20Up sees the AAO return to the place of its first concert: the Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne. A total of twenty-five musicians will perform a range of works from Ringing the Bell Backwards, the first work written for the AAO by Founding AD Paul Grabowsky which premiered at Malthouse in 1994; Passion, which is the AAO’s take on Bach’s St Matthew Passion; Testimony, Sandy Evans’ extraordinary tribute to Charlie Parker; Struttin’, Eugene Ball’s impressionistic take on Louis Armstrong, and a brand new commission from young composer, Austin Buckett called Virtuoso Pause.
An exceptional album. Their previous album Moments In Time had a folkish feel to it. This one is different; it tells a story, a tale of collaboration between different cultures, South American and Asian, Middle Eastern and European, a blend of jazz, world music, pop and a bit of R&B. The result: a multi-layered cultural mix that can only be Australian
The Art Music Awards were announced tonight at the Plaza Ballroom in Melbourne, and included a number of fine Australian jazz musicians.
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.
Concepts aside, one of Grabowsky’s most significant contributions to creative music has been to popularise the pooling of players from different Australian states. Common enough in the 1960s, the practice had waned until Grabowsky did it with the Wizards of Oz, the band he co-formed with saxophonist Dale Barlow in 1986.
From the media release The Australian Art Music Awards finalists have been announced. Among them (of course) are a number of Australian jazz musicians and organisations … Award for Excellence in Jazz Alister Spence and Myra Melford for Everything Here Is Possible Andrea Keller for the creation, release and presentation of three contemporary jazz projects …
Just as the album’s title is both brooding and punning, so the music is in a constant flux of what, were it writing, we would call ‘tone’. Grabowsky can seem to create a pastiche of an idiom out of which a deep truth will grow in the improvising, while a more solemn-sounding piece will spawn sly asides and dramatic jolts from the players, or perhaps contain an unexpectedly curdled harmony.
This is Williamson’s eighth album since 2001’s wonderfully-named Non-Consensual Head Compression and, as well as being an obvious evolutionary step, it is a beautiful thing.
Scott Tinkler Quartet at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, Melbourne on April Fools Day, 2005
Archie Roach joins the Australian Art Orchestra for Passion at the Melbourne Recital Centre, March 2009. Soloists: Piano – Paul Grabowsky, Voice – Archie Roach