The Art Music Awards were announced tonight at the Plaza Ballroom in Melbourne, and included a number of fine Australian jazz musicians.
Jazz came to me via Kim Bonython on ABC radio when I was a teenager in Brisbane. It’s still a big part of my life more than fifty years later.
The judges, Chris Cody, Andrew Gander and 2003 Freedman Fellow Phil Slater, deliberated late into the night. In a group statement, they said of their decision ‘We had four very strong musical identities and it was a most difficult choice. In the end, we chose Aaron Choulai, a very exciting young musician, a risk-taker, a very clear musical personality. Aaron already has a great deal to offer and we are sure there is much more to come. We congratulate all the candidates. They make Australia a very strong country for jazz’
I leave them alone in the set break and write in my notebook ‘They make more of their own collective and individual history every time they do this.’ When I read it back the next day I wonder what the hell I was thinking.
The Wilfreds’ singing seems all the more urgent when it is riding atop a band that is in this state of what we might call restrained agitation. And it is this interplay that breeds that sense of mystery, where both parties are enriching the other’s tradition; when the Dreaming of the Yolngu people intermingles with Western flights of imagination; where any demarcation line between ritual and creativity is blown away in a sand-storm of sound.
Being a musician has helped build a stronger connection between the dancers and the musicians on stage at Latin gigs. People overseas are often surprised when I jump off stage at a Latin gig and bust out a few moves on the dance floor. I managed to convince a few dancers to visit jazz clubs and have new musical experiences.
I’ve been listening to improvised music for over a decade and I still don’t ‘get it’. Musical friends say I don’t need to ‘understand’. They say I just need to listen. Over the years, that’s exactly what I’ve learned to do. I’m always learning to do it again!
When I listen to music that has an important place in history I sometimes gaze out the window and feel the here and now more intensely, while also feeling myself in the time when this particular style emerged. I do the same with Haydn, Ornette Coleman and the Beatles. I’m not sure why, but it makes you feel very alive.
‘It was so hot in the studio one day, some musicians removed their pants to cool down. That would not happen in Melbourne.’
From the media release Featuring young up and coming musicians alongside members of the Australian Art Orchestra. With special guest for two concerts only US saxophonist George Garzone. Some […]