - Christian McBride, Kenny Garret or Brian Blade) but to see them together, as friends and musical explorers was almost too damn much. Chick and John had that egoless, bright and pure happiness running through everything they played. It wasn’t about speed or volume or "going off" or "blowing the audience away" or any of that. It was a reaching out for happiness and hitting it over and again, thru a mix of the most rigorous masterful discipline and the merriest childlike play.

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John Harkins’s High 5

American-born and raised, John Harkins, who moved to Sydney in 1994, is one of the most sought after jazz pianists in Australia today. John majored in classical piano at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City and has worked with tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton, singer Mark Murphy, and trumpeter Warren Vache (with whom he recorded Easy Going on the Concord Jazz label in 1987) to name a few.
In recent years John has been the Musical Director and pianist for the annual Australian tours of US singer Barbara Morrison. He is featured on her biggest selling CD, Live Down Under.
John was a soloist on Australian CD recordings of Blaine Whittaker's Hard Bop Cafe featuring James Morrison and The Andrew Speight Quartet, the 1999 ARIA Award for Best Jazz Album of the Year.
He also played and arranged on singer Danielle Gaha's debut CD titled You Don't Know Me on Sony/BMG label. He has been praised by jazzandbeyond.com.au for his arrangements and playing on singer Karlie Bruce's CD release on the LaBrava label.
In mid 2005, John was the pianist for the legendary Cleo Laine on her sold-out 3 week tour of Australia. The final concert was documented by the TV programme ‘60 Minutes’.
In 2008 John released a solo piano and vocal album, Love Letters. This was produced by Australian singer-songwriter Billy Field. The album includes Love Letters, My Shining Hour, Angel Eyes, Stanley Turrentine's ‘Sugar’ as well as Duke Ellington's ‘Lucky So and So’.
In March 2009, John released The Jazz Type, his new trio album featuring Wycliffe Gordon, trombonist from NYC. It is available now online.
A new album arranged by John called Barbara Morrison with the John Harkins Trio, recorded in Sydney, will be available in January 2010.

1. MILT JACKSON, RAY BROWN, CEDAR WALTON & BILLY HIGGINS – Jazz Showcase, The Blackstone Hotel Chicago Illinois 1995
Although I'd heard all of these musicians separately before, hearing them play all together was quite the trip. Ray Brown was kind of the unofficial leader. I was sitting about 5 feet from Billy Higgins because all the seats on the piano side were taken! Not a problem since Billy Higgins was the absolute master of dynamics and restraint. Two sets of magic produced by four of the very best. Too swinging to describe in words. I’m a musician, not a critic!

2. SONNY ROLLINS - Sydney Opera House, June 2007
I'd never seen the great man live before and the moment he walked on stage I realized I was crying. My good friend Andrew Dickeson procured us the absolute best seats in the house through some miracle of lottery madness. Sonny came out looking like Moses and walking like some great warrior across the stage. He opened with ‘Falling in Love with Love’ by playing the melody 3 or 4 or maybe 5 times over and over.
The beauty of his whole thing to me is that he is just Sonny Rollins in 2007.
If you were expecting to hear Sonny like he sounded in 1960, you would have been mistaken. This was simply a great jazz musician improvising like any other night in his 60 odd years of playing. On bass was Bob Cranshaw, one of the most recorded jazz bass players in history. They played for over 3 hours. It was one of the greatest jazz concerts I had ever been witness to. To me, jazz has always been about the spirit of the moment. I felt it was a great moment.

Tribute to Motor City Jazz 40,000 people on a balmy summer night in my home town. Backstage with my hero Tommy Flanagan, and my best friend, George Fludas, who was playing drums with Tommy that night. The music was so swingin'. The vibe so beautiful. End of review.

Hearing this band made me very happy that night. I had heard Kirk Lightsey maybe 200 times or more in NYC throughout the 1980's. I saw him with Dexter Gordon and Woody Shaw on several occasions, and at Bradley's on University in the village. Now in his seventies, he sounded better than ever to me. He brought the NY sound (via detroit) to my Redfern/ Zetland neighborhood. His comping on ‘Skylark’ was great. The way he makes the piano sing and jump is not to be taken lightly. I wish I could have followed him around on his tour of Australia and listened every night.

This was a most anticipated concert for the obvious reasons of the great trio. The anticipation was heightened further by the fact that the young Wynton Marsalis was making his debut with these great players. Wynton was 19 at the time. His playing was nothing short of brilliant. He was on fire and obviously moved by the company he was in. I had heard Wynton already with Art Blakey, and Herbie with Chick Corea, but Herbie with Ron and Tony was on a different level. At the time I was also 19 and just starting to learn about the music. I think it's fair to say that I didn't actually understand a lot from a technical or even musical perspective, but I could tell I was witnessing something special. I know they played ‘If I Were a Bell’ really fast, as well as a couple Wayne Shorter compositions. Music plays different to everybody and this concert had a profound effect on me. I still hear that great rhythm section sound in my head when I recall the night.

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Daryl Aberhart’s High 5

An accomplished vocalist, keyboard player, composer and arranger, Daryl Aberhart became interested in music from an early age, studying classical piano and voice to 7th grade level. He graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 1993 aged 18, majoring in the jazz vocal course.
Forming the folk/pop/rock trio Tribe of New with Tim Campbell & Joe Accaria they played original compositions and in 1994 won a Mushroom recording prize plus the Yamaha M-Rock competition which resulted in the production of a video single.
Following Daryl’s inclusion in the 1998 Wangaratta Festival of Jazz competition top 10 finalists, he worked regularly with soul/funk outfit “Temple of Groove” playing Earth Wind & Fire and Tower of Power classics.
Over the years Daryl has appreciated many different music styles from Bach to metal, punk to jazz, and names Steely Dan as some of his favourite music.
Vocally his influences include Carmen McCrae, Sarah Vaughan, Donald Fagan, Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder, Jeffrey Osborne, Michael Jackson and Bon Scott, with his own mellifluous style incorporating a wide variety including pop, rock, soul, cabaret and jazz.
His debut CD “The Cat Within” – a trans-Atlantic collaboration with legendary jazz guitarist and composer John Scofield, released in 2006, and has been critically acclaimed as a one-off masterpiece.
Daryl has performed “The Cat Within” songs at both the Thredbo and Manly jazz festivals.
For his 2009 release “Aussie Gold Vol.1” Daryl has chosen well-known hits from over two decades ago and reworked them with his own Daz-style imprint.

1. JOHN SCOFIELD – The Basement Sydney 1993.
It was something like 1993 or thereabouts when John Scofield brought the Hand Jive tour to the Basement in Sydney. My friends and I had a table right up front, and we were transfixed from the first note. While the album had blown my mind, (and still does when it gets a spin), seeing Sco and Co rip the tunes up live was a revelation. Bill Stewart, Larry Goldings and Dennis Irwin were playing with a sublime synergy that I have never really experienced at any other gig (except for the next night when I went and saw them play it all again!) I was already a Sco fan, but this gig cemented him as one of my favourite composers and improvising performers of all time.

2. SONNY ROLLINS – Sydney Opera House Concert Hall 2008.
I had never had the pleasure of seeing Sonny Rollins live before, so this was indeed a thrill.
While I wasn't super blown away by the group as a whole (bass solos during a ballad anyone?), that inimitable tone so full of the joy of being will stick with me all my days.
It inspired me to go back and check out some recordings of Sonny's that I hadn’t really explored before, which was a very rewarding experience.

3. JOHN SCOFIELD, JOE LOVANO - Sydney Opera House Concert Hall 2008.
I am a huge fan of the album 'Time on my hands' which features these two artists, and my high expectations were well met on this night. These two have a true musical understanding it would seem, and combined with a fresh and fiery young rhythm section they put on an invigorating show. I was buzzing for the whole drive back to Newcastle with my head full of music.

4. JOHN SCOFIELD – 3 ways. Melbourne Jazz Festival 2006.
At least I think it was 2006.....anyway, it was not long after I had completed the recording of my album of John Scofield tunes which I had written some lyrics to (The Cat Within available at cdbaby.com), and John's wife Susan had most kindly arranged for some complimentary passes to all John's gigs in Melbourne for the festival. So off went my good friend and colleague drummer Nic Cecire for a weekend of fine food and music in Melbourne.
The first gig was at the Forum, trio with Steve Swallow on bass, Bill Stewart drumming and Sco, and while it was a fun gig, the sound was sub-par and really kind of let the gig down for me....
Second gig was a workshop with my friend Brett Hirst on bass and a drummer whose name escapes me. This was pretty relaxed, and despite a few silly questions, gave a nice insight into John's approach to music in general and some of his influences.
Third gig was at the big auditorium venue on the river, and this time no sound problems at all. You could really hear the interplay between Steve Swallow, Sco and Stewart and they ripped through a fiery set of originals and standards, including a super burning version of one of my favourite standards 'Gone with the Wind'. This was an awesome way to end our stay in marvelous Melbourne.

5. STEELY DAN – Sydney Entertainment Centre, Heavy Rollers tour, 200?
Okay, so the venue was crap (Sydney Entertainment Centre), the sound extremely unbalanced and irritating, but the thrill of seeing my all time songwriting idol and vocalist Donald Fagan was undeniable. They meandered through a set of classic Dan numbers with Keith Carlock on drums keeping them all in line nicely....just a shame that the kick drum was the most prevalent item in the sound mix from my perspective....
A real gig highlight despite the detracting factors, and quite possibly the only time I will have the pleasure of seeing them play live.

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James Greening’s High 5

One of Australia’s leading jazz trombonists, James Greening has been widely praised for his work with such leading ensembles as Ten Part Invention, Wanderlust, The catholics, The Umbrellas and the Australian Art Orchestra. With THE WORLD ACCORDING TO JAMES, he steps forward as a bandleader and composer, presenting music with all the qualities of wit, creativity and exuberance that have long been associated with his work as a soloist.
Born in Newcastle, James’ early experiences included the Newcastle Police Boys Band, with which he toured Europe and Australia. While studying jazz at the NSW Conservatorium, he began working with both modern and traditional jazz bands around Sydney.
Through the 1980s, James developed his distinctive sound and style while working with a broad range of jazz ensembles, Latin and R&B bands, orchestras and television show bands. In addition to the groups mentioned above, he has also worked with Bernie McGann (recording the classic CD McGann with the McGann Trio for Rufus), Tim Hopkins, Mike Nock, Chris Cody, Steve Hunter, Monica Trapaga, Vince Jones, Judy Bailey and James Morrison. Over the past twenty years James has also played with Jackie Orszaczky in a number of groundbreaking bands such as Jump Back Jack, Industrial Accident, The Godmothers, The Orszaczky Budget Orchestra and Hungarian Rapsadists.
A member of the Australian Art Orchestra for over ten years, recent projects have been Sandy Evan’s Testimony – a tribute to Charlie Parker performed at both Sydney and Melbourne Festivals and Ruby’s Story and Kura Tunga – a collaboration with Indigenous performers Ruby Hunter and Archie Roach. Also with the Australian Art Orchestra, James performed in India and featured on the Aria nominated recording with the Sruthi Laya Ensemble titled Into the Fire.
International artists James has performed with are US saxophonist Billy Harper, US Bassist Mark Helias at Wangaratta, Japanese trumpeter Teramasa Hino and at the Sydney Festival 2002, James featured as a guest soloist with the Maria Schneider big band and the Charles Mingus Tribute big band.
He formed THE WORLD ACCORDING TO JAMES in 1992. In 1998 a review in the Sydney Morning Herald described James Greening's group, THE WORLD ACCORDING TO JAMES, as probably the best unrecorded band in the country. After featuring on numerous other artists' recordings over the years it wasn't until 1999 that James released an album in his own right of original compositions, No Job Too Small, on Rufus in 1999. A second CD, Way Back, was released in 2002 on Heads Up. Distributed by Vitamin Records it was nominated for an Aria in 2003. The third CD Lingua Franca on Lamplight Records was released in 2009 to rave reviews.
Joining James (playing pocket trumpet with this band, as well as his more familiar trombone) in THE WORLD ACCORDING TO JAMES are Andrew Robson (alto sax), Steve Elphick (bass) and Toby Hall (drums), all leading players on the Sydney scene. The fact that the personnel has not changed since 1992 means that either the band is incredibly lucrative, or the music is as rewarding to play as it is to hear.
In 2002 the band appeared at the Berlin JazzFest in a double bill with the Sandy Evans Trio. They were the first Australian groups to appear at this prestigious festival in nearly 40 years of its existence. They also played at long standing jazz clubs in Dresden, Cologne, Munich and Amsterdam.
In 2004 the group joined the Musica Viva in Schools program, after all the members having had over ten years of experience in the program with the Umbrellas and Mara! Aiming to demystify jazz music, the quartet introduces the basic concepts and building blocks of music through deconstructing their original compositions and involving their young audience in composing a piece of improvised music at each concert.
Reviews of James’ playing tells the story of a world of interaction, intimacy, humour and an ultimately rewarding experience for the players and audience alike:

His trombone playing has always carried a buoyancy in the phrasing and shaping of the notes, above and beyond the ripe tones and wit of many of the lines. His compositions further the cause. - John Shand, 'Sydney Morning Herald'

Greening blends crooning lines into the ensemble, and sometimes yawns and slides mightily across it or rockets from its feather-light bed with overtones crackling, in a galvanising, rich bray. - John Clare, 'Sydney Morning Herald'

A deeply embedded musicality and love of making music is reconfirmed in John Shand’s review of Wayback:
Most music is a lie, born from the pursuit of money or fashion, the worship of technique or the emulation of idols. Avoiding spreading these deceptions requires an almost heroic effort. James Greening’s band makes music about truth, beauty, sadness, love, wonder and happiness. The members may have chosen music as a career option, but they play for the love of it, and that can be heard in every note, every nuance of interaction. That interaction is not some by-product of jazz, but the music’s essence: art which could only have been created in that moment with those people. - John Shand, ‘Sydney Morning Herald’

“When I was asked to put together my High 5 list a great gigs I felt a strange dull dread and nausea come over me. This is because of the endless string of beautiful life changing concerts I have had the opportunity to experience both as a player and an audience member, and my tendency to remember these concerts in a slightly abstract form, as I rely on my friends and my collective memory. Fortunately I learnt that it was only concerts I had experienced not as a player, which cut down my choices quite a bit. It probably doesn’t need mentioning that this is an impossible task, so I will simply do my best to share some memories of my life changing experiences. Also I do apologies in advance for the misspellings and possibly slightly dodgy facts regarding times, specific players and places where these experiences took place, but not the spirit of the experience that I will try and convey.”

1. DON CHERRY – New York City probably 1994.
After completing a tour of Canada with The catholics, which was both immensely enjoyable and confronting, at an outdoor concert in front of thousands of people I had frozen just before going on stage, thinking what the hell am I doing here, I have nothing to say on the horn. Fortunately Sandy Evans was there to encourage me and basically told me to just get on stage and start playing, which strangely enough worked.
At the end of the tour my wife and I continued on to the Jazz Mecca, New York City and stayed in the famous Chelsea Hotel and ventured out to experience what we could. We went to a number of great small gigs in the meat packing part of town that were wonderful. Then we saw that Don Cherry was playing at the Village Vanguard. We paid our money and went in to this small room with not very many people in the audience. After a bit, the band came on stage, sorry but I can’t remember the names of the drummer or the Tuba player right now, but there was Carlos Ward whom I had seen play at the Melbourne Jazz festival some time earlier and Don. It was soon obvious that Don was quite weak, and struggled to get a sound on the open trumpet. I was jet lagged and fell into a paranoia that my wife was “thinking what the hell did you bring me here for, he can’t even play”. Fortunately again, I remembered Sandy’s encouragement to me when I was vulnerable, and could see this wonderfully inspiring love and care that the band, particularly Carlos, were demonstrating in supporting Don. From that point on the concert was absolutely intimately engaging and inspiring, with Don playing beautifully conceived phrases on the melodica, piano and the Harmon muted trumpet. This was a truly inspiring experience for me as I had been introduced to Don’s music by Miro Bukovsky many years earlier, and now I was seeing live why I loved Don’s music so much. I have added a little quote from Don I lifted from the Jazz house .org web site, as it is better to hear it from him. "It's important to me to be a part of world music, to meet and make music with the musical masters," he explained more than once, no doubt. "I feel free to play whatever I want to play, whether it's different styles of music, or classical, folk or devotional music’s, or music that has aspects of all those three things - which I believe can co-exist - along with educational components.
"I also want to be free to improvise forms - not only to improvise on the changes but to be creative enough to improvise new forms while spontaneously composing. But if you want to do that, it's important to play with other musicians who can do that, too."
A few days later we were walking along one of the main drags in Manhattan and we noticed this guy walking towards us spinning his sun glasses around in his hand, he proceeded to bow slightly towards us and then head straight across the road effortlessly through the traffic. I learnt that Don had died not long after we had returned to Sydney. I cherish this lesson that I had learnt from Don and the musicians that loved and cherished him and his generosity of spirit.

Once again I found myself traveling Europe with my teacher and friend Miroslav Bukovsky and the other wonderful musicians in Wanderlust. We had been having a great time playing some great gigs in Italy in various diverse places such as a grotto. The guys knew that Michael Brecker and his band were in town and playing at an outdoor venue, so we decided to go together. I was in two minds about going to this concert, as I had the flu and [sorry this bit could upset some people and make me look like a real ……….. ! ] I must confess that up to this point I had not valued Michael’s playing, as I had been hearing a lot of what I interpreted as clones of Michael rattling off perfect lick after perfect lick and I blamed him for the endless choruses that I had endured. I also had struggled with the cleanliness that I had heard on the recordings that had listened to. So here I am with the guys and the band came on stage, laughing and joking together. They launched into their set, and I couldn’t believe my ears and eyes. Michael was playing with such joy and abandon. He was so free that he made a really obvious mistake, for want of a better word. To my absolute delight he cracked up, turning to Joey Calderazzo with a laugh and grin that melted my heart and made me feel like a complete fool, for holding on to this ignorant and shallow judgment of a master musician, based on my insecurities and prejudices. These guys continued playing with total abandon and mastery for a number of hours that felt like magical moments, despite my flu and the enormous storm that had descended upon us. Through the pelting rain I sat there with the other guys in the band being warmed by this great display of trust and courage demonstrated by these master musicians and friends.

3. BRAD MEHLDAU TRIO—Melbourne Jazz Festival 2009
I was going through an interesting time, having a real battle with my experiences with piano players as I was going through my discovery of space and delicacy through vulnerability and gentleness. Why can I hear you laughing so loudly? Anyway, I was struggling with the power and orchestral might that the piano offered to the musicians seated at these monsters of voicing’s, so when one of the guys mentioned Brad Meldau was playing with his trio I was determined to get to the concert as I had heard him on the radio and he had reminded me of Bill Evans and his delicate approach to music.
Once again my whole vision of music was turned on its head. Not only did Brad draw such beauty out of the piano, but the delicacy with intensity displayed by Jorge Rossi on drums and bassist Matt Penman, in their dance together with Brad, was a vision of what was possible. Ever since that concert I delight in playing with all my friends that have taken on the great challenge of interacting with such a powerful voice, the piano, and their guidance through the landscapes, they create for us to travel.

4. HERBIE HANCOCK - Sydney Town Hall 90s/ State Theatre 2009
I have been listening to Herbie play my entire career. There is no way for me to adequately speak about his mastery. I have seen him play a couple of times first at the Sydney town hall solo piano. When I arrived I discovered that my allocated seat was replaced by the mixing desk. To my great delight I was given a replacement seat up on the raised ring directly level with Herbie, so I could hear him acoustically and see him as if he was in my lounge room. This was a simply beautifully intimate experience.
My next encounter was just this year, when I had the opportunity to escort Herbie and some of his band members and crew to a group meeting of the Buddhism that we practice. Herbie had no idea that I played music, so I had a wonderful opportunity to relate to him as a human being with no feelings of inadequacy on my part.
At the concert, I experienced a wonderful lesson. As the guys started playing, I fell into despair as I was trying to understand what they were doing, analyzing and calculating like crazy to no avail. Fortunately, I quickly was able to divorce myself from being a musician, and imagining myself playing with them. I was able to just listen and watch and enjoy the beauty and effortless dialogue going on. During Herbie’s stay in Sydney I was fortunate to witness him encouraging people from every walk of life; this is the beauty that I witnessed; that he displays in every interaction he takes part in.

5. ALLAN BROWNE - Mackay Tropic of Jazz Festival 2007
Strangely this was the first time I had the opportunity to hear Allan and his wonderful band (Eugene Ball trumpet, Stephen Grant alto saxophone, Howard Cairns Double Bass, and Andy Baylor Guitar ), after hearing about him and being aware of his remarkable contribution to the creative music scene for decades. Allan’s and my band were asked to perform and do workshops with the students at the Mackay conservatorium. The first time I heard him live, was at the conservatorium in an informal greeting concert for the students and faculty. I think my band played first and we had a ball doing what we do together, then Allan’s guys played. I have heard and played with both Eugene and Stephen before, and they never cease to amaze me with their beauty and effortless musicality. Howard’s gentlemanly style comes through in everything he expresses on and off stage and Andy’s total control of playing in that bag was so wonderful to experience live. What absolutely took my breath away was Allan’s playing. It was an epiphany for me to hear and watch Allan. He played with such delicacy, so quietly that he drew you in like a snake charmer. Just when you thought that the intimacy was at its deepest, he managed to play even more quietly, drawing the most exquisite sounds from the cymbals in particular. This guy is the master of ‘less is more’, he personified the essence of ‘the beauty is in what you don’t play’. I continue to use his lesson for me on that day to give me confidence to encourage myself, and particularly young players starting their journey, to concentrate on the space between the sounds. As a close friend and teacher, John Hoffman, recently put it, “he has the courage to play pretty”.

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Joel Woolf’s High 5

Born and raised in Sydney, Joel took up saxophone after high school. In 2002 he moved to Canberra to study at the Australian National University where he was active in the local scene. In 2005 he was accepted to study at UCLA in Los Angeles USA, and whilst there had the opportunity to study under master guitarist Kenny Burrell, as well as other musicians in the greater LA community, such as saxophonists Bob Sheppard and Bennie Maupin. He performed in LA and San Francisco and conducted workshops for disadvantaged children at schools in South Central LA. Upon return to Australia in 2006 Joel formed Aunty Richard, which released its debut album "Leaf Blower" on Jazzgroove Records to critical acclaim in August 2008 . He is also a member of psych-prog rock outfit Pirate, who have just released their debut EP. Joel maintains an active career gigging, recording and producing.
Read our review of ‘Leaf Blower’

1. SONNY ROLLINS – Sydney Opera House 2008
This was actually the third time I'd seen Sonny play. He is my all-time sax hero and I was super excited the first two times I saw him. I enjoyed both of those, but thought his band sounded a bit tired; so I was a little sceptical about how this gig would sound. However, it moved me to the point of tears, especially when he started playing St Thomas. There have been countless adjectives used to describe his playing, so I need not do it here, but I felt that this concert was really something special.

2. BJORK – Sydney Opera House forecourt, 2008
I have been a fan of Bjork for a quite few years and I think her voice is amazing- totally unique and very expressive. I was very excited to see her live, and she lived up to my expectations. She burst onto the stage and was a ball of excitable energy for the duration of the concert. She had a brass band with her, as well as some other live musicians and computer guys. The sound was fantastic, her voice was as powerful as on record and the concert built to a rousing finale- the song "Declare Independence" which she dedicated to the indigenous people of Australia. An amazing gig made even more spectacular by its venue, the Opera House forecourt.

3. HERBIE HANCOCK – NYC Carnegie hall 2006
This was a very special concert for a number of reasons. Firstly, it presented Herbie in many different contexts- with his electric band playing his funk classics, piano duet with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, trio with Ron Carter and Jack Dejohnette, and quartet with Wayne Shorter, Brian Blade and Dave Holland. The music was amazing and Herbie was in fine form. He introduced a special guest with the trio, and out walked Michael Brecker in what was to be his last live performance before his untimely death.

4. BENNIE MAUPIN – Los Angeles, Club Tropical, 2006
This was Bennie Maupin's CD launch gig. I had the amazing chance to get to know Bennie while I was living in LA- we hung out and talked a bit about all kinds of things. He is amazing and inspiring person and musician. This gig was a great showcase of his versatility as he switched between Bass Clarinet, Alto Flute, Tenor Sax and Soprano Sax and conjured an intensely personal sound on each. He is a phenomenal soloist and writer and I can never begin to thank him for the profound effect he has had on me, and my music.

5. DEWEY REDMAN – San Francisco, 2006
Dewey Redman is another of my sax-heroes. His tone speaks volumes to me and I almost feel like I could eat it, it has that much substance. Hearing his sound live in the room immediately made me feel incredible, and what he was playing was so unique and beautiful. He finished his set with a dirty, gritty Texas blues which had people dancing in the audience and gave me a grin I was wearing for hours afterward.

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Jess Green’s High 5

Jess was born and raised in Canberra, and begun participating in the local arts scene from an early age, performing and studying music and theatre as well as being involved in arts promotion, including radio producing and broadcasting and community development. In 2001 she completed a Bachelor of Music (Jazz Studies) majoring in guitar at the Canberra School of Music, ANU. She graduated with first class honours and received the Directors Prize. During her degree, Jess developed her passion for composition, and she founded several ensembles, one of which continues to perform regularly; “The Green Septet”. At the beginning of 2002, Jess was commissioned by The Street Theatre to compose an original score for a production of the play “Adult Child/Dead Child” (written by London playwright Claire Dowie). She performed this score live during the play’s 2002 season in Canberra, and then in October at Chapel off Chapel for the Melbourne Fringe Festival. The play returned to Melbourne in January 2003 and was received with critical acclaim.
In the second half of 2003, Jess travelled through Europe and West Africa, studying and performing music. In this year she was awarded funding by the ACT Arts Council to record a CD of her jazz compositions written for “The Green Septet”. Jess spent 3 months living in London, attending concerts and jam sessions and performing with local musicians. The transition from London to Accra (Ghana) was a huge influence on her writing during this period, and many of the pieces from her debut album reflect this.
Upon returning to Australia in February 2004 Jess moved to Sydney and began working with a new Septet, which comprises of some of Australia’s most highly regarded young jazz musicians including Matt Keegan, Evan Mannell and Zoe Hauptmann. This group made several high profile appearances including dates at the Side-On Cafe, and the Jazz Groove Association‘s Excelsior concerts.

“Brilliantly crafted compositions”....”An auspicious beginning” - Sydney Morning Herald June 3rd 2004

Jess recorded her debut album with this group; “The Singing Fish (and other Short Stories)” in December 2004. The album was released September 2005 through Jazzgroove Records and the group toured the album to sell out shows throughout the East coast.

“Green emerges as an unmistakeably gifted writer and arranger” “a highly pleasing guitarist” - Sydney Morning Herald, Dec 2005

“Happy and imaginative grooves” - Limelight magazine Dec 2005

Highlights of the past 4 years include performances at Bennett’s Lane for the Melbourne Women’s International Jazz Festival (2004). Devonport Jazz Festival. (2005) Melbourne’s “Half Bent” Festival (2005). Bennett’s Lane for the Melbourne Jazz Co-op, Sydney for the Jazzgroove Association and recording for ABC’s Jazztrack (2006), Darling Harbour Jazz Festival with African-Oz (South Africa), featuring James Morrison. Also the Palmer St Jazz Festival (QLD) in August 06, a Septet performance of new work by Green at the Eastside Arts Festival in September 06, and concerts for the Sydney Improvised Music Association (SIMA).
As well as this she regularly performs in Blues/Funk/Rock venues in a variety of bands. Jess is also a highly sought after teacher and tutors guitar, aural, history and theory at The Australian Institute of Music. She is also a regular lecturer at SIMA’s young women’s Jazz workshops and tours regularly throughout Australia for MUSICA VIVA.
In 2006, Jess was awarded the Jann Rutherford memorial award. An award given to female Jazz musicians in NSW in honour of the late pianist Jann Rutherford. In December 2006, this award helped Jess fund an east coast tour by the Septet, culminating in a performance at Melbourne’s Bennett’s lane for the Co-op, for the 2006 Melbourne Women’s International Jazz Fest.
“Green's electric guitar skipped across the melodies with light-hearted ebullience, or added hints of rock-like grit as the leader explored each tune's parameters with obvious pleasure“ - The Age, Dec 12th 2006

1. HERBIE HANCOCK QUARTET- Seymour Centre Sydney 17th Nov 1996
With Gene Jackson, Craig Handy and Kenny Davis.
Whoooooahh this was really my first “proper” jazz concert and I will never forget the physical feeling of trying to contain myself and shrieking and yelping at what I truly thought to be magic! I’d only been listening to jazz for a few months, enough to realise that what these guys were doing was astounding….I was amazed at what seemed an unseen connection between Herbie’s and Gene’s body. I really thought it was telepathy that allowed them to catch so many improvised rhythmic hits together, and just when you thought Herbie’s solos couldn’t get any more exciting, they did!
What made this concert extra special was a bunch of us had made the trip from Canberra for the gig and we were able to share this incredible experience. I remember looking at Zoe and Lou and just not being able to get our eyeballs any wider to communicate our extreme happiness.
To top it all off, after waiting an hour at the backstage door in the freezing cold (the security guys thought we were mad!) Herbie finally came out and talked with us for ages about music and playing and….well we practically flew back to our hostel. And when he came back with Wayne Shorter at least 3 or 4 years later we did the same thing and he remembered who we were and pointed us out amongst a bigger crowd this time.

2. TRILOK GURTU – The Basement approx 1999/2000
I was particularly impressed with guitarist/vocalist Jaya Deva at this performance, and had been struggling with whether to choose between the two instruments, hearing this guy made me realize I didn’t need to! This gig really turned me on to Trilok’s music and I remember there being an incredible energy surrounding the band and enveloping the audience. Trilok conducted the audience to sing in one tune and it was a very powerful moment.

3. GIL SCOTT HERON – Byron Bay Blues Fest 1994?
Zoe pops up again in this account….somehow we managed to convince our parents that it was ok for us to trek off together by ourselves to Byron Bay for a week to check out the blues fest at the age of 16!
Well lucky they did because it was an experience of a lifetime…
The whole festival was amazing, I picked Gil Scott Heron because we really had no idea who he was but knew it was something pretty heavy. The blend of jazz and soul was intoxicating, and I’d never really heard anyone perform spoken word like that over music.

I picked two moments from this trip but really there was never a moment when I wasn’t experiencing music in some way.
The first night I arrived in the village Wougome dekpo in Togo, (after my wonderful, enthusiastic hosts finally allowed me to rest) I slept to the sound of drumming coming from nearby villages. It seemed every night there was a wedding or a funeral or some other occasion and there would be music all night long. That first night I remember getting out of my hut and walking into the surrounding bush with my minidisc recorder, wanting to capture that sound blending with the cicadas. That one moment alone, was enough to justify the entire trip –it was like I’d travelled back in time ten thousand years.
Once while walking around the village at night with my friend, we chanced upon a choir rehearsing in a small church. I snuck up to the window and listened to the whole rehearsal. As a kid I was hooked on Paul Simon’s Grace land album, and particularly with the sound of Ladysmith Black Mambas. Hearing these gorgeous African voices singing church music in harmony was absolute as close to heaven as I’ve ever been.

4. KURT ROSENWINKLE QUARTET -With Ben Street, Jeff Ballard and Mark Turner -The Winebanq, Sydney January….2004/5?
This was a week-long residency, Jonathan Zwartz organised (THANKYOU!) and I’d already been listening to Kurt for a while. The first night was so incredible I went back twice more. To see not only a fabulous Jazz Guitarist from New York in an intimate venue was grand but to see his whole band that had been playing together regularly for over 10 years was priceless.
This gig was a double whammy for me, Kurt was the first guitarist I’d seen live that I REALLY wanted to play like, and witnessing what incredible interplay and depth of music comes from a band knowing each other’s playing so well taught me it’s a completely different ballgame to a “throw together” band.

5. EVAN PARKER – The Vortex, London 2004
I was lucky enough to live near the Vortex in Stoke Newington, London for a few months (just before it closed/moved) and so at my “local” I could see week after week world-class performances. The first time I saw Evan Parker, I was so changed mentally and physically I couldn’t speak to anyone afterwards and had to go home straight away.
I’d never really connected with free jazz before, but this gig coincided with having just seen a whole bunch of wonderful impressionist/cubist/abstract art in Paris and London and that night I felt complete synthesis between my understanding of music and painting. It was the right mind set at the right time at the right gig with the right band! I was able to listen in a way that combined complete relaxation and complete concentration and it seemed the trio were 3 living organisms in a perfectly symbiotic relationship and their level of experience and highly skilled ears and intuition meant the music was as clear a language as ABC.

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Mark Ginsburg's High 5

Mark Ginsburg emerged as a saxophonist of note in Cape Town where he frequently performed at popular jazz venues such as the Hohenhort as well as performing in shows, television programs and on tours, including a two-month tour working with notorious British comedian Spike Milligan. Since migrating to Australia, Mark has performed and collaborated extensively with vocalist Judy Campbell and has more recently established his quartet, The Mark Ginsburg Band.
Mark completed a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium in 2003 and is one of the founding members of Judy Campbell's MOSAIC, contributing compositions and arrangements for the band.
Mark is currently undertaking a Master of Music course at the Sydney Conservatorium, focusing on music of Jewish origin.
The Mark Ginsburg Band has recently released a new album called “Generations” featuring material drawn from his research work.

“The things that drive my musical explorations range from the experience of singing in a synagogue choir as a young boy, listening to the melisma of the hazzan through to hearing strains of Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane playing on my elder brother’s monophonic turntable when I was too young to operate it myself. I am also inspired by the contemporary jazz emanating from the highly creative music scene in Australia.”

“Mark Ginsburg communicates his sincere warmth through an overflowing love for music, the saxophone and life. His melodic lines sing with hope and majesty and he builds each solo into a solidified whole that resonates with logic and direction. Mark has chosen his material with taste and good pacing and has surrounded himself with a most excellent cast of supporting musicians. The original music he has composed is engaging and superbly arranged and performed.” - Gordon Brisker, reknowned US saxophonist, arranger and composer

“Mark Ginsburg is a warm and talented saxophonist whose love for music making is clearly evident in both his beautiful compositions and his hearfelt playing.” - Mike Nock, acclaimed pianist and composer

“In exploring his musical roots Mark Ginsburg has made intriguing discoveries. He has honored those insights here in a fashion that has produced a truly unique and listenable jazz album. This is an historic offering.” - Bruce Cassidy, Jazz trumpeter, composer & arranger (Blood Sweat & Tears, Quincy Jones, Marvin Gaye).

1. TOM MCKINLEY TRIO - Ryles Jazz Club – Cambridge, Boston MA 1982
Tom McKinley Piano, Roy Haynes Drums, Miroslav Vitous Bass
My first visit to the US was in 1982. I was in Boston, visiting with John Lockwood (ex Capetonian bass player who is a member of The Fringe) and he took us to this gig. Ryles at that time had a very intimate room upstairs that must have seated somewhere between 50 to 80 people. We were right up close. It was totally mind-blowing. While it was many years and gigs ago, I remember the following things very distinctly: a) Tom McKinley’s solo in Solar was astounding. His facial expression was tightly linked to the lines he was playing, he was breathing his lines. I think everyone in the room was holding their breath; b) Roy Haynes at one stage during a drum solo, got up and away from his kit. He backed up to the wall, closed his eyes and played against the wall for what seemed a long time, and lastly c) Miroslav’s bow work was so unusual, something I had never witnessed before.

2. HAL CROOK & THE FRINGE – The Willow Jazz Club – Sommerville, Boston, MA. 1994
Members of The Fringe + Hal Crook, George Garzone (absent), John Lockwood – Bass
Hal Crook - Trombone, Bob Gulotti – Drums,Unknown – Piano Player
This was a normal Wednesday night Fringe gig but Garzone was out of town and had booked Hal Crook. When I arrived, Lockwood was nowhere to be seen. But there was a piano player whose name I cannot recall, Hal Crook and Bob Gulotti. This was the first time I had heard Hal Crook playing in a free setting. About 15 minutes into the set, Lockwood arrived, clearly late, but he did not join them; he sat down and watched them play the first set out. The second set started in the spirit of The Fringe, totally free, bass and drums for about 10 minutes, joined later by Crook and then the piano player. The journey continued and eventually the set finished the same way it started… just the one piece of music. Then Hal Crook stood up and said “My mission in music is to get as lost as possible. But I can’t do it with this rhythm section…. they won’t let me get lost, the are so solid, they are like white on rice, …. nothing phases them.”

3. STAN GETZ, JIM MCNEELY, RON CARTER & ELVIN JONES - Kennedy CentreWashington 1982
One of the good things about being born in the 50s is that I was able to see Elvin Jones play. He was larger than life. He seemed physically like a giant on the stage amongst the rest of the band. He was wearing a colourful kaftan and his face wore a huge smile for what I seem to remember being the whole set and his eyes bored holes into whatever he was looking at. Whilst it was great to see the other guys, I found myself drawn to watching Elvin all the time. So much has been written on Elvin – I don’t really have anything to more to add.

4. DAVE LIEBMAN, VIC JURIS, TONY MARINO & MARKO MARCINCO- Settlers High School, Cape Town, South Africa 2009
My first encounter with Dave in person was on Friday, April 3, 2009 at Settler’s High School in Cape Town where Dave and his group conducted a workshop with the school music students. I had the opportunity to observe him at close quarters in a performance environment and also in dialogue with the students during the workshop. Seeing him perform was close to a life-altering experience. His technical capability was awesome and his approach to improvisation, his timbre (including the use of vocalisation), his choice of notes and phrases and the overall intensity was quite unique. Although I had heard recordings, it was a very different experience seeing this in a live context. Dave does not carry his own tenor saxophone around and usually borrows a local player’s tenor for performance purposes. During the performance, he gestured to Michael Rossi (Professor at the College of Music in Cape Town), asking for his tenor saxophone which I knew for a fact that Dave had never played before. Dave put his own mouthpiece on the crook and without even blowing a single note to tune the instrument or get a sense of its sound, launched into an up-tempo be-bop composition. He played the entire range of the instrument including the altissimo register without any sign of difficulty. It was almost as if the instrument was incidental to what he was doing. Perhaps it was. Dave’s interaction with his band and with the students at the workshop was very exciting to watch. He gave excellent feedback and provided constructive suggestions to the ensemble members and whilst his manner was direct and candid, it was also kind. By the end of the workshop, it was clear that the school ensemble had learnt some very key approaches to improve their performance. The final rendition of the material they had chosen was distinctly better than their first.

Michael Brecker was someone I had been wanting to see on a gig since the late 70’s but for one reason or another, it did not work out until 1996. Ever since I had heard him playing a ballad, Heather, on one of Billy Cobham’s albums, I was “infected”. In 1982, I bought a Claus Ogerman album called Cityscape featuring Brecker with a rhythm section and orchestral string section. It was, and remains a seminal piece of work for me (and hopefully others who have had the opportunity to listen to it). It moved me so much that I wanted to do something special with it, like ask to have it played at my funeral or something like that. Anyway, needless to say, I was pretty excited to be getting the opportunity to see him in 1996. The concert was amazing but there was an aspect to it that I found a little disturbing. They were all dressed in dark suit and tie. Most of the time he stood very still and seemed disconnected from the audience. Visually, it seemed to lack emotion. The concert was a double bill with John Scofield’s opening. That first set was full of joy, the guys were clearly having fun on stage. This was such a contrast to the Brecker set. Perhaps I had built up too much expectation. Of course the music hit the spot, especially when I shut my eyes. I subsequently saw him in the late 90’s playing with Charlie Haden. He seemed more relaxed but there was no loss to the drive and forward motion of his playing. I felt more connected on that occasion.

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Phil Treloar's High 5

In an extensive career devoted to creative pursuit the composer, percussionist, Phil Treloar, has addressed himself to problems of relationship as these are found at the intersection of notated music-composition and improvisation. In 1987 Treloar coined the term, Collective Autonomy, to signify his endeavor in this field of work. Fundamental in this has been composition- and performance-development projects, with these at times involving electronic media. Collaborations have, and continue to be, crucial.
Under the guidance of Dr.Graham Hair Phil received the B.Mus. degree, composition major, from New South Wales State Conservatorium of Music, 1988. He has also studied in New York, USA, with renowned jazz drummer, Billy Hart, 1980; in Delhi, India, at Gandharva Mahavidyalaya with the Khayal vocalist, Madhup Mudgalaya, 1984; and in Colombo Sri Lanka, at the Institute of Aesthetic Studies, with Piasara Silpadipathi, 1984. Phil held a lecturer's position at La Trobe University teaching composition, performance, and music theory, 1989 ~ '90. He has fulfilled composer residencies and guest lectureships at NSW State Conservatory of Music, Victoria College of the Arts (VCA), Perth Conservatory, Conservatorium of Tasmania, and Hobart College of the Arts.
Among composer commissions and premiere performances are: the late Gabor Reaves, Ron Reaves, Steve Reaves, Ros Dunlop, David Miller, Julia Ryder, Simone DeHaan, Christian Wojtowicz, Michael Kieran Harvey, Geoff Dodd, Mardi McSullea, Mike Nock, Hamish Stuart, Graeme Leak, Daryl Pratt, Tom O'Kelly, Pipeline Contempory Music Project, The Astra Choir, Synergy Percussion, Victoria College of the Arts, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Conservatorium of Tasmania, Miki KIDO, Shunsuke OMURA, Takashi YAMANE, Hisae KIDO, Junko KAMISHIMA, Sotoko HIRAMATSU, Eri YOSHIMURA, Kimiko SUNAKAWA, et al.
In the areas of jazz and improvised music Treloar has shared in creative partnerships with, notably: Roger Frampton, Mark Simmonds, Steve Elphick, Jack Thorncraft, David Ades, Bruce Cale, Carl Dewhurst, Bernie McGann, Simone De Haan, Daryl Pratt, Hamish Stuart, Peter Boothman, Chuck Yates, Bobby Gebert, Mike Nock, Dale Barlow, Michele Morgan, Scott Tinkler, Errol Buddle, Judy Bailey, John Clare, et al. International artists include Barry Guy, David Baker, Chico Freeman, Howie Smith, David Friesen, Ricky Ford, Chip Jackson, and The World Drum Ensemble.
In the 1988 Australian Bicentennial New Directions concert series a complete program was devoted to Treloar's work. Many of his compositions have been recorded and broadcast, particularly by the ABC. In addition to vinyl records and CD's his work has been featured in radio and film documentaries, the 4 x 1hr. Intersections (ABC radio) and Beyond El Rocco (film) are representative. In more recent years Treloar's work has been performed in the Sydney Opera House and at the international Wangaratta Festival of Jazz. Throughout his career Treloar's thoughts and concepts regarding creative musical expression have been accounted for in various publications: The Nation Review, The Sydney Morning Herald, East West Arts, Jazz, Sounds Australian, The Mercury, 24 Hours, etc.
Since 1992 Treloar has lived in Japan where his two-hour "Work", Zen's Way: Through the Eye of Gogo-an - homage to Ryokan, received its world premiere performance in Kanazawa, 2004. Phil also presents solo percussion recitals and to date two of these have been published as CDs. A third is planned for 2009. On occasions he has been invited by the Japan Poets' Association to perform improvised music together with poetry readings. A major event inspired by the poetry of Matsuo Basho, October 2005, and for which Treloar provided the music, is indicative of the creative interaction he shares with the Japanese tradition. Facing East, a performance initiative inaugurated by Phil in 2005 and based in Kanazawa, presents occasional concerts. These have premiered several new "Works" written by Treloar and for which Australian, together with Japanese artists, have been invited to participate. Stemming from this initiative, Converging Paths, a collaboration with the Australian percussionist, Hamish Stuart, has, to date, generated a three-CD series. Phil's life-long project, Collective Autonomy, continues to engage him with research that concerns relationships between composed and improvised musics.

1. JOHN POCHEE – Griff House, Lower Pitt Street Sydney mid 1960’s
The first time I heard John Pochée playing music on the drums I was absolutely astounded. Until that moment I thought that kind of feeling only came on imported vinyl recordings. I was so enthralled by being so wrong, my life and its direction changed, irrevocably. I was to hear John play many times subsequently and to this day my feeling for him has not altered. Given Australia/NZ’s relatively small population it’s amazing really that so many fine musicians have emerged. Back in those days of course, drummers were, in the ears, hearts, and minds of most (musicians and others), just that. Drummers! Happily, things have changed somewhat. John is, at least in part, responsible for that change: a view towards drumming as being something musical, and distinct from beating and hitting.
I’m pretty sure John was music-making on this occasion with the Dave Levy trio. It was late, 1:00 am, the regular Saturday night after-gig concert at the muzo’s. Many many years ago of course, that building fell under the developer’s hammer. But while the topography may change, that kind of spirit, that John Pochée feeling, can’t be destroyed by anything. And it is nurtured in many more than just this one heart. Dave Levy is a marvelous musician who no doubt enjoyed to the fullest, John’s adventurous risk-taking and wonder-filled groove. John was young. I was younger (though not by much!). But to be transported like I was by him to a different perspective on life as I knew it to be is something that has nothing whatsoever to do with age and everything to do with commitment to the moment. That moment is everlasting.

2. SERGE ERMOLL’S FREE KATA – The Basement Sydney mid-1970s
The utterance, kata, as either a prefix or a stem in Japanese has several meanings. It might signify one’s shoulder, a shape, a style, a type, a pattern, or, it might mean excess or superabundance. This is not insignificant where Serge is concerned because he was, for many years, devoted to the practice of Karate,literally, ‘empty hand’. Free Kata’s lineup varied a little but its stable members included Eddie Bronson, tenor sax; Lou Burdett, drums; Graham Ruckley or Richard Ochalski, acoustic bass; and occasionally, John Clare, voiced words. The remarkable saxophonist, Barry Duggan, also had a share in this creative space. In the liner-notes to Free Kata’s recordings, John Clare uses words like, “empathy” and phrases like, “shaped by nothing but the interactions of the moment” and “outpouring, unchecked”. In putting these descriptions together with concepts like ‘empty’, ‘form’ or ‘shape’, and the notion of ‘superabundance’, we begin to get a good idea regarding the music of Serge Ermoll’s Free Kata. It was all of this, and more! I heard them play often. Their performances were riveting. The energy, the focus, the intensity, and the sheer emotive power was astonishing. Their unbridled expositions gave one cause to think again, and again, music’s purpose and cultural significance. Poetry, crucial! Each of these musicians played with utter brilliance as they made unique personal statements that, in their reception, in listening, in feeling, were impossible to ignore. As a collective they would ride these waves of energy and emotion to their natural conclusion, often in long arcs of time, over the most treacherous terrain. And as a live experience they managed, somehow, to redefine their own genre every time they played. This spells openness to creative motivation in the extreme. Any sense of ‘product’ was about as far removed from their ken as would be humanly possible. If their hands were ‘empty’ of preconceived ideas, they were certainly replete with invention. If their performances were without ‘shape’ prior to the event, in the event, shape and form emerged solid. If, as a recipient, you were deplete of emotion beforehand, Free Kata would provide superabundance. Their live, was ... LIVE.

3. ROBERT DOUGLAS – Homage to Bessemer, 1984
Composition for Fairlight CMI computer generated sound.
I first heard this “Work” in a concert presented by Watt (established by Martin Wesley-Smith and the late Ian Fredricks) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Verbruggen Hall, though I don’t remember exactly when. My guess would be ’84 when it was written, or perhaps the following year. Bessemer, as Bob Douglas lovingly refers to it, is a truly mighty piece of music composition, one that turned my head upside down and my heart inside out. As the title implies, it is written with Sir Henry Bessemer in mind. Bessemer clangs, crashes, hits, bangs, beats, crunches, raunches rips and rings its way through the sonic production of iron and steel, pouring its molten, white-hot, extracts into exquisitely shaped compositional moulds to reveal the passionate, intense heart of its composer. Ironically perhaps, the sonic shapes never solidify. In my view, Robert Douglas’s Homage to Bessemer is a benchmark in its field. In this regard it’s a little like Stockhausen’s Microphonie I in that it pushes the available materials to their absolute limit and in so doing, opens up sonic textural vistas that contradict their origins. Electronic music is still dangerous territory. Those who envisage it as a form of purity seem to generate just that. Those who use it as a tool generate little more than utility and a journeyman’s ethos. The big trap these days is the ‘user friendly’ highly developed devices (note well the word ‘program’ and all implied by it) that lead one to think music made easily can, nonetheless, present depth, quality, and human passion. Somehow, Bob Douglas got inside the Fairlight CMI and coaxed it into going places it wasn’t designed to go. You’ll find no ostinati or sequenced patterns among the paraphernalia of Douglas’s Bessemer foundry. To find those you’ll have to go as far inside the machine as did Bob, only to discover something else in their stead. Heart! Homage to Bessemer is more like a liberationist’s manifesto than an attempt to make a pristine piece of computer music.

4. CHRISTIAN WOJTOWICZ SOLO CELLO – 333 Collins Street Melbourne 28th June 1992
Journey Without Goal, composed by Phil Treloar.
I run the risk here of appearing self-indulgent because I’d like to commit this wonderful memory I have of Christian Wojtowicz to some form of historical documentation; in doing so I ask for the reader’s pardon. During the 1980s I’d often go to Flederman concerts at the SOH Studio to listen to new contemporary compositions - dots on paper - performed by several of Australia’s more prominent musicians in that field. Flederman, initiated by the abundantly talented Simone De Haan and Carl Vine, presented an extraordinary range of newly composed pieces, with a large proportion of these written by Australian composers, some of whom were members of the ensemble. It was an exciting, inspiring, and instructive time in the development of an Australian musical identity. Among the ensemble’s members was the cellist, Christian Wojtowicz. Every time I’d hear him play I’d imagined a time (just a dream really) when Christian might choose to play a piece from my very modest pen. Round ’88, a young and very talented cello player, Julia Ryder, commissioned me to write her an extended solo work. This I did, though in handing it over to her I felt it to be incomplete yet couldn’t understand why. Julia went off to Europe and at about the same time I began to work with a Melbourne based contemporary music group, again initiated by Simone, Pipeline Contemporary Music Project. In ’89 I moved to Melbourne and became a core member of this group. Simone’s creative predilections were the foundation of some very exciting programming and in ’92 he came up with the idea for a concert in a city building. 333 Collins St. was chosen for its magnificent acoustic. The event was lovingly dedicated to Keith Humble, a very fine Australian composer who has contributed enormously to the establishment of a contemporary frame of mind in Australian music. It was decided that, among the pieces on the program, Christian would play Journey Without Goal. By this time I was dividing my time between Melbourne and Kanazawa, Japan where I was soon to make my permanent home. Throughout the revision process I came to realize just how insanely difficult the piece is. Completing the revision in Kanazawa, I sent it to Christian by mail. The night prior to the Collins St. concert, we had a performance in Hobart and for which I’d flown to Australia. I’d not heard the piece played, ever! The day before the Hobart concert Christian asked me if I’d like to hear the piece. Yes!!! He played it for me in a rehearsal room at the Hobart Con. The Journey’s duration runs just under twenty minutes. By the end of this private rendering I was absolutely speechless and, virtually, in tears. All I could do was hug him. Without a single word ever having passed between us regarding the piece and its interpretation, Christian played it as if he’d read my heart and mind rather than the score. This went so far as, after playing it, him pointing to a passage saying, “I like this allusion to Miles.” And, “Yes, it’s the journey that counts.” This, coming from a person deeply versed in Mozart String Quartets through to Schoenberg and Boulez, left me reeling. The Hobart performance took place the next night and was wonderful ... then some!! The following day we went to Melbourne for the Collins St. performance. To be honest, I really don’t know what happened. But when Christian played Journey Without Goal in that magnificent acoustic space it was as if he’d rewritten it overnight. So deeply had he penetrated the feeling of the Journey’s journey, it remains underway to this day. John Clare once christened Bernie McGann, ‘the angel of the alto’. I hope he doesn’t mind me stealing his feeling and christening Christian, The Angel of the Cello.

5. DRUB – Wangaratta Festival of Jazz, Nov 3rd 2003
Scott Tinkler, Simon Barker, Brett Hurst, Carl Dewhurst
Any person who has shared musical space with the redoubtable Mark Simmonds will learn something about music-making. If they happen to have exceptional talent, ears aplenty, are sensitivity to precision and finesse, and have a cast iron will, they’ll leave that space with a key to their own expression. Scott Tinkler is of the latter group. If one verbal phrase were able to sum up his musical character it would be a treatise without sentence end or paragraph. Scott, more or less, defies category. Hearing him in this particular context was, for me, an exceptional experience. I’ve never been much interested, and even less, impressed, by displays of technical prowess. Yet this band has precisely that. Almost awesome in fact, but without the display factor. I’ve never much been drawn to music that fills in all the holes either. This band not only fills the holes but builds mountains above them. In fact, in hind sight, this band does just about everything in the act of music-making that I find unbearable. Yet I loved it! Every note and every nuance. The key to their maverick outrageousness is, I think, hand-in-glove compatibility; a musical match made in Apollo’s Grove (read groove). Brett’s solid, down home rootedness, alongside Carl’s quirky, noise oriented, precision-murkiness; and Simon’s tight yet tensionless complexity streaming from his musical instruments in a flow of frequency covering the entire audible spectrum, alongside Scott’s seemingly endless river of weaving lines that impress an internal counterpoint onto the music’s profile thus revealing a topos replete with multiple movements. Continuum! In no sense of the term do these four characteristic constituent-beings fall into a construal of the tetra-lemma, nor into conflict, or something reducible to rational causes, but rather, they function as contrasting colours on a high-energy canvas where the image maker piles on, layer after layer, texture, so as to create a malleable, three-dimensional space. If one must make a written gesture towards this emergent madness, better it be expressed simply as music. And the lower case ‘m’ will suffice. Copyright Phil TRELOAR, March 2009

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Jason Bruer's High 5

Jason’s musical career started in the early eighties prior to studying for a jazz diploma at the Adelaide University. He was already semi professional by the time he started his studies and in 1984 moved to Sydney with 8 piece R&B band Fat Time who, having outgrown the scene in Adelaide, went on to become one of Australia’s most popular live acts. They were constantly in demand for live gigs and appeared many times on TV including the Ray Martin show, the Mike Walsh show, Hey Hey its Saturday and were the winners of Starsearch in 1986. They also supported Joe Cocker, Santana, Joan Armatrading and K C and the Sunshine Band on their national tours. As well as working with Fat Time, Jason freelanced with some of the biggest bands of that period including the Models, the Dynamic Hepnotics, Eurogliders, Steve Kilby and Swannee, performing live and also being featured on their records. In 1988 Jason moved to London. The move paid off and within a short period of time established himself and managed to work in both the jazz scene and the pop scene successfully. In the pop world and as a session musician, Jason has played with and arranged for a veritable who’s who of the music business including Eric Clapton , Sting, Mick Hucknell, Mica Paris, BB King, Stevie Winwood, Madness, Paul Weller, All Saints, Van Morrison, Jools Holland and Lulu to name but a few. As a bandleader and composer he formed acclaimed fusion outfit Pond Life who recorded ‘Spanking the Plankton’ in 1995 and worked around London as well as touring Finland. Jason co- led ‘Smith and Bruer Band” with Roy Ayers’s sideman Tony Smith and enjoyed much success working London's club scene with their infectious brand of retro jazz funk. The band recorded ‘Searching for a Cool Basement” in 2001. He has toured extensively around Britain, Europe and Scandinavia with various bands and has appeared on TV many times including Top of the Pops; later with Jools Holland, and Chris Evans’s shows Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush and TFI Friday and was also in the house band on Richard Littlejohn’s chat show. He’s played on many TV theme tunes and film scores including the soundtrack to Four Weddings and a Funeral. Since returning to Sydney in early 2006 he has been busy re-establishing himself. Within a few weeks he found himself touring Australia as part of the Good Vibrations festival with English band The Cuban Brothers supporting James Brown. Since then he has been part of the house band for Simon Burkes chat show ‘ Studio A ‘ completing an 8 show series playing with the likes of Glen Shorrock , Kate Ceberano and Leo Sayer. He features regularly with John Morrison’s Swing City, Monica and the Moochers, various tribute bands and teaches at the Australian Institute of music. In late 2008 he released his debut solo album As Above So Below on Vorticity music.

1. WEATHER REPORT- Festival Theatre Adelaide 1979
Without any shadow of a doubt, the greatest gig I have ever seen was Weather Report in 1979 at the festival theatre in Adelaide. This was a ‘mind blowing’ experience for lots of reasons. As a fledgling jazz musician having just started to play in that year, to see this level of musicianship was absolutely staggering. This was Weather Report in their pomp, just after the release of ‘Heavy Weather’ with Peter Erskine and Jaco Pastorius totally ‘monstering’ everything in their path. I have seen other gigs that have blown me away but as this was the first super group I had ever seen in the jazz genre, and coupled with the fact I was 19 and had just started my musical journey, I could never imagine a gig having such an effect on me again, if it does, then maybe I’ve found heaven!!!!!! …………!!!!! The following four aren’t in any order of preference.

2. LITTLE FEAT- Rainbow Theatre Finsbury Park London 1976 or 77
Little Feat were a great band fronted by the wonderfully enigmatic hedonist Lowell George. Whilst living in London in 1976/77 I was privileged to see this wonderful band at one of London’s greatest rock venues the Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park. Sadly this fantastic, iconic Victorian theatre has now been taken over by some group of happy clappers (at least they’ll be making music). Anyway this was Little Feat at their peak and was just after the release of ‘Time Loves a Hero’, which is one of my favourite albums by Little Feat.

3. MICHAEL BRECKER – Blue Note NYC 1988/89
The late great Michael Brecker has always been a massive influence on me and I’ve been able to see him numerous times. Perhaps the best time was at the Blue Note in New York, on New Year’s Eve 1988/9, sharing the bill with The Chick Corea Electric Band. Brecker had just released his first c.d. as a bandleader and was on fire that night. His solo intro on ‘My One and Only Love’ was worth the cover charge alone.

4. PAT METHENY GROUP – Hammersmith Odeon London 1992
As a composer and guitarist Pat Metheny has been a constant inspiration to me. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him on numerous occasions in lots of different line ups. Perhaps the most memorable was in 1992 at the Hammersmith Odeon in London with his own band (The Pat Metheney Group) with Lyle Mayes, featuring the music from the ‘Still Life Talking’ c.d. as well as some older favourites. This was an amazing concert. It was presented in more of a rock format with a huge light show and dancers etc and after 3 hours or more has remained one of my all time favourite gigs.

5. MILES DAVIS – North Sea Jazz Festival Netherlands 1988.
In 1988 I went to the North Sea Jazz festival (Holland) and headlining a bill that included pretty much a who’s who of the jazz world was Miles Davis. Despite the fact this was not Miles at his most inspirational who was basically letting the young guns in his band do most of the playing; just to see the great man and soak up his presence was a moment I will cherish. Watching him direct the band and run the show was awe inspiring, a true master at work and at peace with himself.

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James Ryan's High 5

Originating from Darwin, Australia, James graduated from the Canberra School of Music A.N.U. with a Masters of Music majoring in Jazz in 1995, the first granted by an Australian University. He proceeded to teach performance, improvisation and composition at the Canberra School of Music (A.N.U.), the Queensland Conservatorium of Music (Griffith University) and the Queensland University of Technology. James performed extensively throughout Australia and Europe after basing himself in London for four years. In 1997 The James Ryan Quartet released its self titled debut. James relocated to Sydney, Australia in 2003 and then in 2006 released ‘Long Way Home’ (JGR 033) on Jazzgroove Records. The James Ryan Trio’s latest album 'Bitter Sweet' has been released on ABC Classics.
James has also been the featured soloist, composer and producer of many other artists’ recordings. He currently leads the James Ryan Trio (with Brendan Clarke and James Hauptmann), The Subterraneans (with James Muller, Steve Hunter and James Hauptmann) and The Lost Cosmonauts (with Kevin Hailey, Jane Irving, Hugh Barrett and Jamie Cameron).
James broke with tradition and provided six memorable performances.

1. HOWARD SHORE & THE BBC CONCERT ORCHESTRA – Barbican London April 2002
Howard Shore conducted a concert of his Naked Lunch score at the Barbican in London. This was a concert with a difference, because it was a live accompaniment to a screening of the 1991 Cronenberg movie; an enhanced projection of the film. He made use of the BBC Concert Orchestra. Arguably the strongest ingredient in the mix was the The Ornette Coleman Trio, fulfilling the duties they performed on the original soundtrack. Amazing!

A truly massive paean to spirituality, with its overt influences from Hinduism. The title itself is in Sanskrit, made up of two words: "Turanga" denotes time, surging ever onward, held back by "Lîla", which signifies "play", articulating the flow of time with drama. Together they encompass the compound notions of opposition, creation and destruction, and love.

3. DALE BARLOW – 1992
Hearing Dale play for the first time and many times later was an inspiration for me during this time.

Anouar Brahem: Oud, John Surman:soprano saxophone and bass clarinet and Dave Holland: Double bass). The first concert I heard on arrival in London. Like the album the music was never less than beautiful, and is often haunting in its subtle chemistry, which quietly evokes glimmers of blues moods within stately Arabic-themed progressions.

This concert started to give me glimpse of how well improvised music can be performed. It also peaked my interest in Indian music.

6. KEN EDIE AND JOHN ROGERS – Brisbane 1995-1997
Living in Brisbane during this period I was fortunate enough to hear and perform with these inspiring, creative forces in action many times.

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Bonnie J Jensen's High 5

“Australian jazz chanteuse Bonnie J Jensen is one of a covey of new female jazz vocalists bringing a fresh perspective to the jazz culture. She joins the likes of America’s Norah Jones, Britain’s Claire Martin and Sweden’s Linda Pettersson in bringing a soft, sweet, sultry, soulful synapse to the jazz idiom.” - Voodoo Child Magazine USA, Issue 77

“This is an experienced singer…and it’s the Diana Krall-like combination of innocence and sexy womanliness somewhere in the timbre of the voice that lets you know.”- Shane Nicols (www.allaboutjazz.com)

Bonnie has earned her reputation as a unique and versatile singer, songwriter and pianist. Born in New Zealand but based in Sydney for many years, she has worked in a variety of musical situations in Australia and internationally, frequently in Japan and Hong Kong. Her most recent engagement was at The Venetian, Macau with her new five-piece formation “Aeroblue”, and mid 2008 she enjoyed two engagements at Stockholm’s legendary Jazz Club, Stampen. She has also performed at many Jazz Festivals with her Australian-based Quintet.
An acoustic-orientated jazz musician, Bonnie is an accomplished piano player and a sultry jazz singer with an extensive repertoire and a voice that moves effortlessly from swinging standards to smooth bossa, blues, pop and funk.
Bonnie released her debut album Lucky So & So in August 2001. This album quickly reached No.3 in the Australian Independent Jazz Charts. It was surpassed by her second release Blue Joy in 2004 that featured luminaries Don Rader (trumpet), Jeremy Sawkins (guitar) and Jon Zwartz (bass). Blue Joy rose to No.8 in Japan’s Swing Journal Jazz charts for the month of June 2004. It includes Bonnie’s popular original “Tokyo Skies”.
February 2007 marked the release of her third album The Sapphire Tree, a collection of songs she says was inspired by audiences’ reactions and the sounds of musicians she works with. This album is said to have a European sound and features the core musicians of the ARIA winning ensemble Wanderlust. “The Australian” lauded Bonnie’s songwriting in their 2007 review of The Sapphire Tree: "…Jensen's title ballad, an original, displays a talent for both musical composition and poetic lyrics, evident too on "Neon Soliloquy": "Like a diamond in the river, as precious as the African rain, this glimpse of bliss will sustain you - again and again…"

1. PAT METHENY TRIO & ENRIQUE MORENTE – Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, July 2008
This concert commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona’s palatial Art Nouveau-styled concert hall. The Pat Metheny Trio was teamed up with Enrique Morente, Spain’s iconic and quite controversial contemporary flamenco singer. He was the first to adapt the verses of Spanish poets to write his songs and his enthusiasm for innovating lead him, at one time, to create a mass in which he blended flamenco with Gregorian chanting. Despite orthodox beginnings to his career, Morente is renowned for upsetting the purists with his experimentalism and tendency to collaborate with musicians of all styles.
The concert started with Pat playing solo, employing three different guitars including his 42-stringed Pikasso. Hearing this man - whom I have been so inspired by - play his exquisite melodies in that magnificent hall was pure bliss. It was possibly my favourite part of the evening, though it was all tremendous. Pat was joined by his colleagues Antonio Sanchez and Christian McBride and they played a great set featuring tunes from their latest album “Daytrip”. Having been on the road for weeks they were wonderfully in sync with one another. There was no intermission – Pat simply introduced Enrique Morente telling the audience how honoured he was to be invited to work with him. Enrique’s first song was one Pat had written about his own beautiful wife. Following that, the Trio left the stage and Enrique’s troupe arrived to accompany him whilst he sang a set of passionate, intense and spine-chilling flamenco. Naturally, this remarkable feast of uplifting musical flavours was wrapped with all the musicians on back stage, playing the final song (then encore) together.
I recall feeling very grateful to be alive that night and was indelibly reminded of the life-enriching gift that music truly is.

2. ESPERANZA SPALDING – Stockholm Jazz Festival, July 2008
I’d never heard of this Afro-ed young girl, so as I waited with the roasting afternoon crowd on the picturesque Skeppsholmen Island, cold beer in hand, I had no idea what I was in for. Esperanza is gorgeous, has uncanny chops on the upright bass and sings like a dream. She’s a refreshing blend of innocence and excellence. Her sound veers towards fusion and Brazilian merging old school with the progressive. Her energetic one hour-long set was packed with innumerable great ideas including wonderful arrangements and solos, particularly from her pianist Leo Genovese, and Esperanza on Bass.

3. JENS WINTHER – Christiania, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, July 2008
I was heading home after a long day of excellent gigs when I learned that Jens was playing at Christiania at midnight. I’d dreamed of hearing him and so I turned around and headed towards the controversial “squatted” military area that has become a partially self-governing neighbourhood in the centre of Copenhagen. I didn’t know exactly where to go and it a dark night, but fortunately I soon heard the music streaming out of a hall and realised that this was Jens’s Electrazz ensemble, which features his son Carl Winther on Keyboards, Mikkel Nordsø on guitars, Johan Kolsut on drums and Christian Douglas Danstrøm on bass.
Jens was using electrical effects on his trumpet creating a very haunting, at times ethnic sound. I was so glad I’d ventured into the night to see this midnight gig as this was music like none other I’d heard – the solos were long and engaging, inlaid within the complex structures that are his compositions, incorporating impulses taken from the 60’s and 70’s era genres, no doubt inspired by his hero Miles Davis.

4. TINA HARROD – The Basement, Sydney, January 2009
I caught Tina’s spell-binding set and felt thrilled that in the midst of the Sydney Festival, with loads of international artists in town, a local talent, curiously not officially included in the Festival, was holding the room rapt and wrapped in awe. Matt McMahon was like God on the piano with his poised sensitivity and slick dexterity. The piano and bass (Jonathon Zwartz) often moved together so precisely, creating unique textures in their voicings and Evan Mannell blended gorgeously on drums.
Tina inspires me because she is a commanding performer who takes charge of her audience and her stage. She owns a fierce voice and demeanour that occasionally gives way to a softer, soulful delivery. This dichotomy is perhaps the foundation of her compelling song writing. She sang songs from her album Worksongs, plus a few of her signature blues, which I think she delivers better than anyone.

5. DIANNE REEVES – Blue Note, Tokyo, February 2004
I was working at a Jazz Club in Tokyo at the time and knowing that I was an avid fan of Dianne’s, a regular guest kindly invited me to go and hear her at the Blue Note on my night off.
Tradition at the Blue Note Tokyo had the Manager theatrically sweep the star grammy-winning star through the audience, up to the stage where she sang her signature welcoming scat. As always, she had an excellent line-up with her and held the crowd in her hand from the first song, at one stage catching her band by surprise, spontaneously throwing “Misty” into the song list – a sentimental favourite tune in Japan.
These days I find myself listening to more instrumentalists than singers, but since 2001 when I discovered her, I’ve closely ‘consulted’ Diane’s excellence and really do think she is the finest living jazz singer. She’s now known for her large scale performances and I love her live album “In the Moment”, a huge production featuring her cousin George Duke on Piano. Nevertheless, it was such a thrill to hear her in a fairly intimate setting and later chat to her in the green room, where I was initially speechless upon meeting her. She saw the love and awe in my eyes, stretched out her arms and embraced me. Turned out that we were two tired, lonely girls on the road…

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Alister Spence's High 5

Alister Spence is one of the most outstanding pianists and composers in contemporary jazz in Australia. In recent years he has devoted his energy to writing and performing with his trio, The Alister Spence Trio.
This celebrated group has recorded 3 CDs of Alister's original music, Three is a Circle in 2000, Flux in 2003 and Mercury in 2006, all on Rufus Records, distributed in Australia by Universal Music. In June 2006 they embarked on a hugely successful tour of the UK and Canada, and plan to return overseas in 2008.
In 2004 the group was nominated for Best Australian Jazz Ensemble at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. Flux was nominated for Best Jazz Album 2004 at the ARIA (Australian recording Industry) Awards.
The trio was also featured on the A.B.C TV documentary series on Australian jazz called The Pulse in 2001.Three is a Circle was released in Japan in January 2003 on the Earth Spirit Label.
As well as this Alister co-leads internationally acclaimed group Clarion Fracture Zone. He is a member of Wanderlust and The Australian Art Orchestra (AAO). Alister’s playing is featured on more than 30 CDs, several of which have won ARIA Awards. Over the years he has played with many of the finest musicians in Australia including Bernie McGann, Sandy Evans, Don Burrows, Dale Barlow, Peter O’Mara, Tony Buck and Phillip Slater, and overseas artists including Mark Helias (US), Andy Sheppard (UK), and Phillip Johnston (US).
Alister has toured extensively in Europe and Asia with Clarion Fracture Zone, Wanderlust and AAO, and has performed for radio broadcasts for ABC, BBC, and WDR (Germany).
His talents as a writer have been well recognised with several compositions featuring on Bernie McGann’s 2001 Aria winning CD Bundeena. He has also been commissioned to write for Wanderlust, The Australian Art Orchestra and Ten Part Invention with his work being featured on Passion (ABC Classics) by the Australian Art Orchestra and all of Wanderlust’s and Clarion Fracture Zones CDs.
In more recent times Alister has composed music for film, collaborating often with film director Ivan Sen. Together they wrote and recorded the soundtrack to Ivan’s first feature film, Beneath Clouds, which was first screened in June 2002. The score for ‘Beneath Clouds’ was nominated for the Best Score at The Film Critics Awards, and the Australian Film Industry Awards 2002.
He is a graduate of the Jazz Studies course at the NSW Conservatorium and has studied in New York with Cedar Walton and Andy La Verne, and also Mulgrew Miller (USA) and Benny Green (USA).
Alister lectures at UNSW University in Jazz Performance and Arranging.

‘Some of the best concerts I’ve seen. In no particular order…’

1. CECIL TAYLOR – Brecon Jazz Festival, Wales 1991.
We had the good fortune to be performing there with Clarion fracture Zone, and I had never heard Cecil play live before, though I was familiar with some of his recordings.
What struck me was his sustained energy and pianistic and ‘on the spot’ compositional skill.
In a conversation with him afterwards I asked him about the ‘pieces of paper’ he put in the piano. These turned out to be sketches of compositions that he would search through before starting his next piece.
I had always thought that he made everything up on the spot, but he said ‘No, No man it’s ALL about the composition!’

Once again what struck me was the energy and commitment to the music, which this time was post bop, and quite complicated music, but played with conviction and authority and a joy in playing together. And everybody in the band was really reaching and extending themselves.

This was Clarion Fracture Zone’s first tour overseas, and almost straight after us on the same stage, Paul’s trio was playing. If I am being truthful I probably didn’t absorb this concert as much as I would now. His playing is now a big part of my musical ‘outlook’. But I remember the fluidity of his music and interaction with Charlie and Paul; equal contributors in a beautiful abstract musical painting.

4. THE BAD PLUS – International Festival de Jazz de Montreal 2006
This was the Alister Spence Trio’s first tour overseas to the UK and Canada.
The Montreal Festival was a virtual ‘who’s who’ of current jazz, including many well known faces…and us.
I loved the energy, the often rocky feels of this band, mixed with intricate compositions/arrangements and a free music sensibility. The ability to sustain the kernel of an idea while it constantly evolves amongst the band has always attracted me musically. The element of surprise was also excellently employed in their music.

5. SIGUR ROS – The Great Escape Easter 2006
Sigur Ros are an Icelandic rock band and they toured with a string quartet. Their music layers up textures of electric guitar/keyboards/vibraphone/glockenspiel/vocals and they are not afraid to dwell on music that is simple, strong and beautiful. The timing of this concert, a wonderful Australian sunset, coupled with their soaring, ecstatic tunes was an irresistible combination for me!

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Mark Harris's High 5

Mark Harris, Sydney double bass player and composer is truly versatile.
After graduating from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with a Bachelor of Music (Jazz-Honours), Mark joined the formative Mark Isaacs Trio performing regularly at major Jazz festivals and Sydney Jazz clubs. Mark’s arrangement of Massenet’s Va! Laisse Couler mes Larmes was recorded by the Mark Isaacs trio for the ABC TV series The Pulse. While studying at the Conservatorium, Mark discovered a love of opera, even dabbling in singing for a short time. His later Master of Music (Jazz) programme reflected this newfound passion with a series of work that drew its inspiration from the harmonies and melodies of the French Impressionist composers. Of course the only thing left to do was to move to Paris, so Mark and his opera-singing wife Tina packed up everything they could and left for the land of wine and song. In Paris, Mark joined the infamous Chris Cody of Chris Cody Coalition fame - a true Francophile - and performed as a regular at Les Sept Lezards Jazz Club. Mark also worked with ex-pat New York saxophonist Steve Potts. From Paris to Tokyo, Mark followed his passion for good things residing in Chiba, where he met fellow Australian Sean Wayland and performed at the B Flat Club in Tokyo and the Bayside Jazz Club in Chiba.
With the help of the Australian Embassy in Tokyo, Mark joined again with Mark Isaacs to perform a duo concert for the governor at his residence for a special concert – Jazz on a Summer’s Day. On returning to Sydney, Mark joined forces with the James Morrison Sextet, performing regularly at Jazz festivals including the Bellingen Jazz and Blues Festival and the Noosa Jazz Festival.
In 2005 Mark joined the widely heralded triple ARIA award winning 'Gyp-rock' band Monsieur Camembert as bassist and vocalist, performing gigs across Australia and overseas. In July 2007 they released Famous Blue Cheese a double album of Leonard Cohen works. In 2008 they were special guests at the International Leonard Cohen Festival in Canada. The Tango Saloon, a group where Tango meets Spaghetti Western, led by guitarist Julian Curwin is another of Mark's projects. In 2008 they released their second album Transylvania.
Mark’s debut solo album Entrée with his accomplished band Mark4 was released to critical acclaim by Jazzgroove Records in May 2005. In May 2006 Mark recorded an album with the Stephan Schafer Quartet. Time Travel was released on the Jazzhead label. As an educator Mark teaches both electric and double bass at Sydney Grammar School where he has been a tutor for over 10 years. Mark has worked extensively with Musica Viva in their educational schools program, touring both locally and interstate. He currently designs in-school educational programs with Monsieur Camembert, bringing leading musicians into schools for workshops and master classes.
Mark feels passionately that music is for everyone, from those 100 years old to 0 years old. Giving the gift of music is giving the best gift of all.

1. BRAD MEHLDAU TRIO—Blue Note, Tokyo 2002
Ever since Sydney pianist Greg Coffin recommended I listen to Brad in the late 90’s, I have been a huge fan. I had steadfastly been collecting The Art of the Trio series as they were released and by the time I reached Tokyo in July 2001 I counted Vol. 4 as one of my desert island discs. When I saw that the trio were touring to Japan, there was no way I was going to miss it. So I swallowed the $120 ticket fee for a single set for my wife and myself and headed to the Blue Note. Firstly, what a club! My advice to any jazz aficionado would be to make a bee line for it if you happen to be in the Land Of The Rising Sun, and blow the cost!
Well the trio, live, more than lived up to the recordings. It was the original trio, while Jorge Rossy was still drumming, and I would have been two feet from him (and a mere 5 feet from the others). The seemingly telepathic communication between the players was startling. One ballad they played must have been sub 40 bpm and regardless of the lyrical elasticity Brad applies to his melodic line, the ensemble grooved as one never showing the slightest hint of looseness.
I managed to get backstage after the set and meet the guys, by spinning a yarn that I was mates with bassist Matt Penman—do whatever you can I say—and the guys were lovely! I was still quite young then and this gig was a moment that turned my approach around. Right after this gig I went back to my flat in the country town Goi and began writing the material for my quartet album, Mark4 – Entrée – which was released in 2005.

2. DAVE HOLLAND QUINTET—Sydney Opera House 2008
As a composer / bass player myself, Dave Holland has always been a shining beacon of what is possible. I’m currently in the final throes of my Masters degree at the Sydney Con. And have spent the last year looking at Dave’s compositions from his Quintet album ‘Prime Directive’.
To see the band (albeit with a slightly different line-up) live and performing a few of the works I had been studying was an enormous boost to my research. Even without speaking to Dave I was able to see on the live show some of the concepts I had been toying with. One of these is the idea that Dave writes not just for a quintet but for his quintet. Not just a quintet of extraordinary technicians but for a quintet of extraordinary characters. He seems to write their improvisational style into the works so it could be confusing to know when composition ends and solos begin.
While the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall is pretty much the opposite acoustic to that in which this ensemble would sound it’s best the sound engineers had, in my opinion, done a formidable job to ensure there was enough clarity between voices so as to avoid the soup that is so often heard from jazz ensembles there.

3. JOHN SCOFIELD TRIO—Umbria Jazz Festival, Melbourne. Hamer Hall 2007(?)
I had bought the John Scofield Trio’s album En Route a few months before I heard about the trio coming to the Umbria Jazz Festival in Melbourne as a double header with Wayne Shorter’s group. As always with good trio recordings, I instantly fell in love with the close knit interaction between the band members, not to mention the general virtuosity of the musicians, in particular drummer Bill Stewart. Not wanting to miss out on this incredible opportunity, I bit the bullet and bought the ticket and an airfare to Melbourne.
I wasn’t disappointed! Not only did I get to hear the live versions of that album’s material played by three guys who were simply having a great time with each other and the music, but I then went on to hear one of my strong influences, John Patitucci, play beautifully with a master—Wayne Shorter.
The fun at seeing Sco tearing it up with a smile on is face, and laughing at his equipment failures was enhanced by watching Bill Stewart fly around the kit and Steve Swallow with a most unusual posture and technique playing so melodically and grooooovily.
While the Wayne set wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, it did make for one incredibly inspiring evening of music that was given a heightened sense of grandeur considering I had jumped in my not-so-private jet to get there.

4. PETER ERSKINE TRIO—Duc Des Lombards, Paris 2001
My seven months in Paris remain a bit of a blur to be honest. I was young, heady, excited, scared and poor. My wife and I had headed over there for the adventure, she with a few auditions for companies (Tina was singing opera then) and me with no connections other than a handshake at the Side On with Chris Cody a few months prior.
Fortunately that handshake was firm, because after a couple of months Chris gave me a gig with his band ‘The Chris Cody Coalition’ at a tiny but very groovy little joint called ‘Les Sept Lezards’ (seven lizards) in the Marais district. As so frequently happens, this led to other gigs and eventually a semi-regular spot with saxophonist Steve Potts at the same venue.
I got wind one night that Peter Erskine was in town with his Paris trio and that if you could show you were a working musician the other clubs would give you a good deal to get in. Well I had been a big fan of Peter Erskine since my young ECM loving days at the Sydney Con. when I loved to feel the melancholy while listening to Peter’s ECM trio with the minimalist piano of John Taylor and warm acoustic sound of bassist Palle Danielsson.
So I showed up to the ‘Duc Des Lombards’ (Duke Of Lombard) in les halles carrying my GK400RB amp head under my arm as my ‘ID’ and the nice lady at the door let me in for free!
The gig was great, not minimal at all, but with the all rack mounted guitar effects sound of Nguyen Le (think Mike Stern) and typically French bass approach of Michel Benita. A highlight though was when the power went out mid set and we all sat in darkness listening to Peter and Michel play two out acoustically, a breath of fresh air.
Apart from getting snobbed off by Peter when I tapped him on the shoulder to give him my regards, he was fantastic and it was really a great gig in a great Parisian club.

5. LOW FIDELITY—Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, supporting JoLo, 2008
I went to the Opera House recently to see the ScoLo gig, excited at the prospect of hearing Matt Penman play finally, after using him for his name several years earlier (see review 1). I had no idea who the support was or indeed if there was even a support act. As the stage side doors opened though, I could see the unmistakable silhouettes of multiple double basses and I was instantly intrigued.
Sure enough, a range of Sydney’s distinguished youngest to more experienced bassists emerged. They were Cameron Undy, Phil Stack, Abel Cross and Steve Elphick. This was the line-up for that night (I understand it’s a bit fluid) of Low Fidelity, a new acoustic bass project held together by Cameron Undy, and which has some conceptual roots with new Berliner Clayton Thomas as I understand.
They launched into what was really a long piece that constituted a short set, which I never mind with support acts, especially when they are this good. The guys played beautifully but didn’t take themselves at all too seriously; for me a vital ingredient of successful performance. The work ranged from free jazz to sound experiment to arranged be-bop like lines. All executed with technical authority coated with lashings of good humour.
What really amazed me was the difference in sounds between the bassists, both their instruments and their playing. It really was quite striking from my point of view. By way of example, we have all come to expect that Phil has a huge driving tone but what surprised me was the equitable power coming from Cameron. No one questions his authority on the instrument, but the brute force he applied to the strings was very impressive.
As a bassist, who has been working in a largely non-improvisatory context for the past few years, it was a wake up call as to the depth of great creative bassists we have, both young and not so young, in this scene. And I think that Craig Scott deserves a mention here as a hugely supportive foster father of most of the younger ones if not the older too.
If you hear on the grape vine that Low Fidelity is playing, go check it out!

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Darren Heinrich's High 5

Darren Heinrich is a versatile Sydney-based pianist & organist, who holds a 1st class Honours degree in Jazz from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where he studied with Judy Bailey and Kevin Hunt. His influences incorporate the entire spectrum of the Jazz idiom, from its earliest ragtime roots to modern jazz. He regularly gigs with his own trio and freelances with a wide variety of acts both locally and abroad.

Of late he has been exploring jazz organ music, travelling to the US to study with Hammond master Tony Monaco, and writing a thesis comparing the styles of Jimmy Smith and Larry Young. This led to gigs with Jason Campbell’s trio and later Erroll Buddle, taking Col Nolan’s place when Col was suffering a bout of ill-health. The organ now provides at least half of his work - “ I love the organ, it has a certain magic that makes people smile and tap their feet - including ME!”

2008 has turned out to be a very good year for Darren. In addition to releasing “The Jimmy Smith/Larry Young Project” on the LaBrava label, Darren has launched his own label, DazzJazz records, with the release of “New Vintage Tunes for the Hammond Organ”. He has also played piano on three CDs, for vocalists Anita Spring, Debra Blaquiere and Bob Donaldson. Live appearances this year include a Jazzgroove gig with New York saxophonist Jon Gordon, taking his own trio (featuring Steve Brien and Andrew Dickeson) to Wollongong Youth Jazz and Thredbo Jazz Festival’s, playing in Dale Barlow’s band at Bellingen Jazz Festival and a 10-day tour to Japan with trumpeter Todd Hardy. Darren's performing and recording credits include: Jon Gordon, Dale Barlow, Dave Panichi, Jeremy Sawkins, Steve Brien, Erroll Buddle, Rick Robertson (DIG), James Valentine, Adrian Cunningham, Todd Hardy Quartet, Jo Fabro, Ray Beadle & the Vipers, Marcia Hines, Steve Prestwich (Cold Chisel), Blaine Whittaker, Australian Army Band, Kenny Lopez & the Havana Connection.

Darren is a recipient of the Jacek Chrostowski Encouragement Award for Jazz Piano and was Runner-up in the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s Young Composers Competition.

Darren’s Top Five (in no particular order)

1. Branford Marsalis Quartet, State Theatre, May 2002
The solution to the energy crisis! How can four guys create so much energy, play so many notes and still sound musical? I usually can’t stand a torrent of notes but Branford found all the right ones! Seriously though, there wasn’t a thing I didn’t like about this gig - great tunes (especially Tains) inspired playing and a sense of no tomorrow. Edge of your seat and wanting more when it ended.

2. Bobby Gebert Trio 60th Birthday gig, The Basement, 2004 (?)
Bobby was one of the first jazz pianists I ever heard live and he remains one of the most distinctive and a big influence. He is the real deal. I’d heard his trio at the Strawberry Hills Hotel many times and really loved it. However he really pulled something out of the bag on his birthday gig. His command of time, texture and harmony was simply miraculous. His original tunes sparkled and the standards he played sounded as if he wrote them. Wish I had a recording of this.

3. Dr. Lonnie Smith, Iridium Club, NYC, February 2006
I actually saw two gigs of Lonnie’s at the Iridium. The first night he played standards, the second he played his own deep funk stuff. On both nights I heard some of the most dynamic music ever. Of all the 1960s Blue Note Hammond crew, Lonnie is the only one still going strong and moving forward. Somehow, he manages to coax every tone colour out of the Hammond. He is also one of those rare artists that can have you transfixed by playing very little.

4. Stevie Ray Vaughn, Hordern Pavillion, 1984
I’ve always been drawn to the blues and found SRV’s “Couldn’t Stand The Weather” album so multi-layered. I wish I could burn like that on the keyboard! Seeing Stevie live at the height of his powers was a privilege and although it might sound trite, a spiritual experience for me. Some artists reveal both who they are effortlessly. I miss him.

5. Jimmy Smith Quartet, The Basement circa 1993
Despite Jimmy being jet-lagged and cranky, this was a special gig. It was the first time I’d heard the Hammond Organ live and I’ve been transfixed by the sound ever since. Watching Jimmy play the pedals and solo was simply amazing. Swinging blues-based jazz doesn’t get any better and the music was filled with humour - something sadly lacking from the scene these days.

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Bob Barnard's High 5

Bob Barnard reached the landmark age of 75 on 24 November 2008. Bob has been one of this country’s quiet achievers. He has been playing music for over 60 years and is still regularly sought after for international jazz festivals. Indeed he is better known abroad than he is in his own country. He has been a passionate, if unofficial, long-time ambassador for Australia in the international arena for the last 40 years or so. He also strongly supports up-and-coming young Australian musicians. Now the ‘patriarch’ of a musical family, Bob is patron of a number of amateur brass bands and jazz associations and freely offers musical and professional advice and guidance to those who seek his help. Considered by critics as the best trumpeter Australia has ever produced, he is a self-effacing man who just gets on with his life bringing pleasure to thousands with his lyrical playing. He is a pioneer of jazz in Australia, and one of its greatest exponents.
Bob Barnard has been a driving force in Australian and international jazz for more almost 60 years. He began his career as a boy in Melbourne, when he played the trumpet with his mother’s dance band on Saturday nights. While still in his teens, he toured eastern Australia with his brother, drummer Len Barnard, playing at some of Australia’s premier night spots and jazz clubs. Bob has often been credited with being a major contributor to an ‘Australian’ style of jazz. For many years, he led his own band, making regular appearances at major jazz festivals all over the world.
In Australia, he has played with local legends Graeme Bell, Don Burrows, Ade Monsborough and James Morrison to name just a few. Internationally, he has played and recorded with countless eminent musicians, among them Ralph Sutton, Peanuts Hucko, Bud Freeman, Wild Bill Davison, Dick Cary, Jim Cullum and Dan Barrett.
Based in Sydney, Bob tours the world regularly as a solo performer. He plays at Europe’s most famous jazz venues including at London’s Ronnie Scott’s, and is a regular visitor to the United States.
Bob has received many tributes and honours over the years, and is a two-time winner of the Australian entertainment industry’s highest award, the Mo—he was named ‘Jazz Performer of the Year’ in 1993 and 1997. In 1990, his countrymen bestowed upon him an Order of Australia for his services to music. Bob Barnard is rightly considered one of the world’s finest mainstream jazz trumpet players.
I’ve mentioned a couple of gigs I played myself as I was pretty impressed with how the gigs went.

1. LOUIS ARMSTRONG – Melbourne Stadium, 1953
I was 19 years old and Louis was my boyhood idol, so I went to all 11 of his concerts. My friends and I sat in the front row, smoking American cigarettes (you could smoke at venues at the time). It was an overwhelming experience.

2. BOB BARNARD – Stockholm, Sweden, 1995
I was staying in New York when I was asked to do a one-nighter in a big Stockholm concert hall. I’ve done a few one-nighters (Dubai, Bangkok), but this was a bit out of the ordinary. I think it coincided with the awarding of the Nobel Prizes.

3. LINCOLN CENTRE JAZZ ORCHESTRA with WYNTON MARSALIS – Tribute to Sidney Bechet, New York, 1997
I was unable to get to the concert, but Bob Wilbur (Bechet’s protégé) invited me to the rehearsal, where I met Wynton and got to hear these fantastic musicians.

4. BARNARD GENERATIONS BAND – Thredbo Jazz Festival, May 2007
This was a performance featuring three generations of my family (me, my sons, Tony and Adam, my niece Rebecca, and my grandsons, Beau and Casey Golden) and it went really well. They’re all really great players.

5. RONNIE SCOTT’S BIG BAND – Tribute to Duke Ellington, August 2008
This is an astoundingly good band, and I was lucky enough to play with it on a recent trip to London. My son Tony lives in London and is the guitarist in this band. He got me the gig.

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Gerard Masters's High 5

New Zealander Gerard Masters moved to Sydney in 1999. He performs regularly at Sydney’s top music venues and has also performed at the Australian International Jazz Festival, The Sydney Festival, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival, The Wangaratta National Jazz Festival, the St Kilda Festival, The Tauranga National Jazz Festival and the Christchurch Arts Festival. Gerard has studied extensively with Doug Caldwell and Mike Nock, two of New Zealand’s most well known jazz pianists. In September of 2001 Gerard competed in the Jazz Hoeilaart Competition in Belgium and gained third place as part of the Willow Neilson Quartet. He has released three trio albums as leader most recently ‘Pendulum’ on the Jazzgroove Record label with Cameron Undy on bass and Evan Mannell on drums.

"...Masters has formed a trio of exciting soloists and exciting collaborators. He is an imaginative deconstructionist ……. the room was electrified by the sense that anything could happen..." - John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald

Listen to Frank’s latest interview with Gerard

1. CROWDED HOUSE – Hagley Park Christchurch 1993
A band at the peak of their powers; they had conquered the world and had come home to play a free concert in our park. I was glued to every note.

2. CAMERON UNDY & NICK MCBRIDE – Manifesto Wine Bar, Auckland 1997
This was a regular Sunday night gig and I happened to be in town when Cameron Undy and Nick McBride were playing. It was the first time I heard these guys and I knew then that I had to practice really hard so I could play with them one day.

3. MIKE NOCK TRIO - Various
Any Mike Nock trio gig. Mike is still the king of piano and blows me away every time. I would not be doing what I do today if I hadn't picked up Mike’s record ‘Ondas’ in a second hand shop back in 1996

4. HERBIE HANCOCK, Civic Theatre 2007
What can I say? This guy has been one of the hippest voices in music for more than five decades. To see him play live was awesome.

5. GERARD MASTERS TRIO, The Basement May 2008
I was so proud of the way my band played that night, the trio had turned into something really special, and I knew that night that we will be playing together for many years to come.

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Andrew Robson's High 5

“…one of the most complete players of the instrument worldwide. Drive, sensuality of tone, elegance and breathtaking technique, a combination of introvert poetic themes with extrovert elements – he is a wonderful musician.” - Ulrich Olshausen, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, November 10, 2004 (Daily newspaper, Frankfurt, Germany)

Andrew Robson is one of Australia’s premier alto saxophonists and composers. He performs nationally and internationally with groups including:
         Mike Nock’s Big Small Band
         Ten Part Invention
         The World According to James
         and his own group, the Andrew Robson Trio.

In 2003 Andrew won the distinguished Freedman Jazz Fellowship, for which only 12 musicians nationally were invited to apply.
Two years before that he won an Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) Award for Best World Music Album for Live in Europe, by the Mara Ensemble. This CD included Andrew’s compositions.
Andrew has also been twice nominated for an ARIA Award for Best Jazz Album for his recordings Sunman (2001), and On (2003). Andrew was nominated for Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year in the 2004 MO Awards. In addition, the Andrew Robson Trio's first album Scrum was short-listed for Rhythm Magazine's Album of the Year and was nominated for the ABC 24 Hours/Classic FM Australian Jazz Album of the year 1997.
Andrew has performed extensively both at home in Australia and internationally with numerous jazz and world music groups. International tours included performances at the Berlin Jazz Festival, Chicago Jazz Festival, Greenwich and Docklands Festival (London), WOMAD (Reading, UK), Bim Haus (Amsterdam), and prestigious jazz clubs in Germany such as Unterfaht (Munich) and Stadtgarten (Cologne).
In Australia, Andrew has performed at all key festivals and venues and recorded with some of the country’s most celebrated talent including the late Jackie Orszaczky, James Morrison, Barney McAll, Tony Buck, The catholics, Sandy Evans Group, The Umbrellas, Clarion Fracture Zone, James Muller, Wanderlust, Vince Jones, Monica Trapaga, Ed Kuepper, the Mighty Reapers, Marcia Hines, Renee Geyer and The Whitlams.
He has also appeared with touring American blues artists Terry Evans, Cornell Dupree and Jon "King" Cleary.

Email: andrewrobson@ozemail.com.au
Website: www.andrewrobsontrio.com
Record Label: www.lamplightrecords.com

“Anyone who has already posted their High-Five, or indeed anyone who has challenged themselves to come up with their own list of desert Island discs, the problem is not so much what to put in but what to leave out. As a professional saxophonist there are a great number of performances that I have been lucky enough to be a part of that I could easily have included in the list below. But it seems that a list of performances at which I performed belong in a category of their own, a little different to being an audience member.
But… the one performance I would like to mention, one that I was on stage for, took place in 1994 on the banks of the Danube in Budapest. I was a member of Jackie Orszaczky’s band, the Grandmasters.
We were told later that there were more than 10,000 in the audience that night. So many, that the roads at the back of the park had been closed for the duration of Jack’s appearance. Towards the end of our set, Jack told the crowd that “all cultures have the blues…and here is one of ours.” The vast sea of screaming fans fell silent and Jack sang the traditional Hungarian folk song, “Sir Az Ut”, accompanying himself on electric bass with the three horns (James Greening, Jason Cooney and myself).
I am sure that all musicians have moments that confirm for them why it is they do what they do. This is most definitely one of mine”.

1. SUN RA – The Knitting Factory NYC 1992
This was one of those completely stunning gigs, the full significance of which is still dawning on me. Looking back, I now know I was present for the final moments in a unique chapter of musical history.
Sun Ra was very ill – I think he had had a number of strokes and he seemed unable to move very much at all – except for his hands. The gig was upstairs at the Knitting Factory in Greenwich Village and we had arrived pretty early, to make sure of a seat. When we entered the upstairs performance space, Sun Ra was already sitting at his keyboard.
By the time the rest of the band took the stage the house was full to overflowing! They played what I can only describe as free big band music – but even this description puts a straight jacket around what actually took place – the band played with so much freedom and energy.
It was obvious that even though Sun Ra was physically not in great shape, musically he was inspiring the musicians to reach great heights of creativity and commitment and the audience went completely nuts for the duration of the performance. At the end of the gig (and encore) there still was no satisfying the crowd’s enthusiasm. Sun Ra, after what seemed like a very long time, began to move in his chair, over several long minutes he struggled to his feet and fell, instantly, back into his chair. The audience went crazy…”Sun Ra, give it to him…he deserves it…” screamed a particularly enthusiastic audience member. I couldn’t have agreed more!

2. STEVE LACY WITH THE ENGINE ROOM – The Basement, Sydney 1999
This gig was very special for many reasons, not least of which, the unbelievable playing of Roger Frampton. Despite being gravely ill, Roger played at such a high level, and with such invention and virtuosity that Roger on stage by himself would have made for an unforgettable performance.
Add to this John Pochee and Steve Elphick at their creative best and you are starting to get the idea. Now, add to this mix arguably the greatest improvising soprano saxophonist the jazz world has known and you can see why I am not the first to include this gig in this High Five column.

3. JAN GARBEREK AND THE HILLIARD ENSEMBLE – Sydney Opera House, 8 Feb 2002
In terms of an all round concert experience this is one of the best live performances I have ever heard.
The sound of these five musicians in the Concert Hall was simply stunning. The intonation was so good it was frightening and the amplification was so subtle that unless I had heard the effect of it myself, I would not have believed this kind of live sound was possible.
I had high expectations for this gig as I am a fan of Jan Garbarek’s and I was also familiar with the recordings he had done with the Hilliard Ensemble.
The simplicity of the concept and the purity of the sound were breathtaking and the effect was only heightened by the vast space of the Opera House Concert Hall.

4. BENNIE WALLACE Tribute to Coleman Hawkins – Chicago Jazz Festival 2004
This gig was a completely unexpected bonus at the end of what had already been an amazing day. I had just performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival with Ten Part Invention and it was only after this I discovered that Bennie Wallace would be performing on the same stage later in the evening.
I first heard Bennie Wallace when Colin Hoorweg (the drum lecturer at the Canberra School of Music) played me a track from a Bennie recording with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones (Big Jim’s Tango on the Enja label – if you want to track it down). I was instantly taken by how distinctive he sounded. He had such an original approach to his lines. I still believe he is one of the most strikingly original tenor players around.
Hearing that first track (around 1989) was the beginning of an ongoing quest to get my hands on Bennie’s recordings. So, all those years later, to discover that I was actually performing on the same bill as Bennie Wallace was something of a coup. (Of course we also had backstage passes and could hang out in the green room too!)
Bennie’s gig was really something very special. Bennie played arrangements of tunes with a small big band that formed a tribute to Coleman Hawkins. It was a heavy line-up that included Ray Anderson on trombone and Herlin Riley on the drums. For me the completely mesmerizing highlight of the gig was when they played the traditional tune “Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho” and Herlin Riley put down his drum sticks and played the deepest, jaw-dropping groove on the tambourine. Not a gig or a day I will forget in a hurry.

5. ORNETTE COLEMAN – Sydney Opera House, 24 Feb 2008
This was such a recent gig and one that many of you reading this may have been to. For me, Ornette is so special, his sound, his conception, his writing, his commitment to his art. I was actually a little nervous about going to this gig, not wanting to be disappointed by the possibility of hearing one of my idols not at the peak of his powers. When Ornette shuffled onto the stage I feared the worst…until he played his first note.
I know not all the seats in the concert hall at the Opera House provide the same sonic experience but from where I was sitting Ornette sounded like an angel. As good as all of my favorite Ornette records -only better!
There was something about seeing him play live that helped me to understand more about his music. I have found that since this gig I am hearing another level on his recordings too.
For me this concert was also a lesson in performance and concert craft, in the best senses of those words. He chose a wide selection of his music from across his whole career and his decision to finish the night with Lonely Woman was sublime.
Ornette played with a sense on joy and almost child-like enthusiasm for the music…an inspiration.
I should also add that I was lucky enough to meet Ornette after this concert; of course, this only added to the already overwhelming experience of hearing him play.

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Neilsen Gough's High 5

“No one else in the world can both sing and play trumpet as well as Neilsen“– James Morrison

“Neilsen is a truly gifted musician whose time has surely come. His natural lyricism as a singer and masterful jazz improvisation on trumpet are entwined as one. His impeccable taste and choice of material make his music a pleasure to listen to anywhere, anytime“ – Dale Barlow

His voice is like no other – warm, smooth and sweet like honey gold. His emotional depth and delicate handling of the lyric and melody is testimony to his respect for the tradition and beauty of the American standards songbook. Not since Chet Baker has there been a performer capable of evoking such sincerity and subtlety. The fluidity and warmth of his voice is echoed in his trumpet playing. His melodic, lyrical phrasing and richness of tone paints a world of romance like that of a bygone era. Combine this with an effortless timing and an instinctual use of space and breath and you have a unique sound that is Neilsen Gough.
Neilsen has achieved much in a short space of time in his home country of Australia since graduating from the N.S.W Conservatorium of Music. Performing regularly and recording with its biggest stars – Dale Barlow and James Morrison. He has without a doubt forged his own style and niche, playing in jazz clubs and festivals with his own ensembles across Australia.

1. THE HANDS – Basement April 2008
Clayton and Lachlan Doley on Hammond and clavichord with bass and drums at the Basement. Clayton has a great edgy baritone voice with nice free and easy phrasing. His original songs are very strong and catchy. But above all the grooves are very funky and infectious.

2. DALE BARLOW – Woollahra Hotel 1995
Of all Dale’s recordings, my favourite is an album he did with Vince Jones- One Day Spent. I’ve listened and played along with it thousands of times since I first started doing gigs. I know every note that Dale played on that album. I’ve been enormously influenced by Dale’s playing and used to see him live at the Woollahra Hotel.

3. THE SUBTERRANEANS – James Ryan, James Hauptman, Steve Hunter and James Muller at the Empire Hotel, July 2008.
Playing great original compositions by James Ryan in a funky rock/jazz style, they are all fantastic players but as always James Muller stands out and seems to relish the chance to get dirty and funky.

4. TONY BENNETT WITH PIANO TRIO – Lyric Theatre 1998
Tony’s voice was better than ever and his warmth and joy as a performer really touched everyone. He even switched his mic off for one song singing without amplification.

5. JAMES MORRISON – Soup Plus 1984
James used to sneak me in as a kid. I was really affected by James’ amazing energy on stage and his connection with the audience. He has an incredible ability to capture the crowd and keep them to the very end.

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Simon Tedeschi's High 5

"…one of the best musicians of his generation worldwide" - Leslie Howard

Simon Tedeschi is quite often described by respected critics and musical peers as "one of the finest artists in the world" making the young pianist's mark on music both undeniable and admirable.
With a successful career already secured at age 26, Tedeschi first performed a Mozart Piano Concerto at age 9 in the Sydney Opera House. He has studied piano in Australia with Neta Maughan for 10 years (1990-2000) as well as in London Noretta Conci.
Tedeschi has a string of international prizes and scholarships under his belt. This includes winning the Open Age Concerto Series and 'Most Outstanding in all Youth Sections' in Italy in 1994 and taking out the top prize in the keyboard section of the Royal Overseas League Music Competition in London (2002), which is open to Commonwealth musicians under the age of 28.
While working with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Tedeschi went on to be named the Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year and was a recipient of a $10,000 Queen's Trust Overseas Study Award.
More recently, Tedeschi was awarded a Centenary of Federation Medal by the Prime Minister of Australia and was the recipient of an award from the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia and the Australian Opera Auditions Committee. Currently based in the USA – courtesy of the American Australian Association, the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust and Professor Jack C Richards – last year Tedeschi was awarded the Young Jewish Pianist Award and was featured in 'New York's Emerging Artist' series held in New York's Museum of Jewish Heritage.
In 2000, Tedeschi signed a recording deal with Sony Music Australia under its Sony Classics label and his debut CD led to nominations for a MO Award for Classical Performer of the Year and an ARIA award for Classical Record of the Year.
The versatility and scope of Tedeschi's appeal is exemplified by having shared the stage with numerous acclaimed musicians, including jazz pianist Kevin Hunt, jazz violinist Ian Cooper and flautist Jane Rutter, and his ability to perform a wide-range of genres. Tedeschi is a one of the rare classical pianists with the ability to cross over into jazz improvisation.
Tedeschi has also recorded with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra including a performance in front of a crowd of 100,000 in 2001.
Highlights of his career include meeting and playing for Pavarotti, aged 13 years and working with Musica Viva Australia – including an extensive tour with guitarist Slava Grigoryan in 2001. That year saw Tedeschi play recitals and concertos in New York, Philadelphia, London, Edinburgh, and Wales as well as a five-concert tour of Mexico as part of the Cervantino Festival.
In 2003 Tedeschi performed Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue at the New South Wales Premier's Australia Day Concert at Darling Harbour, Sydney. He also recorded Leroy Anderson's Piano Concerto with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Tedeschi recorded Tchiakovsky's 1st Piano Concerto and Grieg's Piano Concerto with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Richard Bonynge, which was released in September 2005.
In 2005, Tedeschi performed recitals all over Australia and internationally acclaimed performances with award winning Jazz pianist Kevin Hunt and touring with renowned Brazilian Flautist Tadeu Coelho and Cellist Trish O'Brien. The same year he performed at a recital for the Australian Pavilion at the World EXPO in Nagoya, Japan and performed at the invitation of the Governor of NSW for their Royal Highnesses the Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark. Tedeschi was later invited back to Nagoya, Japan, to perform in EXPO Hall for International Marine Day.
Charitable performances and commitment to worthwhile causes have been most prominent in Tedeschi's career. Among these special performances includes playing for the Dalai Lama at a fundraising concert in London (2000), for the Karuna Foundation in support of Cambodian Orphans and at the Sydney Opera House gala concert for the Wayside Chapel. Tedeschi is the Roving Ambassador for The Australian Children's Music Foundation and the patron of the Bowraville Cultural Festival.
His profile has permeated to other art forms. Most notably as the subject in Cherry Hood's striking portrait of Tedeschi that won the 2002 Archibald Prize, one of Australia's oldest and most prestigious art awards, for her work entitled Simon Tedeschi Unplugged. He is also attached to the Oscar-winning movie 'Shine', playing the hands of acclaimed pianist David Helfgott.
In 2007, the piano virtuoso returned from the USA to Australia for a two piano recital with Roger Woodward, a tour of Queensland with flautist Jane Rutter, a tour of Australia with Jazz violinist Ian Cooper, and a stellar performance of Rhapsody in Blue with the Queensland Orchestra under the baton of Benjamin Northey.
Tedeschi also recorded the Mozart Piano Concerto K488 with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra under Alexander Briger. He performed in the Sydney Opera House in September 2007 as part of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation) Cultural Event, in front of hundreds of world leaders and presidents including George W Bush, Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe.
In 2008, Tedeschi is embarking on a number of inspiring performances including performing in Utah, Massachusetts, Colorado, Illinois, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. He is returning to Sydney to perform at the City Recital Hall Angel Place in September 2008, and will be reuniting with Kevin Hunt at Sydney's premier jazz venue 'The Basement'. Other Australian performances scheduled for 2008 include Street Theatre in Canberra, the Brisbane Festival and at the Sydney Opera House for Kinderjazz! In a new recording venture, Tedeschi and Ian Cooper will also release a new CD recorded live in Newcastle.

1. RALPH SUTTON – Sydney Bowlers Club 1992
This was the first jazz gig I ever saw. This rather frail looking elderly man walked up on stage, appeared fairly nervous and then started playing. It took him a while to get into the groove, but when he did -unbelievable sense of timing and refinement. A palpable feeling of love spread throughout the room. The audience, who were mostly jazzers, was right behind him and not afraid to call out encouragingly and sometimes boisterously! It was worth ingesting all of that cigarette smoke to hear history ooze from this man's fingertips.

I had known Judy as a friend, but had never been to one of her gigs. It quickly became clear that we were all dealing with the full package: a consummate entertainer and person, a respect for history and style, but also a feel all her own. Not hard to see why Count Basie mentored her. This gig was at a venue called 'Barge music,' a ship berthed on the Hudson River with panoramic views of Manhattan. The band that worked with her - a guitarist and horn player - had just the perfect knack of providing a harmonic basis and backing to a stride player.

3. TOM BAKER – Independent Theatre 2000 (or thereabouts).
Talk about being blown away by sound and melody. As a classical pianist, I knew a legato line when I heard one and this was sweeter and more sustained than anything I had ever heard. The audience felt that too, moving in tandem with Tom's instinctive for musical sentences and structure. Many classical pianists say that they try to imitate the sound of an opera singer to achieve a legato line… I try to imitate Tom Baker.

4. JAMES MERENDA - Boston 2007.
One of the most unusual and extroverted jazz gigs I've ever been to. This sax player, a very strong and controversial personality, created a group called the 'Mingus 5.' To call it 'jazz' however would be akin to calling Salvador Dali a painter. An aggressive, angry physicality and immediate intellectual presence overcame the room. One can see why he agitated some of America's jazz establishment with his outspoken views and ego-driven music. I personally loved every second of it.

5. KEVIN HUNT & MARIE WILSON – Woodfire Cabaret 2005.
OK, I know I love and work with Kevsy, but this is precisely the reason why. Kevin's accompanying of Marie epitomized grace and sensitivity, but not self deprecation. These two artists together form a magical bond, driven by a mutual admiration and respect. Marie's voice is like chocolate, or as Mozart said it: like oil (in relation to the illusion of one note merging into another into perpetuity, without breathing). This duo - playing Hoagie songs - is an indelible musical memory for me.

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Jane Irving's High 5

“Whilst some singers make claim by including evergreens from the Great American Songbook in their repertoire, Irving is a jazz singer. Her scatting would be among the most sincere recorded in Australia since Kerrie Biddell as it has genuine instrumental purpose.” - ABC Limelight Magazine, May 2008
A pure individual and a real jazz singer, Jane has a willingness to explore a wide dynamic vocal range. This combined with her unique phrasing and rare ability to interpret a lyric has won her acclaim from audiences and respect from her fellow musicians.
Born in Sydney, March 11 1971, Jane began classical piano studies at six. Her first teacher, Jenny Rumsey, an extraordinarily encouraging and devoted influence, became the reason for Jane’s continued classical study to the age of eighteen. During this time Jane also entered vocal Eisteddfods and for her first singing performance, won third place. A seed was sewn. Then for the Higher School Certificate classical piano performance Jane was awarded third in the state.
Jane’s family were all music lovers but says …“it wasn’t until my brother introduced me to the blues that I started trying new things on the piano. My ears really started to open up and then I heard Sarah Vaughan. She stirred so much inside me and was the reason I seriously started thinking about singing. Then I heard Carmen McRae, Betty Carter, Anita O’Day, Shirley Horn, Mark Murphy, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Thelonious Monk and so on. There are so many wonderful artists to draw information from and this was the very beginning of the journey to discover my new passion - the history, the roots and the meaning of jazz.”
With a solid musical foundation already behind her, twenty years ago, age 17, Jane got her first gig playing piano and singing two nights a week at an inner city hotel in Sydney. Although she continued to work in the piano/vocal environment for a few years, the voice was quickly becoming Jane’s instrument of choice. With just a microphone in front of her and a trio behind her, a newfound freedom was discovered and Jane formed her first quartet.
In 2000, Jane began studying with Kerrie Biddell and in 2001 recorded her second CD ‘Better than Anything’ - a jazz vocal showcase that received regular airplay and put Jane amongst the finest singers in her field.
While visiting New York in 2003, Jane studied with Sheila Jordan and Jay Clayton. She was asked to sing at the ‘Up over Jazz Café’ in Brooklyn and ‘Chez Suzette’ and ‘Swing 54’ in Manhattan. Befriending songwriter/lyricist Ray Passman Jane was later the appreciative recipient of some of his work for her to record.
Janes new recording entitled ‘Beams’ released late 2007 features Don Rader (trumpet and flugelhorn), Brendan Clarke and Ashley Turner (double bass), Michael Bartolomei and Matt McMahon (piano), James Waples (drums) and Fabian Hevia (percussion). This album, Jane says “… has been on the back burner for some time. I wanted to include some divergent material, strong enough to create a journey all on its own.”

“Ms Irving jumps/scats her vocal in a delectable fashion… has a knack of getting your juices flowing… on ballads she is like fine wine.” - In Tune, UK. September 2007
“For those of you who haven’t heard Jane Irving, she is the mistress of scat.” - Jazz Action Society, NSW. April 2008.
“I first heard Jane sing when we were both working with Evan Lohning's jazz orchestra. I was impressed with her ‘feel’ for the tunes – just as people dug Miles Davis because of the way he interpreted his material and I’m very pleased with the results we achieved on Janes latest CD.” - Don Rader – the ex Woody Herman; Maynard Ferguson and Count Basie US trumpeter.

Jane says, “My ears have always been my primary learning tool over the years and so listening was how I developed the feel that I have for jazz – and it’s the feel that I always base my performance on.”

1. ANDY BEY – Wine Banc Sydney 2003
Andrew Dickeson drums - Carl Dewhurst guitar - Jonathan Zwartz bass
The soul in this man is remarkable. The first thing I remember was Andy’s presence as he took his place behind the piano. And at times, right before he began a new tune, you could hear a pin drop –he had the audience eating out of the palm of his hands. Something that stuck in my mind was the energy he created with really slow tempos – and his count ins! Andy’s voice, really his forte and something so unique, deeply purred through the tunes. It was a particularly intimate vibe at Wine Banc that night and I was sitting right behind Andy, watching his hands move across the piano. At one point he played a blues that he’d written, just him and the piano and it was so minimal and simple -this was a perfect example of having the ability to inspire the audience enough to fill in the musical gaps themselves.

2. EXPOSED BONE – Thredbo Jazz Festival May 08
Jeremy Borthwick trombone – Aaron Flower guitar – James Hauptman drums – Brendan Clarke bass.
Exposed Bone give me the horn! It’s been a while since I hollered like a Banshee at a gig and the combination of great harmonies, killer grooves and rhythms were irresistible. James Hauptman had such infectious energy at the drums and Jez Borthwicks tunes were just so full of life - I couldn’t sit still! On both the Friday and Saturday night’s over this weekend, I didn’t want to be anywhere else. KILLER!

3. JIMMY SOCTT – Iridium, New York City, 2003
Hilliard Greene Bass - Dwayne Broadnax Drums - Jon Regen Piano - T K Blue, Saxophone.
I didn’t know much about - ‘Little Jimmy’ Scott other than he was Billie Holiday’s favourite singer. I went to see him the night before I left New York and was feeling a bit of that happy sadness. Jimmy shuffled on stage and his small frame and unnaturally high, voice arrested me. With stretched-out vowels and melancholy intonations I found myself anticipating every move he made. His unique phrasing, central to his particular way of telling a story required just what the rhythm section gave him: space and elegance. The repertoire was pretty vast and aside from perfectly chosen jazz standards, Jimmy covered a bit of pop territory most notably with Princes ‘Nothing Compares 2U’ - which was done as a slow ballad and made all the more poignant because of it. Since that gig I’ve bought a couple of recordings and discovered just how gifted Jimmy is at reworking any tune and calling it his own.

4. MARK MURPHY – The Basement, Sydney 2004
Mike Nock, Felix Bloxam and Jonathan Zwartz.
I had been listening to various recordings of Mark’s for years - my favourite: ‘Kerouac – Then and Now’. To me, he is the quintessential storyteller. I was so excited to hear him for the first time, I could hardly contain myself. His voice had matured with caramel warmth and I wanted to jump inside those long deep cognac tones. I hung off his every phrase, movement, gesture and articulation. The range, the vocal punctuation, the acrobatics, the tone and then to top it all off he finished the gig with “Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me”, just him, singing and playing the piano. By then I was in tears. Mark swooped around the melodies and dazzled with his incredible way with a ballad. It was one of those moments that I just wanted to bottle.

5. DHAFER YOUSSEF – The Studio Sydney Opera House 2007
Jatinder Thakur and the Divine Shadows string quartet.
I had been a relatively new but completely devoted admirer of Dhafer’s and then I heard him live. This man can truly ‘sing’. His instrument like was like no other I’d heard – going from innocence, to daring to falsetto and back again. I had perpetual chills. And then he smiled! The energy he gave not only to the audience but to the rest of the musicians on stage was extraordinary. This incredibly spiritual and hypnotic performance was so full of passion, it was like nothing I’d ever witnessed. The sounds of Tunisia, India the Mediterranean were a very heady mix and I was transported, in time, place and spirit. The accompanying string quartet, weaving their way around incredibly complex arrangements - Jatinder, sitting cross legged before the tablas – Dhafer’s oud playing and voice – all combining different genres, was a spellbinding musical marathon. I was so spent after the performance, I couldn’t speak.

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Blaine Whittaker's High 5

Blaine is undeniably one of the most sought after saxophonists in Australia with his band and as a freelance studio, session and touring musician.
Blaine graduated from the Brisbane Conservatorium of Music.
In 1993 and 1998, Blaine pursued further studies in New York, with musicians including Wynton Marsalis, George Coleman, Vincent Herring and Gary Smulyon (baritone). During his time there, he performed with a wealth of American jazz talent including jazz and blues legend Dakota Staten at the famous Lennox Lounge in Harlem.
In 1997, Blaine released his first album as a leader entitled Hard Bop Café, with special guest artists Bobby Gebert and James Morrison. He also recorded Live at the Opera House with Morrison and Australian jazz legend Don Burrows, and with Richard Clapton on the album Angel Town.
Blaine’s 2001 recording, Bright Lights in Babylon highlights Blaine’s writing for septet featuring the three movement suite of the same name, Bright Lights in Babylon. The suite, harbouring writing influences from Wynton Marsalis, Monk and Mingus, was Blaine’s first extended piece on record. In February of 2002, Bright Lights in Babylon was launched with 2 sell-out performances in Sydney at the “Side on Café”.
In the same year Blaine realised a dream come true when he played along side Wynton Marsalis and young tenor star Joshua Redman at Wine Banc jazz club, Sydney during Wynton’s Australian tour.
Blaine was based in Hong Kong from 2002 until 2007 freelancing with studio work, live gigs, concert performances and touring cities and countries including Singapore, Shanghai, Tsindao, Nanjing (China) Mandalay (Burma) Bangkok (Thailand), Kuala Lumpur, Manilla and Athens (Greece) playing with Roberta Flack and Allen Youngblood.
Blaine was invited as special guest to play lead alto with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra playing Ebony Concerto (Stravinsky), Prelude Fugue and Riffs (Bernstein) and Harlem (Ellington).
Whilst in Hong Kong Blaine also played with Swedish Jazz star Nils Landgren, R&B legends Mary Wilson (Supremes), the Temptations, Cleo Lane, Laura Fygi (Holland) Blues man Zack Prather (U.S.) and Martha Reeves (U.S.).
Blaine also found time to record 2 CDs with the multi award winning Sydney All-star Big Band (Doin Our Thing and Pyl Driver) and also play at the Sydney Festival with big band legend Rob McConnell (Canada).
Blaine also performed along side Canto-pop stars Anthony Lun, Jen Fu, Jade, Leo Ku, Chris Wong, and Twins.
2005 saw Blaine collaborate with American pianist/composer Allen Youngblood to co-produce the CD Midnight Odyssey in which Blaine played alto/soprano and wrote all horn arrangements.
During 2007 Blaine toured with Canto-pop megastar Jacky Cheung. Touring USA, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Macau, Australia/NZ, and all major cities throughout China.
Whilst in Hong Kong Blaine played with U.S. trumpet star Roy Hargrove at jazz club Bohemia Lounge. Blaine has performed at many national and international jazz festivals including the Kuala Lumpur Jazz Festival with “The Yellow Jackets” and Diana Krall, Darling Harbour Jazz Festival, Jazz in the Vines, Manly Jazz Festival, Glenelg Jazz Festival S.A. (Mike Nock Big Band) Nanjing (China), Taipei (Taiwan) Puerto Galera (Philippines) and the FCC Jazz Festival (Hong Kong).
Blaine is now permanently based in Sydney and has recently released his third album Sound Barrier.

1.DALE BARLOW – Brisbane Travelodge 1990
I was a 2nd year conservatorium student and had heard about Dale for a number of years but had never seen him play. He had just recently returned to Australia from being in N.Y. all those years. So he was on fire. I was heavily into bebop/hardbop, playing changes and great technique, so it was everything I was looking for. I was 18 at the time and he blew my mind. For some reason Bud Powell’s Webb City sticks in my mind.

The first time I saw Wynton was the same impact as Dale. To hear his sound and agility over the horn was strangely life changing, at the time. Later that week I bumped into Wynton walking along Broadway (like you do).We got to talking and he invited me up to his apartment for a lesson. Well I let a week go by and then I lost the vibe to actually go at all.
Then I attended a ‘jazz talk’ with Roy Hargrove and Terrance Blanchard talking about composition etc. Halfway through the talk Wynton walked in. I thought I should try and speak with him and tee up the lesson. Just as I decided to do this he left the room and went into a lift with 4 other guys. So I followed him into the lift and he’s just staring at me not saying anything and I’m feeling like an idiot because the lift is going up, to God knows where and he obviously can’t remember me. Finally, he say’s ‘Does your name start with B?’ I said “yes it’s Blaine” he said “yeah I thought you were going to come see me”. He wasn’t happy.” How’s tomorrow” I bleated. “3 o’clock. Don’t be late!” They all got off at the next floor.

Three tenors and rhythm section; I was hanging with Brendan Clarke. It was sold out. We saw the 1st set standing at the back of the room. Peering between other people’s heads and shoulders. It was a drag.
Three of greatest tenor players on the planet and I can’t see them. I could hear them which was great, but I wanted to see how they executed what they were playing and the communication; all those things that happen on the band stand etc. Well, I can’t remember how it happened but we saw the 2nd set from the front table. It was like a miracle. It was not long after this gig that Michael stopped performing for ever. I was startled at how much weight he had lost. I had seen him play in Hong Kong twelve months earlier. No one knew this would be one of his last shows. It was a night I’ll never forget. Each soloist was driven to new heights of expression due to the amazing solo they had to follow. Yet it never got competitive. They just had so much to say and plenty of time to say it. At times it was very intense. All three would be soloing at the same time and throwing everything in – harmonics, multiphonics, sheets of sound, atonal and bebop. They did everything do-able on the saxophone. No stone unturned.

4. ROY HARGROVE QUINTET – Hong Kong 2007
I’ve always been a fan of Roy and his music. He came through Hong Kong and was doing selections from the current album “Nothing Serious”. Hip tunes, hip harmonies and arrangements. Nice ensemble writing. Lots of colours. All the things I love.
The night before this concert I was playing at a club called Bohemia Lounge. I knew these cats were in town. But you could have knocked me down with a feather when they rocked up to my gig with their horns. Roy and Justin Robinson (alto) sat in and we jammed till 3am.It was a great session. Roy was calling all the tunes, mainly bebop standards like ‘Stablemates’,’Round midnight’ I was high for days after.

Ok so this is some Euro funk now. I had played with Nils the year before when he came through Hong Kong. This time he brought the whole band. He had Karl Martin Almquist on tenor and Rigmor Gustafson on vocals. Rigmor would have to be my favourite vocalist right now. Music doesn’t have to be like a religious experience for it to linger in your mind. Although it does help. This was not a religious experience but I’ll always remember it. Simply put - great solos, great arrangements and fresh sounds. Just an awesome vibe.

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Lucian McGuiness's High 5

Lucian McGuiness completed his Bachelor of Music at the Canberra School of Music in 2001 after spending most of his spare time hanging around the campus. He lived and studied in Amsterdam for a while and is currently completing a Masters Degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. He has studied with, among others, trombonists Dave Panichi, Bert Boeren, Jilt Janmsa, Martijn Sohier, Adrian Mears, Sam Burtis and Nils Wogram.
Lucian performs and records with his own projects: My Goodness McGuiness, the Keijzer/McGuiness Quintet and the Techno Prisoners; all dedicated to new music. He has played or recorded with the Mothership Orchestra, the Holland Big Band (NL), the New Generation Big Band (NL), Reggae Rex, King Tide, Ghanian reggae star Shasha Marley, Dutch hip-hoppers Pete Philly & Perquisite, Aussie hip-hoppers the Herd, Dutch cabaret a la Ellen ten Damme, once or twice with Jackie Orzazcky, once with Erroll Buddle and almost once with Mike Nock.
He has appeared on over 15 albums across many genres, most recently the Mothership Orchestra’s Dream Wheel, and recently recorded albums from the Keijzer/McGuiness Quintet and My Goodness McGuiness.
”I must insert the obligatory disclaimer here; of course it was difficult to choose and all that but more than anything I’d like to point out that just as important as the gigs below are the many wonderful and incredible local musicians who have made their own ever-lasting impression on me through countless gigs and conversations.”

1. ROOT 70/NILS WOGRAM – Wangaratta Festival of Jazz / Sound Lounge Sydney Nov 2007
There was a whole arc to these gigs for me. I had been into Root70 for a while, and spent some time studying their music in 2007, looking forward to seeing them live. I wasn’t prepared for how absolutely engaged and thrilled I would be, and just how astounding these guys were as instrumentalists. Even better, in Sydney I managed to complete the experience by chatting with the group about their music and their processes in performing together. It was an uplifting and hugely beneficial experience.

2. TONY MALABY/MARK HELIAS – Wangaratta Festival of Jazz - 2000
I had no idea who Tony Malaby was at this time, and knew very little about Mark Helias, and to be honest, I don’t remember a lot about what music they played together, only that it was an incredibly powerful experience for me, exhilarating and emotionally very moving. Everything they played seemed to mean something particular and important. I spent most of the gig with either goose-bumps or tears or both.

3. STIAN CHRISTENSEN/FARMERS MARKET – Bimhuis, Amsterdam, 2005
There was a certain theatre element to this gig. Impressive musicality; weaving and dodging through sudden shifts between genres, tempos and meters, as shifting the focus between Christensen on half a dozen different instruments, the fill-in bass player with a permanent grin, who looked like he’d just come from a Metallica audition, the older Bulgarian sax player decidedly unperturbed, and the clownish rhythm guitarist.

4. WORLD ACCORDING TO JAMES – Australia 1999 to present
I’ve seen too many performances to really distinguish them, but I’ve always been so inspired by the clarity and power in their music. James Greening is among the finest of the many amazing musicians Australia has produced and is still producing, and Andrew Robson, Toby Hall and Steve Elphick together with James always blow me away and fill me with such an irrepressible energy and enthusiasm for art and music.

5. HANK JONES/JOE LOVANO – Bimhuis, Amsterdam 2006
I love Joe Lovano’s playing but for me this was all about Hank Jones. I ran to the bar and back in the first break so I could snake myself a seat over on the left side of the room closer to Hank. I thought he had such a beautiful energy in his body and his hands, a really easy, on the money, virtuosic touch without ever being aggressive. I felt satisfied and at the same time hungry for more with every phrase he played; whether it be solo or accompanying Joe Lovano, who for his part played with a beauty and delicacy belying his giant frame.

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Stephen Morley's High 5

Growing up in Melbourne, Stephen began playing music at an early age. After studying French horn at high school, he took up guitar for several years before returning to the horn and graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts. Further studies followed in Chicago, including with renowned pedagogue Arnold Jacobs. In 2002 Stephen was awarded a fellowship at MusicOmi international residency for musicians. He returned to New York the following year, where he studied jazz horn with Tom Varner and John Clark, thanks to a grant from the Ian Potter Foundation. Stephen has performed with many different musicians and groups. In Melbourne he formed the Stephen Morley Quintet. He was a member of Peter Knight's 5+2, and is a member of Oynsemble, co-led by Ted Vining and Adrian Sherriff. After moving to Sydney, Stephen formed Squall, and the group's first CD was released in 2007 on Rufus Records.
He has also performed internationally, in New York with pianist Ursel Schlicht and saxophonist Blaise Siwula, and in Cologne, Germany with tuba player Carl Ludwig Heubsch and pianist Antonnis Annisegis.
Read our review of Squall on Rufus Records

“It's hard to pick out just five, but here goes, in no particular order”

1. JOE LOVANO, BILL FRISELL, PAUL MOTIAN - Village Vanguard, NY, 2002
This trio was just outstanding. Watching the way these players worked together, it seemed to be so much about listening, creating the space and time for the music; and to get to see them at the Vanguard - fantastic. One thing that really sticks in my mind about this gig is the way they created and used the space of the trio, stretching, pulling back, and letting the music dictate terms.

2. DAVE HOLLAND QUINTET - Sydney Opera House 2007
I've been listening to Dave Holland for a long time now, and seeing the band play was fantastic. This was a great gig on so many levels; the way the band worked together, the compositions, the solos, everything was just so on the money. It's always inspiring to see just how good it can get.

This was a performance during my stay at Music Omi in New York, a two week residency. Henry and the other musicians came up and stayed overnight, so it was not only the gig, but the chance to hang with these great musicians that makes this so memorable. The gig was a completely free set, and the way it unfolded from the first note was a beautiful thing to hear and see.

4. PAUL CUTLAN COLTRANE PROJECT - Sound Lounge, Sydney, 2006.
Paul Cutlan, Andrew Robson, Alister Spence, Lloyd Swanton, Toby Hall. I'm a huge fan of Coltrane's music, especially the later works. There is such an intensity and direction, and this gig had all that in such a strong way. This music takes real commitment to perform in the right spirit, and the band just took off and nailed it. Rather than one particular moment, and there were many, my lasting impression is of everyone in the band hitting it, and running with it all the way.

5. DAVE DOUGLAS -Wangaratta Jazz Festival, 2002
I really enjoy Douglas' compositions as well as his playing. Technically, he was all over the trumpet, and the rhythm section especially seemed to move through a huge range of textures and rhythmic structures. This gig really opened my ears to the possibilities of the quintet.

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Becky Fox's High 5

Becky Fox may only be 24 years old, but when she sings it’s as if she’s channelling the emotion and perception of a whole lifetime.
She has one of those voices that sends tingles down your spine: it is pure, exquisite and such a sheer joy to listen to that you can’t help but crave more.
And her ability to take a song and draw out the layers of emotion and meaning within it is a rare gift — one that Becky values and cultivates.
“I regard myself primarily as an interpreter of songs,” Becky said. “There is so much extraordinary music out there, and the thrill for me is in taking that and making it my own.
“Over the past few years, I’ve learnt that my real strength lies in arranging and recreating a song so that it both reflects my own style and personality, and becomes accessible to a whole new audience.”
Becky has just released her second album, Allure, on ABC Music’s Jazz label. It is in fact her first solo outing: her debut recording, Music for a While, was a collaborative effort with one of Australia’s leading young classical guitarists, Leonard Grigoryan.
Becky discovered her remarkable vocal talents in the early years of secondary school, when she began taking singing lessons in order to appear in her high school musical. She quickly realised she wanted to take singing seriously, and enrolled in the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) Secondary School, where she was able to develop both her vocal and performance skills.
She has since gone on to graduate with a Bachelor of Music Performance from the VCA, majoring in Classical Voice.
Despite her classical training, however, Becky resists being pigeonholed as a classical performer. She believes that music is about expressing emotions, and connecting with audiences, and thus transcends boundaries of genre and style.
“My musical directions at the moment are more in the areas of jazz and contemporary music, but that doesn’t mean I’m a jazz singer either,” Becky said.
“My musical training has enabled me to create a complex, multi-layered sound that is influenced by everything from folk and jazz to Latin American influences.”
One powerful influence is French music, particularly the Gallic torch songs performed by artists like Edith Piaf and Nina Simone. She spent some time in France honing her language skills, and says she has a real passion for interpreting and performing songs in French.
But Becky is not only talented: she is determined to take her music as far and wide as possible. She recorded and financed her first album independently, doing the rounds of bookshops and music shops to sell it, until the album was snapped up by ABC Music and re-released. The incredibly positive reaction from both broadcasters and the listening public to its sublime sounds and style led to the release of Allure.
Becky is now poised to take her career to a whole new level, with the fresh, powerful and enormously appealing sounds of her new album to pave the way.
Ultimately she says she’d love to take her music on to the international stage, and there is no doubt that the sheer class and style of Allure, and Becky’s own talents as a performer and an arranger and interpreter of great music will ensure that happens in a very short time.

1. JAMIE CULLUM – The Palais, Melbourne 2005
Jamie is such a phenomenal performer/entertainer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, interpreter, vocalist and overall instrumentalist with an energy that is second to none. He is unique, engaging, and a non-conformist to jazz or pop stereotypes. At The Palais he took his performance to a new level with the song Photograph and then again held the audience in the palm of his hand when he came down into the audience to sing Nature Boy with double bass accompaniment.

2. SUMI JO – Hamer Hall, Melbourne 2003
The Korean soprano Sumo Jo has the most mind-blowingly flexible voice that I’ve ever heard. It is un-human to sing the way she does. Her voice is a light coloratura that is pretty but still has depth. She only performed with David McSkimming on piano, and was so engaging and awe-inspiring, she effortlessly captured her audience. The French repertoire is her strength due to her extensive study in Paris, where in Hamer Hall it sounded so divine that it sparked my interest in the French repertoire for classical voice. My personal favourite by Sumi Jo (which every time I listen gives me shivers down my spine) was Depuis le jour où je me suis donnée from the opera Louise by Gustave Charpentier.

3. FHGR – Bennett’s Lane Melbourne 2006
This group usually has four of my favourite musicians performing. Farrugia, Howard, Grigoryan and Robertson, but this night, they also featured Ben Edgar on guitar, who supported the group perfectly with his jazz/pop style of playing. It was a very intimate setting with a handful of people in the room, but the atmosphere was electric from the virtuosic, yet beautiful playing from all the members. Luke Howard the pianist/keyboardist, in particular seemed to take exciting risks with ambitious enthusiasm, while at other times, he played sparingly and so delicately you dare not breathe. My favourite aspects about this group of musicians is their sensibility towards jazz in making it accessible, while still retaining beautiful control over the improvised arrangements with incredible lyricism, much like that of Pat Metheny.

4. GEORGE BENSON & AL JARREAU – The Palais, Melbourne 2007
These two iconic jazz/pop artists are some of the most major influences behind my latest album Allure. Their melodic writing and technical mastery are inspirational to the way I re-arrange old French repertoire, and seeing this live combined with their impressive stage craft just commanded my attention. They performed old classics like Affirmation to the re-worked 1976 hit Breezin’, with added Al Jarreau lyrics. Although I would have loved to witness some of the Absolute Benson album as well as Al Jarreau’s All I Got, I was continually impressed by the live arrangements from the Givin’ It Up album, which featured Benson and Jarreau together. One of the highlights was Benson under the spotlight performing a 10-minute guitar/vocal scat solo with a great front of house sound, reaching the depths of the theatre. The intensity and excitement of the night led to a standing ovation.

5. THE POLICE – Melbourne Cricket Ground 2008
What can I say about Sting and The Police? My common phrase: ‘Sting is the man’ is not used lightly. After reading his autobiography, Broken Music and re-working many of his tunes into my own style, I only ever return to the opinion of respect, admiration and appreciation for Gordon Sumner (a.k.a Sting) who really is ‘The Man’. I have studied countless Police recordings and concerts on DVD. Everything he touches is magic… therefore (even though I’m actually still impatiently waiting to see him live), I can only assume, that this will be one of my ‘Top 5’ all-time favourite gigs.

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Cam McAllister's High 5

Trumpet player/composer Cam McAllister has been a regular fixture on the Melbourne jazz scene since 1997. He studied at the Victorian College of the Arts between 1995-97 and it was during this time that he developed a deep love for jazz and the trumpet and also when he first started to write his own music which he has continued to develop and strengthen over the years. Cam has performed with, among many others: Gordon Brisker Quintet (Sydney), Jeff Usher's Jazz Unit (Brisbane), Jamie Oehlers, Ian Chaplin, Mark Fitzgibbon Quintet, Musiki-Oy, Joe Camilleri and the Jazzheads, the Bamboo's, Melbourne Jazz Orchestra, Bennett's Lane Big Band, Rumberos, Los Cabrones, as well as many rock and pop stars including: Alice Cooper, Roger Daltrey, Natalie Imbruglia, Jimmy Barnes and Peter Frampton. Cam also worked regularly on cruise ships between 2001-2005, traveling the world and backing entertainers including: John Cleese, Petula Clark, Ronnie Corbett, Glenn Shorrock, Ugly Dave Gray and Maria Venuti.
Cam formed his first band, the Cam McAllister Quintet, in 1998 which included Danny Fischer, Matt Clohesy, Colin Hopkins and Tim Wilson and they recorded an unreleased album at the ABC studios. The band has gone through some changes in the last 10 years but has settled, for many years, on the formidable line-up of Cam, Dave Rex, Mark Fitzgibbon, Tamara Murphy and Ben Vanderwal. In August 2007 they released their debut album called “Libran Balance”, again recorded at the ABC by Mal Stanley for 'Jazztracks' and it features nine original compositions of Cam's as well as a guest appearance by Jordon Murray on trombone. Cam's music is melodically very strong and it also displays a deep respect for form.
Since the start of 2005 Cam joined the Melbourne detachment of the Royal Australian Navy Band, using the many hours of provided practice time to hone his skills as a trumpet player, writer and arranger. Future projects for Cam would like to include assembling his own big band and record an album of original compositions and also a return trip to New York City where he spent a good deal of time in 2003, getting lessons off many jazz stars including Jim Rotondi and Walter Blanding.

1. LOUIS HAYES QUINTET - Iridium Jazz Club NYC 2003
Vincent Herring – alto, Jeremy Pelt – trumpet, Rick Germanson – Piano, Vincente Archer – Bass and Louis Hayes – drums. Ever since I started listening to Cannonball Adderley records, Louis Hayes has been one of my favourite drummers. I think he epitomises the 1960's “Blue Note” sound so to see his Cannonball Tribute Quintet was a real thrill. The band was so swingin' it was ridiculous and Louis was playing with the energy and fire of a much younger man but of course with the maturity and completeness of a man in his seventies. Vincent Herring has long been a favourite of mine too and he was particularly inspired that night.

2. KENNY KIRKLAND TRIO - Wangarratta Jazz Festival circa 1999
Kenny Kirkland has been my favourite piano player ever since I first became interested in jazz which was around 1992. I don't think there has been a more swinging piano player in the last 20 years and his death a few years back came as a huge shock to me and I'm sure to the whole jazz world. This gig at Wang was the only time I ever saw him play and I remember he just got such a 'big' sound out of the piano. He was a genius who left this world far too early.

3. JOE ZAWINUL’S RHYTHM SYNDICATE - Continental Cafe circa 2001
This gig was a really special experience for me to see such a master musician leading an incredible band including Victor Bailey on bass. The level of groove that these guys created was truly amazing and by the end of the gig almost everyone was dancing! Possibly the most beautiful thing I've ever heard live was Victor Bailey singing and accompanying himself on 'Continuum', dedicated to Jaco Pastorius.

Tom Harrell – trumpet, Jerry Bergonzi - tenor, Richard Sussman - Piano, Mike Richmond - Bass, Jeff Williams – Drums.
In 1978 Richard Sussman released an album entitled “Free Fall” which has since become a bit of an underground classic. I was lucky enough in 2003 to see this exact quintet re-assembled playing some material from that album and newer compositions by the much underrated Richard Sussman. Tom Harrell has for a long time been one of my biggest inspirations both as a player and composer and it was a real treat to see his genius at work that night along with Jerry Bergonzi who was equally as brilliant.

5. MIKE NOCK QUINTET - Bennett's Lane circa 2001
I feel very honoured to share the same birthday as Mike Nock as he has been a big influence on my music. This particular gig included Phil Slater on trumpet and I think it was Dave Goodwin on drums. Mike's writing is so logical and yet so fascinating and he really has developed his own sound world over the many years he's been involved in jazz. Hopefully I'll get the chance to see him again soon.

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Elizabeth Geyer's High 5

Elizabeth Geyer grew up in Adelaide, South Australia. Following a Bachelor of Music Degree (trumpet) she freelanced for many years as a trumpeter supporting artists including James Morrison, Gene Pitney, Tommy Emmanuel, Bobby Shew, Barbara Morrison (USA), Marcia Hines, also touring the USA, playing in the Don Burrows Quintet and with James Morrison and Swing City for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
In 2000, the release of her first self titled album opened up a new career as a jazz singer with subsequent performances at the Manly, Thredbo, Darling Harbour, Newcastle, Canberra, and Adelaide Jazz Festivals along with the River Festival (Brisbane) and at the 2000 Duke of Edinburgh awards. For three years Elizabeth was feature vocalist and trumpet soloist with John Morrison's Swing City.
Collaborating with award winning songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Tony King in 2004 for her second album 'The Dream', marked Elizabeth's debut as a songwriter with a unique sound of her own. The album has been received with critical acclaim, ongoing ABC airplay, strong national community radio support and has been performed by Elizabeth at the Art Gallery of NSW for exhibitions including the Archibald Prize. In 2005 Elizabeth's quartet performed a national tour of 'The Dream' and in 2006 it's song 'You Carry Me Home' won a top five placing in the Australian Songwriting Contest.
In 2007 she returned from America and Europe where she has been writing and performing extensively at venues including Galli's Bar, Karma Coffee House, USA Hostel Hollywood and Highland Grounds in Los Angeles, Cafe Tirebouchon in Paris, and New York venues including Yippie Museum, Googies Lounge over The Living Room, Helen's, Cucina Stagionale with residencies and repeat performances at Caffe Vivaldi and legendary songwriter venue The Bitter End. Read our review of Elizabeth Geyer’s album ‘On Patrol with the Jazz Police’.

1. SCOTT TINKLER BAND – Excelsior Hotel Surry Hills 2006
There is nothing halfway about Scott Tinkler's trumpet playing, which is what I love most about it. He always takes enormous risks and charges forward blazing. He reminded me that night a bit of a contemporary Freddie Hubbard. I was riveted by every note. I think Carl Dewhurst was on guitar and Simon Barker on drums, so it was an amazing band altogether.

2. RYAN ADAMS – Enmore Theatre, September 2007
I learnt so much from being at this concert. He went on 45 minutes late, blaming his 'f*n manager' which was a confronting start. It got me off edge. He didn't seem to be very happy but his singing was very special, as were the songs and the musicians. I was not familiar with his music prior, but I think he is unforgettably talented.

3. BILL RISBY TRIO – Bithri Inlet, June 2007
Few people know what a unique and innovative artist Bill is because he wears so many musical hats. I saw his trio with Hamish Stuart and Gary Holgate performing the first half of a concert at Bermagui and was mesmerised by their magic rapport. It was a summer afternoon with the venue right on the water. They played as one, taking the whole audience on an unpredictable musical journey with them complete with cliff hangers but never losing sight of beauty or space. I had to shake myself a bit to come back down.

4. DON RADER – Adelaide Festival Theatre, 1994
I was in the backing band for Don Rader who had recently moved to Australia from America and was the feature guest artist. I was completely knocked out by everything he played. He sounded like no trumpet player I had heard - in a way, a mix between Los Angeles - from the excitement/showmanship angle with all the technique of the top session player he is - and New York - dark twisted contrary harmonic turns and 'blue' sound. Meeting him for me was an inspiration, and in fact that concert helped my trumpet playing ex-husband and I make the decision to move to Sydney.

5. MACEO PARKER – Monterey Jazz Festival, America 1995
This was an outdoor concert with around five thousand people watching. I am not very familiar with that genre of music but he took total command of the stage from the first second and blew the entire audience away with a rhythm section that grooved harder than I thought was possible. I have never seen a performer command a stage like that, with music, energy and body language - no talking. The energy never sagged for a second. At the end of his 45 minute set, I felt like I'd been to another planet and back.

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Chris Cody's High 5

Chris Cody began his musical career as a classical pianist in Australia, after being a finalist in the Roger Woodward Piano Scholarship at the age of 14. He performed at venues including the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Town Hall. He gained a Bachelor's Degree in music from the University of Sydney, and the Licentiate of Trinity College, London, with high distinction, for classical piano performance.
His musical versatility found expression in a wide variety of work situations, including playing with some of Australia's leading jazz musicians such as James Morrison, Sandy Evans and Don Burrows. He formed his own jazz quartet and played in clubs, festivals and for Australian television and radio. Chris Cody played and composed for numerous musical productions, and he also wrote and directed the popular jazz cabaret 31 Celestial Flavors.
After gaining the Diploma in Jazz Studies at the Sydney Conservatorium and the Jazz Action Society Award for Best Jazz Composition in 1989, he left Australia to perform and tour the USA and throughout Europe with musicians including: Roy Hargrove, Antonio Hart, Sunny Murray, Herb Geller, Stephano di Battista, Frank Lacy, Graham Haynes, and Francois Theberge. Cody recorded with numerous artists including Stefan Hugye, Jeff Hoffman, and Beigel Daisy Toasts. He then formed his own highly successful group in Paris - the Chris Cody Coalition - and recorded his debut album of original compositions in 1996.
After his return to Australia in December 1996, he again performed at Australia's leading jazz venues and festivals including The Basement, Bennett's Lane, Manly and Wangarratta Jazz Festivals. He formed an Australian version of the Cody Coalition and recorded the CD Oasis on Naxos Jazz, receiving international acclaim. Cody has been sought after as a guest on radio programs, including Jim McLeod's Jazztrack, ABC FM, the 2BL Morning and Afternoon Shows, Radio France, and France Culture. Chris Cody has taught at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in the Bachelor of Music program, as well as giving masterclasses at universities and conservatoriums around the country. His music is also played on the inflight programs of several international airlines including Qantas. He continues to write music for theatre and cinema and recently appeared performing in the film Dr Jazz at the Sydney Film Festival. Chris was special guest and performer on Bernard Pivot's French arts program, Bouillon de Culture, on national TV in France, Australia and around the world. His music was performed live and used for the credits.
Since his return to France in 2000, Cody has performed at leading clubs and festivals around the country as well as in Germany, Switzerland, England and Cuba. He composed and performed a suite for the inauguration of the Australian Music Centre in Paris and composed and recorded the music for the Sydney Theatre Company's production of Moliere's Don Juan at the Sydney Opera House. He has also recently performed and recorded for ABC and SBS TV, and was the subject of Claude Carriere's program Jazz Club on France Musique. He recently recorded his latest CD Midnight Tide (Cristal/Harmonia Mundi), co-starring top American trombonist Glenn Ferris (released June 2003).
Cody's music reveals not only his love of jazz and classical music, but also the influence of the French and African musicians he has encountered in Paris, and its warmth and humour touch a wide and diverse public.
“It was quite a challenge to try and whittle down over three thousand concerts or so that I must have attended to forty, then twenty, and then finally just five!
The exercise made me think about what are the necessary elements that have to be present for a concert to be really successful, memorable, one that leaves a lasting mark or influence on me.
The music and compositions have to be really strong of course, while the performers and their degree of preparation and inspiration play a huge role, as do the public and its openness and warmth, the venue and concert context, and the energy and vibe on the night.
All of these can be affected dramatically by the sound and sound engineers, the seating, the air, how much alcohol has been consumed amongst many other factors!
Of course, the requirements for a good jazz concert are not all the same as those for a blues, rock, or classical concert.
There is a large dose of personal taste involved in all these things, but the concerts that stand out the most are those where I was able to stop being aware of all the external factors as mentioned above and really just let go and be completely in the music, its journey and emotions”.

1. SVIATOSLAV RICHTER – Theatre de Chatelet, Paris, 1992
I was very excited as I made my way to the theatre on a cold night: at long last I was going to hear my favourite legendary concert pianist whose recordings of Bach, Schubert, Brahms, and all the Russian composers had given me so much. He walked on stage, blinked and bowed, and then settled somewhat awkwardly at the piano with a small desk lamp to light the music. He often used the music and he said that it kept him true to the score. His approach was a contrast to many other concert pianists. He began to play. For the first five minutes, I kept saying to myself: “this is Richter, at last I’m hearing him, how great he is!”, but then as the music and his completely self-effacing, non-histrionic approach to performance took over, I started thinking about the composer (Beethoven) and how great he was. Finally all these thoughts just went away and I just got swept up in the music and its ideas, colours and directions, no longer thinking about who or what it was. When the concert finished, I was surprised by the loud applause having forgotten my surroundings, and I walked home as if still in a dream, with the music reverberating for weeks.

2. JOE HENDERSON QUARTET – Fat Tuesday, New York, April 1990
The club was packed, hot and stuffy, and there was a real air of anticipation. The band walked on and I remember noticing how small Al Foster was and that he was wearing leather pants! Joe counted off and away they went - they burned from the very first note to the last, there was this amazing furious energy they put out. All the band members played with a terrible intensity, as if their lives depended on every note and nothing else mattered. They played from their guts but with a great concentration at the same time. The audience members were either sitting with their eyes shut, simply gob-smacked, or sort of moaning and groaning along in ecstasy. I was blown away and felt as if I had been purged by their fire! What a great way to discover the New York way of playing jazz!

3. PAUL BLEY/GARY PEACOCK DUO – New Morning, Paris 1992
The New Morning is a really good room in Paris, holds about four hundred people and is a mix between concert room and club, with a long bar down one wall. All the great jazz musos have played here although in recent years it is programming more rap and reggae, and less jazz. These two musicians have known each other for years, and their mutual trust and confidence came through as they simply improvised all night. Paul would throw out ideas, Gary would respond, or play against them, and every idea seemed to work and fuel further ideas. Paul Bley didn’t seem very virtuosic in the commonly understood way, but had so many rhythmic and melodic ideas, that all seemed fresh and effortless. It was all there in the music: humour, light, darkness – they conveyed many different emotions that night. They didn’t speak to the audience until the end, and seemed to really enjoy the moment of the concert, like two good friends catching up over dinner.

4. THE BENDERS – Jenny’s Wine Bar, Chippendale, Sydney, about 1984, With Dale Barlow, Chris Abrahams, Lloyd Swanton, Tony Buck.
I was still pretty new to jazz when I discovered this band, and until then had only heard live jazz in Sydney at Soup Plus, the Basement, or Hyde Park, so this tiny venue with these young guys not a lot older than me, playing exciting fast modern Australian jazz really opened my eyes and ears. Dale was the young lion tearing into his solos and no-one else played like him at the time. The band had a very young contemporary feel and you could hear that they had listened to and absorbed a wide range of music but had come up with their own sound and were bending some of the jazz rules of the time! They were a very welcome change to some of the 70s style bands around at that time.

5. KEITH JARRETT TRIO – Town Hall, New York 1990
Well, they put this concert out as a record, so you can check it out for yourself! What can I say that hasn’t already been said about this trio and even this concert? Once Keith had got over someone sneezing in the audience (it wasn’t me), they played a great concert of standards, getting into some really good grooves and vamps, listening intently, and playing as one. Incredible piano trio playing! (I also really liked Ahmad Jamal’s trio that I heard in Paris, but their music was a lot more prepared, and less spontaneous). “So that’s my top five live gigs, and they got in ahead of the likes of Miles Davis, Freddy Hubbard, Oscar Peterson, Cecil Taylor, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, Brad Mehldau, Charlie Hayden, Bill Frisell, Lester Bowie, Henry Threadgill, Jimmy Smith – well , you get the idea. I’ve been extremely lucky to have heard many great concerts. And the last really good one? – some young Norwegian guys in Stockholm two months ago ripping into their own pieces with vigour and enthusiasm!”

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Peter Knight's High 5

Peter Knight is a Melbourne based trumpeter and composer well known for the eclecticism of his musical output. He is a highly regarded jazz performer and has toured extensively with his quartet whose second album, All the Gravitation of Silence, was released on the Jazzhead label in 2006. In addition to his quartet, Peter also leads the 5+2 Brass Ensemble (Invisible Cities and Other Works Rufus Records 2005) and the acclaimed cross-cultural ensemble Way Out West, which released Footscray Station on Newmarket in 2003 and and launched it’s latest album ‘Old Grooves for New Streets’ in September 2007. Read our review of Old Grooves
Peter has recorded and performed with Australian and international artists including: Erik Griswold’s Wide Alley (Australian/Chinese collaboration premiered at 2007 Brisbane Music Festival), Adrian Sherriff’s Oynsemble, Hugh Fraser Quintet (Canada), Quinsin Nachoff (Canada), Nigel McLean, Misinterprotato, Allan Browne, Ren Walters' This Ensemble, Stephen Magnusson, and rock groups including The Violent Femmes, Spiderbait and You Am I. Peter has also composed for theatre, short films and created sound installations, and recently composed a chamber work for Dead Horse String and Wind Ensemble. Peter is also the co-artistic director of sound-art company, Double Venturi, which presented The Current at the Melbourne Town Hall in 2006.

1. STEPHEN GRANT’S HOT NEW ORLEANS FIVE - Fountain Inn Port Melbourne many Fridays in 1991
Stephen Grant is one of my most important inspirations and one of the most incredible musicians I have ever heard. He had a residency at this little pub in Port Melbourne every Friday night, I used to go whenever I could as did a lot of other musicians at the time. It was an awesome swinging, burning band... hardcore New Orleans music... Stevie on cornet or trumpet, Karl Hird on clarinet, Allan Browne on kit, Andy Baylor on acoustic guitar and Howard Cairns on gut string bass. I'm still yet to hear anything much better than Steve's cornet playing in that band, he just had everything going on on the horn: unbelievable tone, range, the hardest swing time, and just a constant wellspring of melodic invention that at times used to just leave me feeling quite overwhelmed, sometimes it made me want to go home and just practice practice, practice, and sometimes give up... lucky the former won out. Steve doesn't really play so much jazz on the trumpet these days. I haven't heard him for years but he plays accordion in Julien Wilson's trio... he can play almost any instrument to quite an astonishing level.

2. DAVE DOUGLAS WITH NEW AND USED - Knitting Factory NYC 4th June 1996
This gig really totally blew me away, it was like nothing I'd ever heard, it was the first time I'd heard Dave Douglas and I still think this is one of his best line-ups: Mark Feldman on violin, Andy Laster reeds and Tom Rainey I think, can't remember who was on bass. What I really loved about this gig was the way the music moved from totally improvised free chaos/noise/energy to the most detailed and delicately rendered composed material. It's a hallmark of a lot of Douglas' output and it sounds quite familiar now but in 1996 I hadn't come across that approach before, it was my first time in New York, I had only been there a couple of days and then I wound up at the Knitting Factory listening to this stuff just thinking what the f**k!?

3. THE NECKS - Wangaratta Jazz Festival 2002 (I think)
The Necks are one of my favourite groups, I have heard heaps of their gigs but this one was a standout. The performance was in the little church that is one of the best venues at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival, the acoustics are just gorgeous and it was great hearing The Necks play without amplification. They are so amazing in that they have taken the piano trio and created something quite new with one of the most well worn formats in jazz/improvised music. This concert was hallucinatory (can you aurally hallucinate?) well anyway they managed to create the illusion of instruments that weren't there... sounds that developed out of the harmonics and partials created by the piano and the bass fundamentals and shimmer of Tony Buck's cymbals... at one point I was sure I could hear a cello weaving a counterpoint... It was one of those gigs where at the end people take a while to start to applaud because the music has taken them so deep that it's a moment or two before they emerge.

4. MILES DAVIS - Melbourne Concert Hall 1988
I'll never forget that concert, I was really young and totally obsessed with Miles, in fact Miles was just about all I was listening to at the time. I had tickets to the second of his two nights in Melbourne but me and a friend decided to see if we could get in to hear the first night as well. We went to the Concert Hall and got someone else to bring a couple of ticket stubs out to us. Once we got past the ushers and into the auditorium (which was completely full) we snuck down and sat on the floor in front of the front row. Soon after the lights went down and as Miles came onto the stage other people jumped from their seats and came up to the front of the stage, so we were able to stand up with them and stay there for the whole concert. It was a great night, the buzz of getting in and just of seeing Miles, but the music itself was incredible too... great band and he still had that sound... I'll never forget hearing him start a piece just with the trumpet alone and I was standing just a few meters away, it's always different actually hearing and seeing someone play as opposed to just listening to recordings/seeing footage.

5. ELLIOT CARTER BRASS QUINTET - Melbourne International Brass Festival 2003
This quintet was formed by the phenomenal young trumpeter, Tristram Williams, specifically to play Elliot Carter's Brass Quintet. I hadn't heard much of Carter's music before this concert apart from some of his string music, but his writing for brass is incredible. At the time I was trying to write my own music for the 5+2 Brass Ensemble and this piece just did my head in, his approach sounds like nothing else. It's 'hard' listening but it's also quite beautiful and, I thought, at times quite funny (humorous as distinct from comic). The ensemble put a great amount of time into rehearsing the work and they played the crap out of what must rank as one of the more challenging works in the repertoire. Tristram's command of his instrument and of the ensemble made a real impression on me too, he's got 'the sound'... he fills the room even when he's playing pianissimo and he's all over the horn. We've since become good friends and have spent a bit of time practicing together, I've learnt a lot from him.

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Andy Fiddes's High 5

Andy Fiddes grew up in Country NSW amongst a musical family, his father being a nationally recognised composer and pianist and grandmother an institution in music tuition. He began playing music at age 4 and has not stopped since, initially learning piano then trumpet. After a brief foray into guitar during his teenage years, Andy went to study trumpet in Sydney, completing Bachelor degrees in Early Music and Jazz Performance. Since finishing study, Andy has performed in Europe and Australia with groups such as Livewire, Survival of the Fiddes, Fiddaesthetics, The Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, Adrian Klumpes, Phil Slater, Upshot, BLOW! Big Band, Killing Heidi, Something for Kate, and Groove Terminator and recorded the ARIA nominated big band album Camouflage - EXPOSED. He has two albums out on Jazzgroove Records: SURVIVAL OF THE FIDDES - fear smile and ANDY FIDDES – Llivewire.
“Five amazing gigs? Not too sure about which ones to choose! These five are the top ones that have affected me very personally and made me really think about where I’m going musically.”

This was the first time I had ever seen any of the New York “Bop School” players perform live. Their commitment and energy was mind blowing, even at the last set at 2am! The whole band just didn’t let up, including Hayes who was about 80. Jeremy Pelt was a revelation – an amazing tone and clarity of ideas, like a young Freddie Hubbard. This band later became the Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band.

I was lucky enough to catch this one. The Brecker band at the gig was a killer. With Clarence Penn on drums, probably my favourite drummer at the moment, Alex Sipiagin, a trumpeter from Russia; now living in New York, John Scofield, John Pattitucci, plus accordion, strings and woodwinds. A pretty amazing timbre. I remember being dazzled by the quindectet and all that virtuosity, and then Lovano’s band (Hank Jones, George Mraz, Dennis Mackrel) came on and completely changed the mood. Very laid back. Unfortunately Paul Motian couldn’t do the gig so Dennis Mackrel “sat in”.

3. DAVE DOUGLAS QUINTET - The Basement. Sydney 2002.
After “The Infinite” record Douglas brought the band to Sydney. Chris Potter couldn’t do it so Rick Margitza did the tour. This is one my favourite records. To see it brought to life was astounding, especially seeing Dave play. Watching this gig actually made me readjust my approach to live performance personally, especially the way I project myself physically on stage. The visual can be just as effective as the aural: used in combination...

4.MESSIAEN’S TURANGALILA SYMPHONY REHEARSAL - London Sinfonietta/David Robertson. Royal College of Music. London 2004.
Whilst working at the College, I had the chance to “sit in” on a few rehearsals; luckily this was one of them. Eighty minutes of gargantuan orchestral intensity. Not being an orchestral player, I didn’t play; it was a great experience being in the middle of such a dense sound. My first Ondes Martinot experience.

5. EVAN PARKER AND TONY MARSH - The Vortex. London 2003.
This gig completely blew my mind; literally. A completely improvised gig that was very, very, very intense. There was so much passion and intent. I was so physically and mentally exhausted from listening after one set that I had to leave. I remember thinking: “If that’s the only gig I see for the rest of my life, I’ll die happy.”

“After doing this, I realise there are no Aussie artists. I know this may be cheating, but there are so many great Oz shows as well… Showa 44, bo5n, Ten Part Invention, The World According to James, Alcohotlics, Scott Tinkler, Australian Art Orchestra, Matt Keegan Trio, James Muller”…

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Matt Baker's High 5

Jazz Pianist Matt Baker has traveled far with his career, performing for audiences all round the globe. In fact in July 2003 and 2004, he performed in Switzerland at the Montreux Jazz Festival with his trio.
In 2003, the trio was selected as the house band, to perform seventeen nights straight in the Montreux Jazz Club. This year they performed each night of the festival in Harry’s New York Bar, and gave a concert in the main jazz venue of the festival, ‘The Casino Barriere’. Matt also represented Australia and gained fifth place in the 2003 Montreux International Solo Jazz Piano competition; an internationally acclaimed competition open to jazz pianists from any corner of the globe, and was a runner up as well in 2004 and 2005.
His music has taken him three times over to the Jazz capital of the world, New York, as well as over to New Zealand for a series of solo and trio performances as well at the Queenstown Jazz Festival. Back home he has performed in Jazz Festivals and concerts all around Australia - Perth, York, Brisbane, Broken Hill, Bundaberg, Lightning Ridge, Gladstone, Noosa, Kiama, Thredbo, Dubbo, Wagga Wagga, York, Sanctuary Cove, Mackay, Darwin, Newcastle, Wollongong, Hamilton, Coonabarabran, Horsham, Orange, The Blue Mountains, Goulburn, Gundagai, Mudgee, Tamworth, Grafton, Ballina, Twin Towns, The Gold Coast, Camden Haven, The Hunter Valley, Manly and Darling Harbour.
In December 2002, Matt returned home from his third trip to New York. He spent a week with Jazz piano legend Oscar Peterson, watching him play every night at the Blue Note, and spent many hours with him between performances talking music, piano, and careers and just becoming good friends.
Matt, a student of New York pianists Benny Green and James Williams, revisited these wonderful players for some more lessons, and in previous trips has also studied casually with Mulgrew Miller, Aaron Goldberg, Eric Reed, Jacky Terrasson, Stephen Scott, Laurence Hobgood, Ralph Sutton, and Ella Fitzgerald's life-long accompanist Paul Smith.
In Montreux 2004, Matt spent some personal time with jazz legend Herbie Hancock and Cuban pianist Michel Camilo, studying their music, concepts and approaches to modern jazz.
Back home Matt has toured Australia extensively with trumpet virtuoso James Morrison. He has played for Quincy Jones, Wynton Marsalis and Harry Connick Jnr., and has also been the support act for Jazz legends Tony Bennett and Al Jarreau. Since December 2000, Matt is now the resident pianist with Australia's well-known Jazz band, “Galapagos Duck”, and played in John Morrison's Swing City from 1999 to 2003.
June 2003 saw the release of Matt‘s 2nd album, recorded in December 2002. The album features John Morrison (brother of James) on Drums, and Phil Stack (James Morrison sextet, Thirsty Merc) on Bass. The album showcases the trio, but also features some of Sydney’s top horn players, and some fiery solo piano.
In June 2006, Matt released his 3rd album, "From an afternoon with the Mountains". The album features two new young up and coming giants, Alex Boneham and Ko Omura. Sydney percussionist Akyho Akhrif joins the trio for the project too. On the album, the group explores a completely new original sound with Cuban, Brazilian, Classical and Jazz influences.

1. BOBBY McFERRIN - Montreux Jazz Festival, 2004
The first gig that comes to mind was at the time something I'd never seen or heard before. His rendition of Ave Maria was totally solo voice, singing the accompaniment, the broken 10th arpeggios for the whole song, and got the audience to sing the melody above - it was so moving.

Sitting in the front row, the tension was building up in a 'slow groove' arrangement of 'Ain't Necessarily So', and Herbie kept hinting at these burning lines, not double time, just a totally different new burning tempo - the band wouldn’t go with him but he kept jabbing at it - the musicians then hinted at going there for a split second - 2 notes - and then finally after steam was shooting out of everyone’s ears in suspense, it burst out into a burning version of 'Cotton Tail'... my eyes filled with tears...!

3. OSCAR PETERSON – Blue Note NYC 2002
Another memorable one was my time again in New York in 2002, where I went over to see Oscar Peterson at the Blue Note Jazz Club, for a week. On the last night they started off 'Satin Doll', which they played every night, and then after a few bars, a trumpet was heard from the audience, improvising, fast and in another key... The trio stopped - it was an old friend of Oscars, Clark Terry. There were gasps in the air and the room fell to silence as Clark, sitting at his table, kept the line of quavers going... After 20 seconds, the trio joined in and exploded into the number Clark had begun – ‘Mack the Knife’.... - 'featuring' Clark Terry!

A really great concert that comes to mind was Arturo Sandoval and his band. I had never seen him before - amazing Cuban grooves, (a monstrous pianist with him too), and Arturo played amazing Cuban piano too, and he sang, and scatted just like his trumpet, and he played his horn like I’ve 'never' heard a trumpet before...It was funny, at the workshop he gave during the day, a young trumpet student asked the question as to whether his horn (the students) was decent or crappy, as he could never get a good sound out of it... Arturo took the horn and said 'listen!'... It’s not the horn, it’s you. How you make the sound all comes from down here, touching his stomach. He blew a super loud, long, high note out of his own horn and then swapped to the students horn, and blew the exact same note - both sounded identical! - The audience broke into hysterics!

5. GALAPAGOS DUCK – Wagga Wagga Jazz Festival
The last gig I'd like to share with you is exciting but a terrifying experience I had with Galapagos Duck at the Wagga Jazz Fest. We were inside the main concert hall, Rodney was out the front intro'ing a song, and I was noodling on the keyboard, giving him his opening chords. Suddenly a big black spider the size of a funnel-web (and probably was one!) dropped from the roof above and landed smack on middle C, right between my hands... Now let’s put the replay in slow motion.... The spider hits the keyboard, I look down and see it, I launched backwards like there were rockets on my shoes, screaming at the top of my voice... " FFFF %%%% #### @@@@ !!! ", Rodney turned around to see what happened, the spider as soon as it landed ran to the front of the keyboard and pounced on the floor, and with one dive Rodney leaped back and came down on the spider in one quick move ..... Turning his foot from side to side, making sure it was completely dead... I apologised to the audience for my obscenities...

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 Tim Bruer's High 5

Tim was born in Adelaide, and after a number of years of classical training, began playing jazz in the late 70's. In 1980 he started his professional career and became involved in the local jazz scene, most notably as part of the group “Small Hours”, which played support gigs for Joe Henderson, Johnny Griffin and Freddie Hubbard. In 1982 he began his Bachelor of Music degree at Adelaide University where he studied with pianists Ted Nettelbeck and Bruce Hancock, and in 1985 he graduated with a major in jazz performance.
He then moved to Sydney, where he became involved in the jazz scene playing with musicians such as Lloyd Swanton, Carl Orr, Dave Addes, and James Greening, and in the R&B scene, playing with bands such as The Hippos and Bop Till U Drop.
In 1989, he moved to the Blue Mountains where he lived for many years, whilst continuing to perform in the Sydney area, particularly with the Swing-Jive band “The Anthill Mob”. During that time he also worked often with Monica Trapaga, and was a member of a number of bands, including the Gai Bryant Quintet. As well, he held down long term residencies at venues in both the Mountains and Sydney, most notably with the trio “Lush Life” with Paul Joseph and Alex Hewetson.
From 2002 he studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, studying extensively with Mike Nock, and looking in particular at the playing of Keith Jarrett. This resulted in him gaining his Masters of Music degree, and in 2004 he moved back to Sydney where he has since been performing, as well as teaching at the Australian Institute of Music.
2007 sees the release of his first album as leader, “The Tim Bruer Quartet” which also features saxophonist Sean Coffin, bassist Brett Hirst, and drummer Simon Barker, playing a program of his own contemporary jazz compositions.
Tim has also performed with (amongst others) Bernie McGann, Dale Barlow, James Morrison, Errol Buddle, Bruce Cale, Steve Hunter, Jackie Orszaczky, Hamish Stuart, Jonathon Zwartz, Dave Theak, Steve Brien, Pat Powell, Steve Elphick, and Andrew Gander.
His career highlights include :- finalist in the inaugural Wangaratta jazz award in 1990; performances at the Manly, Gold Coast, and Cairns jazz festivals; appearances on many TV shows; arranger and pianist for Nielsen Gough; support gig for U.K. guitarist Ronnie Jordan; featured soloist on Max Sharam's top ten single "Be Firm"; recording with Guy LeClaire; Musical Director/pianist for Delilah; recording in London with Gene Calderazzo; recording with Kate Swadling at the Hillcrest Coachman jazz festival.

1. KEITH JARRETT – Adelaide Festival Theatre, 1982
This concert was obviously a long time ago, but I remember it as being one of those special nights where at the end of it you feel totally musically satisfied. Keith improvised all night, and it felt like he played all the music you'd ever want to hear. Specifically, I remember being aware of the contrapuntal aspect of what he was doing, and thinking “there's all this fugal stuff going on!” There was also one part where he was doing a typical classical V - I cadence (I remember it as “Beethovenesque”), which he kept repeating because he felt unable to decide when it should finally come to rest. What was particularly memorable about this was that it seemed like the audience was right with him in this process, and able to relate to the quandary of where to finish. He played five encores, and the last one was the only pre-composed piece of the night, a beautiful rendering of “My Song” that I remember sounded like a whole band.

2. KENNY GARRETT QUARTET – Iridium, New York 2003
I remember this gig primarily for the energy, particularly from Kenny himself and the drummer, Ronald Brunner (the other members were Vernell Brown on piano and Kristopher Funn on bass). They were mainly playing music from the album “The Standard of Language”, and although there were some quiet moments, it was by and large the intense, burning modal style at which Garrett excels. I loved the tunes, which were contemporary, but accessible and not overly complex. His solos were generally long, but he seemed to have so many ideas that I never got bored. As you can imagine it was very exciting and Brunner's drumming, which was a large part of this, was so loud I had to stuff bits of paper napkin in my ears.

3. PAUL GRABOWSKY DUO WITH MARK ISAACS at the Basement (somewhere around 1999/2000)
The first time I really heard Paul was with his trio with Gary Costello and Alan Browne, and what particularly impressed me was his sound on the instrument. He played a cadenza on “My Heart Stood Still”, and his touch and level of tone production were as if he'd practiced it like a classical piece, but of course he was improvising. I've since heard him many times, and it's hard to pick a stand out because his playing is always at such a high level, but I've decided on a duo concert with Mark Isaacs.
It was a two piano gig, and the two of them just improvised freely, occasionally drifting into the odd standard. They played really well together, as they obviously had a deep knowledge of the contemporary jazz piano language, had had much experience with classical music, are both prolific composers, and also have perfect pitch. What I particularly liked was that the situation seemed to allow Grabowsky to escape from the confines of song structures (his own tunes, which he tends to play more than anything else, are usually very complex harmonically) and to play in an earthier, and perhaps less intellectual way. The moment I remember most was where he reached a climax whilst playing some kind of chordal figure, and became extremely passionate, almost primitively so. At the end of it all, I felt that Paul was very much aware of the “process” of improvisation, and the idea of “being in the moment”.

4. WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST – Walkers Arms Hotel, Adelaide, 1984
As a jazz musician in Adelaide during the early 80's, any visit by a Sydney band was a major event, and I enjoyed many such occasions. One that stands out was a concert by Sandy Evans' band, Women and Children First. Apart from the music, part of the initial impact of the group was visual, as I remember drummer Tony Buck was wearing a bright orange jump suit, and I think both him and bassist Steve Elphick were also wearing make up. It was of course though, the music that made the evening memorable for me, and this was in no small part due to the presence of the brilliant keyboard player Indra Lesmana. He was about 18 at the time, but sounded like a seasoned veteran and seemed to have the whole contemporary jazz piano thing covered, as well as the synthesizer. They started with a powerful modal piece which I recall was based on a poem of Thomas Tallis', and from then on I just remember being in the thrall of the excitement of it all, and unable to stop dancing in my seat.

5. ROGER WOODWARD – Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Penrith, early 2000's
The thing that impressed me most about this concert was that apart from Woodward's flawless playing, he played a huge variety of styles, all from memory. The repertoire as far as I can remember was Beethoven's “Appassionata” sonata, a Mozart sonata, J.S. Bach's suite in G major from the French suites, and the Chromatic Fantasy in D minor, some Debussy pieces, and then a number of encores which included Scriabin and I think some Poulenc.

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 Spike Mason's High 5

Spike Mason is an improvising musicianer who is dedicated to developing the facility that enables him to transfer the musical ideas he hears in his head onto his saxophones, or any other instrument that is available.
Over the past 18 years he has played improvised music all over the world in countries including Australia, England, Scotland, Turkey, Greece, Singapore, Italy, Holland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Canada, and the U.S.A.

1. WAYNE SHORTER QUARTET - Melbourne 2005
The ensemble, consisting of Wayne, John Pattituci, Brian Blade, and guest Jason Moran, played for 2 nights at Melbourne's Jazz Festival. The Friday night set was incredible - I could hardly speak or sleep afterward. I walked around Melbourne in a daze on the Saturday trying to decide what to do with what I'd heard. I knew there was another concert on the Saturday night but I didn't have a ticket, had plans to see an old friend, and I thought it would be both sold out and pretty unlikely that the experience of Friday night could be repeated. In the end I decided to risk it, and I cancelled my plans with my friend and bought a ticket for the Saturday concert as well. The Saturday night set was just as incredible as the Friday night. In fact it was as if no time at all had passed between the last tune on Friday and the first tune on Saturday. It was that continuous - that fluid. The mojo from the previous night was still in the room. I was once again entranced.
Everything that was played was so fresh - the guys were completely open, following each other where ever each of them went. The music was a mix of improvised pieces and Wayne's compositions, and sounded just like you were overhearing some dear friends in a private conversation. A discussion that journeyed along a variety of serious and deep topics, coloured by strong opinions, outrageous humour, a great deal of familiarity and a long standing mutual respect.

2. DANIEL LANOIS - Sydney 2006
My wife Lea is responsible for me hearing about this incredible musician.
He is a producer of some note, known as the "5th member of U2" and is responsible for much of the great music that U2 produces. He is also good friends with Brian Blade, and uses his rhythmic love on his albums. When I saw that he was coming to the Basement I booked us a couple of tickets. I listened to his albums for the month or so before the gig so that I would be familiar with his music.
The concert was spellbinding. It is not often that I can listen to an entire show and not be distracted for its duration, but this was the case with this one. Daniel was in the zone from the get go. His guitar playing was unbelievable, he had such a direct connection to his instrument, and everything just flowed. The band was also fantastic - some of Detroit's finest. There were deep grooves, a beautifully balanced sound, gorgeous 3part harmonies, and wonderful songs. The music was straight ahead rock - done to perfection at a surprisingly low volume.
The most amazing moment for me was on the last tune. Daniel said that the band would "raise the roof" for the encore. What I expected was the volume of the band to increase. What I got was a slow burn of a groove that simmered and built for about 10 minutes with a climax that was so intense I almost went insane.
It made me want to go and buy an electric guitar.

3. MALABY / RAINEY / SANCHEZ - Phoenix 2004
My wife and I had spent a month in New York and I had followed Tony Malaby around like stink on a monkey. When I said farewell to Tony and his wife Angelica they asked me where I was headed. I told them I was going to Phoenix for a week to do a course on natural childbirth. They said they would be performing in Phoenix (their home town) the following week at a great venue called "Modified Arts".
As luck would have it, they were playing on the Sunday night - my last night in the US, and my only night off from the course.
The venue was beautiful, lit by candles, very relaxed, completely quiet, and full to the brim with an audience of fans for these "locals" visiting from the "big apple". The music was all completely improvised - with Tony on saxophones, his wife Angelica on keys, and Tom Rainey on drums and all manner of percussion instruments. The three of them had been playing together a very long time and the interplay between them was intimate and very natural. It was a beautiful night of unique and spontaneous music and a great way to finish my time overseas.

When I first got to New York on this trip I sold some mouthpieces at Roberto's. So I was really cashed up and ready to hear lots of great music. I dragged the bassist Mark Lau along with me to as many gigs as he could afford and we heard some amazing groups. We had bumped into the drummer Craig Simon on the subway and he told us that Jeff "Tain" Watts was playing the following night with Michael Brecker at Birdland. We decided to all meet there.
We arrived pretty early the following night and when I spoke to the doorman (remembering what I'd learnt from the book "How to win friends and influence people") I said, "I'm from Sydney, Australia, and I've travelled all this way to hear Michael Brecker in the greatest jazz club in the world." and he said "Well let's get you guys to a good seat then." He proceeded to take us to the front centre table. Craig decided to sit where all drummers sit when they go to gigs. (At the side of the stage, just behind the drum stool.)
The band came on stage to thunderous applause and before it had died down Brecker and Tain played two out for about 5 minutes before heading into the first tune. The band was amazing, Mike, Tain, Joey Calderazzo, Adam Rogers, and Chris Minh Doky, and they played some new tunes as well as some old favourites. It was life changing to be in front of Brecker's horn and to hear his creations catapult out of it. He energy was limitless, and his execution was astounding on both ballads and burners.
I spent some time talking to him and gave him a copy of my OXIMETRIC album during the break. He was complete master of the horn and a very friendly guy.

Barney is good friend of mine and is a very unique musician. We play improvised music together each Thursday night at an event of our own creation in Glebe called FREE FOR ALL.
This set of music was a one off gig at the "Side-On Cafe". The group was Barney on piano, Mark Lau on double bass, and Felix Bloxham on drums, and they played all of Barneys original music.
Barney had spent the week before the gig in a friend's car with a video camera and had recorded some city driving scenes. These were shown on 2 television sets on stage while the music was played and created a beautiful backdrop for the sounds that were created. The tunes were all segued together and assisted in taking you on a beautiful hour-long sonic and visual journey. The band flowed from piece to piece with great subtlety and care, showcasing Barneys beautifully endearing melodies.
This concert was a rare treat from a very underrated Sydney player.

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 Mississippi Shakedown High 5

Mississippi Shakedown is a 3 piece trio led by slide guitarist Jeff Cripps with influence from America's deep south performing band member's originals.
With recent performances at the Goulburn and Thredbo Blues Festivals, and numerous other gigs in Sydney, Newcastle, Perth and Tasmania, Mississippi Shakedown has the appeal to please blues aficionados or the smoky pub Joe Public.
Fronted by Mississippi Jeff Cripps, (well known owner of A# Sharp Recording Studio and winner of the Australian Blues Music Awards Producer of the year 2002 + 2005 + 2006) on Slide Guitar and vocals. The band is driven by John Gannon on bass with Derek Smith on drums in the engine room..!!
Mississippi Shakedown's debut album 'Right Here Right Now' is available at www.mississippishakedown.com.au

1. CREAM REUNION CONCERT - The Royal Albert Hall 2005
It was awe-inspiring to see Cream live. The band walked out to an incredible roaring standing ovation and each song was greeted with a standing ovation. At one particular time after the crowd had sat down after a song, mid-concert, for no particular reason, people started to clap again and then for a whole minute people were yelling and screaming, I suspect merely out of sheer delight at being at this momentous event. The band just had to stand there and take the applause, and couldn't start until the tumult died down.
During “Toad", as Ginger began his drum solo, Jack and Eric wandered over to the side of the stage where they sat down on two chairs. They looked like the odd couple on a park bench – quite cute – would never have been done in the 60s … they just sat and listened to Ginger's solo and had a little chat.
The band played for two hours, and in general the songs were shorter and slower than the versions we know and love. Eric was in top form, though playing through Fender guitars and amps rather than the classic Gibson Marshall combo.

2. THE ALLMAN BROTHERS – Alabama 2005
I've never heard a better band – everything was fabulous. Great mix, great playing, great songs. I think this is the best band I've ever seen. The audience was very in tune with the band, solos and dynamics. A great vibe – very party atmosphere. We had a chat to the sound guy after the gig and got backstage and talked to Derek Trucks, the young genius slide guitar player.

Buddy and Junior Wells were great, pretty straight, but great....Freddie King was pretty full on...kinda Stadium blues. Arthur Crudup was a bit overwhelmed by the occasion I thought, the Buddy Guy band backed him...Arthur would add + cut + paste bars here and there, the band just kept up with him...they didn't seem to enjoy it that much I felt. But the hit of the concert was Hound Dog Taylor. Out came this skinny, big toothed old guy (about my age now...!)...with a lousy looking guitar, and sat down on a seat and we're all saying.."What the hell's this...?"...anyway, he said..."let's rock" and he did. Two guitars and a small drum kit, everyone loved him from the get-go. I've rarely seen an artist grab an audience so quickly and fully, he was wonderful.

4. JACKIE ORSZACZKY & BLAND FRENZY, being in a band with him...!!!
My penultimate is the time I was in a band called Bland Frenzy with Jackie. It was a great band with all original material. some pretty wild stuff let me tell you, kinda Frank Zappa – ish, but I learned heaps from Jackie. We didn't talk that much about music really, but I absorbed it through osmosis I guess. He's probably the most "complete" musician I've ever played with. It was a privilege.

Self indulgent yes! Well, we love playing gigs....and we're thrilled that we don't get kicked out of gigs and that people actually love our little combo that is Mississippi Shakedown so get on our email list and we'll let you know where the next Mississippi Gig is... jeff@asharp.com.au

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 Matthew Ottignon's High 5

Matthew was born in London, grew up in New Zealand, and graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. He has been playing music all his life and plays the tenor, alto and soprano saxophones as well as flute and clarinet. Part of a very musical family, brother Aron and sister Holly are performing and living in London, while brother Eden is currently on tour with the show 'Keating'. Some of the musicians Matthew has performed with are Lou Reed, Jon Stevens, John Waters, Mike Nock, Jackie Orszackzy, James Morrison, John Pochee, Phil Slater and James Greening. Matthew has also recorded with artists such as Tina Harrod, the Whitlams, Portishead, and Jade McRae. Matthew is also a member of the Splinter Orchestra, performs regularly with Peter Morgan and is involved with the Musica Viva program with the Sousaphonics.
Recent albums
INFORMAL TROUPE - Urban Parkland (Jazzgroove) June 2007
EXOTICA - Turkish IV (Jazzgroove)
JAVA QUARTET - In the Swim (Vitamin)

1. ELVIN JONES - Shinjuku Pitt Inn 2004
Duane Eubanks(tp), Delfeayo Marsalis(tb), Mark Shim(ts), Carlos McKinney(p), Gerald Cannon(b), Elvin Jones(ds)
Elvin's band was staying at the Hotel where I was working, the Hilton in Shinjuku. They would come down to the bar where I was performing each night after there gigs and hang out. I got quite friendly with Duane Eubanks who was recording each set on video carefully placed on one of the speaker boxes, and he managed to get me some free tickets. Elvin was on fire, from the moment he stepped on stage to the last crash of his cymbals, he was magnetic. I felt humbled and honored to be in the audience that night. He was struggling to breathe though and was finding it hard to talk which made for a very confusing speech before the set. He died only a few months later. May he rest in peace!!

2. DAVE LIEBMAN - 1999-Escola Estudio, Santiago De Compestela, Spain IASJ meeting
This concert took place in an outdoor piazza, or square. I was here for the annual jazz meeting, it was hot and I was sick due to a combination of jet lag and sangria. Dave was performing with local flamenco guitarist/singers. The music was totally improvised as far as I could tell and featured some Spanish modes or scales. The music was thick in the air, you could smell it. What an atmosphere, a million miles away from home, 10pm at night, stars overhead, and a hundred or so people. Dave has an intensity that shone through, building and building throughout the performance.

3. AMON TOBIN - The Knitting Factory New York 1st Feb 2002
Taken from my diary of the time while I was in the states; "WOW! Not only is Amon Tobin a genius but I just finished 3 weeks of a serious music injection. My mind and body will be reeling for eons. From all the promotion and info I had seen on him, I was expecting a cut up jazz breaks type deal. What I got was a peak inside the warped mind of a musical genius. Track after track of mind blowingly good production, from f**ked up trip hop to drill and bass, square-pusher style. A very shy and humble person on stage, with little or no communication with the audience, he still left me feeling refreshed and confident that was creative and meaningful music".

4. PAUL MOTION TRIO - Village Vanguard June 5th? 2005
Paul Motion dr, Bill Frizell gt, Joe Lovano ten There is a cd out that has some of this music on it, although I am not sure which nights they recorded. Seeing a trio such as this at the Vanguard is a MUST! This place has been home to some of the most influential jazz of all time. One of my favorites being Bill Evans trio, so to see the same drummer perform here was a dream come true. The gig did not disappoint, even though the music was so very different to that of the '60s. Paul's playing has evolved to an incredibly pure art form that was great to see live, an exercise in understatement. The same can be said of Bill. Also great to see how he triggered his delays and loops live. Joe took quite an aggressive approach to gig, almost to balance the lightness of the other two.
I feel like I now owe it to all the local musicians both here in Sydney and my hometown Auckland who have inspired me, to say something. So before I make a last high 5 addition, I would like to thank Tim Hopkins, Bernie McGann, Nathan Haines, Andrew Robson, and Jason Jones among others for their inspiring performances.

5. TIM O'DWYER TRIO - Sound Lounge, Sydney, 10th June 2005
Tim O'Dwyer alto Clayton Thomas bass Darren Moore drms I've often lamented at the lack of truly inspiring saxophonists performing regularly in this country so this night was a real treat. Tim totally blew me away. I had to take a few deep breaths and just let the music work its magic. The last time I had heard him play he was playing totally improvised and using extended techniques. This time he had a great rhythm section behind him and some great compositions. His sound and energy was powerful. I think he inspired not only the other musicians on stage that night but every one in the room. Sad to say, Tim now lives in Singapore.

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 Peter Farrar's High 5

Peter started playing saxophone at age 10 and has since studied at the Sydney Conservatorium. While at the Conservatorium he studied with Dale Barlow, Bill Motzing and Mike Nock. He has performed with a broad cross section of leading artists and groups including Mike Nock, Jim Denley, Rod Cooper, Kris Wanders, Dave Panichi, Clayton Thomas, the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, the Splinter Orchestra, and the African group Usutu. Peter is also a member of the quartet Farfinkel Pugowski that focuses on finding new ways of improvising and composing. As a saxophonist, Peter is working to develop a personal sound logic to be used for improvising. You can read a review of Peter's performance with the Dave Panichi Septet on this website.

Jeff Henderson is an improvising multi-instrumentalist, predominantly a saxophonist from Wellington, New Zealand. This performance at Wangarratta was a very special occasion, mostly because of the musicians who were recruited specifically for the gig. On drums was Darren Moore, who was living in Singapore at the time. On bass was Brett Hirst, originally from NZ but lives in Sydney. James Wilkinson on trombone who is an exceptional musician from Melbourne, and finally Gerard Crewdson on trombones and cornet, another New Zealander who lives in poverty on a farm in Port Kembla (south of Wollongong). It was a particular act of generosity from Jeff to have Gerard in the group. As far as I know, none of the musicians had played with each other apart from Jeff who had played with each of them. They played a two hour set and Jeff had structured the whole thing the night before, the music moving from dense sound blocks, to an intense drum solo to a beautiful Chinese melody, to a whimsical Ayler-esque fanfare. It was clear that the musicians had full respect for each other and the music, and there was a sense of selflessness in everyone's playing. This was a one-off performance which I am glad to have witnessed.

2. SACHIKO M – The Studio Sydney Opera House 2002
Sachiko M played a solo set for the "What is music" festival 2002 at the Studio. The night was an introduction for me to the world of improvised electronic music that is so important to today's creative musicians. Also on the bill that night was Robbie Avenaim, Oren Ambarchi, Otomo Yoshihide, Voice Crack and others. Sachiko's set stood out because it revealed to me the physical properties of sound and how powerful these things can be. She played a loud sine tone basically unchanged for a long time. Maybe twice in the set the tone was altered slightly but essentially it was static. The music was so physical it was as though the act of hearing this sound weakened my other senses. I had the feeling that the sound was affecting my visual senses stronger than my sight was. I completely lost a sense of time, and I have always thought that music is successful if it accomplishes this. Sachiko's set was a small revelation for me.

3. MESSIAEN – Sydney Town Hall 2001 & Sydney Opera House 2002
I will actually include two Messiaen concerts here. The first was at Town hall in 2001 while I was at high school. The first piece was L'Ascension for orchestra. The second piece was Chronochrome for orchestra. The music was unlike anything I had heard at the time. A particular section in Chronochrome – the bird call section – stood out to me. It was so dense. Similar to the Sachiko M gig it was very physical and went straight to the senses. The music in both pieces was very colourful. The second concert was at the opera house in 2002 and the piece was I think the last orchestral work Messiaen composed. The piece has a sense of completeness and finality, as though he knew this was his last major work. The many facets and stages of his career are all present here, modal melodies, complex rhythmic structures, colourful percussion, serial techniques, and of course the bird calls. Apparently Australian birds are used in the piece though I didn't notice them.

4. STEVE COLSON QUARTET - AACM New York Community Church, May 2006
I have never heard of pianist and composer Steve Colson before or since this gig. Yet this was probably the most beautiful music I have ever witnessed. The band consisted of Andrew Cyrille who is one of the greatest living drummers, Reggie Workman on bass, and Steve's wife Ira Colson on vocals. It became immediately apparent that these musicians had been living music for a very long time and had long since arrived at a musicianship which could be considered sublime. This performance exemplified to me that music can contain things unrelated to sound that have to do with the nature of the people making it. It can often be hard to perceive how and why music is made but these elements can be the most powerful communicators.

5. JIM DENLEY'S WEST HEAD PROJECT – Kuringai Chase National Park Dec 2006
Jim Denley is for me one of the most important Australian musicians today. He has greatly influenced me and the musicians I work with and has also supported the music scene in Sydney with a selflessness that is very rare. The West Head Project was run by Jim and consisted of a performance in Kuringai chase National Park on a large, flat rock formation that is a sacred Aboriginal site. The musicians were Jim, Clayton Thomas, Dale Gorfinkel, Monica Brooks, Clare Cooper, Adam Sussman and Karen Booth. For the musicians the gig seemed to be unsuccessful. All the musicians felt very uncomfortable for one reason or another, whether it was because of the sacredness of the location, the bad weather (the gig was cancelled after half an hour because of rain), or issues to do with the New Music Network who funded the event. This unease could be sensed from the audience yet I was determined not to let this disturb the occasion for me individually, which was in actual fact very beautiful. How could it not be when one is listening to the natural surroundings, which seem to be free of the thoughtful nonsense that musicians usually deal with? The musicians though uncomfortable, played out of respect for this strength that nature's music has. Much of the time I spent exploring the location, sometimes out of reach from the music. This was the first time that I have been to a concert where I have felt free to leave the music and yet still feel as though I am witnessing the performance. The occasion showed me that a musical happening involves all the senses all the time. In the bush this becomes apparent simply because of the beauty that is around us. I remember in particular Jim's playing. At one stage he spent time playing with each of the musicians, perhaps trying to accommodate them individually through playing. This is an example of Jim's generosity and thoughtful support.

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 Dan Barnett's High

Dan Barnett was born into music being the son of the Sydney bassist Cliff Barnett. He began his musical life as a trombonist studying with greats such as James Morrison, Conrad Herwig, Bruce Paulson, Dan Barrett, Don Burrows, George Golla and Steve Turre.
He quickly developed a love for singing and has since studied with the much respected Sydney teacher Patricia Oertel and with the legendary Mark Murphy, Mike Campbell and Miles Griffith. Dan has worked and recorded with some of the greats in Australian and international music such as James Morrison, Will Calhoun, Tom Burlinson, Barbara Morrison, Mark Murphy, Bob Barnard, Dan Barrett, Bob Montgomery, George Washingmachine, Emma Pask, Janet Seidel, Don Burrows, George Golla, Evan Christopher, David Paquette, Judy Bailey, Rhonda Birchmore, Kevin Hunt and "The Australian Art Orchestra" production "Testimony" the Legend of Charlie Parker. He is also a permanent member of the Unity Hall Jazz band and Blues Point Jazz vocal group as well as being a renowned bandleader of both big band and small groups.
Dan is a regular on the Australian and European festival Circuit having played at Waiheke JVC Jazz New Zealand, Thredbo, Manly, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne Festivals, Wangaratta, River Festival (Brisbane), Jazz in The Domain, Darling Harbour Jazz fest, Wyndham Estate, Lleuwin Estate, Ascona Jazz Switzerland, Sildajazz Norway and on Tours of Thailand, Europe, Taiwan and the U.S.A. Dan was a finalist in the prestigious 2006 London International Jazz Competition for singers and has two albums under his own name. "The Right Track" and more recently "Point of No Return" featuring his big band. Both are on the La Brava Music label. Dan is currently working on releases three and four both of which will be out later this year.
Dan's qualities were best described by Kevin Jones, respected music writer for The Australian newspaper and Fine Music magazine: "Dan Barnett is a natural bandleader with the personality and charisma to charm the most demanding of audiences. Add his talents as a fine, swinging vocalist and an excellent trombone player, and you have the complete package ……To hear him in a big band context is one of the most satisfying sounds in Australian music".
More information at www.danbarnett.com.au and www.myspace.com/danbarnettbigband

"Wow, 5 favourite gigs, you gotta be kidding, what a hard ask - I dunno! I have to say there are a few which maybe should have made the cut so I will just mention what they were before you get the 5 who did. Whatever happened all these gigs changed me in some way and deserve an honourable mention. P Funk allstars – New York City 1992, Steve Turre at his house in Jersey August 2001, Taikoz - Angel place, Jeremy Borthwick's exposed Bone @ Jazzgroove, my dad at Three Weeds Balmain, Betty Carter – Basement, Andy Bey – Winebanc, Tom Baker – Strawberry Hills, Dan Barrett (yes Barrett) – Bob Barnard Jazz Party 2006, Vince Jones - anytime, Wayne Shorter - New York, Kurt Elling – first Aussie tour, Bobby Mcferrin – LA, John Allred – Ascona jazz fest 05, Chick Corea – New York, Hank Jones trio with Joe Lovano – New York, Mingus Big Band time Café,- New York, Urbie Green - Sydney Conservatorium and Basement. I loved 'em all."

1. SARAH VAUGHAN - Sydney Opera House
Sarah Vaughan was getting on a bit. I reckon I was about 15 when my mum took me to see her. That was the night I realized I wanted to sing. Sarah sang "Send in the Clowns", a song I have never particularly liked and my mum and I sat there and wept I have no idea what happened to me but realized how powerful interpretation was and will never forget it.

2.TONY WILLIAMS – Catalinas L.A. 1992
After back-packing around Europe and America, drummer Graham Hilgendorf and I were heading back home via LA. It must have been our last night and we went to see Tony Williams. It was the most incredible music I have ever heard live. The thing that really grabbed me was his passion for the music and the intensity with which he played it. The soloing of all the guys was incredible and the communication was great as well. I must say it was probably the loudest jazz gig I have ever been to but definitely one of the best. We begged the door lady to let us stay for the second set without paying and she did. Tony was as cool as all get out, strutting around in the break with these 2 gorgeous looking ladies and a cigar that was as long as he was tall or maybe short, looking like one of those pimps in a Dirty Harry movie. It was unforgettable he played so amazingly well. Wallace Roney- Trumpet, Bill Pierce – Sax, Mulgrew Miller Piano and Ira Coleman on Bass

3.MARK MURPHY – Live at Club 606 London August 15 2005.
Mark has long been one of my heroes. He invited me down to his gig which was both his and my last night in London. I sat there with two other Aussies, guitarist - David Blenkhorn and singer - Nina Ferro, in awe of this incredible storyteller that just made standards sound like he had written them ( I guess that's the trick isn't it). He was then 73 years old and still so on top of his game. The crowd went absolutely nuts. The highlight for me was when Mark invited me to sit in I have never felt so nervous but wasn't going to let the opportunity slip what a buzz. He is still so passionate about jazz and where he sees it heading and is forever trying to change things like a true improviser. He is one person that continually inspires me. The other cats were Pete Churcill – piano, Andy Hempill – bass, Mark Fletcher - drums

Steve Turre has that totally unmistakeable sound on the bone and to finally get to a gig and sit in front of him and I mean right under his spit valve was mind blowing. What a player -time, sound, ideas and the shell thing I really dug as well. McCoy Tyner was as great as ever and I really enjoyed Dave Valentin on the flute. The band had loads of fire and energy.

Readers, you can pick number five [because] I can't. Miles Davis or James Brown go on I dare you! Miles Davis Sydney Entertainment Centre. Wow! He could have just stood there. I would have loved it just for the bragging rights but the gig was great. Killer band and Miles still with that incredible sound. What a vibe, he came out and the place erupted like it was a rock concert. James Brown Hordern Pavillion, Sydney 1988. My wife Elisa bought me tickets for my birthday and we were so excited. Not only was James and the band on fire, he had the great Fred Wesley (bone) and Maceo Parker (alto) on the gig. What a groove! I never thought I could dance!

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 Kristin Berardi's High 5

Vocalist, composer & educator, Kristin Berardi is from Sydney, Australia. Recently she placed 1st in Montreux Jazz Festival's Shure International Vocal Competition, July 2006, and 3rd in the 2005 Australian National Jazz Vocal Competition. During 2004 and 2005 she spent time studying and recording in New York City with such people as Kenny Werner, Jim Pugh, David Binney and Ingrid Jenson. She is on casual staff at the Australian National University in Canberra, and in the rural country town of Mackay, Queensland, at their Conservatorium of Music. She has performed in New York, Germany and continues to perform within Australia at Jazz festivals, and at jazz venues.
One of Australia's finest pianists Tony Gould said of Kristin, "she is a very special musician whose voice has a quality of exquisite beauty. This seems to come from deep within the sound of her voice, from the soul if you like. When she sings there is no hint of the all too common 'cultivated' sound, but things which embody the best qualities in a musician, the most important apart from the obvious musical ones, being honesty and integrity." (Australian Pianist Tony Gould)

1. JEFF TAIN WATTS – Jazz Gallery NYC 2004
The first time I saw Jeff Tain Watts live - I was lining up outside the Jazz Gallery, NYC and could hear the group - well, mainly Tain outside! It was the Yosvani Terry Group, with amazing young guitarist Mike Moreno. I love Tain's intensity, commitment, and how he doesn't mind to show you that he enjoys playing!!!!(he smiles a lot!) That was in 2004, NYC, USA

2. DARREN PERCIVAL – Bangalow Jazz Festival, 2006
Doing his solo show, I was totally blown away at this amazing musician's feel, passion, and beautiful instrument - his rich and unique voice. His honesty touches your heart. Mr Percival was truly inspiring.

This guy has incredible groove, intensity and is just an amazing musician!

4. BARNEY MCALL – Wangaratta Jazz Festival 2005
This was the first time I'd seen Barney play, although I had begun listening to him a few years earlier. His band was incredible - just to name a few - Shannon Barnett (tromb) Nash Lee (guit) Jamie Oehlers (tenor)!!!! The music was beautiful, and every musician on the stage was a master at his/her craft!

5. 20TH CENTURY DOG – The Hippo, Canberra 2006
Cameron Undy, Simon Barker, Gerard Masters, Carl Dewhurst, and Matt Keagan just tore this place apart musically speaking! It was incredible!!!

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 Catherine Hunter's High 5

Catherine Hunter is one of the most captivating voices and performers in Australian jazz today. Her musicality and strong vocal styling see her switch effortlessly between romantic ballads, bossa novas and swinging jazz standards.
Catherine burst onto the Sydney scene in the early 1990s having graduated with a jazz diploma from the Canberra School of Music, the alma mater of some of Australia's top jazz artists.
Catherine appears as a featured guest artist with Australia's biggest jazz names, including internationally acclaimed James Morrison, Don Burrows, Bobby Gebert and John Morrison's Swing City Big Band and All Star Bands. Catherine's own quartet is in hot demand for high profile corporate work and she has performed at gala events such as the Boomerang dinner for Princess Mary's royal visit in 2005.
Catherine's diverse career has taken her to jazz festivals around the country including the Norfolk Island's Jazz on the Rock Festival, The Hunter Valley's Jazz in the Vines, Manly Jazz Festival and Darwin's Sunset Jazz. She has toured all over Australia and in Asia, having recently played an exclusive engagement at the prestigious Hong Kong Island Shangri-La Hotel to great acclaim. Catherine has also appeared regularly on television, with 3 years as a regular performer on Midday and is a popular voice on many advertising jingles.
Catherine has just released her ABC album 'Dream Maker'.

You can contact Catherine at www.catherinehunter.com.au

1. TONY BENNETT – Lyric Theatre, Sydney 2000
I approached this gig with the attitude that even if Tony B wasn't as good vocally as he was in his heyday, then I would still have seen a legend. No need to worry on the vocal front, Tony Bennett was sublime. Here was a man who was not only a great singer, but a true gentleman and showman. The coolest cat, with the sharpest suit and the greatest respect for the lyric, his stylish renditions of classic standards made me wish the night would never end. Cameron Clayton did his thing as a feature with brushes - and I've never before heard an audience of largely general public come away raving about the drummer and rest of the band.
At one point, Tony sang acoustically to demonstrate the great room but I feel this was more a ploy to show just how great Tony still is as a vocalist – relaxed, understated, with a feel that makes the audience feel good too. I was incredibly grateful to have experienced one of the last great vocalists of a magical era for jazz singers and entertainers. I'd love to see a resurgence of appreciation for great interpreters of standards and performers that are valued for their craft, not just the marketing buzz surrounding them.

2. PRINCE – Sydney Entertainment Centre – Musicology Tour, October 2003
Finally I got it… Having bought Prince's albums years ago, listened to and enjoyed his work, and appreciated his musicianship; I'd never really understood why so many people were blown away by him. Well I'm glad I made this gig as it is one of the greatest concerts I've ever seen. Prince was performing a lot of hits from the 80's and covered most of his back catalogue – something which I believe we will rarely see again as he concentrates on new material.
All the classics were included - I Feel for You, Sign of the Times, with highlights being When Doves Cry, Raspberry Beret and Purple Rain. His guitar playing was mind-blowing, and the groove of the band was unbelievable. Prince kept challenging the audience to party harder with him, no problem there.
After the 'show' was over, Prince returned to the stage, solo, to sit at the piano and completely blow my mind with an encore of about 45 min of soulful, funky, bluesy, you name it – the guy is not only a genius but a virtuoso. And Prince showed why he is such a hit with the ladies – his solo version of the iconic Kiss was so sexy you could feel the heat rise in the venue. In the non-jazz realm, this gig will be hard to beat!

UK vocalist Claire Martin has been to Australia several times and I was pleased to have met her on one of her first trips here and to have had a few mischievous adventures along the way. It was an important time for me as a young musician and Claire made a big impression. She turned me onto some of the great singers, in particular Shirley Horn, and was a generous teacher. Claire represents to me a modern vocalist who is a clever interpreter of standards, while also bringing her own stamp to jazz, with covers of some more contemporary tunes as well as original compositions.
I also loved this gig because the band was led by my mentor, the legendary Bobby Gebert and included my favourite Bobby Gebert Trio line-up of Andrew Dickeson on drums and Jonathan Zwartz on bass. It's easy to see why Bob's trio is requested to back visiting international acts – individually they are all incredible artists but as a trio, the most swinging groovers in town. Bobby brought his sensitivity and deep understanding of playing with a vocalist to the gig, along with a dirty, driving swing when it was needed. This was a very special time for me and I'll never forget some of the many gigs I saw this line-up play together.

4. DIANA KRALL – Iridium Room, New York, 1995
Before she became an international mega-star, Diana Krall was gigging in smaller clubs along with everyone else – and I enjoyed this more than the larger scale concert gigs I've seen. It was a late night trio gig with Christian McBride on bass, (sorry, can't be 100% sure of the drummer) and good to see that like a lot of gigs we play here, some were listening, others chatting and others still finishing their meals or night early. I was just amazed to get a seat so near the trio and was mesmerized – after a month in New York of hearing some unbelievable artists, like Tommy Flanagan and Kenny Barron, I had hardly managed to find any vocalists – though I guess Diana is also known for her piano skills. What really struck me about this gig was the interplay between the musicians – everyone was listening to one another and working as a team, rather than purely as an accompaniment to the singer. The gig was simple, stylish and tasteful.

5. KYLIE MINOGUE – Acer Arena, November 2006
OK, so this is left field, and Kylie might be a sentimental favourite at the moment, but having just returned from her concert last night, I've got to hand it to her – the girl was good! A great show, gorgeous costumes, but most interestingly Kylie has obviously worked hard on her voice and she impressed me with her control, pitch and range. With a retro nod to the forties, she flew across the stage on a half crescent moon, singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow. While it wasn't the best jazz version I've heard, it certainly held up to a lot of covers of this incredible classic. She then followed this up with a sleazy Big Band, burlesque type rendition of Locomotion – I never thought I could like this tune – but I was getting there. I have to hand it to Kylie, she has transformed herself in ways I never thought imaginable, worked extremely hard at her craft and deserves the success she enjoys today!

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 Sean Coffin's High 5

"…What's very obvious is that Sean Coffin sounds very comfortable in his own skin these days, and whatever he brought back from the US in his passion for that distinct East Coast US sound, he's now expressing his own musical voice". (Michael Smith, Drum Media - Aug 2006)

Sean was born in Salem, MA, USA, north of Boston and emigrated to Australia as a youngster. Sean, and his brother Greg, grew up in a very musical home where Mum played piano and guitar and Dad growing up in the 50's USA playing saxophone. Having completed the HSC he left for Boston in late 1987 and in 1988 started at Berklee College of Music, graduating with a BMus (Jazz Perf) studying with Joe Viola, Bill Pierce, George Garzone, Hal Crook, Ed Tomassi et al.

Within the years 1992-1995 Sean formed the Coffin Brothers with Greg and Simon Barker and did the rounds of all types of gigs in the Sydney area whilst gaining the reputation not only as a performer but as a valuable teacher. Sean's other original project during this time was the funk/jazz band Medicinal Purpose.

1995 saw Sean return to Boston and then in 1996 to NYC where Sean lived until 2000. In 1999, Sean completed his Masters (Jazz Perf) at Manhattan School of Music, NYC studying with Bob Mintzer, Garry Dial, Manny Albam and Ludmilla Ulehla. While in the USA, Sean performed at NYC jazz venues Birdland, Savoy Lounge, C Note and in Boston at Wally's and Willow Jazz Club etc, etc.

Since 2000, Sean has been back in Sydney lecturing and teaching at the Australian Institute of Music (thanks to Dr Peter Calvo) and steadily performing as a side-man and band-leader (mostly) with his original projects: Coffin Brothers, Sean Coffin Quintet, Eff Sharp And The Theory Of Nostrils, Medicinal Purpose. Sean has performed with Mike Nock, Chuck Yates etc, etc. and has also recently recorded on Tim Bruer's CD (yet to be released).

Read our review of Coffin Brothers Live.

"The blood of this music is not so much energy (although it assuredly has form of that) as the inter-relationship of sounds...nor is it relaxed, so much as brooding; simmering via slow and mid-tempo's towards sudden, short lived explosions of intensity...Just as a hypnotist requires co-operation from a subject, this music needs commitment from the listener for the spell to fully work." (John Shand -Sydney Morning Herald, August, 2006)

You can contact Sean Coffin at www.myspace.com/seancoffinmusic

1. JERRY BERGONZI – Berklee Performance Centre, January 1988
Now being born in the Boston area and having spent about 6 years living, checking out gigs and going to Berklee College of Music, it wouldn't be a Hi 5 list without this cat…Jerry Bergonzi. What more needs to be said. The 'Gonz was the first person I heard as an 18 year old just over from Sydney and it was at the Berklee Performance Centre. I had just been accepted at Berklee and decided to stay in Boston and my family had gone back to Australia after a holiday that very day. My future teacher Joe Viola had advised me the day before to check out Bergonzi, and so I did. Jerry was playing with his quartet which included Bruce Gertz, Mick Goodrick ( I believe) and Bob Gulotti. I had never heard a saxophone explore avenues with such breathtaking, blistering sounds the way Jerry moved around the horn. His tone was massive, angular and hauntingly yet beautifully dark and aggressive. To be quite honest my memory bank hasn't taken in the rhythm section…it was mesmerized by the ferocity and absolute command of Jerry's tenor saxophone. What a wake up call! It was too much to take in and years beyond my understanding from all facets and yet this was the first real taste of my endeavour as a young saxophonist. Future pilgrimages to Jerry's gigs, particularly at the former Willow Jazz Club, only served to startle the senses and recharge the batteries of want. What an inspiring musician.

2. KEITH JARRETT TRIO – NJPAC, New Jersey, 1999
These gigs at the New Jersey Performing Arts Centre were the first for Keith after about 18 months of not performing due to CFS. WOW! What a life force. I've never experienced anything like it. The mood in the auditorium was electric and when Keith, Gary and Jack walked out on stage there was massive applause and then dead silence. I was sitting in the cheap seats at the back, which was in a way good because you became surrounded by not only the music, but by the people, the atmosphere, the acoustics and suddenly found myself zooming in on each player at different times as if in a trance. Keith, Gary and Jack were not separate beings but one person all playing the same instrument. I don't remember specific tunes, what they started with and what they ended with…it wasn't about that …it was the music and/or conversation that took place. What I do remember is burning, smoking, swinging versions of Oleo and particularly, Doxy. What an amazing experience to be in the presence of this trio.

3. GEORGE GARZONE – The Fringe, Willow Jazz Club, Boston, early and mid 90's
Now is the time for one of my favourite teachers and the most mesmerizing and explosive, expressive and organic saxophone masters from the Boston area in George Garzone. There are numerous gigs to choose from, particularly one night at the Internet Café in New York City Nov 28 1997 as part of the Schulldogs (George and Ed Schuller and Tony Malaby) but I've decided on the band The Fringe. Since the early 70's, George Garzone, Bob Gulotti and John Lockwood have been the Fringe, a Boston and modern free-jazz institution. Many times, did we as students frequent the Willow Jazz Club on a Monday night and marvel at the creative unleashing of this trio but mostly from the saxophones of George Garzone. This trio plays virtually one long set without stopping changing direction with immediate and effortless suggestions of a theme or any new musical reference cited by George. George is so strong, his ideas bounce out of his saxophone with attitude and infect every part of your soul with goodness and limitless energy for well over an hour, exploring every possible 'sonic-ness'. There are no harmonic, melodic, rhythmic…let's face it… musical limitations within their music and conceptions creating the most highly charged, spontaneous music you would hope to witness. George is the freest musical spirit and one of the most generous.

4. DAVE DOUGLAS QUINTET – Wangaratta Jazz Festival, 2002
While at Wang Jazz Fest, 2002, the buzz before they played and even before the CD 'The Infinite' had been released in Australia was…check out Dave Douglas. And we did. I saw them perform each of the three times and I would have gone to see them in Sydney a few days later but ran out of cash. This band really impacted my being. Apart from the incredible music al abilities of Clarence Penn, James Genus, Rick Margitza, Uri Caine and its leader, Dave Douglas, were his compositions and arrangements. It blew me away. The dynamics., The structure. The colours. The sound. The concept. This music presented itself to me at a time when I needed to hear something fresh and inspiring and I readily allowed it to open up new worlds and understandings. This was the one gig that for me wasn't about improvisation (although I would say that Uri Caine was the stand out) it was about the bigger picture. This was a band…but it was all Dave Douglas.

5. MICHAEL BRECKER – Iridium (Nov 21 1996) and Birdland (Feb 6 1997), NYC, 1997
I saw 2 very different gigs led by the virtuoso saxophonist Michael Brecker. The first was his quartet at Iridium featuring Joey Calderazzo, James Genus and Jeff Taint-Watts and the second gig was at Birdland featuring Joey, Dave Holland, Pat Metheny and Jack DeJohnette. I had seen Michael Brecker in October 1988 in Boston at Berklee and that was amazing and surreal because he was the first modern player to capture my imagination whilst I was in high school. His work ethic is second to none. His technical arsenal is ready at will, his focus and the amount of energy he expends through his saxophone are immense producing a unique brilliance of tone unlike anyone but Brecker. But, these were the first gigs where I was forced to tear my attention away from the phenomenal output of the saxophone and focus in on the drums of 'Tain' and Jack. 'Tain' in particular on Brecker's tune (Nothing Personal) had the entire club shift its attention quite visibly and erupt at this demonic reverse swung groove…I'll never forget it. 'Tain' is like this cat chasing you, someone mean and relentless just waiting to devour you. What a powerhouse supplier of energy and groove. Now, at Birdland, I believe in the promotion of the album "Two blocks From the Edge" sat Jack with a much bigger kit than with Keith surrounded by these great musicians and all I remember despite burning solos was that it was the Jack show. Not because of any one thing that he did but by the way he dominated. This band was firing on all cylinders but it would have been a lot different without the organic, percussive energy of Jack DeJohnette.

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 Adam Pache's High 5

Adam was first exposed to jazz during his high school years, which led to his studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. During this time his reputation grew as he began working with established musicians such as Bobby Gebert, Tom Baker and Cathy Harley.
Adam's passion, professionalism and knowledge of the various jazz idioms have kept him in high demand, having performed and recorded with many of Australia's most respected musicians, including Don Burrows, Mike Nock, Dale Barlow, Janet Seidel, Emma Pask, Bernie McGann, James Muller, Jonathan Zwartz and Barney McCall, as well as the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
In 2001, Adam featured in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation television series The Pulse that documented Australia's finest jazz musicians.
Adam has toured extensively around Australia and also internationally to Japan, London, Denmark, Norway, Thailand, The Philippines, New Caledonia, Kuwait, The United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and The United States of America. In 2004, Adam was invited to perform at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland. He has also conducted workshops nationally and internationally for Musica Viva.
In the pursuit of greater knowledge and experience, Adam has spent a great deal of time studying in New York City, where he now resides, with drummers Carl Allen (Jackie McLean, Freddie Hubbard), Greg Hutchinson (Betty Carter, Ray Brown) and Rodney Green (Christian McBride, Greg Osby).

1. THE DETROIT CONNECTION – Darling Harbour 1997
Andrew Speight brought out Donald Walden, Marcus Belgrave and Karriem Riggins from Detroit, to play with John Harkins and Jonathan Zwartz. It was my first taste of how good a drummer can sound in person. Karriem was 21, and playing on such a high level, with the slickest, funkiest beat I had ever heard. He was also the first drummer I heard bridge hip-hop phrasing with a jazz sound and sensibility. I am still trying to capture that feeling when I play!

This was when the Lincoln Centre Orchestra and Joshua Redman's quartet were in Sydney at the same time. The music that took place at Winebanq that night was in the true spirit of a "jam", with one of my all time favourite rhythm sections: Rodney Whitaker and Greg Hutchinson. Possibly the best feeling I have ever had from live music. The highlight for me was the last tune, when Wynton Marsalis played duo with Greg on a blues.

3. ELVIN JONES – Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Centre 2003
I had never seen Elvin Jones play before, but everything I could have hoped to witness was there on this night. Elvin came out in a white tuxedo, with a beaming smile that lit up the entire theatre. It was like seeing God come down to play a set, to define the history of the drums, and show how far drumming can be taken. It was incredible to me how dynamically he played, whether with brushes, mallets or sticks. He was capable of caressing the softest, sweetest sound out of his drums and cymbals, or the most thunderous, primal onslaught.

4. UNKNOWN IRAQI MUSICIAN – Kuwait April 2006
This was an informal performance in the living room of a Kuwaiti architect's house. The man was in his 60s, dressed immaculately in a suit and tie, and was introduced as one of Iraq's finest musicians and composers. He sung and accompanied himself on the oud on "Mwashah", a traditional Arabian song that is at once about a beautiful woman and Allah. It felt to me that he was crying out to God for his people in Iraq.

I had heard Glasper, Derrick Hodge, Chris Dave and Lionel Louke before, but this was one of the first gigs they had done together. I was sitting with Jasper Leak, and we kept looking at each other in disbelief. It felt as if we were witnessing a new wave in music being born before our eyes. More hip hop than anything, but their gospel, r&b and jazz background was always there. The way Chris Dave and Hodge played was like listening to a live version of J Dilla or Madlib beats… funky as hell! Personally, I think THIS is the new direction in jazz.

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 Will Guthrie's High 5

Born in 1977, Will Guthrie started playing drums at the age of 12. He studied improvisation at the Victorian College of the Arts and has studied privately with Australian's Graham Morgan, Michael Jordan and Adrian Sherriff, as well as with American jazz legend Tony Williams and English percussionist Eddie Prevost.

In 1997 he won the Wangaratta National Jazz awards for drums and recorded for the ABC with his own band 'ANTBOY'. Alongside Ren Walters he organized the regular Tuesday night Improvised Music concert series at the Planet Café - now known as the 'Make It Up Club'. He also runs the Australian based CD label ANTBOY MUSIC which releases music of an experimental nature.

Since 2003 he has lived in Europe (London, Paris, and currently Nantes) where he regularly performs solo and also with others in mainly electro-acoustic improvisation settings. He also composes music in the studio for CD releases and compositions for dance works.

Will's influences range from many styles and music(s). He often plays home-made instruments, electronics, found and junk alongside more conventional drum-kit. Rather than 'genre specific' Will prefers diversity - he feels comfortable working in many different styles and settings from experimental/rock/jazz/flamenco to working with puppetry/dance and visual artists.

Collaborators past and present include Ren Walters, Mark Simmonds, Jim Denley, Rod Cooper, Snuff Puppetts, Phil Bywater, Tim Pledger, Arte Kanela, Mark Shepherd, Arek Gulbenkoglu, Joel Stern, Julien Wilson, Steve Magnusson, Christine Sullivan, Erell Latimier, Julien Ottavi, Robbie Avenaim, Keith Rowe, Jean-Philippe Gross, Ferran Fages, Tim O'Dwyer...

Will currently lives in Nantes, France. www.antboymusic.com

"While writing this I thought often of how difficult it is to choose only 5 inspiring 'ultimate' concerts. I will mention these musicians (and I'II think of many after!) as also having a similar effect after seeing them live: THE EX, Living Color, Ian Chaplin, Musiikki Oy, The Dirty Three, The Necks, Otomo Yoshide, Kadoonka, AMM, Bucketrider, Paul Williamson Hammond group, Mattin, Massona, Helmut Schafer, PITA, Roscoe Mitchel, NUDE, Peter Brotzmann, Jeff Henderson...

OK, so here goes with the high five"...

1. MARK SIMMONDS - Melbourne 1996-97
What I write about here is not so much about any one concert, but about a period of time. I saw Mark live a number of times with different incarnations of his group 'The Freeboppers', and within a short period ( maybe 6 or so months in 1996-97 ) I played with Mark about 10 times ( rehearsals, private sessions and a few low-key gigs ), however playing with him and listening to him left a huge mark on my musical life.
I have always been a sucker for the saxophone and saxophone players, many of the most inspiring and influential musicians for me are saxophonists (Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, John Gilmore, Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, Dewey Redman, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, Roscoe Mitchel, Peter Brotzmann, Henry Threadgill, Jim Denley...). Mark was kind of a walking history lesson in terms of saxophone playing, and music in general. He was a virtuoso instrumentalist, incredibly well-learned and had truly consumed much of the jazz history, however he never sounded like so many jazz-cliche sax players, he always sounded like he came out of the history, but remained himself. It's silly to talk about him only in terms of saxophone as he had more rhythmic sophistication than any drummer I ever met let alone sax player(!)
Some of the things that most impressed me were his sound (so strong, clear and so personal it was frightening), how he built his solos (in terms of thematic structure and form, building intensity with sound), and his band concept (firstly he HAD a band concept! He never just soloed over the group, always listened, always had a concept for how the whole band could sound and what was possible, never played the guy out the front who soloed over the rhythm section )...
Playing with (and listening to) Mark was one of the most uplifting, riveting and scary experiences, l knew the effect of music could be as powerful as this however I had never witnessed it with such intensity in the flesh. In a scene that leans more towards conservatism than looking forward, Mark is truly missed on the Australian jazz scene.

2. REN WALTERS Melbourne - 1995-98
Again this is not just one gig but many, and I also spent a lot of time playing and talking with Ren. His music sacred the shit out of me! His command over the instrument was frightening, as was his sound and compositions. For me there is nothing more powerful than hearing someone who sounds like THEMSELVES! Like no other, I guess Ren and Mark (and others such as Chris Abrahams, Oren Ambarchi, Greg Sheehan, Greg Kingston) both had this impression on me as you can hear their influences but it never directs or governs the music, only adds to it. I was listening a lot to what was called the 'punk-funk' music from the late 70's early 80's, the electric bands of Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman's PRIME TIME, James 'Blood' Ulmer, Ronald 'Shannon' Jackson's DECODING SOCIETY and the like. I was fascinated by this floating time and harmony concept, (what Ornette vaguely describes as 'Harmolodics', whatever that is?!) where everything sounded together yet somehow completely detached, where lines, melodies and rhythms could enter in and out, sideways and long ways and work within the music. 'Pulse' related music (that always had time) yet the rhythm or time signature was open. I remember seeing Ren for the first time in his trio TIP (with Chris Bekker and Nico Schauble) and it was really clear to me that Ren had also looked at this language (among many other things) and it was a part of his playing. Ren's playing in completely 'free' improvised settings with David Tolley & co also really opened my mind in terms of trying to find different sounds and ways of playing, to play in a way that is concerned more with 'sound', as apposed to instrumental playing and history-onics.

3. JIM DENLEY & ROBBIE AVENAIM - Make It Up Club - 2000/2001 ?
I remember this gig well as it was really one that made me think, "I have NO idea of what is happening here at all, but I know something IS happening!" Here was a saxophone player and a percussionist playing together in duo, very quiet, very minimal, completely improvised, with absolutely NO sound they made ever sounding like a sax or percussion. It was one of the first times I heard improvised music not sounding at all like improvised music, not coming from jazz, from contemporary new music, not even sounding like music, but a collection of sounds so perfectly placed together, put in the space at the right time that somehow it made the experience COMPLETELY musical! And to my ears it sounded 'new', unlike anything I'd ever heard. This gig really turned me on to people such as Keith Rowe & AMM, Taku Sugimoto, Tetuzi Akiyama and many other musicians working in much more minimal and subtle musical areas. Both Jim and Robbie are continuing inspirations for me as musicians who continue to push the bounds of their instruments, (which are somewhat paradoxical as the 'instrument' is longer of such concern for this type of music) and concepts of sound. Class!

4. SALIF KEITA - Union Chapel - London - 2001
I'd be surprised if this concert doesn't forever stick in my mind as one of the most powerful musical experiences I've ever had. After being a fan of "the golden voice of Africa" for a long time I went to this concert just after he released his 'Moffou' CD. This period for him was a return to an acoustic band, using only African instruments and apparently getting back to his roots of more traditional Malian music. This was truly a sublime concert. The band was SO together, clean, controlled, and tight playing these heavy rhythms, yet totally light, loose and grooving. The quality of Salif's voice, the human-ness, the richness of his sound is indescribable...Salif sings in a way that goes straight to your heart. He did a short acapella piece that totally spun my head, the kind of music that makes you want to scream and cry at the same time. A master!

5. WHITEHOUSE - Nouveau Casino - Paris - 2003
I went to this concert with a friend after being in Paris for only 2 days. Complete sonic assault on all senses and an utterly devastatingly unforgettable musical experience! WHITEHOUSE's music has been compared to the feeling of glass shattered all over your face and I guess from that description I wasn't disappointed. It had an incredible energy with a sound so enormous that it shook the insides of my brain for the next three weeks! Sound as physical electronic energy, noise mayhem yet completely in control, lyrics and general concept in links with much of the music I love from my youth (Public Enemy, Dead Kennedys etc) where the listener is literally forced into some kind of submission to the music.

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 Simon Barker's High 5

Simon studied in Australia with John Collins and in New York with John Riley, Keith Copeland and Marvin "Smitty" Smith. Since returning home in 1990 he has performed throughout Australia, Europe, Asia and the US including a 17-city Tran-Siberian concert tour of Russia with the Mark Isaacs trio. In 2005 Simon created Kimnara Records, an independent label presenting new music by Australian improvisers.
He is involved in several collaborative projects including Band of Five Names, Showa 44 and Red Fish Blue. In 2005, Simon was invited to create a cultural exchange event as part of the Australia Month Festival in Seoul, Korea, which led to the formation of Daorim, a group also featuring pansori singer Bae Il Tong, Korean traditional percussionist Kim Dong Won, Phil Slater, Matt McMahon and Carl Dewhurst. The group has since been invited to perform at the 2006 Jeonju Sori Festival in Korea, and the 2007 Queensland Festival, Australia.

Recent projects include performances with Elvis Costello and the SSO, Ruby's Story with Archie Roach, Ruby Hunter and the Australian Art Orchestra, Paul Grabowsky's song cycle "Before Time Could Change" us as well as concerts with Paul Grabowsky, Joe Lovano, Ed Schuller and Scott Tinkler, performing Tales of Time and Space. He has also been touring Europe and the US with Lucinda Peters and has been working in Australia with Katie Noonan.
He occupies the drummers chair regularly with many of Australia's finest jazz groups including Vince Jones, Scott Tinkler Trio, Cameron Undy's 20th Century Dog, The Phil Slater qt and the Matt McMahon Trio. Simon has also played with many international touring artists including Claire Martin, Sheila Jordan, Gary Smulyan, John Hicks and Carlos Ward.
Equally active in the jazz education field Simon gives workshops and private tuition at universities throughout East Asia including the Beijing Central Music Academy, Mahidol University (Thailand), All That Jazz series (Hong Kong), Hanoi Jazz co-op (Vietnam), Seoul Jazz Academy (Korea) and the Christchurch Polytech (NZ). In 1998 and 2000, he was a guest performer for the Canberra School of Music's Jazz Initiative. In 2005 he was guest lecturer and moderator at The University of Canterbury, Christchurch.

In July/August 2005, Simon traveled throughout Korea with filmmaker Emma Franz to create a documentary exploring the physical and spiritual elements of Korean Shamanic music.
His interest in developing new music with East Asian musicians has also led to collaborations with Drummer/composer Won Il (Seoul, April 02), and improviser Kim Dae Hwan (Seoul 99). In 2003 and 2004 Simon was a guest speaker for the Asialink Leadership program and in 2002 was awarded an Asialink residency grant to engage with musicians and arts agencies in South Korea for three months.
Kimnara records has two new releases out this month: Matt McMahon – "Paths and Streams", and Band of Five Names – "Empty Gardens".
We're delighted to have Simon Barker as our first percussionist as Artist of the Month.

1. TONY WILLIAMS QUINTET - Village Vanguard NYC 1989
I was very fortunate to hear Tony's group many times in 1989. During his stint at the Vanguard I was able to sit in the "drummer's seat" right up next to his high hat every night for a week. Being so close to such an amazing musician had a profound effect on me and I can still clearly remember his enormous sound and incredible power, energy and creativity. A life changing experience that I'll never forget. During this time I was also able to hear other great stylists including Billy Higgins, Edward Blackwell and......

Jack Dejohnette has been my favourite drummer since hearing him on a few Keith Jarrett and Ralph Towner records that my parents had when I was a teenager. Seeing his group with Gary Thomas, Greg Osby, Mick Goodrick and Lonnie Plaxico live was a dream come true and I was left blown away by his seemingly endless ideas and energy. I heard this group many times and never understood anything they played but walked away each night inspired and uplifted. Jack is still one of the most daring and creative drummers in the world and a constant source of inspiration.

3. JACKY ORSZAZKY -Harbourside Brassiere Sydney (many times)
Jacky/Hamish Stewart/Arnie Hanna/various other musicians. Hearing Hamish Stewart play is always a moving experience, he's one of the most diverse and soulful musicians I've heard and whenever he plays, the music feels great. I've heard Hamish with Jack and Arnie many times and am always knocked out by their unbelievable groove and empathy. Every time I turned up to hear this group I was awestruck with Hamish's playing, he would use a very simple kit and knock everyone out with the amount of music he could draw from it.

4. JIM BLACK - Jazz Now Festival Opera House 2005
I've been a huge fan of Jim's since hearing him with Ellery Eskelin at the Bimhaus in Amsterdam in 1997. This gig at the Jazz Now Festival was an extraordinary display of virtuosic, thoughtful, powerful improvising from a great musical mind. I was astonished at how he was able to captivate an audience for over an hour with his drumming. Jim is at the forefront of modern music and I feel really lucky to have seen this performance.

I've been traveling to Korea to study, perform and teach since 1997. In 1998 I came across a recording of a Korean Shaman ritual by musicians on the East coast of Korea (Kim Seok Chul and family). After hearing this astonishing music I decided to dedicate a large part of my life to finding out more about Korea's magnificent musical history. In 2006, while traveling throughout Korea, I was able to attend what turned out to be Kim Seok Chul's final ritual. Before the ritual Mr Kim shared some of his thoughts on Korean music and his family's rich musical history (his family's involvement in music dates back 600 years) . After eating, the ritual began and continued all night, the music was extraordinary and I feel honoured to have been there.

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 Joe Chindamo's High 5

"Throughout, his approach is one of unpretentious elegance under- scored by superlative technique." Jack Bowers Cadence Magazine, New York.
"He has that Bill Evans knack for bringing unlikely material into his own orbit." Michael Cuscana, Blue Note reissue producer USA.
"Meldau is a great jazz pianist, we all know, but the latest discovery at Umbria is called Chindamo....He [Chindamo] tranforms and mixes his Tatumesque technique with other ways of thinking about the piano... perfecting a pianism which is rich and delicate, fluid and animated, deconstructed and recomposed with sharp intelligence; all the while, making it relevant to today by aligning itself with modernity" Aldo Gianolio L'unita, Italy.
"The tenderness and delicacy of his ballad playing, reinforces my opinion that he has no peer as a balladeer in this country [Australia]" Kevin Jones 2MBS magazine, Aust.
"A virtuoso in the tradition of Peterson (and his idol, Art Tatum), Chindamo demonstrates here that technique isn't only about speed and accuracy, it's also to do with touch and expression....It's a triumphant display that should appeal to any fan of classic piano jazz." Adrian Jackson, Rhythms Magazine and The Bulletin, Aust.
"Never, in all my years in Australia, have I heard anyone come even remotely close [to Joe Chindamo]." Tommy Tycho, conductor, pianist, composer, arranger.
"He has more facility on the piano than you could ever wish for, his energy is boundless, and he is forever inventive and never settles for the obvious (unless it's the best). Never ask Joe for an idea unless you are prepared for an avalanche of creativity, every time... The reason Joe Chindamo arrests you when you hear him is his sheer love of what he does, a love that sparkles from every note." James Morrison

Some of Joe's awards and acknowledgements include:
2002 MO award for Australian Jazz Instrumental Performer of the Year and nominated for the same award in 2003.
2004 MO award for Australian Jazz Instrumental Performer of the Year.
Awarded chairman's Bell award for outstanding achievement for 2004
Bell award for best classic jazz album of 2006. "Live at Umbria Jazz 05"
ABC television documentary made about his life and career, Joe Chindamo - Profile of a Jazz Pianist in 2000.
ABC people's choice award for best jazz album of 1997, Anyone who had a heart (Burt Bacharach song book) and nominated for an ARIA award.

Joe recorded The First Take (a.k.a. A Brief History of Standard Time), with the father of the modern jazz bass, Ray Brown (of Oscar Peterson Trio fame) and Reflected Journey with Michael and Randy Brecker. He has also recorded and performed with Randy Brecker, Ernie Watts, Brian Bromberg, James Morrison, Olivia Newton John, Graeme Lyall and US drummer Billy Cobham (with whom Joe made two CDs as sideman and toured the world 20 times throughout a ten year association. Joe has also performed with Lee Konitz, Shirley Bassey and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.

Active as a studio pianist, Joe has worked on more than 60 film soundtracks, including Babe, The Man From Snowy River II, A Cry in the Dark, Warlock, and Missing in Action II.
In 2000, he began recording for the Sawano record company in Japan, where his album Joy of Standards, reached Number 1 on that country's HMV Modern Jazz Charts. Other releases also became best sellers in Japan.America – Joe Chindamo Trio plays the Paul Simon Song Book, Joy of Standards Vol.2 and Anyone Who Had a Heart.
In 2005, he appeared at Umbria Jazz Winter in Orvieto, Italy in January, and Umbria Jazz in Perugia in July, where he joined a distinguished lineup of jazz greats, including Oscar Peterson and Tony Bennett. (Recorded first solo CD, Joe Chindamo, Solo- Live At Umbria Jazz 05 at this festival). This album went on to receive the Bell Award for the best classic jazz album of 2006.
In August 2005 he performed in Taiwan (with James Morrison and vocal group Idea of North) and in November was invited by the Australian/Israeli Cultural Exchange to play in Israel, where he gave a concert in Tel Aviv and a nationally televised solo recital at the Jerusalem Museum. In December, performed at Norfolk Island, with Australian jazz legends Don Burrows and James Morrison.
In late 2005 he recorded his first collaborative CD with James Morrison called James Morrison and Joe Chindamo 2X2. Album was released in April 2006.
In 2005 Joe completed a two year Australia Council Fellowship (awarded by the Australian government in 2003) which enabled him to compose a modern orchestral work, Concerto for Accordion and Orchestra.

"When Jazz and Beyond asked me to name and write about my five favourite gigs, my first response was (as others in this similar predicament would no doubt agree) that it's impossible. How can one choose 5 gigs from dozens of memorable nights, and hundreds of memorable moments? Further, many of the greatest musical moments have emanated from soloists whom I might have been accompanying at the time. To write about these would be far too immodest, and not in keeping with the spirit of the task at hand. However, I will deviate from the norm more than a little and use the 5 gigs as a landscape on which to build a commentary - a melange of nostalgia and thoughts that come to mind in relation to these experiences and the general jazz scene ( with particular reference to institutionalized jazz today). I might like to do some venting as well. (The Italians don't complain - we vent, and HATE to be told to chill out while we're doing it). I've used italics when ever I've deviated considerably from talking about the gigs, for the benefit of those who may wish only to restrict their reading to my experiences of the actual concerts. Finally, these are not necessarily the best gigs I've ever witnessed, but those which meant a lot to me at the time, and for which my anticipation had been overwhelming. Also, I can't give you exact dates, as they happened a long time ago and I never kept diaries."

1. OSCAR PETERSON AND JOE PASS - Dallas Brooks Hall - Melbourne 1977?
This was a concert I was so looking forward to. I worshipped Oscar at this time (I was 15 or 16), and had never heard him live. I'd also never heard the guitar played as masterfully as Joe Pass did. In fact, as my first instrument was accordion, I owned a few Art Van Damm records, and particularly loved the one on which Joe Pass appeared as side-man (It's a blue world??). He was by far the best thing on that album, but I was also incredulous as to why he wasn't famous (or more so). It was with great pleasure (and small sense of personal satisfaction at being able to pick a great without allegiance to anyone else's opinion) when I found out that Oscar had also 'discovered' Pass. (Remember, I was a 15 year old kid.) I couldn't believe what that man was doing on the guitar -on his own! I approached Pass after the gig and told him I had the Van Damm record and some other record of his (I forget which one now) and he quipped "that's all I ever made".

Oscar was a giant of a man, physically and spiritually. I thought I was going to burst with excitement when he first walked onto the stage. He also seemed really old to me, and it's with some degree of horror that my maths tells me that he was only 52 at the time. It was the first time I had seen -as well as heard- playing of this order. I loved his left hand in particular. I don't know how much of the concert I actually heard, since I was in a state of drunken wonder throughout.
Much has been written about Oscar - his technique in particular, and it always surprises me how much his prowess at the piano has come under fire. To me, this is penis envy mixed in with inverted snobbery. The first bit is self explanatory, and the latter might have something to do with the idea that amateurishness is imbued with sincerity, while studying is destructive to one's natural instincts. How many times, have we heard that so and so can't read music, has very little technique, has never studied - but BOY, what a natural, and how many times, do we hear people lament over players with nothing else going for them than technique. Interestingly, I've never heard anyone criticise the musicality of someone with lousy technique. Is it possible that all people with no technique are blessed with natural ability?

It's almost as if some jazz players (and some critics) take it as a personal offence that Oscar got so good - it's undemocratic, to have this kind of ability. It's analogous to someone who has too much money: it's considered unfair. And in much the same way that one should never demean the poor, it's considered poor taste to kick a man when his technique is down. In a way, I'm copping the same thing at this stage of my career, and it always amuses/ annoys me that many of the pianists who have claimed in interviews that technique is not important and subtly crucify those of us who value piano playing highly , have knocked on my door in order to improve their own. One young and up and coming musician actually named me, claiming that did not need my kind of technical command - because he "heard music differently". What he failed to add was that he had asked me for lessons the week before. There is an unstated understanding that instrumental command is trivial, and far inferior to the conceptualization of the idea. This is analogous to the many modern English teachers who claim that vocabulary and grammar are not as important or creative as 'the idea". True, but... one cannot exist without the other. Poor Oscar Wilde. Poor Shakespeare - men who were bogged down by too much scholarship. The analogy to sport is always worth mentioning. Intellectually, I know how to beat Ian Thorp in a swimming race - it's really easy- all I have to do is swim faster! Intellectually the problem is solved: the only thing which remains is the realization of the idea through teaching my body how to obey my mind. Playing an instrument is no different. You can't rely on the idea alone to get you to your destination without learning how to translate a mental image physiologically. Generally the greatest musicians of all time were virtuosi. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Scarlatti, Bartok, Rachaminov, Prokofiev, Debussy, Armstrong ... do I need to go on? I can hear the howls of dissent; 'but Miles didn't have a great technique." Actually he did, because he had a great sound, and sound is a huge part of technique. It's not about speed.
Oscar was superior than other players in many other ways too, which were overlooked. His harmonic sense was incredible, for instance, and he had some of the best ears in the business. He has been a beautiful accompanist to many a great soloist and singer.
Having said all this, if I'd heard recording of that concert, it's quite possible that it wouldn't rank amongst the greatest music I've heard ( not even from Oscar ) but it was a milestone in my life, one which certainly kept me inspired for years.

2. PAT METHENY GROUP – Comedy Theatre 1985
I was playing in Vince Jones' band at this time, and the whole band went along to hear Metheny, Lyall Mays, et al. We had such a great time. Doug De Vries (a master of the guitar) was in the band, as were Gary Costello, Allan Brown, Paul Williamson and Bruce Sandell. Vince was so impressed that he ordered me to bring a synthesizer on subsequent gigs and play string pads. The idea doesn't appeal to me now, of course. But you know, I strongly believe that all like what we get used to, especially if the particular genre in question is part of the zeitgeist. This was the age of Midi and the drum machine (probably the worst things to have happened to music). I used to live in the studio , playing on movie sound tracks, commercials, TV shows, pop record, jazz rock bands in those days, and this band Incorporated much that was relevant to the era, and it was one of the very the finest around at what it did. Miles was doing his electric thing at the time, but quite frankly I think others did it better. Herbie, Chick, Metheny, The Brecker Bros, and the greatest of them all, Weather Report. A little aside here: Randy Brecker once told me that during this period, Miles asked his brother Mike to join his band, but the latter refused the offer, deciding instead to pursue the Brecker Bros. Stan Getz was also a great admirer of Brecker and used to go" eye ball"(Randy's term) the latter's at gigs . I couldn't bare to listen to the Metheny band for quite a few years , but played one of their recordings recently, and notwithstanding some of the dated Synth sounds ( they date so quickly, don't they) really enjoyed it, and kicked off a Metheny season in my car. The guitar playing is really amazing. One of the great melodists, whose music, is full of joy.

3. PHIL WOODS - Beaconsfield Hotel, Melbourne (circa 1979/80?)
I remember attending this gig with a whole bunch of college kids. By the way, for the record, I never went to the Vic College of the arts, but rather, the State College (the old teachers' college) which has since been swallowed up by Melbourne University, and basically doesn't exist anymore. I did a double major, music and maths, which entailed taking classical piano lessons, a few of the performance based classes, wagging most of my maths classes - and practicing a lot. I actually did quite well at the maths course, considering they hardly saw me. The piano lessons were the first I'd ever had, since I was originally an accordionist and didn't even own a piano until I was nearly 16. (I've never had a jazz piano lesson in my life, incidentally). Anyway, I'm getting off the point. There was a good energy at this place, and it was positive: unlike some of the tertiary venues now, which seem to me, to be places where the young musician goes to broaden his vision, and narrow the mind. It doesn't help that many students adopt their lecturers' tastes and prejudices far too soon, before they've ( the students, not the lecturers) learnt their craft and developed their own ideas about music. In fact, many of them wish to be artists before learning their craft - which is absurd. You can't become a great musician before becoming a good one. Now, some of these teachers would have listened to all the great players when they were starting out, and as they've gotten older, have distilled their sensibilities to the point where they like only a hand -full of artists. This is natural, and in a sense, I'm not immune to this process either, but it's very damaging for an 18 year old kid , who's around this kind of influence, to emerge believing Keith Jarrett to be the only pianist worth listening to, or that jazz rock is all shit, that Mike Brecker is not really a jazz musician, and finally, that there are sacred cows in jazz who must be worshipped unconditionally and never questioned, challenged... or even disliked. I always remember a quote ( forget who said it ) that every body demands the right to free speech, but not many exercise the right of free thought, and jazz today, with colleges all over the world acting as its engine rooms, has become gentrified, whereupon the very qualities that were once its raison d'etre, are viewed with suspicion and often reacted to with ridicule. Jazz has become a domain where free thought is only permitted within the parameters of established streams - which of course, means, there is little room for free thought and much pressure to conform to the middle ground The middle ground is not wedded to style either. There are middle grounds in all styles. There is no rebellion involved in playing Giant Steps or Monk's music anymore, and the playing of so called avant guard music is as conformist as it is to play Gershwin, because it's ALL been done before. So, whilst it is everyone's individual right to like what they like, to value one style over another is to indulge in pure snobbery.
Further, in jazz, style seems to automatically dictate the level of creativity of the musician, and less regard is given to the level of creativity he brings to the style. For instance, is Anthony Braxton more creative than Stan Getz, because the former chooses to express himself through atonality (which seems to be beyond criticism and is not to be subjected to the same scrutiny as other methods of expression) and the latter, by way of 'less adventurous" mainstream? I would rather look at the creativity that the player brings to the style than assume his creative worthiness by his choice of style.

The other phenomenon which intrigues me is that an artist's worth is more than often measured by his subject area. Moreover, the expression of darker emotions seems to indicate to greater artistic achievement. This happens in Hollywood all the time. Peter Sellers never won an academy award, because he played the funny man, but almost got one for "Being There", because his role involved playing a mentally challenged character. Interestingly, Geoffrey Rush (notwithstanding his prodigious talents), received better critical acclaim for his portrayal of Sellers than that original actor ever did for his work. In music, this happens all the time. Emotional struggle is admired far more than effortlessness. In jazz, "striving" for an idea is better than actually mastering one. This is perhaps why Jarrett or Monk is regarded more highly than Garner or Tatum. I've studied the latter intensely and have found that at times he out Monked Monk, but because he tossed it off so fleetingly,
effortlessly and masterfully - and in the spirit of normality- this aspect of his genius was overlooked. Garner's 'Concert By the Sea' is a treasure trove of some of jazz's - correction- music's most impassioned melodic moments (or in his case, quarter hours), and I've never heard anyone call Garner a lyrical player - an adjective normally used to describe Jarrett [a great artist, whom, to my mind, plays between his ideas much too often}. Garner, whose music is a celebration of life, gives the air that we had better grab those joyous moments when we can, because they don't last. With Jarrett, whose playing exudes seldom matched beauty sometimes, I get the feeling, that his is a constant struggle to express a humanity which Garner manages to establish in the first bar. But maybe W.Somerset Maugham said it best (and applies to music as well as literature). "Make him [the reader] laugh and he will think you a trivial fellow, but bore him in the right way and your reputation is assured."

Back to my college, okay, we had to put up with a little of the typical jazz bullshit about who's art was more important, who was hip that week and who wasn't, etc, but it wasn't as nasty or one- eyed has it seems to be today. In addition, we actually went to hear gigs, which is something a lot of kids aren't doing these days. Further, all the concerts we went to , including the Woods gig, were extensions of our daily life at the college, and it's in this spirit that I remember that event. I remember lots of laughing and excitement around me and thus particularly enjoyed sharing the Woods concert with my class mates. I remember our singing along to a couple of his famous endings to songs - he must have been thrilled at having inspired a sing-a-long, I'm sure! An amazing player with a deliciously sexy tone and flawless phrasing. This guy was a pro, in the old fashioned sense of the word. It was the first time I'd heard Bob Sedergreen live, and thought he gave an inspired performance - he sounded great. Unfortunately, I don't remember who the rhythm section members were. This was another gig that filled my petrol tank and kept me going for a long time.
We were looking forward to another such outing to an upcoming gig, at the same venue, but unfortunately Bill Evans died a few months before he was due out.

4. MAURIZIO POLLINI – Salle Pleyel Paris 1999
I'd been a fan of classical pianist Pollini since I was a teenager. I was heard him on the record he made shortly after he won the Chopin Warsaw piano competition - the heaviest of them all. This was the competition that launched the careers of Argerich and Ashkenazy, to name two others. Pollini was 18 and the playing was staggering, with that 'parting of the waves' technique of his. And to hear him live for the first time, in a hall where Chopin and Listz played (not to mention Ravel, Debussy and Stravinsky, who gave first performances of their works there) was transcendental for me. I remember thinking, there is no one on the planet who can play the piano better than this, and for the first time, since having the shit kicked out of me by some of the Marist Bros at school, I started to think of that maybe the existence of a god was strong possibility. This was human achievement on the highest level. He played an all Beethoven programme.

5. GRAEME LYALL (MIETTAS WITH TONY GOULD) - circa 1991 and every other time he's ever played.
Graeme Lyall is the greatest living altoist, as far as I'm concerned. I know of at least half a dozen other people who agree with me, and I want to shake anyone who dismisses him with a cool "Yes, he's really good." Harmonically he's driving on the wrong side of the road much of the time, but disguises it so well, through his logical weaving together of impossible melodic lines, that hardly anyone notices just how advanced he is. He is the Australian musician who influenced me more than any other, and I endeavoured to adopt his harmonic sense for my own playing from the time I first heard him. This is probably why my own subversive 'wrong side of the road" playing is often confused with mainstream.

I can't really pinpoint a gig as such, and the one I've mentioned will serve as an example. Actually the 'gig' where he really did bowl me over was a TV appearance Sammy Davis Jnr made on the Don Lane show, where upon Graeme played under the famous entertainer and then ripped into a great solo. I think I was about 13 at the time, and it made me proud to be Australian (I wasn't venting at the time - so I wasn't been Italian).
By the way, what the %#?! happened to music on TV these days and how did it get so bad?

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 Carl Dewhurst's High 5

Carl was born in 1969 and started playing guitar at age nine. He obtained his first electric guitar when 12 years old and started playing the music of Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, The Police and George Benson. He started studying Jazz guitar at age fourteen and began playing extensively with long time friend and bassist / composer Cameron Undy. He was accepted into the Canberra School of Music preparatory Jazz studies program during year 12 and went on to complete a Diploma of Music. He completed a Masters Degree in Music in 2001.

Carl leads his own group the Carl Dewhurst Quartet. The group has released two CD's : "Put Put Put"(2000) and "CDQ Live" (2004). Since forming in 1998 the Carl Dewhurst Quartet has performed at the Sydney Opera House, the Big Day Out, The Basement, The Seymour Centre and at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival. Carl and drummer Simon Barker joined forces in 2005 to release an album of improvised duets entitled "Showa 44". They traveled to Korea to perform and are appearing at the 2007 Brisbane Biennial of Music. The Carl Dewhurst Trio is a new project commenced in 2006. The trio featuring Cameron Undy and Evan Mannell plays music drawing from a wide range of influences, from jazz, rock, electronica, ambient minimalism and free improvisation. Since 2000 he has been a member of the Australian Art Orchestra led by Paul Grabowsky and has performed works such as Testimony, Love In The Age of Therapy, Into The Fire and most recently the celebrated Ruby's Story featuring indigenous artists Ruby Hunter and Archie Roach.

Carl's performing credits include many of Australia's leading Jazz artists including James Morrison, Vince Jones, Dale Barlow, Mike Nock, The Catholics, Cameron Undy, Phil Slater, Scott Tinkler, Susan Gai Dowling, Bernie Mc Gann, Steve Hunter, Lily Dior and Michelle Nicolle. He has also worked with artists such as Paul Capsis, Jade Mc Rae, Delta Goodrem, James Reyne, Tim Freedman and EON to name a few.Carl has played with international touring artists Terumasa Hino, Bobby Previte, Mose Allison, Bobby Shew, Andy Bey, and most recently with drumming virtuoso Jim Black.

Carl was the winner of both the judges and peoples choice awards at the Ike Isaacs International Jazz Guitar competition in 1998 and was runner-up at the National Jazz Awards in 2000. He has been a guest lecturer at several universities and is on the judging panel for the 2006 Music Council of Australia Freedman Fellowship. Carl was a founding member of the Jazzgroove Association.

1. PETER BROTZMAN AND PETER KOWALD - Canberra School of Music 1987
As a young high school student these two German musicians were unknown to me. I didn't know how they played but expected some intimate Saxophone and Double Bass duets. When they came out on stage and assaulted us with an hour of frighteningly intense improvisation I thought I was going to die of shock! I wasn't sure if I dug it but the spontaneity and sheer energy of these two stayed with me for a long time.

2. ROGER FRAMPTON - Strawberry Hills Hotel, 1990
Roger was on fire this night. He was joined by Eddie Bronson, John Pochee and a youthful Cameron Undy on bass. They played a set that seemed to go on forever. Roger would direct the band so that they would meld from one tune to the next without stopping. It was like a DJ set! Softly as in a Morning sunrise became a blues and then something else without you really noticing. It was Roger the magician at work!

3. SONNY ROLLINS QUINTET - The Village Gate NYC, 1993
Hearing Sonny live was a dream come true for me. An added buzz was long time associate Bob Cranshaw on bass. Sonny just seemed to produce endless waves of sound that had me totally absorbed. Everyone on the bandstand was vibing off his playing. There was a lot of smiling and laughing. Sonny seemed like an artist totally inspired. He had the kind of aura that touched everyone. Truly sublime!

4. PAUL MOTIAN - The Village Vanguard NYC
For this gig Paul was joined by guitarist Bill Frisell and saxophonist Joe Lovano. As they wove their way through standards and Monk tunes I realized these guys were really doing something special. The unique voice of each musician spoke with total clarity whilst the musical result was one of true symbiosis. It was amazing to hear a traditional repertoire played with such daring and invention.

5. STEVE COLEMAN & THE FIVE ELEMENTS – Live studio recording for album "Tao of Mad Phat". NYC
This was the first time I'd seen Steve Coleman's group and it was really incredible. It was just one big lesson in rhythm. They all rocked from side to side in unison whilst navigating some of the most rhythmically complex grooves I'd heard. Guitarist Dave Gilmour's playing left an indelible impression on me that night, as did the drumming of Gene Lake. Of added weight was the fact that this was a live recording for an album and everything was played down once only. Heavy.

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 Carrie Lakin's High 5

Carrie Lakin is an enigmatic singer who hails from Sydney's Northern Beaches. A skilled and polished entertainer, Carrie performs a wide variety of musical styles from Jazz, Blues and Pop through to Soul and RnB.
For the past six years, Carrie has been busy performing at events where her engaging personality and professionalism have delighted audiences. Some highlights have been knockout performances at the Manly Jazz Festival, the Hawkesbury Jazz Festival together with her highly acclaimed support of Yvonne Kenny's Opera in the Vines and Cliff Richard at Wyndham Estate, Hunter Valley.

Carrie also enjoys performing as a lead soloist with the impressive jazz-gospel vocal ensemble, Jubilation, led by internationally renowned artists, Joy Yates and Dave MacRae. Carrie and Jubilation have featured at Tauranga (NZ), Manly, Bellingen, Dubbo and Darling Harbour Jazz Festivals. They have performed with Alex Lloyd for Crown Princess Mary, at the LIVE sites for the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics and at regular shows at The Basement. For the past four years, Carrie and Jubilation have performed at the Carols in the Domain TV spectacular backing Marcia Hines, Julie Anthony, and Australian Idol's Paulini, Guy Sebastian and Casey Donovan. You will have seen Carrie as a featured soloist on the 2005 show performing the pumping and thumping gospel belter, "He's All Over Me".
International experience features in Carrie's career with a successful six month season at the Hilton Hotel, Tokyo in 2004. As lead singer of Le Nouveau, she performed at the prestigious St Georges Bar and delighted the international and local patrons of this highly regarded nightspot.
Carrie recently completed a nine-track CD that she recorded with some of Australia's finest musicians. This CD showcases Carrie's ability to deliver classic songs with emotional depth and beauty and has earned her glowing reviews from all who hear the music!

1. BONNIE RAITT - Enmore Theatre, Sydney, February 2004
Prior to this gig, I was relatively unaware of Bonnie Raitt. Of course I knew of some of her mainstream hits, but I was wholly unprepared for the impact that her talent as an artist and performer would have on me. The whole atmosphere of the night was set up superbly by the support act of Jon Cleary. His trio infused the Enmore with foot-stomping New Orleans funk and soul. And then Bonnie came on stage. She had such presence and command in every song that she performed. As lead singer, lead guitarist and bandleader, she does it all with such an earthy and humble nature. And her band played together as a brilliant unit and even featured Jon Cleary on keys and backing vocals. Playing her massive catalogue of songs that encompass blues, folk, rock, country, pop and funk, Bonnie just kept on giving to the performance and to the audience. My favourite part of the gig was when the house lights were up, and with satisfied smiles we, the audience, were going home, and Bonnie walks back on stage and humbly asks if she could play one more tune. I've never seen an audience move so quickly back into their seats! She played us one more. I think it was "Angel of Montgomery" and it was the perfect final gift of an outstanding performance.

2. DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER – Iridium Club, New York, February 2002
I arrived in New York on Valentine's Weekend, and was eager to check Time Out to see who was playing. Well… What a weekend it was to be! Luther Vandross, Oleta Adams, and Cassandra Wilson were all in town, but I was most excited to see that Dee Dee Bridgewater would be playing at Iridium. So, on a cold Sunday evening I made my way to Broadway and 51st Street to catch her gig. This intimate club was perfect for Dee Dee, as she thrives on connecting with her audience and brings them with her on the musical journey. She is a truly innovative and spontaneous jazz performer, which was illustrated by the infectious interplay she had with her trusty band, led by her long time collaborator, keyboard player Thierry Eliaz. She even called up her ex-husband, trumpet player and arranger, Cecil Bridgewater, for a few songs that they had recently recorded. She performed a lot of songs off her album "Live at Yoshi's", like Cherokee, Love For Sale, and Midnight Sun, and I was astounded by her ability to create such diverse sounds and pictures with her tone and choice of notes. And the natural exuberance that features on her recordings was also in full flight, and I am yet to see a more energetic and dynamic performer!

3. ROY AYERS - Ronnie Scott's, London, January 2005
Finally I was going to a show at the famed Ronnie Scott's! And to see an artist that I had wanted to see for a long time, singer and vibes player, Roy Ayers. A fellow singer and I had secured front row seats in the already intimate venue, and after the under whelming support act, we were ready for Roy and his band, and we were not to be disappointed. The first song blew us away! The band was just so tight and pulsing with cohesive energy that we just smiled the whole nightlong. Every song was a different musical trip, and the band played through the different feels and rhythmic patterns with ease and effortless mastery. As the bandleader, Roy knew when to hold the reigns and when to let the young lions roar! The outstanding drummer "Leadfoot" Troy Miller kept the whole band together, and the guitarist Tony Smith poured raw and unabashed rock energy into the already mixed melting pot of musical flavours. The band played two lengthy soulful sets and after hearing the old favourite Everybody Loves The Sunshine and many others, my friend and I left Ronnie's inspired and satisfied to no end.

4. JOY YATES – "Global Vocal Focal" Concert Performances
Joy Yates is an amazing singer whose career has spanned over four decades and has taken her all around the world from her home in New Zealand and finally to Sydney, Australia, where she has built up a school nurturing young singers with her husband, master pianist, David MacRae. For the last 11 years, Joy and David have put on an annual workshop called "Global Vocal Focal". This weekend-long workshop began as a relatively small event culminating in one concert but it has now evolved into a highly intensive program featuring three immense performances. And it is these concert performances that never fail to thrill me. From the young singers performing in public for the first time to the semi-professionals really nailing "it" and the more senior singers reclaiming their space as an artist, the concerts are often filled with false starts and tears, but with the amazingly supportive musical foundation of the band led by David, there is always a great sense of achievement, satisfaction and joy. I love these concerts because they allow you to remember where you came from and all that your have learnt, and let you dream of where you want to go.

5. NATALIE COLE - Blue Note, Tokyo, June 2004
I was doing a six-month contract gig in Tokyo and Natalie Cole and her band happened to be staying at the hotel I was working at! So after meeting some of her band members, me and my band members decided to go to see their gig at the Blue Note. I was well aware of the success that Natalie had had with her Unforgettable:With Love album, and was eager to see her perform. I was not disappointed. She is a true professional, and her performance was a complete "show". From the band playing as such a tight musical unit, to the song choices and arrangements, to the way Natalie held herself, I was constantly impressed with the combined skill of the whole production. But putting aside the polished exterior, I was most affected by Natalie's rich tone and intonation and her ability to deliver each song with emotional depth. She is a true star.

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Paul Williamson's High 5

Paul has been steadily building his reputation on the Australian jazz and improvisation scene as an individual voice in trumpet and composition since graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts in 1995 with a Bachelor of Music (Jazz Improvisation), the year he also was awarded the Ivan Oliver Scholarship. He currently leads the Paul Williamson Sextet, and has released four CD's through Newmarket Music: Non-Consensual Head Compression (2001), Talk It Up (2002) and Mutations (2003), for which he received an Australia Council Presentation and Promotion Grant. In May 2005 Paul recorded On the Surface, In the Core with his sextet with the assistance of an Australia Council Presentation and Promotion Grant. He was also the recipient of a New Work Grant to compose new music for a chamber ensemble.
In addition to his original projects, Paul is actively involved in playing, composing, and recording with various collaborations and projects. Currently these include: Los Cabrones, Jamie Oehlers Quintet, Trumpet A-Go-Go with Scott Tinkler, Rumberos, and Bingo Wings with Grabowsky/ Bloxom/ Oehlers and Aravena.
In 2003, he was a finalist in the National Jazz Awards. He was also the recipient of an Australia Council 'Skills and Art Development' grant. He has studied with Dave Douglas, Ingrid Jensen, Bill Frisell, George Lewis, Mark Feldman, James Genus and Jason Moran at the 2004 Banff International Workshop.
Paul has played at many major Australian jazz festivals and workshops, including Wangaratta International Jazz Festival, Melbourne International Jazz Festival, St Kilda Festival, WOMAD, Montsalvat Jazz Festival, Melbourne International Brass Festival, Sydney Bacardi Latin Festival, Apollo Bay Music Festival, Brunswick Street Festival, and the Chapel Street Festival. He has also toured Noumea and China with Los Cabrones.

'It's hard to choose a top five as most gigs/ performances have very special and memorable moments. I have restricted myself to improvisation-based gigs. These particular five gigs have stuck out in my memory for their spontaneity, group interaction, and the powerful unified group identity (sound) they projected.'

1. WAYNE SHORTER QUARTET - Melbourne Concert Hall 2005
The dynamic power of Brian Blade, Jason Moran, and John Patittucci provided a great vehicle for the effortless flow of Wayne Shorter's ideas. The bands interaction and openness to go in any direction with the music was pure joy to this listener!

2. WALLACE RONEY – in N.Y, 1996.
Whilst I'm not a big fan of Wallace's recorded material, I was blown away by the conviction and energy, which he and his band played live - very raw and exciting. Wallace was really stretching out beyond his uses of chromatic idiosyncrasies. The band included Lenny White, and Geri Allen and they went hard!

3. ROY HARGROVE SEXTET - at the Village Vanguard, 1996.
Whilst the band played straight ahead tunes imbued with many cliches, they played with so much spirit and fun it became infectious to the listener – in the same way one becomes an instant fan when they hear Australia's own, the Hoodangers. Hargrove's Sextet that night was a perfect example of the saying 'it's not what you play, but how you play it'.

4. DAVE DOUGLAS QUARTET at Banff 2004.
This gig highlighted the power of two great leaders – Dave Douglas and Bill Frisell, both endowed with the power to draw the band (James Genus, Clarence Penn) with them on wild and fiery journeys. Frisell's industrial and highly personal guitar effects were beautifully integrated into revamped music of both leaders.

5. SCOTT TINKLER TRIO at Capers in 1999.
Playing to a small audience in possibly the wrong venue for the music, the trio featuring Adam Armstrong and Simon Barker were 'on' from the first note irrespective of the environment. As a listener it felt like every technical and musical venture they tried worked – one of those nights when everything clicked.

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Al Davey's High 5

Al has been a highly regarded professional trumpet player in Sydney for 20 years. Originally from Melbourne with brass band and traditional jazz roots he arrived in 1986 to do the Conservatorium jazz course. Studying under James Morrison, Roger Frampton, Paul McNamara and Judy Bailey etc he developed a firm grounding in the more modern styles of jazz. With recognition as one of the truly versatile musicians in Sydney, Al is at home playing authentic 'trad' jazz, be bop and beyond, Latin, and is an established lead trumpeter in big band sections. He has recently independently released his first CD 'Sleeping in', stylistically in tribute to his traditional roots but plans to leap ahead many years for his next recording coming very soon. More information is available on his website.

1. FREDDIE HUBBARD - Adelaide 1983
The most memorable gig I ever witnessed was Freddie Hubbard. I'd just joined the 3MD Melbourne Army Band and we were in Adelaide for a few days. The 'jazz heads' in the band told me Freddie was playing that night. "Freddie who?" I replied. I'd never heard of him or heard any live contemporary jazz so I didn't understand a thing he was playing, but the shear power and audacity of this bear of a man blew me away. I likened this experience to people hearing a young Louis Armstrong for the first time in the early thirties.

2. BOB BARNARD at the Melbourne Jazz club, 1984
Accompanied by Neville Stribling and Ade Monsbourgh who both played riffs all night behind Bob's beautiful lyrical soaring cornet. Magical!

3. JAMES MORRISON – Tivoli Jazz Club, Copenhagen July 23 1987
Ones debut hearing of James is like 'What the ………'. He was booked into the Tivoli Jazz Club (part of a giant amusement park) for two nights. I missed the first night as I was checking out the park. James' audience was small on the first night but word had got around and the second night was full, with many musicians who had bought their horns. I'd heard James countless times so it was interesting seeing the reaction of the locals. James fires under pressure and it was 'take no prisoners'. As the night wore on the locals drank heavily in disbelief, and all horns were pushed securely under seats. The encore was a beautifully executed left hand piano/ right hand flugal ballad that reduced some of the audience to tears.

4. JOE COCKER at the Festival Hall Melbourne, Oct 1972
Joe had been arrested in Adelaide for possession of marijuana and was facing deportation, so they squeezed his last two concerts into one night. I was 14 but still got to the 2nd (midnight) concert. Not having any weed and probably totally pissed off, Joes other vice; 'alcohol' came to the fore. Joe was introduced and staggered to centre stage. With a dozen cans of Fosters at his feet and bottles of spirits strewn around on amps, he swayed during solos to any bottle and glugged heartily. Miraculously he reeled back to the mike just in time; every time, to deliver. And he DELIVERED!

5. NICK HEMPTON at the Unity Hall Hotel Balmain, Jan 8th 2006
Guesting with the Dan Barnett Big Band. His solo on 'Apple honey' – astonishing! This guy has the whole package!

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 Virna Sanzone's High 5

Having released her highly acclaimed, debut album in 2005, Virna Sanzone is emerging as one of Australia's finest singers. Born in Sydney to a Sicilian father and an Armenian / Chaldean mother, Virna graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 1998, where she studied with Australian greats including Mike Nock, Judy Bailey & Kerrie Biddell, attaining a Diploma in Jazz Studies. Since that time she has worked consistently, both in Australia and overseas, rapidly winning the admiration and respect of audiences and contemporaries alike.

Opening for Ernest Ranglin / Monty Alexander and Roy Ayers on their most recent tours, and having worked with the likes of Paul Mac, Paul Capsis, Jackie Orszaczky, and a who's who of Australian jazz luminaries, Virna has been an integral part of projects that have seen her move across a diverse range of genres, including jazz, soul, world music and a cappella to name a few. She has appeared as a guest vocalist with both local and international artists including Lulo Reinhardt, grand-nephew of the great Django Reinhardt, South African singer and freedom songwriter, Vusi Mahlasela, and the recently reformed Australian "acid jazz" band, D.I.G. She has also featured with some of Sydney's most respected bandleaders, including Jonathan Zwartz, Judy Bailey and most recently with Matt McMahon at the Darling Harbour Jazz Festival.

Virna has performed at festivals around the country, including the Melbourne Women's International Jazz Festival, the East Coast Blues Festival and the Bellingen Global Carnival. Aside from her own album, she appears on various recordings including bassist/composer Steve Hunter's album, "Condition Human", both as soloist and in duet with Jackie Orszaczky. Virna's self-titled, debut album was originally commissioned by ABC Jazztrack, and features some of Australia's finest, including Matt McMahon, Sam Rollings, Brett Hirst, Hamish Stuart, James Greening and Phil Slater.

Virna is currently working on material for her second album.

"Writing about music is more difficult than it seems. There have been so many moments in my life when I have found myself moved by a sound that, although I may have been able to notate it, identify it's time signature or the key in which it was played, I would never be able to fully explain the sensation it gave me or my reaction to it. So I've done my best…

Five is a small number. Unfortunately I had to leave out some musical experiences that gave me goose bumps and brought tears to my eyes - like the traditional music I heard emanating from a church in Aitutaki, Cook Islands in November 2005, and the Addicts Rehabilitation Choir that I heard in Harlem in April 1999. It was difficult enough to narrow it down to five so here they are in chronological order."

1. RAY CHARLES at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival April 25th, 1999.
Perhaps it was the festival atmosphere, or the fact that I was in New Orleans for the first time, or maybe the remnants of the unusually stubborn, feverish condition (intensified by the heat and humidity of that city) that had landed me in Tullane Hospital a few days earlier, and only went away when I saw the price of the medicine that was supposed to cure me. I cured myself, and just in time. Ray Charles was everything I could have imagined and more. This was totally unrestrained and joyful performance - had there been a roof it would surely have lifted. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to witness the greatness of Ray Charles, in an environment where he was clearly at ease. This is a memory I will treasure like an old family heirloom.

2. JON CLEARY AND THE ABSOLUTE MONSTER GENTLEMEN at Ernie K-Doe's Mother In Law Lounge, New Orleans April 28th 1999
Gospel and soul music has been a huge influence for me ever since I was a very young girl and something I naturally gravitated towards. I had been immersed in the most sublime gospel music during this trip, so by the time I got to Ernie K-Doe's Mother In Law Lounge my ears were primed. I had never heard of Jon Cleary prior to this gig - I recall being shuffled off in a taxi with some friends to a part of town that looked a bit deserted. The venue was small and packed with people and I found myself wondering what I was doing there. Then the music began and I didn't wonder any more. This band was straight out of church with the deepest groove and singing the most beautiful harmonies. I would hear the band many times in Australia in subsequent years, but that gig was like catching a wave for the first time - totally thrilling.

3. DIANNE REEVES at The Blue Note, New York City, May 1999
I knew her name back then, but I had never heard Dianne Reeves sing before. Fortunately the venue was the perfect size to allow for the intimacy of this music. She revealed herself to be a totally engaging performer with a beautiful spirit, big tone and a technical facility and depth of expression that I had only heard on recordings up until then. The arrangements were loose enough to allow for plenty of space and the band was supportive and sensitive. In hindsight I realise that what I heard that night embodies a great deal of what I aim for in my own singing and arrangements, and in the musicians I gravitate towards. It took me a while to come down from my high after this gig.

4. SHIRLEY HORNE at La Cigale, Paris, 9th July 2003
I feel as though I had only just begun to discover the greatness of Shirley Horne when I saw her at La Cigale, and was terribly sad last year when I heard she had passed away. She was in a wheelchair for the duration of this performance, but the physical barrier did not translate into the music in the slightest. This was one of the most grounded performances I have ever heard and the closest thing to perfection I think I have encountered. Shirley Horne's mastery of phrasing was fully evident - nothing was sung that didn't need to be sung, and yet nothing was left out. There was a rare spaciousness and purity to this performance that made it a very moving experience for me.

5. THE ALCOHOTLICKS Jazzgroove Association Night, Excelsior Hotel, Surry Hills, late 2004
There are so many wonderful musicians and great bands in Sydney and this is definitely one of them. The Alchohotlicks have a raw energy that, combined with their collective skill and the freshness of their ideas, makes for a very exciting performance. The core of the group consists of Ben Hauptmann and Aaron Flower, both on guitar, and Evan Mannell on drums - their special guest guitarist on this particular night was James Muller. The instrumentation may be unusual, but so is the intensity that their performances generate. Everyone in the packed Excelsior Hotel seemed to be glued to their seats at this gig. This was one of the most satisfying musical experiences I can recall having in my hometown.

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 Kim Sanders' High Five

World Music pioneer Kim Sanders has performed/recorded with Gypsy wedding bands in Macedonia, with the Libidorr Jazz Band in Gambia, as a soloist on National Radio in Bulgaria and at the Jintai Museum in Beijing, with the Istanbul State Modern Folk Music Ensemble in Turkey, with Phanari tis Anatolis in Greece and in Indonesia with singers Oppie Andaresta and Setiawan Jodi. He has also worked with Bulgarian singers The Bisserov Sisters, Zimbabwean mbira-player Stella Chiweshe, Iranian singer Bahar and Turkish singer/saz-player Zülfü Livaneli. In Australia he has performed with Silvia Entcheva (Bulgarian), Brassov (Gypsy jazz), GengGong (Indonesian), Trio Dingo (multicultural), Chichitote (Latin American), Aziz N'Diaye (African), Nakisa (multicultural), Far Seas (Persian), Descendance (Aboriginal/Islander) and Flamenco Dreaming (Spanish/Aboriginal).

Kim also works with his own small ensembles, known collectively as Kim Sanders & Friends. See the review of Kims Sander's latest release Trance'n'Dancin on our website.

"There have been many other memorable gigs: Frank Zappa (tight!), Ray Charles (Ray was great, the band was great, the Raelettes were great!) and Jethro Tull ("feeling like a dead duck, spitting out pieces of his broken luck") all at the Hordern Pavilion in the 70's (why can't I remember the dates?) Also many Bernie McGann gigs at Jenny's Wine Bar and Morgan's Feedwell in the 70's and early 80's, Nadka Karadzhova bringing tears to the eyes at a concert in Sofia in 85 (Bulgarians know how to do a slow tear-jerker), Okay Temiz and his Magnet Band kicking ass in Istanbul in 93, Archie Shepp in Istanbul in 94 (sweet, heart-wrenching ballads), Miles at the Entertainment Centre (was it 91? editors note 27th & 28th April 1988) - he only played eleven notes all night, but bejasus they were nice ones - and the Salvos round the corner from my house in December 05, a cameo from a bygone era before real estate values had become more important than basic human rights…

Read our May 2007 review of Kim Sanders and Friends live at the Sound Lounge

1. ROLAND KIRK at The Basement, Sydney (73?)
He had played a great gig at the Town Hall: manzello, stritch, three horns at once and all. Word was that he would be sitting in at the Basement later, so I went down and waited. After an hour or so The Great Man arrived, Galapagos Duck had the decency to give the stand over to his band, and for over an hour non-stop Rahsaan Roland Kirk played tenor sax like a banshee. People were screaming.

2. THE LAST STRAW their last gig at The Pinball Whizz, Sydney (74?)
A feature of The Last Straw's residency at the Whizz was McCoy Tyner's tune "Atlantis", but this was only the starting-point. John Clare improvising crazed thought-dreams about derelict civilizations and underwater themes, rhythm-section (John Pochee, Jack Thorncraft, Tony Esterman) firing, Bernie McGann and Ken James going further and further out and all the musicians bouncing off each other like molecules in a gas on a flame, the punters totally tranced out…

3. IVO PAPAZOV, somewhere near Sofia, Bulgaria, 84
Officially there were no ghettos in Bulgaria in 84, but someone took us to a wedding at the Gypsy ghetto that didn't exist, because "the best clarinet-player in all of Bulgaria" was playing there, a guy called Ibryam Hapazov (even Gypsies and Turks had to have proper Bulgarian names at that time). Even though the combination of crappy PA, volume and reverb both up to 11 and tin shed acoustics, you could hear him wail! Definitely not Milesesque. He later became familiar in the West as Ivo Papazov.

4. UNKNOWN GROUP IN DACCA, Senegal, June 1985
I was tired. I'd been on the road for 15 months, living out of a rucksack and dealing with Ramadan in Turkey in summer (long, hot days), arrested in Jugoslavia for alleged spying and in Greece for busking in the subway, battling the beastly Bulgarian bureaucracy (had to leave the country five times), practising gaida in a tent in sub-zero temperatures, learning several foreign languages…and suddenly there I was in Africa, 35 degrees, someone put a big spliff in my hand and I had to smoke it (so as not to cause offence), then it was off to the local big tin shed, where the band asked me to sit in and it felt so sweet…that was a nice gig and I was in it!

But the one that moved me most was at my daughter's primary school concert. A group of little kids (it was their first gig) played one note (Miles Davis eat your heart out): "D", all within a semitone, it made me cry…"

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 Mike Nock's 'High Five'

New Zealand born pianist/composer Mike Nock is one of the acknowledged masters of jazz in Australasia. His reputation rests partly on his imposing international experience which includes ....

* twenty-five years working in the USA with many of the world's top jazz musicians such as: Coleman Hawkins, Yusef Lateef, Dionne Warwick, Michael Brecker, etc...
* a large catalogue of critically acclaimed, internationally released recordings
* his role as leader of the 1970's seminal jazz-rock group The Fourth Way
* a substantial body of original compositions in print and on recordings

Widely recognized for his abilities, his honours include the New Zealand Order of Merit ONZM in 2003, for services to jazz. His most recent recording Mike Nock's BigSmallBand LIVE ( ABC/Jazz ) was voted Australian contemporary CD of the year at the 2004 Australian Bell Awards and he has twice won New Zealand Jazz Re-cording of the Year ( in 1987 for OPEN DOOR, a duo recording with drummer Frank Gibson Jr., soon to be re-released on CD, and in 1989 for his trio CD, BEAUTIFUL FRIENDSHIP ) He was awarded top piano/ keyboard honors at the Australian Critic's Awards in 1991,'92, & '93 and his quartet won Australian Jazz Group of the Year at the 1991 MO awards.

In 1983 he hosted his own TV series "Nock On Jazz" and in 1993 was the subject of a TVNZ documentary widely shown in Australasia ( SBS & TVNZ ).

Recipient of three US National Endowment Fellowships for composition ( 1972, 1975 & 1978 ) in 1999 he was awarded a two year Australian Arts Council Fel-lowship. From 1996 to 2001 he was music director of Naxos/Jazz records, over-seeing the production of more than 70 critically acclaimed jazz CDs, from all corners of the world.
The Jazzgroove recording The Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra plays the music of Mike Nock was released in January 2006. Read our review of Mike Nock’s duo album with saxophone great Dave Liebman on Birdland records ‘Duologue’

"Where to start and what to include? This list of five memorable gigs could have easily been a lot longer, starting with the El Rocco's early days" .......

1. ORNETTE COLEMAN at the Five Spot NYC 1961.
In 1961, fresh off the boat from England, I found myself listening to Ornette Coleman at the original Five Spot, a very small club in downtown New York. Don Cherry was playing trumpet, Ed Blackwell drums and Jimmy Garrison on bass. Musical bliss!

The first time I heard Miles Davis was at the Village Vanguard with Wynton Kelly, Jimmy Cobb, Paul Chambers and Hank Mobley. Miles allowed trumpeter Freddie Hubbard to sit in for much of the night, which was an in-teresting comparison with the master. The music of course, was sublime.

3. SONNY ROLLINS TRIO at the Village Vanguard NYC
Another memorable gig was hearing Sonny Rollins with his trio, bassist Henry Grimes and drummer Roy McCurdy, at the Vanguard, one Sunday afternoon. I don't remember anyone else soloing, but everything Sonny played that day sounded inevitable, like a great symphony. The kind of musical experience one dreams about.

I heard Roger Frampton display his awesome talents countless times, but the time I felt his genius really shone through was at the Basement with saxophonist Steve Lacy, John Pochee and Steve Elphick. It was at a late stage of his illness and Roger rose to the heights of his genius, playing like a man possessed.

I went to a piano concert where the first hint I had of something different was the strange contraption someone brought out and at-tached to the piano pedals. This person then re-appeared with a bundle in his arms which he deposited at the piano, which turned out to be Michel Petrucciani. I remember thinking - if this guy can play anything worth hearing it would be OK, as the only things normal sized about him were his hands and head. Was I in for a surprise. It was an awesome performance. God was truly in the house that night!

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 Sandy Evans' 'High Five'

Sandy Evans is recognised as one of the leading saxophonists (tenor and soprano) and composers in contemporary jazz in Australia. She leads the Sandy Evans Trio, and co-leads the internationally acclaimed Clarion Fracture Zone. She is a member of Ten Part Invention, The catholics, the Australian Art Orchestra, austraLYSIS, The Kristen Cornwell Quintet, Guy Strazzullo's Passionfruit and Kim Sanders and Friends. With percussionist Tony Lewis and koto player Satsuki Odamura, she co-leads the innovative world music trio Waratah. In 2004, together with composer Tony Gorman Sandy launched a new 8 piece ensemble GEST8. Sandy's composition Testimony about the life and music of Charlie Parker with poetry by the Pulitzer prize winning American poet Yusef Komunyakaa has been a highlight of her career in recent years. Testimony, commissioned originally by ABC Radio, was premiered by The Australian Art Orchestra in the Concert Hall at The Sydney Opera House for The Sydney Festival in January 2002.

Some of Sandy's Awards include:
2003 Designer Rug Bell Award for Australian Jazz Artist of the Year
1997 Australian Recording Industry Association Award (ARIA) for Best Australian Jazz Recording -Playground by Bernie McGann
1996 Young Australian Creative Fellowship. (Sandy was one of ten young Australian artists to receive this award, colloquially known as a "Baby Keating")
1996 ARIA Award for Best Australian World/Folk/Traditional Release - Ruino Vino by MARA!
1995 APRA Award for Jazz Composition of the Year for her suite 'What This Love Can Do'
1996 Mo Award for Jazz Performer of the Year in and for Female Jazz Performer of the Year in and three ARIA Awards.
1993 Mo Award for Female Jazz Performer of the Year
1990 ARIA Award for Best Australian Jazz Recording -Blue Shift by Clarion Fracture Zone

Sandy's biography was obtained from her website www.jazz-planet.com/sandy

"I want to preface this by saying that I had to choose five gigs out of 100s that have stood out over my years listening to and loving jazz. These aren't the "definitive" best, but rather five I chose because if I didn't settle on something, you'd never get to read this!"

1. THE BENDERS AND MARK SIMMONDS FREEBOPPERS At the Paradise Room Darlinghurst Rd, Kings Cross 1982
I'm cheating a little bit here to squeeze 2 bands into one gig. I was lucky enough to see both of these bands many times at this legendary Kings Cross venue in the early 1980s. These two bands were probably my biggest formative influences. Seeing them live over a period of several years when they were at a high point in their development was a great thrill for me.
The line up of The Benders was Dale Barlow- tenor (Jason Morphett replaced Dale later when Dale went overseas)
Chris Abrahams - piano
Lloyd Swanton - bass
Andrew Gander - drums
The band always put on fantastic high energy performances, inventive, contemporary music of the highest level of skill. I couldn't get enough of this band.
The line up of The Freeboppers varied but always included the extraordinary tenor virtuoso Mark Simmonds. With a golden sound that could express the infinite power of the universe Mark took my young ears on many adventures to deep and exciting worlds. Some of his outstanding collaborators in the Freeboppers at that time were Greg Sheehan (drums), Miroslav Bukovsky (trumpet), Kees Steen (guitar) and Rob Gador (bass).

2. CECIL TAYLOR TRIO at the Brecon Jazz Festival, AUGUST 1992 (I think)
I went to a workshop with Cecil Taylor in New York in 1986 where he spent the best part of 2 hours reading his poetry in an inaudible mumble from behind the piano. An interesting happening........but when I finally got the chance to hear him perform live I was completely blown away. This was at the Brecon Jazz Festival in Wales during Clarion Fracture Zone's second European tour.
I mostly remember this performance for Cecil's extraordinary inventiveness, sustained intensity and colourful dialogue with drummer Tony Oxley.

3. HUGH MASEKELA AT WORLD EXPO in Aichi, Japan, July 2005.
It was a heat wave in Japan in the middle of summer, perhaps a fitting climate in which Expo was to celebrate Africa's National Day. I trudged down to the gargantuan Expo Dome, which was of course miles away from where I was performing. I wasn't expecting a whole lot of this gig, mainly because of the Stadium acoustics which I thought would make it hard to have any meaningful experience of the music. Boy was I in for a surprise! Hugh Masekela's songs and stories about liberation in South Africa, his beautiful flugelhorn playing and his funky and sensitive band made this gig incredibly moving. Hugh is an artist whose vast experience of life combines with his musical talent to communicate a very profound humanity.

I kept crossing this gig off my list to try to fit others in, but in the end it had to stay because it was simply the best jazz playing on standards I've ever seen. These four musicians really had a good time playing together. They sounded like old friends who were totally relaxed with themselves and each other. They took standard jazz tunes and language as their starting point and went wherever the musical ideas took them, creating beauty and groove every steep of the way. The kind of gig you never want to end.

A Festival somewhere in Germany, 1986
I have included this gig because it's the most I've ever laughed in my life! Use these guys instead of Prozac.

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