ARTS FUNDING PROTESTS TODAY

Early Hoofer dancer

An early Hoofer dancer

Do you know the Hoofer Dance? If not, you have a small window of opportunity to learn it and then turn up at protests across Australia about what’s happening to arts funding under the Abbott Government.

Details of the protests in each of the major cities are below, and here is a link to a post by The Music about budget cuts.

http://themusic.com.au/news/all/2015/05/21/call-for-aussie-artists-to-shake-their-thang-in-protest-against-budget-cuts/

For another view, here’s an article by Peter Craven published in The Age that argues George Brandis may be doing a good thing by handing control over arts funding to public servants.

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/arts-minister-george-brandis-could-put-an-end-to-arts-mediocrity-20150520-gh4o7l.html

And here’s another view altogether by former Arts Council chair Rodney Hall:

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-regrettable-rise-of-the-arts-bureaucrat-20150519-gh4o01.html

Then, if you remain convinced there is a need to protest and agree that what’s happening is a bad thing, take to the streets.

I hope musician Adam Simmons doesn’t mind, but here’s some thoughts he posted on Facebook:

“It has just been announced that the Australia Council is cancelling its June funding round, cancelling certain programs and reassessing their programming overall due to the recent grab of money by George Brandis in the recent National Budget. Due to measures put in place last year, the major arts organisations have their funding protected and have not had to shoulder any of the “heavy lifting” being called upon by the Federal Government. The cuts are directly to the core funding of small to intermediate artists and organisations, which are actually feeders of talent, audiences and ideas into the major organisations. This is the same short-sighted mentality and unfairness that has been imposed in many other areas by this Government. I have come to firmly understand the value of arts in a very broad sense in the community and feel they are what help bring us together in better harmony — the Government either is to naive to understand this or are calculatingly cruel in dismantling the apparatus by which we may become a better, kinder society.

“Hug an artist, go to a show, listen to some music, stroll through a gallery – tell/write to your local councillor, state & federal representatives and let them know you value arts at all levels – grassroots, community, local through to the mainstream. It is all good and none should be cannibalised for the other.”

Protest details:

Sydney: When: 1.30pm, Friday 22 May, Where: Hyde Park, near Archibald Fountain

Melbourne: When: 1.30pm, Friday 22 May, Where: ACCA Forecourt, 111 Sturt Street, Southbank

Canberra: When: 1.30pm, Friday 22 May, Where: Garema Place

Brisbane: When: Arrive by 1.10pm, Dance at 1.30pm, Friday 22 May, Where: King George Square

Hobart: When: 1.30pm, Friday 22 May, Where: Elizabeth St Mall

Adelaide: When: 1.00pm, Friday 22 May, Where: Parliament House

Darwin: When: 1.00pm, Friday 22 May, Where: More details to come

Perth: When: 11.30am, Friday 22 May, Where: Perth Cultural Centre, outside PICA

Lismore: When: 1.30pm, Friday 22 May, Where: Lismore Art Space, 1 Norris St

DOWN MEMORY LANE 3

Scott Tinkler

Scott Tinklier 18 May 2015

NEXT month (after the Melbourne International Jazz Festival and after what is sure to be one hell of a party) Melbourne will lose the venue which has been at the heart of improvised music in the city for many years. Who knows what will spring up in the way of alternatives to the iconic Bennetts Lane, but as jazz in this city moves on, Ausjazz will be posting some images from the past. In this case, it’s the recent past — 18 May 2015.

You may have been in the band or in the audience, but we hope some of these pictures rekindle memories of great gigs.

ROGER MITCHELL

Al Browne

Concentrating: Al Browne, 18 May 2015

Marty Holoubek

Marty Holoubek 18 May 2015

In the moment: Julien Wilson

In the moment: Julien Wilson, 18 May 2015

DOWN MEMORY LANE 2

13 April 2010

Familiar faces: Bennetts Lane 13 April 2010

NEXT month (after the Melbourne International Jazz Festival and after what is sure to be one hell of a party) Melbourne will lose the venue which has been at the heart of improvised music in the city for many years. Who knows what will spring up in the way of alternatives to the iconic Bennetts Lane, but as jazz in this city moves on, Ausjazz will be posting some images from the past.

You may have been in the band or in the audience, but we hope some of these pictures rekindle memories of great gigs.

ROGER MITCHELL

Familiar faces: Bennetts Lane 13 April 2010

Stringing us along: Bennetts Lane 13 April 2010

Familiar faces: Bennetts Lane 13 April 2010

I thought I was wearing a black shirt: Bennetts Lane 13 April 2010

Familiar faces: Bennetts Lane 13 April 2010

Gianni who? Bennetts Lane 13 April 2010

Familiar faces: Bennetts Lane 13 April 2010

In sync : Bennetts Lane 13 April 2010

DOWN MEMORY LANE 1

Bennetts Lane April 10, 2010

Bennetts Lane April 4, 2010

NEXT month (after the Melbourne International Jazz Festival and after what is sure to be one hell of a party) Melbourne will lose the venue which has been at the heart of improvised music in the city for many years. Who knows what will spring up in the way of alternatives to the iconic Bennetts Lane, but as jazz in this city moves on, Ausjazz will be posting some images from the past.

You may have been in the band or in the audience, but we hope some of these pictures rekindle memories of great gigs.

ROGER MITCHELL

Bennetts Lane April 4, 2010

Bennetts Lane April 4, 2010

Bennetts Lane April 4, 2010

Bennetts Lane April 4, 2010

Bennetts Lane April 4, 2010

Bennetts Lane April 4, 2010

STONNINGTON PAYS TRIBUTE

Andrea Keller and Andrew Robson

Andrea Keller and Andrew Robson in The Komeda Project at Bennetts Lane

PREVIEW

Andrea Keller and Miroslav Bukovsky Octet, The Komeda Project, Chapel Off Chapel, Friday 15 May, 7.50pm, $25 – $30

LAST night one of my favourite festivals of improvised music was launched at Malvern Town Hall with a grab bag of acts including Women of Soul, Paul Williamson’s Hammond Jazz Party and the Compton Organ Exhibition.

Sadly, the familiar red, black and white program for the 10-year anniversary of this all-Australian jazz festival is missing the familiar face of its artistic director for many years, Adrian Jackson.

Yet the guiding hand of Jackson, which has been especially valued for bringing together unusual and spectacularly successful combinations of artists at Stonnington’s festival and over the years at Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues, is still evident in at least one concert this year.

Jackson had booked Andrea Keller and Miroslav Bukovsky to  present The Komeda Project at Stonnington well before he handed over the reins to program director Darcy Condon — booker for Sydney venues The Hopetoun Hotel and The Annandale Hotel during their glory days in the early 1990s, part of the team that established The Metro on George Street and more recently part of the team organising Byron Bay’s Splendour In the Grass festival.

With an ensemble of eight brilliant Australian contemporary musicians, Keller and Bukovsky in December last year at Bennetts Lane Jazz Lab treated us to a spectacularly creative response to, and reinterpretation of, some music of Polish film music composer and jazz pianist Krzysztof Komeda. The two sets were quite different, reflecting Keller and Bukovsky’s different takes on Komeda’s music.

If you have the chance to get to anything on the program at this year’s Stonnington festival, do not miss this chance — tonight, 15 May at 7.50pm at Chapel Off Chapel — to be moved and warmed by the creativity of Canberra trumpet player/composer/improviser Bukovsky and Melbourne’s pianist/composer/improvisor Andrea Keller along with the Stonnington Youth Jazz Initiative.

The program does not list musicians in the line-up, but I assume James Greening will be in town to add his charm, wit and trombone work to die for. And it is to be hoped that Erkki Veltheim will be in the octet.

To whet the appetite, here are a few images from the Bennetts Lane performance of The Komeda Project. I am sorry that work prevents me from being there tonight for what was a musical highlight for me in its earlier incarnation.

ROGER MITCHELL

The Komeda Project at Bennetts Lane

The Komeda Project at Bennetts Lane

Andrew Robson and Miroslav Bukowsky

Andrea Keller, Andrew Robson and Miroslav Bukovsky

Erkki Veltheim

Erkki Veltheim

The Komeda Project

The Komeda Project

James Greening

Miroslav Bukovsky and James Greening

A MOVING TRIBUTE

Movement 9

Some members of Movement 9    (Image courtesy Harry Boyd-Gerny)

It’s fair to say that there is some unfinished business from 2014 that needs attention, but more of that soon.

Moving right along into 2015, Ausjazz is privileged to bring you a taste of audio-visual class from the exciting, young nonet, Movement 9, which has justifiably had rave reviews for its album Wings (four stars from John McBeath in The Weekend Australian).

That album, with a couple of guests and a different line-up, featured mostly compositions by alto saxophonist Joe McEvilly. It has been played a lot in this house and on the road.

Formed in 2012, Movement 9‘s gigs have been described by Canberra Jazz as “a joyous playtime… big, bold sounds and indulgent grooves”.

In its latest incarnation, Movement 9 features McEvilly alto sax & compositions, Tom Sly trumpet, Niran Dasika trumpet, Patrick Langdon trombone, Paul Cornelius tenor sax, Nick McCusker baritone sax, Joel Trigg piano & keyboard, Jordan Tarento double & electric bass and James Milic on drums.

Wings featured Ax Long trumpet, Tom Sly trumpet, Patrick Langdon trombone, Matt Handel alto sax, Oisin Smith-Coburn tenor sax, Tate Sheridan piano, Rafael Jerjen bass, Henry Rasmussen drums and Joe McEvilly baritone saxophone, with guests John Mackey (tenor sax) and Miroslav Bukovsky (trumpet).

Anyway, enough background to whet the appetite. Joe tells me this brand new song, titled Without Knowing, was recorded and filmed live at Sing Sing Studios with a four-man crew. It is a tribute to Swedish pianist the late Esbjorn Svensson, “beloved for the austere beauty of his melodies and the depth of his grooves, who was taken well before his time in a scuba diving accident”.

He explains that, “I hadn’t been listening to the Esbjorn Svensson Trio/EST long before he died, but their music had already made a lifelong impression on me. The first track of theirs that I ever heard was Seven Days of Falling, when Sandy Evans played it for me in high school. I’ve remembered that moment ever since.”

So, watch Movement 9 perform Without Knowing and enjoy:

Joe McEvilly would like to acknowledge that the whole project was funded by a generous patron (in the form of a “privately funded arts grant”) to whom we are deeply indebted. He is not naming names, so applause please to be passed on to whom it may be due.

On behalf of Movement 9, Joe says that if you enjoy the music, and if you have a YouTube account (or Gmail/Google account), you could do the band a huge favour by clicking the Thumbs Up icon or leaving a short comment on the video page to them us reach a wider audience. Shares on Facebook will also be welcomed.

We look forward to more music — and another album — from Movement 9 when time and finances permit.

ROGER MITCHELL

NAT BARTSCH BOWS OUT … FOR A WHILE

Nat Bartsch Trio

Farewell, for a while: Nat Bartsch Trio plays to a crowded house

REFLECTIONS on Melbourne Women’s International Jazz Festival 2014

1. Tuesday, December 9: Nat Bartsch Trio, Kellie Santin CD launch, Bennetts Lane

I’ve been to four evening concerts of this festival at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club this week, each completely different. Each has been a delight.

On Tuesday the two rooms hosted markedly different bands and audiences. In the gig billed as Nat Bartsch Trio‘s final one for a while, pianist Bartsch joked that the way to pack a room was to hold a farewell concert and reckoned she knew almost everyone there, many of them who’d been at her 30th birthday celebration.

Daniel Farrugia

Daniel Farrugia

As anticipated, the atmosphere was warm and relaxed, the audience appreciative as Bartsch, Tom Lee on bass and Daniel Farrugia on drums treated us to originals and rearrangements, many from the eponymous 2008 album, Springs, for all the Winters (2010) and the most recent To Sail, To Sing, which was released in 2013. It can sound cliched to say that members of a jazz band show and share empathy and understanding, I suppose because that is a prerequisite to improvisation. But, along with the pleasure of hearing this often gentle and yet totally absorbing music — and a tinge of sadness that they are taking what may be a longish break from work as a trio — there was undeniably a comfortable feel between the three players. They showed perfect complementarity, I thought.

Tom Lee

Tom Lee

In A True Conundrum, Lee’s responses to Bartsch seemed to epitomise an aspect of jazz that I love — the ability to give hints or suggestions rather than spell something out, so that the listener can fill in the details.

Nat Bartsch

Nat Bartsch

Before the trio played the last three pieces, including their version of Radiohead’s Motion Picture Soundtrack as an encore we were told about ahead of time, Nat Bartsch showed considerable courage in talking about her struggle with depression and anxiety over more than four years, during which the trio toured overseas and in Australia. She spoke perceptively about the dichotomy performing artists face in their private and public worlds, adding that the stress of touring and playing contributed to ill health that was manifest at home rather than on stage.

Bartsch had to be convinced by the sustained applause that she should take up Martin Jackson’s offer of a Melbourne Jazz Co-operative gig to celebrate the trio’s return. As she said in closing, “we’ll be back in 2016, or 2060, or in a couple of months”. Let’s hope it is sooner rather than later.

Kellie Santin

Kellie Santin launches her CD with guest vocalist Carmen Hendricks

Next door, in the larger Bennetts Lane Lab, a much younger crowd was helping saxophonist Kellie Santin launch her CD Quintessence. When I slipped in for a five-minute listen, guest vocalist Carmen Hendricks was wowing the audience and there was no doubt about the vigour of this outing. These days I can’t help lamenting the demise next year of Bennetts Lane because there are so many talented young players needing venues in which to perform.

ROGER MITCHELL