Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Korean gigs

Busy day in Seoul: first taping an interview and playing 3 solo pieces for the KBS (Korean Broadcasting Service) program Classic Odyssey, a weekly one hour program devoted to classical music (why not in Australia?). First I did an interview with the charming (female) host with the help of a translator. Lots of questions about inhabiting the space between and across classical music and jazz (which my playing is intended to demonstrate). Then I recorded an improvisation (free extemporisation) based on the idea of "water" (along the lines of my 4-CD set The Elements). Then I recorded my recent composition Angel followed by a jazz-ish interpretation of the Chopin E major etude (op 10). They had a lovely 9-foot Steinway in great shape (again unlike TV land back home). Due to the exigencies of TV I had to do a second run of each piece miming to the sound so they could get different camera angles (very challenging with a piece only just made up!). I went with my first takes, hope they will say enough. Straight after the TV I played with two wonderful Korean musicians at the Residence of the Australian Ambassador. It was just a fantastic night, firstly because of the quality of the musicians Jeon Sung Sik (bass) and Oh Jong Dae (drums) but not the least because of the cultured, warm, receptive and enthusiastic audience some of whom were key cultural figures in Seoul. There was a magnificent dinner and I kicked on with some late night eating kimchi and drinking soju with JJ (Jae-Jin In) my Korean manager, Chang Ho who drove me everywhere and my old friend from Music Omi composer So Young Jang.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Mysteries of the room

Just lying here contemplating this hotel room. It's very clean, but very small, distinctly 3 or 4 star. It doesn't have a wardrobe, just two hooks on the wall with hangers dangling off! Sound primitive? Check this. I have 24-hour broadband internet access for free with a flat LCD monitor and keyboard a metre from the bed. There's a DVD player with full 5-channel surround sound, front rear, centre speakers the works, all set up (haven't seen either of these luxuries in 5-star hotels). But no wardrobe. Go figure. Oh, and there's an escape rope, behind glass.

From Seoul

Sitting in my hotel room in Seoul, arrived today after a circuitous route via Melbourne and Hong Kong (don't ask!). Already the flavour of kimchi in my mouth from a street stall purchase. There's more where that came from I suspect at dinner tonight with my Korean manager JJ. Hot and bustling is Seoul right now. Saw "Isaac" and nothing else on a large billboard - surely they didn't see me coming. .

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Leaving on a jet plane

I'm off today on an international tour for three-and-a half weeks. Here's the itinerary and I'll be posting news here from the road.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004


Just up at All About Jazz, an interview that I did with Miriam Zolin a few weeks ago.

Monday, June 21, 2004

On the road soon

It was a great pleasure to play at Christ Church, Kiama yesterday (Sun 20) afternoon in a solo recital for some of the nicest people around. It was a jazz/classical combo with Schumann/Liszt, Bach, Satie, Burt Bacharach, Hoagy Carmichael, George Gershwin and some of my own music. Dennis Koks was a charming host as always. Now I'm getting ready for my departure overseas this Sunday, I've updated the itinerary with an extra date in Estonia and more detail and I'll be posting here regularly with news from the road. I'm glad to be in Sydney on Saturday as my last day in town is my grandfather's 90th birthday and so I will be able to join the family celebrations. My own birthday is tomorrow June 22 and I'm looking forward to celebrating it with my wife Jewel and daughter Melanie.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Itinerary for International Tour to Korea, Latvia, Estonia, Finland & Russia

June 29Seoul, KoreaTV taping for KBS national TV show Classic Odyssey (performance & interview)
June 29Seoul, KoreaPerformance at residence of Australian Ambassador (private function)
July 1Riga, LatviaRigasRitmi Festival, 22:00 Jazz Club Liize
July 3Riga, LatviaRigasRitmi Festival,19:00 Kanalmalas Terrace
July 4Riga, LatviaRigasRitmi Festival, 12:00 Sony Jazz Cruise
July 7Pärnu, EstoniaPerformance at Ammende Villa
July 8Haapsalu, EstoniaPerformance
July 9Haapsalu, EstoniaPerformance
July 10Saaremaa, EstoniaSaaremaa Summer Music Festival, Holiday Village of Ninase, Mustjala (open air concert) SEAJAZZ
July 11Helsinki, FinlandFree night
July 12Moscow, RussiaPerformance at Le Club with Igor Butman
July 13Moscow, RussiaPerformance at residence of Australian Ambassador (private funtion)
July 14Moscow, RussiaPerformance at Marriott Grand Hotel
July 15Moscow, RussiaPerformance at Restavratsia Jazz Club
July 16-21Pori, FinlandPori International Jazz Festival

At the end of the tour, on the way back from Finland, I will stop in Los Angeles and spend some time with my old buddy trumpeter/composer Jeff Beal. Jeff and I were Masters students together at the Eastman School of Music in upstate New York way back in 1984-85 and became good friends. Jeff is an awesome jazz & classical trumpeter with numerous credits to his name, a fabulous concert composer and is now very active as a film & TV composer - he wrote the music for the recent Ed Harris film Pollock and currently writes for the popular offbeat crime series Monk, winning an Emmy award for the title theme. Jeff has a home studio with a Steinway - who knows, we might record something while I am visiting. Back in Australia July 24 - 4 weeks on the road.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Sydney Morning Herald review of new CD

Great new review of Keeping the Standards in this morning's Sydney Morning Herald (48 Hours section). If you can't get the paper, here it is

Friday, June 11, 2004

Elana Stone

It was fantastic to work with singer Elana Stone at the Side-On Cafe on Wednesday night, she is such an adventurous artist, though still so young. We are planning further performances together. She brings out a side of my playing that I really enjoy releasing.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Australia Council international touring grant

Special thanks again to the Australia Council. I received notice today that they are assisting my upcoming international tour with a grant under their International Pathways program. This is the third year running I have received their assistance with international touring, for which I am very grateful.

New review of CD at All About Jazz

USA-based website All About Jazz have just published a brand new review of my CD Keeping the Standards, the second appraisal of the CD that has appeared on the site. All About Jazz are the #1 international website for jazz with 320,000+ visitors a month and they recently featured my CD on the Homepage as "Publisher's Pick". The new review is very in-depth and extremely positive - it's here.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Vocalist Elana Stone with trio

Vocalist Elana Stone will be appearing as special guest with the trio this Wednesday June 9 at the Side-On Cafe.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

New date for Estonia

I now have a third date on the Estonian leg of my international tour, July 8 in Haapsalu. I'll post the full itinerary next week - I depart June 27.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004


Big day today. After a productive preliminary run-through of the new viola composition with Deborah Lander yesterday, having made some adjustments I printed up the scores and parts and sent them to the co-commissioners (Debbie and Robert Harris of the Australian & New Zealand Viola Society). I completed and posted an application for an international residency in Paris next year and also submitted an earlier score of mine, Kensington Rags, to the new music group Aark Ensemble who are calling for new scores (since my name and the ensemble's name have a double 'a', it's obviously a marriage made in heaven!) Tomorrow, I pick up Perth-based saxophonist Graeme Blevins at the airport and our 8 days of rehearsing, recording and performing adventures begin. As well as the Side-On Cafe Wednesdays June 2 & 9 I am playing at the Avillion Hotel this Thursday night and Graeme is going to come along for the ride and play - I'm hoping lots of Sydney musicians will come in and meet Graeme and jam. Oh, found out yesterday that it looks like I'm heading back to Finland again this year as part of my upcoming overseas tour.