Thursday, August 26, 2004

Current projects

I'm currently enjoying a very mixed bag of diverse projects, many of which have quite long lead times.

The project with violist Deborah Lander has been continuing since earlier in the year. It is something I keep coming back to. I have already composed the three movement viola and piano piece Night Songs for her, I keep tweaking it from time to time and we are getting together tomorrow at the Conservatorium to continue our ongoing rehearsals of it. Later in the year we will record this piece for her CD of Australian music, which will feature pieces she herself has commissioned. In the meantime I am helping her with producing the other tracks on the CD, we are in the studio from time to time recording and editing. She is documenting the CD gradually over some months rather than all in one hit. So far we have got down pieces by Elena Kats-Chernin and Colin Spiers.

I am involved in an exciting project called Matrouz which will culminate in a concert at Pitt Street Uniting Church on November 27. Matrouz is the Arabic word for "weaving" and the concert brings together 7 or 8 performers all with a Middle Eastern lineage but crossing the Moslem/Jewish/Christian divides weaving a new tapestry containing both traditional and modern elements (for the record I am from a family of Iraqi Jews). This concert is an opportunity for me to renew my collaboration with the exceptional young oud player Joseph Tawadros (the oud is the Arabic lute, which predated the European one). Joey is only 20, yet a true virtuoso and visionary who has already made a big splash having just released his debut CD Storyteller on ABC Classics. Also involved are singers Kim Cunio and Heather Lee (Kim happens to be my cousin). This project is unfolding gradually with ongoing dialogues and rehearsals.

Also of an interfaith dimension is the the concert So Many Notes? (Jewish Music Jazzed Up) presented by the Jewish Museum of Australia in Melbourne at the BMW Edge Auditorium at Federation Square on Saturday September 4. This concert brings together a collection of Jewish-Australian jazz musicians, most of whom - as it happens - live in Melbourne. I'll be travelling down from Sydney to join the troupe on the day of the concert, where we will rehearse a jazz interpretation I am doing of a traditional Jewish liturgical melody.

Speaking of jazz I am presenting a series of three performances at the Side-On Cafe in Sydney with my trio - Wednesday September 1, Wednesday October 6 & Friday October 29. Each will feature a different drummer and the final one will feature vocalist Elana Stone. For these gigs I am continuing my exploration of "standards" as on my recent CD Keeping the Standards however my current focus is to also incorporate more recent standards as vehicles for interpretation, specifically songs from the 1960s and 70s by songwriters such as Paul Simon, Lennon & McCartney, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell etc.

I will be performing in a concert at The Basement in Sydney on Tuesday September 14. This is called A Celebration of the Piano and is sponsored by Steinway. It features 3 pianists: myself, Sam McNally and Bill Risby, we will each each play with a group and also do some 2-piano or 4 (or maybe 6)-hands stuff.

Finally, I have an invitation to return to Korea before the end of the year for a tour of several cities there. I will post more information about this as details come to hand.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Next Side-On gig

On Wednesday September 1st I'll be playing another gig at the Side-On Cafe in Sydney. This will be a trio gig with Ben Waples on bass (as usual). The drum chair will be filled by Hamish Stuart, who I haven't played with for too long! Hamish played on my CD Closer as well as the tours we did in the wake of its release in 2000.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Sydney Morning Herald review

Here is today's review in the Sydney Morning Herald of my trio's performance last Friday night with special guest Elana Stone.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

2am woo-hoo

Just got back from a great night. Side-On was booked out, band was hot, multiple encores. It is so good to play for a great singer. And Elana Stone certainly is that. These days I sometimes wonder in between gigs what it is all about........then.....BAM!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Down time

Have been settling in and catching up on correspondence backlog. Also getting ready for this Friday's performance at the Side-On Cafe which will feature vocalist Elana Stone. Have been falling asleep quite early - jet-lag takes a while to overcome sometimes. Nice review of the new CD from Germany came in this morning - I'll post a translation soon.