Tag Archives: Raj Jayaweera

OPERA HOUSE VENUE FOR BIG DEBATE

PREVIEW:

Forget for a moment the prospect of debates between Opposition (pause) Leader (pause) Tony (pause) Abbott (pause) and fair-suck-of-the-sauce-bottle Kevin (frankly, let be be quite clear about this) Rudd. The musical debate about to unfold tonight in Sydney is bound to be more engrossing, if less bloody.

Tonight four of Australia’s musicians play off in The Studio at the Sydney Opera House for the $15,000 cash Freedman Jazz Fellowship.

All the best to Marc Hannaford, Raj Jayaweera, Aaron Flower and Jeremy Rose as they perform with their bands  and front up to interviews before respected jazz musicians Andrew Robson, Tim Firth, and Alister Spence, who will be judging.

The finalists vying for this prestigious fellowship are all exciting. Marc  is leaving Melbourne soon for New York soon to take up a five-year fellowship to complete a PhD in music theory; drummer Raj  is now based in New York; Sydney guitarist Aaron Flower won the 2007 National Jazz Guitar Awards; and saxophonist Jeremy Rose won the 2009 Bell Award for Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year.

The Freedman Music Fellowships, administered by the Music Council of Australia, provide two prizes of $15,000 cash for a jazz and a classical musician.

Publicity material for the concert includes the following profiles (but not the images):

Marc Hannaford

Marc Hannaford

Marc Hannaford (piano, Brisbane) is known as one of the exciting improvising pianists in Australia. His multi-faceted and energetic music combines elements of the American and Australian jazz traditions, South Indian classical music and Flamenco. Marc has released four CDs under his own name and his work has been recognised with awards and nominations.

Raj Jayaweera

Raj Jayaweera

Rajiv Jayaweera (drummer, New York-based) was born in London of Sri Lankan heritage but grew up in Melbourne. He moved to New York in 2011 to do his Masters in Jazz Studies where he studied with Professor John Riley. He regularly performs at Birdland Jazz Club with The Louis Armstrong Centennial Band and has travelled widely performing at jazz festivals and playing with musicians such as Cyrille Aimee, the Kenny Werner Trio, Gilad Hekselman and Chris Cheek.

Aaron Flower

Aaron Flower plays Wangaratta Jazz

Aaron Flower (guitar, Sydney) is a regular on the Sydney music scene and has performed with jazz greats both here and overseas and in 2007 he won the National Jazz Guitar Award. He plays and records with bands including his own, BAZ, whose last album was shortlisted for the Jazz Bell Award in 2011. That same year he started Yum Yum Tree Records a collective and label which aims to promote music from 2003 – 2010.

Karen-Steains

Jeremy Rose        (Supplied picture by Karen-Steains)

Jeremy Rose (saxophone, Sydney) has played the saxophone at major festivals around Australia, as well as performances in Japan, Norway and Canada. He has studied with top artists around the world and released nine albums of original music with his various projects. He is becoming increasingly known as a composer for ensembles such as Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic, Sirens Big Band and Compass Quartet.

Established in 1998 by Laurence and Kathy Freedman, The Freedman Foundation also supports visual artists, Australian youth projects, scientific and medical research.

ROGER MITCHELL

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WANGARATTA JAZZ IN FULL VOICE

first reason

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1. VOCALS

Maybe the stars are aligned. Maybe the success of voices raised against broadcaster Alan Jones has set the earth back on its axis. Maybe the irresistible force of vocal talent which is about to gather at Wangaratta Jazz and Blues Festival from November 2, 2012 is exerting its magnetic power.

Whatever the reason, this reluctant enthusiast for vocals in improvised music has received some signs that a Kurt Elling experience may lie ahead for me in the wilds of Wangaratta this year. When Elling performed at this prestigious festival, I was initially reluctant, then so captivated that I went back for more. (Why reluctant? Well, I have often found that the when music includes vocals, I quietly and secretly wish that I could hear the (other) instruments — and that is not from any lack of respect for the talents of the vocalists.)

Gelah Reh

Gelareh Pour

So, what signs have I seen? Well, at two recent gigs I have unexpectedly warmed to the work of vocalists, albeit only one of whom will be performing at Wangaratta in 2012.

In a short set at the Make It Up Club in Fitzroy, Adam Simmons played shakuhachi in a duo with Iranian Gelareh Pour, who played the kamanche stringed-instrument and sang so effortlessly and with such purity of sound that I was entranced.

Louise Goh

Louise Goh

Since then, at Paris Cat, Sarah Holmes invited Louise Goh to the microphone in a set by The Outfit. Again, I was struck by how much wordless vocals added to the pieces.

Neither Gelareh Pour nor Louise Goh will be at this year’s festival, but you never know what the future will bring.

And, as if these were not sufficient signs of the earth moving, I have had the opportunity to be immersed in the striking and compelling contribution of Carl Pannuzzo to MAGNET, which is the quartet comprising the vocalist along with Stephen Magnusson, Sergio Beresovsky and Eugene Ball. The self-titled album just released will, I predict, make its mark. Pannuzzo really takes the listener into interesting territory and demonstrates the power of vocals, as I am sure he will demonstrate with MAGNET at Wangaratta.

So having heard the portents and read the signs, I await the vocal delights at Wangaratta with the expectation of a student beginning a new subject.

Most of the population of music lovers will be hanging out for the strong, soulful voice of Gregory Porter (pictured top left in this post), who grew up in Los Angeles, but has been based in New York for the past couple of years. Porter will play with Australians John McAll on piano, Nick Lester on saxophones, Zvi Belling on bass and Danny Farrugia on drums. Artistic director of the festival, Adrian Jackson, says Porter’s music incorporates soul and gospel elements, particularly his original material but that if you hear him do some the standards on his recordings, such as Skylark and But Beautiful (Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke) he’s a really superb jazz singer.

Also a drawcard at Wangaratta will be Cyrille Aimee (pictured top right in this post), a young singer from France with a creative, effusive and fun style. She won the Montreux Jazz Festival International Singing Competition in 2007 and was runner up in the Thelonious Monk Jazz Singing Competition in 2010. Based in New York, she often performs at Dizzy’s, Birdland and Smalls. Her Surreal Band, which features expatriate Australians Sam Anning on bass and Raj Jayaweera on drums, will be joined by guitarist James Sherlock.

Of course there will be a whole lot more vocalists featured at this year’s festival, including the 10 finalists in the National Jazz Awards. They are Aimee, 28, from France (currently based in New York); Kristin Berardi, 31, from Sydney; Briana Cowlishaw, 23, from Sydney; Luara Karlson-Carp, 21, from Brisbane; Kate Kelsey-Sugg, 23, from Melbourne; Joshua Kyle, 26, from Melbourne; Chantal Mitvalsky, 29, from Melbourne; Judith Perl, 23, from Melbourne; Liz Tobias, 28, from Adelaide (currently based in Boston) and Katie Wighton, 24, from Sydney. For Miriam Zolin‘s interviews with the finalists, visit Jazz Planet.

The 10 were chosen after the three judges (Mike Nock, Michelle Nicolle and Vince Jones) assessed over 60 recorded entries on a ‘blindfold’ basis. They will perform at Wangaratta with an outstanding band comprising Sam Keevers (piano), Sam Anning (bass) and Raj Jayaweera (drums).

As well, Michelle Nicole and Vince Jones will perform with their bands, and Cyrille Aimee will open the Cup Eve concert before Vince Jones takes the stage.

ROGER MITCHELL

Sonya Veronica @ Dizzy’s

Sonya Veronica

Poster for Sonya Veronica

COMING GIG: 8pm, Thursday, March 31, Dizzy’s Jazz Club, 381 Burnley St, Richmond

Sonya Veronica vocals, Mark Fitzgibbon piano, Howard Cairns double bass and Raj Jayaweera drums.

Sonya Veronica has requested that Ausjazz blog mention her debut performance at Dizzy’s, which she says will be “a combination of jazz standards and a few chanson Francaise, like Léo Ferré’s Avec Le Temps“.

ABC Jazz includes in her repertoire for the night Miles Davis’s Seven Steps to Heaven, Billy Strayhorn’s A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing and Piaf’s La Vie En Rose.

On the gig guide Something We Know listing, Veronica says, “We’ll be playing from bebop style Pennies From Heaven to Cole Porter’s You’ll Be So Nice To Come Home To and curve it to Piaf’s La Vie En Rose.

Contact Dizzy’s Jazz Club (03) 9428 1233 or email dizzys@dizzys.com.au for bookings. Tickets: $15/12.