Joe Chindamo

Mike Nock and Albert Dadon watch as Joe Chindamo responds to his induction into the Graeme Bell Hall of Fame.


Australian Jazz Bell Awards 

The word is well and truly out on this year’s winners of the Australian Jazz Bell Awards and the Graeme Bell Hall of Fame recipient. The awards ceremony at Bird’s Basement on Monday 20 June were photographed and filmed by so many that it was often difficult for those at the tables to catch sight of those handing over the awards, the prize winners and the performers — which included the “house band” and winning artists.

This was the first of the Bells, named in honour of one of the greats in Australian jazz — the late Graeme Bell, MBE AO — to be held at Albert Dadon’s relatively new venue Bird’s Basement and the host showed obvious pride in his establishment and its capability to host such an event.

It worked pretty well. The food was excellent, wine flowed freely and Dadon even told the punters to keep quiet and listen while the band —  Phil Turcio on piano, Philip Rex on bass and Darryn Farrugia on drums — delivered upbeat and strong jazz. There was a good roll-up and, if anything, the numbers at each table, coupled with the fairly large chairs, meant there was less circulation by guests than in previous years because it was hard for some to get out of their seats easily.

The lighting — which I appreciate is not the point of the night — was nevertheless pretty awful, so that speakers at the mic were backlit by the screen behind and not lit at all from the front. (Those of us taking some photographs notice these things.)

This year, for the first time, nominations were accepted from voting members of the Australian Jazz Academy and the shortlist of nominees in each category judged by critics and jazz professionals from Australia and overseas.

Judges were Albert Dadon AM, Adrian Jackson, Martin Jackson, Gerry Koster, John McBeath, Carl Griffin, Thomas Glagow and Laurence Donahue-Greene.

Here are a few shots of the winners:

(I have left the other nominees in the list because they came close and deserve to share some glory.)

Best Australian Jazz Ensemble

David Theak

David Theak accepts the Bell Award on behalf of the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra.

Winner: Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra2015 Live Performance Compilation
Daniel SusnjarThe Daniel Susnjar Afro-Peruvian Jazz Group
Mace Francis OrchestraMusic For Average Photography

Best Australian Small Jazz Band (Up to 6 members)

Eugene Ball

Eugene Ball accepts the award on behalf of the Allan Browne Quintet.

Winner: Allan Browne Quintet – Ithaca Bound
Barney McAll + A.S.I.O. (Australian Symbiotic Improvisers Orbit) – Mooroolbark
Alister Spence TrioAlister Spence Trio: Live

Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year (Musicians up to and including 25 years of age)

Olivia Chindamo

Olivia Chindamo with her Bell Award.

Winner: Olivia ChindamoKeep An Eye On Spring
James McLeanCounter Clockwork
Niran DasikaManticore (Phantom)

Best Australian Jazz Vocal Album

Kristin Berardi

Kristin Berardi accepts her Bell Award.

Winner: Kristin BerardiWhere Or When
Vince Jones + Paul GrabowskyProvenance
Olivia ChindamoKeep An Eye On Spring

Best Produced Album

Mike Nock

What a wonderful smile: Mike Nock accepts the Bell Award for him and Laurence Pike.

Winners: Mike Nock/ Laurence PikeBeginning And End of Knowing
Barney McAllMooroolbark
Angela DavisLady Luck

Best Australian Jazz Song/Composition of the Year

Barney McAll

Barney McAll speaks after receiving his Bell Award for Nectar Spur.

Winner: Barney McAllNectar Spur (Mooroolbark)
Julien Wilson QuartetWeeping Willow (This Narrow Isthmus)
Angela DavisA thousand Feet from Bergen Street (Lady Luck)

Best Instrumental Jazz Album

Barney McAll

Barney McAll accepts his Bell Award for the album Mooroolbark.

Winner: Barney McAllMooroolbark
Angela DavisLady Luck
Julien Wilson QuartetThis Narrow Isthmus

When the Hall of Fame inductee was announced, Joe Chindamo spoke for a while and then invited daughter Olivia to join him to perform. That was a fitting way to end the night.

Joe and Olivia Chindamo

Joe and Olivia Chindamo perform together as Bell recipients.

That’s about it for the evening, folks. Congratulations to those who came first and also to the runners up. It was my birthday and I left fairly early, so I have no gossip to impart.

My thanks to Prue Bassett.

I hope to post a few more images soon.

Roger Mitchell



Visit the Bell Awards website for more information.

One response to “FOR WHOM THE BELLS TOLLED IN 2016

  1. Barry O'Sullivan

    Can’t help but noticing a distinctly Melbourne edge to the whole event.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s