19 December 2005

Jazz in Melbourne

This is not strictly Canberra jazz, I got down to Melbourne in the last few days, and saw a few concerts. One was an experimental event at the Melbourne Women's International Jazz Festival.

Brigid Burke (clarinet & bass clarinet) played first with Gary Costello (double bass). They played free music to accompany videos projected on the wall behind them. This was challenging music, but played by very capable players, and beautiful in its own way. To me, it sounded more modern classical than jazz. I think this is my response to the rhythmic structure, but I need to think more on that.

The Dur-e Dara Ensemble followed with more challenging free music. Dur-e Dara (percussion), David Tolley (lovely 6-string double bass) and Ren Walters (guitar). David set up each of the tunes by creating a bass loop, to which the band played for an extended time. Again challenging.

I also saw Way Out West at the Famous Spiegeltent by the Melbourne Arts Centre. It's a romantic, old, wood-encrusted, circular tent structure. I'm told there are about 6 of these in the world, and they were orignally constructed about 100 years ago in Austria. I could confirm that, I'm sure, but I don't really need to know more. Obviously it's a much loved venue, especially lending itself to cabaret and burlesque. But jazz gets a look in, too. Way out West are an interesting mix of reasonably light groove/western jazz with Vietnamese instruments and influences. It's all original music with lots of Melbourne references (except ending with Ellington's Caravan). Drums, percussion, bass, sax, trumpet, guitar/Vietnamese instruments. It reminded me of the world jazz of the catholics. I wasn't totally convinced, but I was eventually won over by the lovely Vietnamese tonalities (I was taken with them on a recent visit to Vietnam) and the tribal rhythms of Caravan (is it possible to resist that tune?)

26 November 2005

Jazz Fake Books Index

Here's a gift for the musos amongst us: an index of tunes from several well known jazz fake books. The books are -

  • Real Books 1,2,3
  • New Real Books 1,2,3
  • Colorado cookbook
  • Bill Evans fake book
  • Jazz fakebook
  • Jazz LTD
  • Library of musician's jazz
  • The book [Commercial]
Versions are in Excel (.xls) and tab delimited (.txt) formats. To download in Windows, right click on the link, and select "Save link as...".


ArtSound FM Open Day

ArtSound FM 92.7 is Canberra's local arts station, playing lots of good music, passing on info on local arts events, etc. ArtSound is moving its premises in the very near future. The new premises are located next to the entrace to Manuka Pool, and are shared with PhotoAccess, another renowned Canberra arts institution.

The Open Day will be held 11am-4pm, Saturday, 3 December. Apparently there will be performing artists, tours of the new facilities, etc. ArtSound are asking for people to ring so they can cater. Sounds a great opportunity to support this excellent local resource.


23 November 2005

Canberra Jazz at Yahoo!Groups

I've started up a group at YahooGroups. Everyone interested in Jazz in Canberra is invited to join. So what does a YahooGroup do? It's a mailing list system with archive (you email to the group address, and it bounces to all members). But as well as that, you can chat, share documents and pics and more. I plan to set up a database of local jazz musicians, and possibly use the calendar facility for musos to advertise jazz gigs around Canberra. Thanks to YahooGroups for this excellent free service.

You have to be a member of YahooGroups to join. It's easy and free. Start by sending an subscription email to -

canberrajazz-subscribe AT yahoogroups DOT com

Canberra Jazz @ YahooGroups

13 November 2005

Project bis at Cafe Gaudi

Time for a plug for my own band. Project bis play at Cafe Gaudi in Woden, 6-9pm, Fri 18 Nov, and each second Friday therafter. Cafe Gaudi is at the western entrance to the Woden Shopping Centre. Project bis are Mike Mamontov (guitar), Scott Young (drums) and Eric Pozza (bass).

The Coverts

The Coverts were also playing at the CJF. Again James Luke (bass) and Chris Thwaite (drums), but this time with Charlie Meadows (guitar). Standard repertoire, plenty of interesting and capable solos. Entertainment for the wine tasting public, outside Red Gecko. BTW, great name for a band.

11 November 2005

Lachlan Coventry Band

Also seen at the CJF. LCB are Lachlan Coventry (guitar), James Luke (bass) and Chris Thwaite (drums). Intelligently played jazz standards in the mainstream tradition. Clean guitar, ringing bass.

Barney McAll's Modas

Barney McAll was one of the two out-of-town stars at the CJF. BMcA is past winner of the Wangaratta Piano performance prize, long-time sideman for Vince Jones, and now resident in New York. He's touring Australia with a local band, performing music from his recent CD. The CD was influenced by Barney's several visits to Cuba, and especially by music he heard there at a ceremony dedicated to the Yoruba goddess Yemaya. He recorded the rhythm tracks in Cuba, then added further tracks in NY. The Australian band was very capable, providing an intense latin experience unlike anything I have heard before. The band is made up of: Barney McAll piano, Jamie Oehlers tenor sax, Shannon Barnett trombone, Nashua Lee guitar, Phillip Rex bass, Craig Simon drums and Javier Fredes percussion. Loud, involving and complex. Good readers only should apply!

Wayne Kelly Trio

The Wayne Kelly Trio played at Tossolini's yesterday for the Canberra Jazz Festival. They tell me they have just finished recording a CD. The performance was all original tunes which were obviously well rehearsed for the recording. I found it excellent modern jazz, played in a quiet and relaxed fashion but with great intensity, and with interesting and well-defined lines. Wayne Kelly piano, Ben O'Loghlin bass and Mark Sutton drums. I also like the historical context, eg, post-bop heads of triplets and flat fifths. Paraphrasing Newton, we stand on the shoulders of giants. Congratulations on a terrific performance. Apparently the CD is out in the new year. They play at Hippo's on 30 Nov.

Addendum. I saw them a second time today. My guess is the richness comes from lots of complex extended chords on piano make for the modern sound. But plenty of post-bop lines still in the solos and heads. Great stuff.

26 October 2005

Canberra Jazz Festival soon

The website for the CJF now has details - programs, players, etc. Mostly, if not all, are staff, students, or ex-students from the Canberra School of Music Jazz School. No problems with that - they are excellent. The dates for the event are strange (Wed to Sat), but again, they are students. So, check out the program and venues on the CJF website, and good luck to them. I'm looking forward to it, and I hope they continue in future years. http://canberrajazzfestival.com/

17 October 2005

Victorian Jazz Festivals

Wangaratta Jazz Festival is coming up next week http://www.wangaratta-jazz.org.au/

Also, see a list of other Victorian jazz festivals at http://www.whitehat.com.au/Melbourne/Music/Jazz.asp

Moruya Jazz Festival

I just attended the Moruya Jazz Festival over the weekend. It was a pleasant little town for a festival, and there was some excellent music for little cost. The Air Raid Shelter was home of the Canberra Jazz School, and they provided excellent and varied modern jazz on the Saturday that I was there. Otherwise, Galapagos Duck, Strange Weather Gospel Choir, and George Washingmachine were the featured acts. I enjoyed playing two sets with Pierre's Not 6 (usually Hot 6, but given there were about 8 players, renamed as Not 6). Thanks esp to CSM for the excellent and inspiring music. See the website at http://www.moruyajazzfestival.com.au/

17 September 2005

National Press Club

NPC is advertising blues and jazz. Lots of names for blues, but none for jazz. However, it does promote jazz from 6pm every Friday, no cover charge. NPC is hardly a hot jazz club, but there are nibblies on Friday evenings, drinks are obviously available, and there are several pool tables. See their website for who's playing. Given very poor web design, you will have to download a pdf doc, which even changes file name every month. http://www.npc.org.au/entertainment.htm

31 August 2005

Jazz at Kamberra Winery

Kamberra Winery is a nice place to be on a warm day. Free entry for jazz on the last Sunday each month. Brendan sings standards. Last Sunday (perhaps every month?) he was supported by Charlie Meadows on guitar, plus acoustic bass and drums. Bottled wine and snacks available.

17 August 2005

Canberra Jazz Festival

Here's a new one on me. Hippo is advertising it's a sponsor - "hippo...major sponsor of the Canberra Jazz Festival...Nov2-Nov5 05 canberrajazzfestival.com". That's a Wed-Sat event (strange not to include Sunday). There's a website, but it just says "Canberra Jazz Festival 05 / Coming soon". Keep an eye on http://canberrajazzfestival.com/

11 August 2005

Winter Concert Series at Lanyon

I saw Eric Ajaye's new trio at Tharwa the other day. Lanyon is conducting a Winter Concert Series, with a range of different musical styles. Last Sunday was "Straight up", with Eric Ajaye, lecturer in jazz studies at the ANU Canberra School of Music, drummer Chris Thwaite and pianist Michael Azzopardi. A great and intimate concert held for a very few people (despite this, it was standing room only!) in a converted stable. It was billed as "exciting modern jazz originals". Tunes were mainly written by Eric Ajaye, and the playing was stimulating. Look out for this band. They are collecting a mailing list to advertise their performances: contact Eric at the Jazz School.

For info on the Lanyon Concert Series, see http://www.museumsandgalleries.act.gov.au/lanyon/

You can also see Chris Thwaites at Trinity Bar (Dickson) on Tuesday nights from 9pm, and I've caught Michael Azzopardi at Das Kapital (Narrabundah) and Hippo's, and of course, Eric Ajaye at the Kurrajong Hotel on Fridays after work, from 5.30pm.

More venues lost

Tilleys announced it's pulling otu of regular live music. Tilley's is famed, and offered a pleasant, dark, sophisticated environment which attracted some very big international names. The mix of music was eclectic - blues, jazz, folk, etc. But some of the names were fabulous. Thanks to Tilleys, but such a loss.

As I understand it, Canberra Southern Cross Club recently cancelled an upcoming Jazz Club event (a mini festival) and it seems they may be pulling out of their 25-year support for jazz. CSCC was a good (if fairly sterile) environment for lots of good jazz when I first came to Canberra. They've been relegated to tame series of festivals with obvious names and traditional interests recently. Not all bad, but not at the challenging end of the jazz spectrum. I don't feel this as a particular loss, but apparently it's indicative of the closing live music venues around Australia.

Canberra Jazz Club

I've never had much to do with the Canberra Jazz Club. I met the stalwart (Margaret Moriarty as I remember) when I first came to Canberra in 1985. They ran a series of Valentines Day Jazz Festivals in the 90s. They seem to have organised a few small, one-day jazz festivals at the Southern Cross Club in recent years. But they are represented in the phone book, so they are public and contactable. See in the Canberra White pages under "Canberra Jazz Club".

ANU concert series

Keep an eye on the ANU School of Music website for concerts. They are mostly from the classical school, but often enough from the Jazz School. There's a lot happening at the School, mostly for $15 adult entry. Nice to see these people in small, intimate surroundings, although I can miss the noise and commotion of a club venue when I attend concerts like these.

Tonight I challenged myself with Fritz Hauser, a German drummer, playing with Gary France and ANU's DRUMatix. Drums as soundscape, without the rhythm. I thought of Ellington's "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing", but the performance really demanded more seriousness that that.

See the ANU School of Music website http://www.anu.edu.au/music or contact the Concert Manager to get on the mailing list for program of performances.

ValleyFM radio jazz

I just met Ron Robinson of ValleyFM last night at Hippo's. Ron presents a session at 10pm-12midnight (or later) Thurs nights on ValleyFM (FM89.5 the the Tuggeranong Valley here in Canberra. More info from http://www.valleyfm.com The session is called Blue Trane (how could you fault a name like that?)

27 July 2005

Jazzabout VII

Jazzabout is now in its 7th year, apparently. You'd fool me, as I'd never heard of it before. This is just an indication of how hard it is to know what's on in Canberra, even when you keep an eye out. Anyway, Jazzabout is a festival for aspiring (read young) jazz players. It's being held at the Southern Cross Club. 7.30pm Thurs and Fri (28-29 July), and 10am workshops, 2pm and 7.30pm performances Saturday (30 July). $10/5 per session, or festival passes $25 including workshops. Apparently the organiser is Michael Caesar from Narrabundah College. For more info, see "Jazzabout beat again" in Canberra Times, 27 July 2005, Times2, p. 16.

26 June 2005

Canberra Jazz Club

I haven't had much to do with the CJC. They used to be involved with a large local jazz festival over the the weekend of St Valentine's Day, but that disappeared a few years back. They ran a 1-day mini-festival at the Southern Cross Club last year, and I understand there's another this year. My impression is that their interests are mainly in the trad/mainstream arena, but I could be proven wrong. See their website for contacts http://www.actco.org.au/canberrajazzclub/

Thanks to the Jazz School

The Jazz School at the Canberra School of Music is the heart of modern jazz in Canberra. It's the reason there's such a vibrant local modern jazz scene. And the teachers are respected elders on the local circuit. For more info, see the Jazz School's website http://www.anu.edu.au/music/study/jazz.php

Annie & the Armadillos

Annie's band is mainly R&B but they play a number of standards, and I've seen her sing with a swing bid band outfit, so I reckon she deserves an entry here. A&A plays every Monday at King O'Malley's in Civic from 8.30pm. They're a lot of fun, entry is free, and drinks are well priced.

ArtSound radio jazz

ArtSound is Canberra's music and arts community radio station, and it's excellent. ArtSound runs 24/7, and you'll find a good deal of jazz spread over these hours. I often catch Music Works with Chris Deacon and his mates (Sat 2-4pm) and excellent jazz overnight during the overnight music mix of After Hours. But there are several other jazz programs, and great blues, too. Check out the progam guide at http://www.artsoundfm.asn.au/. You'll find ArtSound at FM 92.7.

25 June 2005

Blues is our first cousin

Well, it's not strictly jazz, but it's a reasonably close relative, so it deserves at least one post. There's a good deal of decent blues around Canberra, mainly centred on the Canberra Blues Society and associated musos. For info on what's on, visit these sites and perhaps join the mailings lists they offer. http://www.canberrarootsmusic.com/ and http://www.canberrabluessociety.com/

Kurrajong Hotel Fridays 5.30

The Hotel Kurrajong has a long standing jazz trio gig on Friday nights from 5.30. I haven't gone recently, but I assume it's still ongoing. A very slick trio made up of teachers from the CSM Jazz School: Eric Ajaye (bass), Mike Price (guit) and Col Hoorweg (drums), with occasional changes in performers as people are unavailable. Mainly standards, excellently performed. Mingle with the well-dressed local workers from the Liberal Party and PM&C, or find yourself a jazz-loving student to talk to. Free entry.

24 June 2005

Trinity Bar keeps on keeping on

CSM Jazz School students continue to play regularly at Trinity Bar in Dickson. I understand this is a standing event over the last 2 years or so. Varying members, but originally Charlie Meadows (guitar), Chris Thwaite (drums) and James Luke (bass). Great little trio playing open and creative modern interpretations of standards and more. They appeared recently at Hippo's as The Coverts (great name). I don't know the current lineup. If anyone has any info, please enter in a comment to this post. Jazz continues every Tues night, and alternate Fridays (tonight, 24 Jun 2005, then fortnightly). Alternate Fridays is a DJ. Free entry and atmospheric surroundings.

Jazz history at the Cross

Canberra Southern Cross Club is presenting another of its history of jazz series again this year. Five concerts: Trad, 30 June; Gospel to Blues, 14 July; Modern, 20 July (Don Burrows); Swing, 4 Aug; BeBop, 12 Aug (James Morrison). Series tickets $90. Details see http://www.cscc.com.au/woden/events.html

23 June 2005

Hippos on Wednesdays

Hippos on Wednesdays is "Jazz in the City" night. See the link in the column to the right, which leads to Hippo's bookings for Wednesday. Local bands $7 and out of towners $10. Includes the big Australian names in jazz when they visit, and a range of talented local players, largely from the CSM Jazz School. Plenty of good names here, but I'm looking forward to John Mackay, Mike Price, and all the Hauptman family together in Exposed Bone. Sadly, I'm not around for Bernie McGann. See the link in the rh column, or direct to http://hippobar.com.au/event.asp?day=Wednesday&ID=1

Rosendahl-Lyon at Das Kapital

Das Kapital is a new bar at the Narrabundah Shops. Neils Rosendahl and his band plays every second Thursday (I saw them tonight 23 July, so work out the dates) starting 9pm. Free entry, and comfortable surroundings. Jazz seems to be featured on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Keep an eye on the Canberra Times for ads advising who's playing when (Sundays, or Saturdays, or perhaps Thursdays in Fly).

Welcome to Canberra Jazz

We hope to provide updates on gigs, events, etc in the Jazz life of Canberra. Good luck to us. If you are interested in publishing to this blog (we welcome multiple posters) just contact Eric.