Stephen Magnusson is considered one of Australia’s most accomplished, versatile and distinct musicians with incredible technique and an astoundingly beautiful tone. His hectic schedule shows that he is a delight to work with and someone that has ‘something to say’ in the world of improvised music.
He was given his first ukulele at 3, his first guitar at 6 and began performing at 10 on an electric guitar that he loaned from his schoolteacher. At 13, he started to study under the guidance of Gordon Pendleton at the Box Hill Tafe and discovered the world of improvised music.
In 1986, he studied at the esteemed Victorian College of the Arts under the supervision of some of Australia’s finest musicians – Tony Gould, Bob Sedergreen and Mike Doyle. Here he expanded his practice regime and playing. He joined various bands playing numerous styles and developed an understanding of different methods. But, his main focus remained, to develop and hone the craft of mastering the guitar.
He travelled to Europe and lived there and after being appointed on the staff at The Academy of Contemporary Music (Zurich) in 1997, Stephen met his long time collaborator – Sergio Beresovsky. They began to perform regularly with Swedish bassist – Bjorn Meyer and in the July of the same year, Australian saxophonist Julien Wilson travelled to meet and play with the trio. After the first week of playing, they formed SNAG and produced a self-titled album (released in Australia ‘Hey Guess What’).
After 3 years of living in Zurich, Stephen returned to Melbourne in August 2000. He entered the National Jazz Award at Wangaratta Jazz and Blues Festival, were he tied for first place amongst much controversy. At this festival he performed with his trio featuring Sergio and Eugene Ball. This recorded result is captured on the CD ‘Healing Songs’.
He has worked with many artists including Charlie Haden, Meshell Ndegeocello, Ricki Lee Jones, Sinead O’Connor, John Cale, Gurrumul Yunupingu, Paul Grabowsky, Vince Jones, Katie Noonan, Lisa Young, Christine Sullivan, Michelle Nicole, Martin Breeze, The Assumptions Trio, Megan Washington, Paul Kelly, Jim Black, Mike Nock, Barney McAll, Enrico Rava, Arthur Blythe and many others. As a part of the Katie Noonan trio Elixir, the ensemble won the ARIA for Best Jazz Album in 2011.
In 2013, Stephen was awarded the Melbourne Prize for Outstanding Musician, and the Australian Jazz Bell Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album with his quartet MAGNET (with Carl Pannuzzo, Eugene Ball and Sergio Beresovsky).
Stephen is currently concentrating on writing for his duo Boundaries with Frank DiSario, and trio MAG featuring DiSario and Dave Beck. He will also be completing the second release from MAGNET, SOM.
James was born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1974. After working with the cream of Adelaide’s jazz and rock musicians James relocated to Sydney in the summer of 1996, where he quickly became one of the most in-demand guitarists in the country.
He has played and/or recorded with Vince Jones, James Morrison, Dale Barlow, Mike Nock, Renee Geyer, Bernie McGann, Don Burrows, Mark Isaacs, Steve Hunter and Scott Tinkler as well as international artists Chad Wackerman, Bill Stewart, Vinnie Colaiuta, Maria Schneider, , Donny McCaslin, Bob Sheppard, Matt Pendman and Jochen Rueckert.
James was co-winner of the National Jazz Awards in 2000, held at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival and in 2001 won two Mo awards for best jazz instrumentalist and best jazz group.
James won an APRA award for most performed jazz work 2003, and also the 2004 Freedman Fellowship (Jazz).
George Golla AM (born 10 May 1935 in Chorzów, Poland) is an Australian jazz guitarist who commenced a long-term working musical partnership with clarinetist/flautist/saxophonist Don Burrows in 1959 that continued for almost forty years.
On 10 June 1985, Golla was made a Member of the Order of Australia, For service to music. In 1987, The George Golla Orchestra won the inaugural ARIA Fine Arts Award category of ‘Best Jazz Album’ for Lush Life.
He toured frequently throughout Australia and at times with international guest support artists such as vibraphonist Gary Burton in the early 1970s. He has had a long association with Brazilian musicians including Luis Bonfa and extensive performance of and many recordings of Latin American-/Brazilian- influenced jazz, including the acclaimed Bonfa Burrows Brazil (The Orchard).
He appeared at both the Montreux Jazz Festival and Newport Jazz Festival in 1972, and has performed at many Australian festivals. He is a frequent contributor at the annual Frankston International Guitar Festival.
Golla continues to perform in and around Sydney where he resides, touring interstate and internationally and recording. He has appeared at many workshops locally, nationally and overseas
Burrows was born in Sydney in 1937, a visiting flute virtuoso and teacher, Victor McMahon, played and inspired Burrows to take up the flute. By 1942 Burrows had taken up clarinet. He became well known in Sydney jazz circles and was playing in dance halls, nightclubs and radio bands.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Burrows was one of the best-known jazz musician in Australia and had many engagements in Australia and the United States.
In 1973 Burrows received the first gold record for an Australian jazz musician for his record Just the Beginning, started the first jazz studies program in the southern hemisphere, at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music (under the direction of Rex Hobcroft) and was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). In 1979 he was appointed Chair of Jazz Studies at the Sydney Conservatorium.
Burrows hosted the nationally televised show The Don Burrows Collection for six years. He has an extensive recording career in his own right with his groups and has performed on many more albums with other artists.
In the 1980s, Burrows was associated closely with the then young James Morrison.
Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), 1973
Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), 1987
Life member of the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, 1988
Inducted into the ARIA Music Awards Hall of Fame, 1991
Named one of the Australian Living Treasures, 1989, 1999
Sir Bernard Heinze Award, for his service to Australia, 2000
Honorary Doctorate in Music, Sydney University, 2000
Honorary Doctorate in Music, Edith Cowan University, Perth, 2001
Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music, Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) Awards of 2004
Honorary Doctorate in Education, Central Queensland University, 2004
Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977)
Inducted into the Australian jazz Bell Awards Hall of Fame, 2007
Australia’s leading jazz vocalist, Vince Jones, is also an interpreter and composer of songs in a contemporary jazz style. Vince Jones also plays trumpet and over the years his style has developed a distinctive reserve and subtlety.
Born in Glasgow, Vince and his family came to live in Australia when he was 11 years old. He grew up in Wollongong, NSW, listening to his musician father’s collection of great jazz albums, and the feel, style and essence of the music became a natural part of Vince’s world. At 20, Vince began playing the club circuit in Melbourne.
Vince’s first album Watch What Happens, released in 1981, was a quiet, strong statement – showcasing his vocal and songwriting talent in tandem with stylish accompaniment. A loyal following developed and with each album and tour the Australian audience grew. Through the 1990s Vince Jones and his band found success on the European circuit making an impression on reviewers, audiences and promoters.
Jones uses his voice as an expressive instrument and the lyric as a vehicle for story and comment.
In late 1999, Vince’s twelfth CD – ‘Vince Jones Live‘ – was released. Recorded at The Basement in Sydney.
“The sonic quality here is remarkable for a live album . . . it’s a mystery that Jones isn’t a household name.” Rolling Stone “Vince Jones is living proof that independence is not about genres …. He’s a soulful survivor, with a voice as cool as a long G&T and a repertoire that balances jazz, rock and soul.” Beat Magazine ”
Samuel Cottell is freelance jazz journalist and writer based in Sydney. He currently writes for several jazz publications and is completing a PhD researching the music of Tommy Tycho, at Sydney University. When he is not writing about jazz he plays piano and writes music arrangements.
Matt McMahon is a pianist/keyboardist /composer based in Australia. He leads his own groups and co-leads “Band of Five Names” with Phil Slater and Simon Barker. Matt won the national Jazz award in 1999, and the Freedman Jazz Fellowship for 2005. He has played/recorded with Dale Barlow, Greg Osby, Phil Slater, Joe Tawadros, Katie Noonan, Vince Jones, Bobby Previte, Dave Panichi, Steve Hunter, Jazzfolk, Guy Strazz etc, and played concerts and festivals throughout Australia and Asia.
Matt will be releasing his first solo album in 2015. He will also be presenting Part II of the Paths & Streams project, for which he was awarded the Freedman Jazz Fellowship.
H released his second album, Ellipsis, with his trio – Jonathan Brown on the bass and Simon Barker on the drums, playing mostly his pieces. The Sydney Morning Herald said “after about 15 years on the scenehe released his first solo album, “Paths and Streams”, .It was one of the half-dozen best releases of 2006. Now “Ellipsis, the first release by his long term trio finally emerges and it is stunning… the music is as good as any current piano-trio jazz.” John Shand