Tag Archives: Geoff Hughes

Inspired by strong women


8pm Friday 28 April 2023, The Jazzlab, 27 Leslie St, Brunswick, doors 7.30pm

The women who inspired lyricist and composer Ilaria Crociani’s recent album Connecting the Dots are remarkable and fascinating.

Marion Bell circumnavigated Australia in the early 1920s in her Oldsmobile accompanied by her 11-year-old daughter. Minnie Berrington, the first female opal prospector in South Australia, migrated from London to develop a profound sense of belonging to the Australian outback. Young Shirley Howard, with her pony Mary Lou, travelled the east coast of Australia looking for work during the Depression. Artist Veruschka turned her body into a canvas and redefined traditional ideals of beauty. Refugee Gina Sinozich discovered the healing power of art at age 70.

 “The stories of these inspiring women offered me comfort in a moment of particular vulnerability, while reinvigorating my sense of hope and inner strength,” says Crociani, who has drawn on her experience of adjusting to a new life as an Italian migrant to Australia for this ABC Jazz commission.

The narratives conveyed in nine compositions by Crociani weave narratives of “hardship, vulnerability, resoluteness and redemption”, endeavouring to paint an uplifting picture of resilience and hope.

‘Believing yourself to be alone, misunderstood and helpless in enduring the pains of living is the biggest and most foolish mistake anyone can make,’ she says. ‘This album is the fruit of a journey of personal discovery and reflection that led me to fully appreciate the importance of looking at other people’s real-life experiences to build resilience in the face of adversity.’

The album, to be launched at The Jazzlab with a killer ensemble of Crociani on vocals, Paul Grabowsky piano, John Griffiths lute, Mirko Guerrini sax, clarinet and keyboards, Geoff Hughes guitars, Ben Robertson acoustic and electric bass, and Niko Schäuble drums and percussion, includes poignant and lyrical ballads along with more experimental pieces with a jazz-rock feel or a funky-reggae beat.

Crociani has collaborated with husband Mirko Guerrini and with Niko Schäuble in the composition of some tracks of Connecting the Dots.

Ilaria Crociani (Image supplied)

Since arriving in Australian in 2013, Crociani has performed as leader of Radiosuccessi, a jazz quintet specialising in Italian jazz, collaborated with Australian jazz great Paul Grabowsky’s trio Torrio! at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival, and been lead singer with Extasy Morricone, a septet showcasing Ennio Morricone’s psychedelic compositions from the 1970s.

In 2021 she featured as the reciting voice in Mobility of Mind – Sonic Cities, presented at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale, and recorded two songs for the soundtrack of the Paula Ortiz movie Across the River and Into the Trees, to be released this year.




Allan Browne

Attentive Allan Browne.


MIJF Club Session at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club 7pm Monday 2 June: Allan Browne Quintet performs The Drunken Boat

I had not heard The Drunken Boat performed live, so it was great to hear this work “in the flesh”, played by an ensemble including the composers Geoff Hughes, Eugene Ball and Stella Browne. Scott McConnachie was on saxophone, but otherwise the line-up was as on the album released by Jazzhead.

Ball on trumpet and McConnachie were almost always hidden in the half light mid-stage, so as I listened to the varied moods of these fairly short pieces my focus was on the faces of the illuminated players — Nick Haywood on bass, Hughes on guitar, Stella Browne on vocals in the closing song and Allan Browne on drum kit.

Allan Browne was in fine form and said at set’s end that he did not have to make use of his “friend” the oxygen tank. I love watching Allan as he plays, the emotions written on his face like the poetry he loves and writes. His moments of exultation are unrestrained, his concentration there for all to see. The images below reflect this.

This concert was a compelling showcase of the composing talents of Hughes and Ball. Stella Browne’s vocals with Rimbaud’s words were indeed poetry.


Geoff Hughes

A glimpse of Geoff Hughes.

Nick Haywood

Nick Haywood concentrates.

Allan Browne

Allan Browne loving it.

Allan Browne

Allan Browne listens.

Allan Browne

Allan Browne on fire!

Allan Browne

Allan Browne reflects … on Rimbaud?

Stella Browne

Stella Browne


Allan Browne

Allan Browne plays Uptown Jazz Cafe


Monday 2 June 2014

BENNETTS LANE 7pm: Allan Browne Quintet performs The Drunken Boat, a suite exploring Rimbaud’s poem about a vessel lost at sea. Don’t miss the chance to hear this performed live and hear Eugene Ball on trumpet with a great band.

Livio Minafra

Livio Minafra                    (image taken from his website)

BENNETTS LANE 9.30pm: Livio Minafra from Italy performs exuberant and romantic solo pieces on piano.