Month: August 2017

Peter Knight: I live in Melbourne’s inner west and the Way Out West music is a response to that neighbourhood

“If you want to actually follow the tradition of jazz, you have to respond to your story and the place that you live in. Jazz has always been questioning and curious and absorbing other influences. And this is one of the most exciting things about being an Australian musician, being surrounded by lots of different cultures”.

New digital project puts St Kilda’s jazz heritage on the map

From the ’20s to the ’60s, St Kilda venues ranged from grand ballrooms and dance halls to cabarets, coffee lounges and clubs. Some of the buildings were stunning examples of architecture, reflecting periods of Melbourne’s social and cultural wealth. They hosted major international artists of the era, as well as providing a hub to showcase local musicians and foster the emergence of new jazz styles.

Vincent Gardner & Belinda Munro: voices of a musical continuum

When Mercer Ellington decided to keep his father’s orchestra alive, after Duke Ellington’s demise, he chose the word ‘Continuum’ for the title of the outfit’s first post-Duke recording. This is the word that constantly comes to mind, when I think of Vincent Gardner and Belinda Munro, who are touring Australia these days.

Fem Belling: “The Royal Swazi Spa music is steeped in respect for the sound of oppression coming out of South Africa during the Apartheid”

“Performing a live stream at Nelson Mandela’s funeral was a poignant and emotional day for the Royal Swazi Spa. My first eligible election was South Africa’s 1994, first democratic election in years and I stood in a queue with the rainbow nation and cast my vote for Madiba. I am so honoured for this band to been part of his salute.”

The spirit of Alice Coltrane graces Melbourne

Has Alice Coltrane ever been more relevant? Maybe in the ’70s, when she set up on her own journey, practically inventing the harp as a jazz instrument, while creating her signature modal/spiritual jazz sound. Spiritual jazz is, of course, the sub-genre du jour, at the moment, largely thanks to the unbelievable popularity of Kamasi Washington, who owes much to the Coltranes. But any DJ worth their turntables have been pointing to Alice Coltrane for the past decade or more, discovering the worlds that exist in her intricate weavings and sonic textures.

Ellen Kirkwood & Sirens Big Band – [A]part: massive in every way

And that from anguish to giddy silliness, and everything in between is the scope of [A]part. It is a massive piece in every way: challenging to the ear and the mind, highly original (as we know Kirkwood to always be), often cerebral and abstract, all the time threatening to be too much to take in in one sitting. But what saves it from possible overwhelm is that Kirkwood never loses the emotional thread in the music; it is human music and it consistently makes you feel. Sometimes, as with all valid contemporary art, those feelings can be baffling or even plain uncomfortable, but you do feel them deeply.