It’s been a busy year for me with a large number of personal musical highlights, but I’ll try to whittle them down to five.
– Mike Nock
The Wayne Shorter Quartet at the Sydney Opera House in March with Brian Blade, John Patitucci and Danilo Perez was stunning on so many levels. Even though there were sound problems with drummer Brian Blade often obliterating the rest of the band (from where I was sitting anyway – perhaps largely due to an insensitive sound engineer) the incredible music they played more than compensated.
Then there was the Monday night Bennetts Lane gig, organised by Martin Jackson for the Melbourne International Jazz Festival, with Alan Browne, Sam Anning and myself. A magical and memorable night of spontaneous music-making, made all the more so by the knowledge that Sam was soon to be leaving Australia to take up permanent residence in the US.
Photo of Mike Nock and Sam Anning by Roger Mitchell. Read his blog post about this gig here >>>>
Opening with the Emma Franz film Intangible Asset #82 followed by an inspired Simon Barker drum improvisation, SIMA’S JAZZ VISIONS festival featured many great performances over its ten day season. Highlights included both Sydney-based and interstate musicians such as Andrea Keller, Shannon Barnett, Zac Hurren, Jeremy Rose plus US tenor saxophone master George Garzone.
The DVD of this film has just recently become available in Australia and Europe. Get your copy here >>>>
Playing the 2010 Tokyo Jazz Festival with my trio and a Tokyo version of my BigSmallBand with Phil Slater and Matt Ottignon plus two outstanding Japanese musicians altoist Ken Ota and trombonist Eijiro Nakagawa, also makes my top five list. A great week with many memorable experiences, musical and otherwise.
And last but not least, Wangaratta’s 21st birthday celebrations didn’t look that promising on paper but turned out to be one of the better years, with magical performances from many home-grown talents such as pianist Stu Hunter’s The Gathering and Jonathan Zwartz new ensemble. Belgian pianist Jef Neve Trio’s trio in the WPAC Theatre, also impressed me even though light on serious jazz content, but they had an interesting compositional approach and played with great energy and showmanship, really igniting the audience. Kurt Elling and band’s Sunday night show, was a consummate performance by four seasoned professionals at the top of their game. It was a perfect wind-up to three great days of creative music, showing again that Australian jazz hits way above its weight internationally. We are so fortunate to have the extraordinary level of musical talent we have in Australia and to have the Wangaratta festival to remind us of this annually.