Tag Archives: Alex Stuart

PARIS ON A GUITAR STRING

Alex Stuart

Alex Stuart performs at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club in 2012

AUSTRALIAN TOUR: Alex Stuart Quintet

The title of this post will mean little to many, but it alludes to the first Lonely Planet guide that I ever used, South-East Asia on a Shoestring, which accompanied me on the trek up through the wilds of Java and Sumatra and beyond many, many years ago.

But I digress. We have come to expect — and look forward to — visits home by expatriate musician Alex Stuart from his adopted home in France.

The guitarist (www.alexstuartmusic.com/) is back from Paris this month and joins some of Australia’s top jazz musicians to launch his new album Place to Be. Stuart moved to France in 2005 after graduating from the ANU School of Music in Canberra.

His Australian tour follows the album’s launch in May at Paris’s Sunset Jazz Club. The album, released by the French label Gaya / Abeille Musique, has received many enthusiastic critical responses there, including Nouvelle-Vague magazine’s “balanced to perfection … one of the best jazz albums of the year – 5 stars” and national radio station France Musique’s “an absolutely superb album … music that shimmers”.

In Australia, ABC Jazz made it a “feature album”, while The Australian’s John McBeath praised it and gave it 4 out 5 stars.

Stuart has been immersed in the rich and varied musical cultures of the Paris jazz scene and, through a residency in Kolkata, in the Hindustani classical tradition. He is well recognised in Europe, known for his 2010 album, Around, and winning the prestigious 2011 Révelation prize at the Jazz à Juan jazz festival. In 2012 he played at the Wangaratta Festival and in 2013 he was nominated for the Freedman Jazz Scholarship.

Stuart says he welcomes opportunities to return to Australia, the country that has influenced his music in many ways and “has also directly inspired several of my compositions, most recently the Place to Be track Cuttagee, Wapengo, which comes from fond memories of the NSW Far South Coast”.

Describing Place to Be as an “ode to cultural openness”, Stuart says he finds inspiration in many places, “including the jazz tradition, contemporary jazz, African and South American grooves, rock and post-rock, Indian and Balkan music, Australia, life in Paris’s 19th arrondissement and the sea and surfing”.

For his quintet on tour, Stuart Alex has three-time Bell Jazz Awards winner Julien Wilson on saxophone, ARIA award winner and founder of the band Wanderlust, Miroslav Bukovsky on trumpet, winner of several Bell and other jazz awards Jonathan Zwartz  on double bass, and on drums Tim Firth, who won the 2011 National Jazz Award at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival.

Alex Stuart

Alex Stuart at Bennetts in 2012

Alex Stuart’s tour dates:

  • Tuesday 21 October: MJC / Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, 25 Bennetts Lane, Melbourne
  • Wednesday 22 October: Venue 505, 280 Cleveland St Surry Hills, Sydney
  • Saturday 25 October: Wollongong Conservatorium of Music, Wollongong
  • Sunday 26 October: Zephyrs Jazz, Four Winds Windsong Pavilion, Barragga Bay, (near Bermagui) NSW
  • Monday 27 October: The Street Theatre, Canberra

 Alex will also play as a quartet at MONA and other venues in Tasmania between 30 October and 1 November.

ROGER MITCHELL

 

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THE JURY’S NOT OUT ON EXPAT GUITARIST

Eleventh reason
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11. STUART’S ON A TOUR DOWN UNDER

Expatriate Australian musicians are a constant source of interest at Wangaratta Jazz and Blues Festival because their fans here are keen to hear how they have changed or developed while living abroad, and what new material they bring to audiences at home.

Among expats returning for a visit this year are, from New York,  bassist Sam Anning, drummer Rajiv Jayaweera and, from Ireland, guitarist Ian Date.

Guitarist Alex Stuart, originally from Canberra and now living in France, will return for a national tour that will include his first performance at Wangaratta.

In July 2011 Stuart won the Jury Prize at the Jazz A Juan Revelation in southern France. He’ll play with Julien Wilson on saxophone, Brendan Clarke on bass and Ben Vanderwal on drums.

Stuart lives in Paris, where he moved after completing his degree at the ANU in 2005. He has won praise for his performances of original music at jazz clubs and festivals in France, and for his debut CD Around.

Among his influences Stuart cites the usual jazz influences, but also Radiohead, Bjork and Jeff Buckley as well as music from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The festival website quotes Stuart as  saying, “My music is a real mix. I’ve always loved listening to and playing many different genres, and you can hear that in my compositions. Some of my diverse influences are modern jazz, African and Latin American music, Hindustani classical music and indie rock. When I compose I don’t calculate how things are going to blend, I just try to let it come out organically.

“Audiences at Wangaratta can expect some high energy performances. We’ll be playing a lot of music from my last album Around, and some new compositions I plan to record early next year.”

Alex Stuart’s performances at Wangaratta:
Saturday, November 3 at 5pm, Quality Hotel Wangaratta Gateway
Sunday, November 4 at 8pm WPAC Memorial Hall

On tour:
Melbourne:

Tuesday, November 6, at 9pm, Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, Price: $15/12

Canberra:

Alex Stuart Quartet at the ANU Band Room (Peter Karmel Building), ‎12 November at 7.30pm at ANU School of Music

ROGER MITCHELL