22 June 1937 – 17 September 2013
was an alto saxophonist. He began his career in the late 1950s and remained active as a performer, composer and recording artist until near the end of his life.
From Sydney, McGann first came to prominence as part of a loose alliance of modern jazz musicians who performed at the El Rocco Jazz Cellar, Sydney in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
He led the Bernie McGann Trio and Bernie McGann Quartet through his career. The most well-known lineup of the Trio was McGann (alto sax), John Pochee (drums), Lloyd Swanton (bass), with the addition of Warwick Alder (trumpet) in the quartet. However in his latter years, his regular quartet featured Andrew Dickeson (drums), Brendan Clarke (bass) and Warwick Alder (trumpet).
Read Bernie’s obituary from The Australian
• 1974 – Founding member of The Last Straw (jazz group).
• 1980–82 – Played support to US jazz artists, including Freddie Hubbard, Lester Bowie, and Dave Liebman.
• 1981 – Played and recorded with US saxophonist Sonny Stitt.
• 1983 – Studied in New York on a grant from The Australia Council.
• 1986 – Bernie McGann Trio toured Australia with US saxophonist Dewey Redman.
• 1987 – Toured with The Last Straw to Tasmania. Recorded two albums, one trio and one quartet, for Emanem which received critical acclaim internationally
• 1988 – Toured Australia and USA with the Australian Jazz Orchestra, a special Bicentennial project. Feature artist in award-winning documentary film Beyond El Rocco. The Last Straw tour of New Zealand jazz festivals with an Australia Council international touring grant. Bernie McGann Trio played at London’s famous Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, before touring jazz festivals in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, India and Malaysia.
• 1989 – Solo artist at Auckland’s Jazz & Blues Festival. Appeared with The Last Straw at the prestigious Montreal Jazz Festival in Canada. Performed with Nat Adderley
• 1990 – Toured USSR with The Last Straw, performing to enthusiastic audiences at jazz festivals including Leningrad
• 1992 – ARIA award for Bernie McGann Trio CD ‘Ugly Beauty’, Spiral Scratch MO Award for Bernie McGann Trio in Jazz Group of the Year
• 1993 – Toured Canadian Jazz Festivals
• 1994 – Australian Mo Awards for Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year.
• 1995 – ARIA award for Bernie McGann Trio CD ‘McGann McGann’ on Rufus Records, which featured McGann originals
• 1996 – Toured Canada and Europe including Northsea Jazz Festival and Munchener Klaviersummer.
• 1997 – Bernie McGann Trio appeared at the Chicago Jazz Festival. ARIA award for Bernie McGann Trio CD Playground (Rufus Records).
• 1998 – Wins the Don Banks Music Award, the first time it has been awarded to a non-classical musician/composer. Launch of biography Bernie McGann: A Life in Jazz by Geoff Page (Kardooraire Press)