John Shand

John Shand is a playwright, author, journalist, critic and musician. He began writing about jazz in 1981, and has been The Sydney Morning Herald’s critic for over 21 years. He edited Jazz’n’Blues magazine and the 24 Hours Essential Guide to Jazz, contributed to The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz and wrote Jazz – The Australian Accent (UNSW Press).

John Shand is a playwright, author, journalist, critic and musician. He began writing about jazz in 1981, and has been The Sydney Morning Herald’s critic for over 21 years. He edited Jazz’n’Blues magazine and the 24 Hours Essential Guide to Jazz, contributed to The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz and wrote Jazz – The Australian Accent (UNSW Press).

Album review: On This Day (Omelette) by John Shand

You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs goes the saying, and the eggs that have gone into this Omelette are of two varieties: a love of grooves and a love of more ethereal improvisation. Setting the band apart is its occasional ability to whisk these two together. This has also been a defining attribute of guitarist Stephen Magnusson across the years, and here trombonist Jordan Murray, bassist Mark Shepherd and drummer Ronny Ferella prove they share these preoccupations on nine collectively-penned compositions.

Mark Isaacs – Serving the Melody

So by the time he turned 20 his palm was etched with a future as both player and composer, as jazz artist and classical. This puts Isaacs in a very select company – Don Banks, Bruce Cale, Phil Treloar, Mike Nock and Paul Grabowksy come to mind – of Australian artists whose work has been taken seriously in both idioms, and he sees the twin careers as being mutually beneficial.

Album review: The Monash Sessions (Vince Jones) by John Shand

what a brilliant idea it was to invite Jones to join the list of distinguished guest artists to record with students at Monash University’s Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music. What insights for those with the wit and empathy to understand that what was on the table was not a master-class in music or singing or anything so mundane. No this was much more important: a master-class in artistry, which is to say a lesson in life.

Album review: Crossing Roper Bar Vol. 2 (the Young Wagilak Group and AAO) by John Shand

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.