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.
“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.”
“My most recent journey is that into motherhood, after my son Alfred joined us in January, so I’m going to say the incredible Burt Bacharach ballad, ‘Alfie’. The lyrics are really beautiful, when you consider singing them to a new baby.”
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.
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.
Jonathan Dimond said, “Tripataka is the playing field, the tester of protypes, and the practical vehicle that balances the theoretic research into the nexus between Western and intercultural composition and improvisation that I have been exploring since my earliest years of music-making.”
Slater’s voice is a perfect choice for the Trio and Stephenson’s songs. Bell-clear, it is a fluid thing, like smoke or drifting water, avoiding any grating blues edges or forced earthiness. It is this instrumental quality a hallmark of all valid jazz singing that fits so neatly with the modern angles and curves of Stephenson’s compositions
Legendary jazz drummer and bandleader John Pochee OAM will receive the Distinguished Services to AustralianMusic honour at the 2017 Art Music Awards on Tuesday 22 August.
Blow the man down uses the traditional Lieder opera style to explore themes of loneliness, longing and the miraculous mundanity of human existence. Hues gift for perceptively illuminating the everyday, combined with Olivers heartfelt and fully alive singing, makes for a show that is a rare and shining experience.
“The Uptown success story really is the success story of the Melbourne jazz and improvised music scene itself. The original motivation to open a jazz club, after moving back here from New York City, was because of the incredibly high level of playing that I knew Melbourne (and Australia) always had. Also, to try to catch that particular sound that is unique to us here, which I don’t think the New Yorkers quite get.”