Tag Archives: Tim Firth

PARIS ON A GUITAR STRING

Alex Stuart

Alex Stuart performs at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club in 2012

AUSTRALIAN TOUR: Alex Stuart Quintet

The title of this post will mean little to many, but it alludes to the first Lonely Planet guide that I ever used, South-East Asia on a Shoestring, which accompanied me on the trek up through the wilds of Java and Sumatra and beyond many, many years ago.

But I digress. We have come to expect — and look forward to — visits home by expatriate musician Alex Stuart from his adopted home in France.

The guitarist (www.alexstuartmusic.com/) is back from Paris this month and joins some of Australia’s top jazz musicians to launch his new album Place to Be. Stuart moved to France in 2005 after graduating from the ANU School of Music in Canberra.

His Australian tour follows the album’s launch in May at Paris’s Sunset Jazz Club. The album, released by the French label Gaya / Abeille Musique, has received many enthusiastic critical responses there, including Nouvelle-Vague magazine’s “balanced to perfection … one of the best jazz albums of the year – 5 stars” and national radio station France Musique’s “an absolutely superb album … music that shimmers”.

In Australia, ABC Jazz made it a “feature album”, while The Australian’s John McBeath praised it and gave it 4 out 5 stars.

Stuart has been immersed in the rich and varied musical cultures of the Paris jazz scene and, through a residency in Kolkata, in the Hindustani classical tradition. He is well recognised in Europe, known for his 2010 album, Around, and winning the prestigious 2011 Révelation prize at the Jazz à Juan jazz festival. In 2012 he played at the Wangaratta Festival and in 2013 he was nominated for the Freedman Jazz Scholarship.

Stuart says he welcomes opportunities to return to Australia, the country that has influenced his music in many ways and “has also directly inspired several of my compositions, most recently the Place to Be track Cuttagee, Wapengo, which comes from fond memories of the NSW Far South Coast”.

Describing Place to Be as an “ode to cultural openness”, Stuart says he finds inspiration in many places, “including the jazz tradition, contemporary jazz, African and South American grooves, rock and post-rock, Indian and Balkan music, Australia, life in Paris’s 19th arrondissement and the sea and surfing”.

For his quintet on tour, Stuart Alex has three-time Bell Jazz Awards winner Julien Wilson on saxophone, ARIA award winner and founder of the band Wanderlust, Miroslav Bukovsky on trumpet, winner of several Bell and other jazz awards Jonathan Zwartz  on double bass, and on drums Tim Firth, who won the 2011 National Jazz Award at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival.

Alex Stuart

Alex Stuart at Bennetts in 2012

Alex Stuart’s tour dates:

  • Tuesday 21 October: MJC / Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, 25 Bennetts Lane, Melbourne
  • Wednesday 22 October: Venue 505, 280 Cleveland St Surry Hills, Sydney
  • Saturday 25 October: Wollongong Conservatorium of Music, Wollongong
  • Sunday 26 October: Zephyrs Jazz, Four Winds Windsong Pavilion, Barragga Bay, (near Bermagui) NSW
  • Monday 27 October: The Street Theatre, Canberra

 Alex will also play as a quartet at MONA and other venues in Tasmania between 30 October and 1 November.

ROGER MITCHELL

 

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HANNAFORD COPS THE CASH

Marc Hannaford

Marc Hannaford

BREAKING NEWS:

Pianist extraordinaire Marc Hannaford is the 2013 recipient of the Freedman Jazz Fellowship.

Marc was listed as being a Brisbane entrant, but the Melbourne jazz community has long since adopted him as our own. So, yea for Marc!

Last night Marc, Raj JayaweeraAaron Flower and Jeremy Rose performed with their bands  before respected judges Andrew Robson, Tim Firth, and Alister Spence in The Studio at the Sydney Opera House.

Marc, who performed with Sam Pankhurst on bass and James McLean on drums, won $15,000 cash.

Congratulations to Marc and to the other three for making it to the finals.

It is expected that Marc will have a smile on his face when he performs with David Tolley, Allan Browne, Ren Walters and Scott Tinkler tonight (August 6) at Bennetts Lane as part of the VIVIFICATION Series.

Everything is going splendidly for Marc, bless him, who leaves Melbourne soon for New York to take up a five-year fellowship to complete a PhD in music theory.

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.

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

ROGER MITCHELL

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