Sunday, May 29, 2005

Upcoming Sydney performance - new project

Coming up soon is the debut of my latest Sydney-based jazz project. It's a trio with bassist Ben Waples and, in a brand new collaboration, an exciting young drummer on the scene, James Hauptmann. It will also be my debut at Sydney's new jazz venue and SIMA home, the Sound Lounge at the Seymour Centre.

Date: Saturday June 11
Time: 8:30pm-11:00pm
Place: The Sound Lounge at the Seymour Centre, cnr. City Rd & Cleveland St, Chippendale. (Box Office 9351 7940)
Admission: $14, $11 students, jazzgroove members, $10 sima members. (Plus booking fee)

This new project will be in some ways a development of the Keeping the Standards trio project, but this time though still not originals it will not really be "standards" either as I plan to interpret tunes not usually identified as jazz standards, in particular by 60s and 70s songwriters such as James Taylor, Simon & Garfunklel, Roberta Flack, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Webb, Henry Mancini, Lennon/McCartney. I also plan to focus exclusively on lyrical, introspective pieces (although it often builds in the improvising) so that this special project has an overall consistent conceptual mood. In the few days following this performance we will record the concept for broadcast and eventual CD release at the ABC's Sydney studios.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Brisbane Powerhouse Festival

Media release for the Cool Nights, Hot Jazz festival that I am curating (and performing in) at the Brisbane Powerhouse August 5-7.

Back in Sydney

The rest of Bangkok continued to be blast, with bass player Eldee Young wanting to network me into playing in his home town of Chicago, that would be nice! Since being home on Monday I have hit the ground running with the first of three lectures I am delivering at Sydney University on jazz harmony completed yesterday, followed by a media interview for a feature to be published in a major national arts magazine. I am now about to launch into repertoire preparation and rehearsals for my new jazz trio project which will debut at Sydney's new jazz venue, the Sound Lounge at the Seymour Centre on Saturday June 11 to be followed by a CD recording at the ABC. Next week the trio is playing for the launch of the Sydney Dance Company's new season and I will also be involved in deliberations as a judge for the jazz Freedmans.

Friday, May 20, 2005

First day in Bangkok

Yesterday morning I did a workshop at a big Bangkok music school, they decided I was too experienced for their students so I gave a workshop to the teachers! It went very well.

Last night was my concert at the Residence of the Australian Ambassador to Thailand , in the Australian Embassy compound. The security at the Australian Embassies in Asia is now rigorous since the Jakarta Embassy was bombed and there was a foiled attempt in Singapore. Islamic separatism is very strong in Southern Thailand. Where the compounds used to be fairly open there are now double iron gates with mass security. Even though I was picked up at my hotel by an Embassy car with a Thai Embassy driver, upon arrival at the Embassy our vehicle was descended on by 4 security guards with long poles that had huge round mirrors on the end. These were used to inspect under the vehicle for a car bomb. It was rather disconcerting to have a vehicle I had been sitting in for 45 minutes be inspected in this way. Probably I was at the highest risk anywhere in my travels while at the Australian Embassy or travelling in their vehicles.

I played a 45 minute solo program of standards including less usual choices like Sounds of Silence, Loch Lomond and Norwegian Wood and it went very well sparking many invitations to return. The performance setting was beautifully presented with a wonderful acoustic, and an audience of invited cultural and diplomatic VIPs.

The Australian Ambassador himself is a serious jazz fan, a lovely man who casually informed me that his previous posting before coming to Thailand as Ambassador in December was as Head of the Australian Task Force in Iraq right through the recent war and its aftermath. There was our military commander in Iraq and he was head of all civilian operations.

At dinner afterwards I was seated with the Ambassador and his wife, the Canadian Ambassador to Thailand and one of the 16 Privy Councilors who are the civil representatives of His Majesty the King of Thailand. The latter, an elderly, delightful and distinguished Thai gentleman who is one of the King's right hand men sat next to me. He plays trumpet and writes arrangements for the King. The King is renowned as a jazz lover and a player of jazz (clarinet and sax), who also composes tunes. The Privy Councillor told me that the beloved King (also quite elderly) plays every Saturday night from 1am to 4am leading a big band, even at his age. Rather foolishly I asked "Where does His Majesty perform?" and the Privy Councillor answered "Why, in his Palace". I guess when you are King you don't have to go to your gig, the musicians come to you! The Privy Councillor was actually educated at Oxford where he read Law, he spoke beautiful English as did his wife. His main job (music is his pastime) is to look after the King's private investments. We spoke about poetry and literature and music, a very special evening.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

London to Bangkok

Leaving Istanbul was dramatic, I managed to get completely ripped off by a taxi driver who switched banknotes by sleight of hand and extorted an extra $40 from me. In all the confusion I left my coat in his taxi too, so he had a productive morning! Oh well, if this is the worst that happens while travelling as much as I do one is doing quite well.

My 24 hours in London was great (although cold without my coat and no time to buy new one). I met up with dear friend UK vocalist Jane Christie whose new CD is being programmed into Michael Parkinson's jazz program on BBC Radio, which has millions of listeners. We had a meeting with an agent about setting up a UK tour together down the track.

I am now in Bangkok enjoying the luxury of the Sheraton where I am playing on Friday and Saturday nights with ex-Ramsey Lewis Trio bassist/vocalist Eldee Young and drummer (excellent according to Eldee).

Monday, May 16, 2005

Life's tough on the road....

With the lovely Bucharest guides

Saturday, May 14, 2005


I've been in Istanbul since Thursday. A really amazing place to be. I have a lovely hotel overlooking the water, half the city is in Europe and half is in Asıa. The food is wonderful and most importantly the Nardis club where I am playıng is a great jazz club, the only one in Turkey! I have a two-night season and last night went really well, good musicians and a really responsıve audience.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Bucharest, Romania is a pretty wild and crazy town. Been here 2 days and riding the subway with confidence. The International Music Festival Jeunesses Musicales Bucharest is a huge affair. I have some gigs with Australian jazz singer James Flynn with a Polish rhythm section and a solo concert. Lovely high school girls on work experience as our guides, great food, wonderful musicians! Off to Turkey on Thursday.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Freedman Judge

I am honoured to be one of the three judges for the 2005 Freedman Fellowship for jazz. The classical and jazz Freedmans are the major music prizes in Australia for under-35 artists working at an international standard. They offer a substantial cash prize as well promotional assistance and career building consultation. Past winners include classical guitarist Karin Schaupp, recordist Genevieve Lacy, trumpeter Phil Slater and guitarist James Muller.