Tag Archives: Magda Mayas


It’s all happening in Melbs tonight, so whatever you do, don’t go home before catching some live music. To make it easy to choose, here’s some of the gigs on offer:

Collider CD launch of Words at Uptown Jazz Cafe, Friday 1 March, 2013 at 8.30pm

Kynan Robinson trombone, Adam Simmons tenor sax, Andrea Keeble violin, Jason Bunn viola, Ronny Ferella drums, Anita Hustas double bass



Here’s some background info:

Uptown is very proud to host the launch of the debut album Words from the band Collider led by trombonist Kynan Robinson.

Brass meets strings melded together with drums creating the unique force that is Australian ensemble Collider – an exploration in sound and composition that is luxuriating as it is challenging

Collider was first formed in 2006 and has developed its beautiful and unique sound over the past four years. Collider is a band which is co-lead by Adam Simmons and Kynan Robinson. Both Kynan and Adam have built great reputations for both their individual and highly sort after playing styles, featuring in many bands including Aria award winning C.W Stoneking, Ernest Ranglin, Peter Brotzmann, Odean Pope, SkaZZ, Peter Knights 5+2, The Bombay Royale etc. but also for their uncompromising and unique approach to the bands that they individually run. They are both extremely prolific leading very successful ensembles with multiple releases such as The Escalators, Adam Simmons Toy Band, Des Peres, En Rusk, The Adam Simmons Quartet and The Creative Music Ensemble.

With Collider they have joined forces to create a unique musical experience. The integration of a string
section adds a textural layer that is rarely heard in a improvising context.
Every member of the ensemble is a composer in their own right and all have contributed music to the repertoire performed by Collider. As well as short pieces each member has at some stage composed a major work for Collider.

“This was really visceral music and its effect was felt physically. The combination of instruments provided a timbre-laden treat that would gladden the heart of a Tasmanian conservationist or an Orbost logger, or both.I loved the contributions of each instrument. I loved the percussive interludes and the way Ferella intervened with such sensitivity and minimalism. There were some absolutely entrancing standout solos — Kynan Robinson digging deep into the gravel, Ronny Ferella taking the space to take us on a sublime journey of intricacy and introspection, Anita Hustas opening the final piece of the night with great presence, and Simmons on fire in slow-burn fashion that etched tenor notes into the dark room.” Roger Mitchell – ausjazz.net

Collider has had work commissioned by The Melbourne Writers Festival (Solo In Red composed by Kynan Robinson, 2012) and presented at sold out shows at the Melbourne Recital Center. In 2007 Collider premiered new work composed by Anita Hustas and Andrea Keeble at the Melbourne Women’s International Jazz Festival. Collider has also been presented by the La Mama Musica Series, Melbourne Jazz Coop, Melbourne Jazz Fringe Festival and Lebowskis.

In 2011/12 Collider presented major new works by Kynan and Adam with a very literary focus. Kynan composed music inspired by the writings of American author Cormac McCarthy (Solo In Red) while Adam composed work based on the famous children’s book Green Eggs and Ham. This sold out concert was presented as part of 45 Downstairs 2011 program. This literary focus has been a subtle teme found in much of Colliders work.

Two sets from 8.30pm. To reserve a table please email – uptownjazzcafe@email.com

And there’s more:

Paul Van Ross Quartet CD launch, Paris Cat Jazz Club, 9.30pm , $20
Featuring original music from the new CD “The Buck Stops Here”
with: Paul Van Ross – saxophones / flute, Kim Kelaart – Hammond B3 Organ, Hugh Stuckey – guitar, Hugh Harvey – drums

And there’s more:

Great Waitress, 7pm Richmond Uniting Church, 310-314 Church Street
After many shows in Sydney, and across Europe, Great Waitress is finally coming to Melbourne!

Rosalind Hall – solo sax, Marc Hannaford – solo piano,

RCKTSRGRY: Tina Douglas – wii/laptop/visuals, Nik Kennedy – electronics, and Great Waitress: Magda Mayas – piano, Monica Brooks – accordion. Laura Altman – clarinet

And there’s more:

Lior with Gian Slater and Invenio, Spiegeltent, Melbourne, 7pm
Tickets: from $46
Lior has a long standing relationship with The Famous Spiegeltent and has always endeavoured to bring a unique approach to these shows as a reflection of the venue’s undeniable charm. This year is no exception with Lior inviting renowned Melbourne vocalist/composer Gian Slater and her vocal ensemble ‘Invenio’ to join him.
Over three highly acclaimed studio albums Lior has built a reputation as one of Australia’s finest songwriters and vocalists. Gian Slater and her ensemble are known for their imaginative arrangements and innovative vocal performances – together with Lior they will be performing a selection of Lior’s songs. A unique performance not to be missed.

$10 entry ($8 conc.). Doors at 7pm. Music from 7:30pm

And there’s more:

Warpigs, with special guests The Naxalites, Roundtable
Tago Mago, 744 High Street Thornbury, 8pm

Like wandering lost in a field somewhere in Russia. You look up to see nothing but clouds and power-lines, and for all you’re worries you can’t seem to think of anything but Grandpa. Warpigs epic space, Warpigs meandering dissonance, Warpigs angelic and divine, Warpigs cut throat blues. Brought to you by sonic lovebirds The Naxalites and intelligent designers Roundtable. Free entry.

Grabowsky, Hannaford, Mayas (Melbourne/Berlin)

GIG: January 16, 2011 at Bennetts Lane

Piano soloists: Paul Grabowsky, Marc Hannaford, Magda Mayas

Martin Jackson and the Melbourne Jazz Cooperative gave us the chance to hear three very different piano soloists: Melbourne’s Paul Grabowsky and Marc Hannaford, and Berlin’s Magda Mayas on thoroughly prepared piano.

Paul Grabowsky

Paul Grabowsky

Shortly after Christmas one of my internet searches took me to an Australian Art Orchestra page of tributes to bassist Gary Costello, who died in 2006. The words collected here by fellow musicians and others who knew him well are definitely worth taking the time to read. They demonstrate not only that Gary was a friend and an inspiration to many, but that those in the music world are more than capable of expressing their deep feelings in words as well as through their playing or the performances they make happen.

The first in that long list of tributes was written by Paul Grabowsky. Every time I read his writing I marvel at how deftly he uses language and how well he conveys meaning. But I also must admit to being a bit annoyed that he is so good at communicating musically and yet so good at communicating in words. That’s a silly reaction, but I suppose it comes because I find writing about music is often a struggle, and Grabowsky seems to do it with ease.

Enough preamble. Grabowsky was the first piano soloist in an intriguingly diverse line-up. As I came in he was playing Coal for Cook, which he recorded in 1988 with the Wizards of Oz — Dale Barlow on tenor sax, Tony Buck on drums and Lloyd Swanton on bass. Grabowsky said he had been into Ornette Coleman when he wrote the piece. He followed that with Silverland, from his albums Tales of Time and Space (a personal favourite) and Big Adventure. What stood out for me in this solo version was its fluidity, how Grabowsky used the dynamics and the definite, strong presence that he has — it’s hard to define except to say that he grabs our attention and holds it.

In Angel, also from Tales, the notes tumbled and cascaded over each other so easily. It took a while for the familiar melody to drift in. Again Grabowsky used dynamics expressively. There was clarity in individual notes, which had great beauty as they skipped between pauses, then rolled on with the abandon and delight of a child descending a grassy hillside. Grabowsky caresses the keys, nurturing the notes, then without apparent haste summons them to grow in volume, splendour and power.

This set closed with The Fruit (Bud Powell), which was faster, jaunty, bouncy and fun, with plenty of melody mixed with verve and energy.

Marc Hannaford

Marc Hannaford

Marc Hannaford said he felt as if he was stuck between Bud Powell and prepared piano, which he was. His set opened with his version of an Elliot Carter piece followed without a break by a Jelly Roll Morton number.

I look foward to Hannaford’s playing because it is always interesting — in the good sense of that word. He uses and creates space in the music. He savours individual notes and chords. He lets them ring out. The way in which he uses dynamics can produce two concurrent conversations — one louder than the other. It’s like two planes, with differences in pace and volume creating the divide. A series of slower notes can act as an anchor while faster notes skip and prance over the top. Then they unite.

One slow, solemn passage seemed to emphasise the timbre of the notes, as well as evoking separateness and cohesion. The notes were not loud, yet they were compelling, developing and growing through evolving patterns. Briefly the piece leaned towards classical, reminding me of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations in the intricacy of the patterns. Then things fired up — it was thrilling stuff, broader and more encompassing in scope. Slow, solemn steps with an overlay of high notes ended the piece, which suddenly morphed into the rollicking fun of Jelly Roll Morton’s King Porter Stomp (or something similar). My feet were immediately tapping and my face was smiling, but I looked around and the audience seemed very serious.

At this point I decided if I had any skills as a promoter (not so) I’d like to put Grabowsky and Hannaford on at BMW Edge and get a packed audience to hear them do this solo piano gig — surely people would love it.

Hannaford finished with “a quick version of a tune I like”. It was slow, chordal and deliberate, with lots of space.

Magda Mayas

Magda Mayas

I’ve heard Erik Griswold a few times on prepared piano, but this was thoroughly prepared piano. Mayas spent a long time setting up her array of percussive implements and was extremely busy “under the hood” during the pieces. I admit to being so fascinated by the way she was achieving sounds, and watching the reflection in the grand’s lid of her hands at work, that for periods I was not concentrating fully on the music. That’s a pity, but one of the pitfalls of this type of performance.

Magda Mayas

Magda Mayas

The music was more cohesive than I had expected, developing gradually like a plot line and coming in surges, like breathing or ocean waves. The sounds were often short and discrete, yet there was a sense of continuity. At one point Mayas’s playing seemed like an oscillating radio signal. But is thinking that really approaching this music in the wrong way? It seems as if I had to find something I could liken the music to rather than just hearing it. Amazing sounds emerged — thunder magnified, creaking, aching. (Can you hear aching? Well, maybe this was what it sounds like.)

In “another short piece” Maya produced in my mind another set of likenesses — cow bells, spurts like the ends of dying catherine wheels, a soundscape of fireflies or the insect world magnified. There was muted dissonance, wavering and wandering, with occasional keyboard notes interspersed. Her playing was dextrous, deft, assured and swift.

Prepared piano

Prepared piano

I’d like to revisit Mayas and try to avoid any focus on how she made sounds or to what those sounds were similar. Then I could perhaps just hear them in a more direct, “purer” sense.

The Melbourne Jazz Coop, Martin Jackson and Bennetts Lane deserves bouquets for this trio of soloists.