Tag Archives: 2018

DADON PLANS THE BASEMENT RESCUE

Albert Dadon

Albert Dadon at the 2013 Jazz Bell Awards in Melbourne.

BREAKING NEWS

Musical entrepreneur and property developer Albert Dadon has acquired the name and assets of Sydney’s jazz club The Basement and plans to reopen it as soon as possible.

The oldest jazz and blues club in Australia, The Basement closed its doors in March. The shutdown sparked debate about the dying live music scene in Sydney.

Mr Dadon is now examining possible CBD locations for the club and is appealing to the public and others to suggest a suitable venue.

‘’I was saddened to see The Basement close its doors. It was a loss to the cultural health of the city and Australia,’ Mr Dadon said. “I hope that with the help of those who are committed to retain and reinvigorate Sydney’s music scene we will find an ideal new location of The Basement.”

A jazz guitarist (he goes by the stage name Albare), Mr Dadon has long had a passion for live music.

A media release from Mr Dadon today, April 19, 2018, states:

“He rescued the Melbourne International Jazz Festival when the City of Melbourne cut its funding in 2000. Mr Dadon took the project to the government and proposed transforming the festival into a Major with appropriate funding. Under his leadership the festival grew from 5,000 visitors in 2001 to more than 200,000 by the time he stepped down in 2009.

“In 2002 Mr Dadon established the annual Australian Jazz Bell Awards (named after Australian legend and patron of the event the late Graeme Bell, AO) to celebrate excellence in Australian jazz scene. Today ‘the Bells’ are the most prestigious awards in the Australian jazz calendar.

“Mr Dadon opened Bird’s Basement, below his Jazz Corner Hotel at 350 William St. in Melbourne’s CBD in March 2016 and committed himself to make it one of the world’s most renowned. Today, the club, a sister venue of Manhattan’s Birdland, regularly features world class musicians and is recognised internationally as Australia’s premier jazz venue.

“As Albare, he often performed at the Sydney Basement. He has recorded 11 albums. With his long time pianist companion Phil Turcio, their band, Urbanity, and their album Urban Soul, this year enjoyed Billboard chart and critical success in the United States. Urban Soul is distributed in Australia by MGM.

“Mr Dadon is determined to make The Basement a must stopover for tourists and a regular experience for Sydney and regional jazz enthusiasts.

“I would love to provide Sydneysiders with a wonderful 21st century experience, similar to what we created in Melbourne at Bird’s Basement,’ he says. ‘In the meantime we will be looking at broadcasting all our shows live from Melbourne in our soon to be launched app.’

“Mr Dadon holds an Order of Australia for his services to the arts and business and was recently awarded ‘the Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite’ by French President Macron.”

FINDING COMMON GROUND

Maceo Parker with The Meltdown in A Tribute to Ray Charles.

Maceo Parker with The Meltdown in A Tribute to Ray Charles.  (Image supplied)

QUICK PREVIEW

Melbourne International Jazz Festival, 1-10 June, 2018

Program details are now out for the 21st MIJF, which this year aims to demonstrate that “jazz can happen anywhere”. Over 10 days more than 100 events will feature almost 400 Australian, international and emerging artists.

The usual detailed preview of the festival will be published when time permits, but here is a taste of what’s on offer.

There will be 26 venues across the city, from the Hamer Hall to small clubs, as well as cafes in Melbourne’s west. Among free festival community events will be Jazz Massive – a participatory mass-music making event on the lawns of State Library Victoria.

Melbourne International Jazz Festival Artistic Director, Michael Tortoni, says this year’s festival illustrates that jazz is the common ground that brings together a diversity of artists, genres and experiences.

“This year our program focuses on the waves of influence that jazz has – both within itself and also the influence it has on other music genres. We are really excited to showcase some of the future directions of this vital and ever-evolving art form,” Tortoni says.

Madeleine Peyroux

Madeleine Peyroux                      Image: Shervin-Lainez

International artists will include funk legend Maceo Parker (USA) paying tribute to Ray Charles, jazz-blues chanteuse Madeleine Peyroux (USA), the “(inter)stellar” Sun Ra Arkestra (USA) and Yemen Blues (USA). Modern masters will include Branford Marsalis (USA), Gretchen Parlato (USA), Christian McBride (USA) and Terri Lyne Carrington (USA); alongside future masters such as Nubya Garcia (UK) and Francesco Cafiso (Italy).

Australian artists on the festival program will include The Others, a collaboration between Paul Grabowsky AO, James Morrison and Kram that wowed the audience in its debut at the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues in 2017, Harry James Angus’s new project, Struggle With Glory, and Brenton Foster as the recipient of the PBS Young Elder of Jazz Commission.

Melbourne-based Barney McAll will premiere two works: Trilogy of Cycles at Birrarung Marr’s Federation Bells and Sweet Sweet Spirit featuring music by the great gospel composer Doris Akers at Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre.

The festival’s international exchange program with the Tokyo and Singapore jazz festivals is supporting the development and world premiere of The Gravity Project, which brings together contemporary Japanese and Australian improvisers Paul Grabowsky AO, Masaki Nakamura, Kuniko Obina and Aaron Choulai and the Chok Kerong Trio from Singapore.

Jazz Out West returns with local DJ, radio broadcaster and music personality Mz Rizk as guest programmer, focusing on experiences not usually found in a jazz festival, including a cross-genre tribute to high priestess of soul: Nina Simone and emerging crossover artists Thando, Cool Out Sun, KillaHertz and Kalala & The Round Midnights.

Free events will include the return of Sound Walks throughout the city, lunchtime concerts at St James and the long-running artist workshops and Close Encounters series, which has expanded to include career development workshops led by industry experts and practitioners including Chelsea Wilson (Brunswick Music Festival), Fem Belling (The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra), and Marcus Strickland (Christian McBride’s New Jawn / Twi-life).

Family-friendly festival events include Lah-Lah’s Big Jazz Adventure and the Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir at Southern Cross Lane.

There are some venue changes. Sonny Rehe’s Uptown Jazz Cafe is not on board this year, which is a pity as it has contributed substantially to the line-up of artists in past years. The Toff in the Town was a last-minute inclusion last year, but won’t feature this year.

Club Sessions will be held at The Jazzlab in Brunswick,  Dizzy’s Jazz Club in Richmond, Lido Jazz Room in Hawthorn and Southside Jazz Room in Elsternwick.

Larger concerts will take place in Hamer Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre, 170 Russell and Darebin Arts Centre. Jazz Out West gigs will be spread over a wide range of venues.

Full program details are now available at the MIJF website.

ROGER MITCHELL

ENSEMBLE MEETS ALL EXPECTATIONS

Kennedy Snow

Nina Ferro performs with Kennedy Snow and string quartet at The Salon.      Image supplied.

REVIEW

Everything It Could Be, Kennedy Snow joins Nina Ferro and a string quartet, 7pm Friday 9 March 2018, The Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre.

Melbourne drummer and composer Sonja Horbelt took great care with the line-up for this outing with vocalist Nina Ferro, ensuring that it was, in the words of the final piece played, Everything It Could Be.

Acclaimed R&B and jazz vocalist Ferro joined Kennedy Snow — Horbelt on drum kit,  pianist Bob Sedergreen, saxophonist Kellie Santin and bassist Kim May — along with  Steve Sedergreen on keys, Janine Maunder on backing vocals and percussion, and string players Atilla Kuti violin, Lisa Reynolds violin, Lauren Segal viola and Karoline Kuti cello. It proved to be a formidable combination.

The power of Ferro’s voice in this acoustically superb space meant we did not need convincing that, as she sang “This is the place I want to be” in the opening song, Sunshine, she meant it.

The ballad Last Days of 33 ushered in the lush, full sound of the string quartet, embroidered for a time by piano and followed later by a duo of bass and piano. Again Ferro demonstrated we were hearing a big voice in a small space, with agility and strong vibrato. “Maybe it’s awesome, how things used to be,” she sang, making us think they still were.

The foot-tapping I’ve Made Up My Mind demonstrated the good vibe in this ensemble, Bob Sedergreen looking on with obvious enjoyment as Santin made brief forays and the strings added body as they seemed to carry both vocalists on a cinemascopic journey.

In Follow, title track of Kennedy Snow’s album, Ferro’s invitation “Can I tell you a story my friend, let me reveal what I know” was delivered with ease, the words clearly articulated and expressive. There were more sweeping vistas from the strings, subtle and beautiful sax, and punchy piano gleefully injected.

The string quartet played a different role in Another Time, their contribution stronger yet more sparse. Solos from Steve Sedergreen and Santin could have been longer, I thought, and the drums a tad less strong from where I was sitting, but this was a nice piece.

There were no strings in A Different Life. “Just imagine a new way forward,” Ferro sang to the faster tempo, Horbelt’s drums firing up and going for it with Steve Sedergreen underpinning powerful work by Santin on alto and May on bass interacting with Ferro in a vibrant, energetic finish.

A new tune, appropriately named Like All Things New, began with sombre piano as Ferro sang, “There’s a change has to happen for this life to go further, all seems so simple at first …” This was a beautiful ballad, quieter and yet with an intensity that made applause for Santin’s alto sax solo seem intrusive.

Ferro’s vocals in Intuition were delivered with dynamic variation and free-flowing power, calling to mind the drama of vocalist Jeannie Lewis. A musing, meandering solo by Santin preceded a building of intensity towards a tight finish.

The appreciative audience applauded wildly after the final Everything It Could Be, an upbeat piece with a strong beat and appealing melody. No one needed convincing that Nina Ferro, Kennedy Snow and the string quartet had indeed delivered a performance that was everything it could be.

ROGER MITCHELL