Tag Archives: Melbourne Jazz Co-operative

Vale John McBeath

Gerry Koster, John McBeath

Gerry Koster with John McBeath in June 2014 during the Melbourne International Jazz Festival.

Vale John McBeath

Today at 2pm in Adelaide, family and close friends will farewell John McBeath, who many in the jazz community will know through his critiques of major festivals and the regular publication of his album reviews in The Australian.

Not everyone was happy with what John wrote — that’s surely inevitable and appropriate for a music critic. But no one doubted his commitment to the task — not an easy one — of using words, in most cases too few words, to convey thoughts about music.

I don’t think criticisms of the critic worried John all that much. I can vividly recall a refrain of his, when assessing festival programs, that too many of the same old artists were appearing in the line-ups. He had a point, although budget constraints always make programming difficult.

John will be missed not only as a scribe, but by those who regularly engaged him in discussions on inspiring artists and performances in the broad church loosely described as jazz, whether well known or obscure. One person in particular who will feel that loss is his good friend Gerry Koster, pictured above with John in a happy moment before a Melbourne International Jazz Festival concert  in June 2014. I like that picture because it captures a little of the comradeship that exists among the small group of media people who follow the local jazz scene.

John will also be missed at Wangaratta when he and his wife, Mary, were able to share brief breaks over a hasty meal amid the bustle of the jazz festival. At those times the topics of conversation were not limited to the music.

Our love and thoughts are with Mary and family at this difficult time.

Martin Jackson of the Melbourne Jazz Co-operative has posted these details of John’s life and work:

“John McBeath, former jazz critic for The Australian and Adelaide’s The Advertiser newspapers (2003-2017) and Australian Jazz Award judge, passed away in Adelaide last night [12 March] after an extended illness. For over 25 years John had been a freelance writer, publishing a wide variety of genres: jazz reviews, news items, travel articles, features, personality profiles, and CD and book reviews for The Adelaide Review, The Republican, The Bulletin, The Australian, The Advertiser, the Melbourne Herald Sun, several regional newspapers and airline inflight magazines.

“He’s won national prizes for jazz reviews and travel writing, and written a memoir book, What Westerners Have For Breakfast (2013), about the five years he spent living in Goa, India, in the 1980s.

“In addition to living in India, he also spent time living in other parts of Australia (managing community radio stations in Cairns, 1990-1993, and Alice Springs,1993-1997), before moving to Adelaide in 1997. Due to ill-health he resigned from his role as jazz critic at The Australian around August last year (being replaced by Eric Myers).”

John’s funeral will be held in Adelaide today — Friday, 16 March, 2018 — in The White Lady Funerals Chapel at 209 Anzac Highway, Plympton, commencing at 2pm. After the service,  a wake in his honour will be held at ‘The Wheaty’ in Thebarton, from 4pm. Small donations to the Cancer Council are suggested in lieu of flowers.

ROGER MITCHELL

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35 YEARS IN ONE DAY

Scott Tinkler

Scott Tinkler

PICTORIAL RETROSPECTIVE

Melbourne Jazz Co-operative’s 35th Anniversary celebration, Sunday 28 January from 12.30pm to 8.30pm, Moreland City Band Hall, 16-22 Cross Street, Brunswick East

To celebrate its 35th Anniversary, the MJC held an eight-hour music feast featuring eight outstanding groups. This line-up for this big-arse Sunday equivalent (remember those?) was, I believe, put together by Eugene Ball. Let’s hear it for EB, because it was fantastically diverse music, not without its challenges for the listener – which is as it should be.

With excellent food available, a great community vibe, some penetrating (and often unanswered) questions for Martin Jackson from MC Ronny Ferella, and hours of music in a cool venue on a hot day, this celebration was a huge success. Kellie Jayne Chambers wasn’t there on the day, but also deserves plaudits for her work beforehand setting up the venue.

Here are some image galleries from the day’s performances.

12.30pm Andrea Keller’s Masters & Apprentices

I arrived late and caught only the last of this set. The mixing of experienced musicians with talented young players is great as a concept and in practice. As with all of Keller’s projects, this worked well and delivered quality musicianship.

1.30pm Scott Tinkler and Simon Barker

Ronny Ferella took the mic before the next set, asking Martin Jackson some tough questions about the MJC. Ferella said over many years the MJC had provided a safe zone to hear unsafe music. Jackson said some of the best gigs may have had the fewest people in the audience

Then Simon Barker and Scott Tinkler – the latter in his penultimate gig before going south to Bruny Island – held us spellbound. I loved the intensity, the attentiveness and responsiveness of this duo, the variations, the ease of their complementarity and the freedom of their improvisation. It was engrossing, dramatic and sustaining.

 

 

This post will continue with more images from this MJC celebration when time permits.

ROGER MITCHELL

Images © ausjazz.net

35 YEARS ON … IT’S PARTY TIME!

James Macaulay

James Macaulay

Melbourne Jazz Co-operative’s 35th Anniversary celebration, Sunday 28 January from 12.30pm to 8.30pm, Moreland City Band Hall, 16-22 Cross Street, Brunswick East

To celebrate its 35th Anniversary, the MJC is holding an eight-hour event (and party) featuring eight outstanding groups, with some of our leading improvisers:

The line-up for this big-arse Sunday (remember those?) equivalent is as follows:

12.30pm Andrea Keller

Simon Barker

Simon Barker

1.30pm Trumpet iconoclast Scott Tinkler & Sydney drummer Simon Barker

2.30pm MiroBall: a specially-formed 10-piece (co-led by trumpeter/composers Eugene Ball and Sydney’s Miroslav Bukovsky)

3.30pm Jenny Barnes & Mick Meagher

4.30pm Sam Keevers’ Red Fish Blue

5.30pm Gian Slater & Invenio choir

Barney McAll

Barney McAll

6.30pm Barney McAll Trio

7.30pm 2017 National Jazz Brass Award winner James Macaulay‘s 7-piece Happy Hoppy Orchestra

Well-priced bar service and snacks available throughout the day, with lots of the musician community helping out. Like our 30th. Anniversary Concert at The Edge, a not-to-be-missed event! Air-conditioned venue.

Tickets: $35/$25 concession & MJC Members/$20 Gold MJC Members/$70 Family via TryBooking

So get down to Cross St where the cool cats are hangin’ when it’s 39C in Melbs.

ROGER MITCHELL