New look Freedman finals for 2016

The Music Trust has announced three finalists for the prestigious 2016 Freedman Jazz Fellowship. This year’s contenders for the annual scholarship are drummer James McLean  and pianists Joe O’Connor and Luke Sweeting.

The finalists will now have the opportunity to compete for the $20,000 cash prize in a live performance ‘play-off’ at Freedman Jazz at the Sydney Opera House, with the winner to be announced on the night.

The finalists were judged in part on their proposed career enhancing project for which the prize money would be used.

Drummer James McLean has proposed to use the Fellowship award to establish five new duos with distinguished Australian artists. Their work will be compiled into an album and released. Collaborating artists would be Simon Barker (drums), Chris Hale (electric bass), Andrea Keller (piano), Gian Slater (vocal), and Scott Tinkler (trumpet).

We asked James what would it mean to you if you won The 2016 Freedman Fellowship?

Here is his answer. “There’s a couple of ways to answer this.  The first, and most direct, is that winning the fellowship would allow me to undertake my proposed project and collaborate with five of my favourite Australian artists to create some exciting new works.  More generally, as a drummer you tend to work a lot as a sideman, so whilst you might generate a positive reputation amongst musicians it’s difficult to translate that into a broader profile. I think winning an award like this would give my profile a huge boost and help create interest in future projects.”

Freedman awards to be held on Monday 1 August at 7:30pm.

The judges, distinguished jazz musician/composers Stu Hunter, Laurence Pike and Brendan Clarke selected the three finalists from a group of 16 national candidates. 

MORE INFO on the event and where to buy tickets