Monash Art Ensemble CD launch: Barney McAll’s Zephryix, 7.30pm Thursday, April 19, Bird’s Basement, Tickets from $29 + booking fee
John McAll’s Black Money launches new album, Secular, 5pm Sunday, April 22, Bird’s Basement, Tickets from $27 + booking fee
You don’t often catch the brothers McAll together on stage, but this week they are coming close to that congruence — performing in the same venue only days apart.
The first — and possibly the only time — these polished and passionate performers appeared together was during the Stonnington Jazz festival on May 23, 2012 at Chapel Off Chapel.
The creativity of these siblings is always evident, although Barney’s flamboyance and energy contrasts with the elder McAll’s distinguished and more reserved presence. Both are capable of splendiferous feats on piano.
Grammy nominated Barney McAll has played on over 100 recordings and has released 13 highly acclaimed solo albums. In Thursday’s concert he joins the critically acclaimed Monash Art Ensemble to perform his six-part suite, Zephyrix.
Barney was commissioned by the Monash Art Ensemble to compose this piece during his residency at the Peggy Glanville-Hicks composer house in 2015. “Whilst there, I had flashes of an image … half man, half bird with one large wing on its right side, dressed in business attire,” he explains.
“Following the abstract advice of this image I decided to fuse the Greek God Zephyr with the mythical Phoenix to create a new beast; the Zephyrix. It’s a hybrid creature which, for me, symbolises the bridging of tensions that occur between our mundane struggles and the evils of life, and the liberating creative expression of our true selves.
“Zephyrix is the musical embodiment of that tension, encapsulating both the strain and release of this dichotomy. It seeks to explore the dialectic between struggle and serenity, and illuminate the myriad of unseen colours, tones and potentials that are held within a new and ever-emerging mind (Metanoia).
“The five birds of alchemy and transformation have been invoked to summon the Zephyrix: Black Crow, White Swan, Peacock, Pelican and Phoenix. They are the sign posts that guide us on our journey toward true serenity and real happiness.”
Zephyrix was premiered at Sydney Conservatorium’s Verbrugghen Hall in October 2015.
The Monash Art Ensemble acts to support the development of excellence in young Australian musicians, foster a culture of innovation among established Australian musicians and encourage community engagement with Australian musicians and music.
The ensemble, founded by Paul Grabowsky in 2012, has successfully embraced this concept and offers a pathway for talented students to interact with and build this basis for a strong and uniquely Australian 21st century musician.
The impressive line-up for the MAE performance of Zephyrix is as follows:
Barney McAll, piano
Jordan Murray, trombone
Josh Bennier, trombone
Paul Williamson, trumpet
Eugene Ball, trumpet
Lachlan Davidson, flute
Lara Wilson, percussion
Phil Rex, bass
Kieran Raffetty, drums
Jonathan Cooper, tenor
Zac O’Connell, alto
Joel Hands-Otte, bass clarinet
Harry Tinney, guitar
Black Money — Secular
I have always associated John McAll with wide-screen cinematic performances, the big stage and large productions, but his work with Black Money is edgy and often darkly humorous. The first Black Money album was recorded in New Jersey in 2007 and released in 2009. Alter Ego followed in 2012, recorded and produced by the ABC’s Mal Stanley. This is a rare opportunity to hear the elder McAll up close.
An inaugural graduate of the VCA’s jazz course, pianist and composer John McAll has been in demand as a musician over two decades. He was musical director and producer of shows At Last The Etta James Story and Here Comes The Night, which sold out Hamer Hall and the Opera House. This Van Morrison homage incorporated the MSO and SSO with McAll’s orchestrations.
Now John is taking a break from producing the latest Black Sorrows album and a busy international touring schedule to release Secular, the third album in a trilogy. Rumour has it there may be special guests along with his Black Money line-up.
John McAll on piano will be joined in this album launch by:
Tim Wilson alto flute
Carlos Barbaro tenor saxophone
Madison Foley trumpet
James Macaulay trombone
Philip Rex bass
Hugh Harvey drums
John McAll has worked with artists such as Gregory Porter, Ross Wilson, Wycliffe Gordon, Brian Abrahams, Renee Geyer, Kate Ceberano and Nichaud Fitzgibbon, as well as playing international concert stages with The David Chesworth Ensemble, Vika Bull and The Black Sorrows.
Here’s a video of Black Money’s Jungle Love: