Alister is recognized as one of Australia’s most original, distinctive pianists/composers. With a performing and composing career spanning more than 25 years, his wide-ranging talents have led him to perform with and compose for some of the world’s most respected artists in the areas of contemporary music, improvisation, film and theatre.
In recent years he has devoted his energy to writing and performing with his trio, The Alister Spence Trio with Lloyd Swanton (the Necks) on double bass and Toby Hall (formerly with pianist, Mike Nock) drums and glockenspiel. This celebrated group has recorded five CDs (Rufus Records) and has a growing international reputation.
Their most recent CD, Far Flung (Rufus Records 2012) received a 4 star review in Jazz Journal (June 2013) and was listed in Critics Poll 2013 (January 2014). It was also listed in The WIRE 2013 Rewind – Critics’ reflections by Andy Hamilton as Album of the year. fit (Rufus Records 2009) was voted in the top 15 jazz/improv releases worldwide for 2009 by The Wire, UK. Both Mercury (Rufus Records 2006) and Flux (Rufus Records 2003) received ARIA nominations (Australian Record Industry Awards) for 2004, 2007. The trio toured in U.K and Canada in 2006 and Japan in 2008.
Since performing at The Vilnius Jazz Festival 2009, with bassist, Joseph Williamson (Tobias Delius Quartet, Alex Ward) and drummer, Chris Cantillo (Nils Berg Cinemascope, Lena Nyberg), Alister has returned to Europe and the UK on a regular basis to tour with this lineup. Also performing as a Quartet with saxophonist Raymond MacDonald (Marilyn Crispell, Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra).
Festival performances for the Trio include: Vilnius Jazz Festival 2009, Luminous Festival, Sydney Opera House curated by Brian Eno 2009, Tokyo Jazz Festival 2008, International Festival de Jazz de Montreal and Vancouver Jazz Festival 2006.
Alister is a founding member of Wanderlust and a long-standing member of The Australian Art Orchestra (AAO). Alister was also co-leader/composer with the internationally acclaimed group Clarion Fracture Zone for 15 years from 1990 – 2005.
His playing is featured on more than 30 CDs, many of which have either won or been nominated for Australian Record Industry (ARIA) Awards.
Over the years he has played with many of the finest musicians in Australia including Bernie McGann, Sandy Evans, Chris Abrahams, Don Burrows, Dale Barlow, Peter O’Mara, Tony Buck, Phillip Slater, Paul Capsis, Archie Roach and Ed Kuepper (The Laughing Clowns).
Alister has also performed with Satoko Fujii (Japan), Michiyo Yagi (Japan), Barre Phillips (US), Myra Melford (US), Mark Helias (US), Andy Sheppard (UK), Joe Williamson (SWE), Jim O’Rourke (Japan), Raymond MacDonald (Glasgow), Mark Helias (US), Karraikudi Mani (IND).
Over the last 20 years, Alister has toured extensively in Europe, Asia and Canada with The Alister Spence Trio, Clarion Fracture Zone, Wanderlust and AAO, and has performed radio broadcasts for ABC (Australia), BBC (UK), and WDR (Germany).
His talents as a composer are well known in Australia. As well as his own trio and Clarion Fracture Zone, Alister composes for Wanderlust and has been commissioned several times to write for The Australian Art Orchestra and Ten Part Invention.
The Necks are an experimental jazz trio from Sydney, comprising Chris Abrahams on piano and Hammond organ, Tony Buck on drums, percussion and electric guitar, and Lloyd Swanton on bass guitar and double bass. The band play improvisational pieces of up to an hour in length that explore the development and demise of repeating musical figures. The band’s 17th album Open was released in late 2013.
Their soundtrack for The Boys (1998) was nominated for ARIA Best Soundtrack Album, AFI Best Musical Score and Australian Guild of Screen Composers Award. They have also recorded soundtracks for What’s The Deal? (1997) and In the Mind of the Architect (three one-hour ABC-TV documentaries, 2000).
The band won two ARIA awards for the albums Drive By (2003) and Chemist (2006).
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
Described by ABC Jazz’s Mal Stanley as a talented young vocalist and pianist and ‘one to watch’, Frances is a classy young entertainer based in Sydney and performing at jazz clubs, festivals and other venues around the country.
Frances’ music is mostly original and jazz-oriented, although it also includes blues, bossa and covers of timeless classics.
While she’s been compared to a young Diana Krall and Norah Jones, Frances captivates her audiences with a combination of her genuinely warm stage presence as well as a voice and style that is uniquely her own. She is also a talented and engaging original composer so when she performs her own swinging tunes and beautiful ballads, they merge seamlessly with the standards she covers.
As jazz legend James Morrison said “Frances has a wonderful feeling for jazz and blues standards but what makes her a real stand-out are her original songs and her unique style.” Matt Bailey, Presenter of Jazz Vibes on Fine Music 102.5 FM said “Frances’ music is a river of original and heartfelt material, truly a creative force not just in the jazz idiom, but as a genuine contemporary songwriter.”
Frances’ regular band includes some of Sydney’s most talented young jazz musicians as well as a few old hands. With Frances on vocals and piano, the band normally includes double bass, drums, guitar, tenor sax, trumpet and backing vocals. Changes in tempo and in the combinations of people on stage – from Frances performing ballads solo to the whole band swinging together – give her live shows nuance and variety.
Frances’ album ‘If this Were a Dream’ debuted at #5 on the ARIA Jazz Album charts and has sold steadily since. John McBeath, Jazz Critic for ‘The Australian’ newspaper said “the new album by Frances Madden impressed me more than most debut albums do. Frances has an individual expressive ability, a musical professionalism, a good feel for swing in jazz and she plays fine piano . . .”
Frances’ performances include pro bono and charity work. In 2014 she performed in Mexico for a Susila Dharma International benefit concert and she performed to support the 2015 Tour de Cure here in Australia.
More information and contact details can be found at http://www.francesmadden.com
One of Australia’s most accomplished and internationally recognised jazz artists, Dale was a member of legendary American groups The Cedar Walton Quartet, and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, two of the greatest training grounds for young musicians in jazz history.
Widely recognised as an inspiring, virtuosic and original Tenor saxophonist/ composer, he is also an accomplished flautist/bass clarinettist/ arranger and pianist. As a composer he has written for large and small ensemble, film, theatre and television, and recorded extensively.
His credits include touring and recording with some of the all-time greats: Sonny Stitt, Chet Baker, Gil Evans, Jackie McLean, Billy Cobham, Curtis Fuller, Eddie Palmieri, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Golson, Lee Konitz, Sonny Stitt, Helen Merryl, Mulgrew Miller, Cindy Blackman, Ernie Watts, Eddie Henderson, Kenny Barron, Ray Drummond, Billy Higgins, Cedar Walton and, of course the original Jazz Messenger, Art Blakey.
After completing his musical studies at the NSW conservatorium, Dale moved to New York to further hone his musical skills and be part of the greatest Jazz scene in the world. He studied saxophone with George Coleman and Dave Liebman, piano with Barry Harris and Hal Galper, and won a scholarship to study at the “Jazz composers workshop” with Bob Brookmeyer and Manny Album. During this time he worked the New York Scene and toured the world constantly, performing regularly at major jazz festivals throughout the USA., Canada, Europe, Japan, Asia and the Soviet Union, and recording with many of the great Jazz Artists.
Since returning to Australia, Dale has received numerous awards and accolades including: Album of the Year/ Jazz performer of the year/ International Artist of the Year/ Bicentennial Artist of the Year, four Mo Awards and numerous grants and credits for his for his achievements and contribution to the arts In Australia. Dale is a Master of Music (Canberra University), appears regularly on television and enjoys excellent media attention.
The Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra (JMO) is Australia’s leading jazz orchestra and has gained a reputation as one of the world’s most respected independent Jazz Orchestra’s since its inception in 2003. The JMO has strived to re-define excellence with our position at the zenith of Jazz orchestral composition and improvisation in Australia, through the presentation of two concert seasons per year featuring leading international/domestic artists, sublime guest soloists plus the running of our annual Jazz orchestral composition Competition and the release of world class recordings of original music.
The Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra was nominated as Australian Jazz Ensemble of the Year 2006, 2007 & 2009. Via commissions and a semi-annual composition competition, the Orchestra has fostered and furthered jazz orchestra writing in Australia, recording and premiering works by Australians such as vocalist-songwriter Kristin Berardi, and composers Steve Newcomb, Sean Wayland, David Panichi, Mace Francis, Ross Irwin, Andy Fiddes and more. In recent years, with the assistance of the Australia Council and the support of Australia’s major jazz festivals, the Orchestra has collaborated with international artists Maria Schneider (USA), Darcy James Argue (USA), Chris Potter (USA), Jim McNeely (USA), Dave Lisik (USA/NZ), Bob Sheppard & Alex Sipiagin (USA), Bert Joris (BE), Charles Tolliver (USA) and John Hollenbeck & Theo Bleckmann (USA).
Musically this ensemble represents many of the finest young improvisers Australia has to offer, and features original music from Australia’s most dynamic and creative large ensemble composers all packaged into one exciting super-ensemble. The Mothership’s members have dominated Australia’s top prizes over the last decade including 10 x National Jazz Award Finalists (including 3 winners), 4 x Freedman Fellows (including 2 winners), 2 x Australian Jazz Artist’s of the Year (Bell awards), James Morrison Scholarship Winners, a finalist in the International Thelonius Monk Trumpet Competition plus a finalist at the Hoolieart International Jazz Competition (Belgium).
The music of the mothership can best be defined as exciting, dynamic and highly original with most of its youthful members (average age 29) being drawn from one of the world’s most innovative musician’s collective’s, Sydney’s Jazzgroove Association. The Orchestra has released four critically acclaimed CD’s ‘The Mothership plays the music of Mike Nock’ (2006) ‘Dream Wheel’ (2007) The Mothership meets Kristin Berardi (2010) and Walkabout (2012) featuring Bob Sheppard and Alex Sipiagin.
It is undeniable that the Mothership Orchestra is the most consolidated assemblage of highly respected jazz talent in Australia. The Mothership’s 17 members include 10 National Jazz Award Finalists (including 5 winners), 4 Freedman Fellows (including 2 winners), a James Morrison Scholarship Winner, a finalist in the International Thelonius Monk Trumpet Competition and a finalist at the Hoolieart International Jazz Competition. Together the Mothership holds 5 Masters Degrees and 20 undergraduate degrees in Music and other disciplines from the Australian National University and University of Sydney. The musicians of the Mothership have released over 20 CDs as bandleaders.
The Vampires formed in 2004, while its four members were studying at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Beginning with aparent influences such Charlie Parker, Bernie McGann and Ornette Coleman, the band has incorporated the compositions of Garbett and Rose to find a style drawing from Afro-Carribean and South American grooves, and more open improvisation within these grooves, in their original material. The group featured the uncannily natural combination of the two horn players and composers, Nick Garbett (trumpet) and Jeremy Rose (alto saxophone) and the well established and like-minded rhythm section team of Alex Boneham (double bass) and Alex Masso (drums).
The band has enjoyed success from their four critically acclaimed albums South Coasting (Jazzgroove Records), Chellowdene, Garfish, and Tiro, as well as extensive touring and festival appearances over the past eight years, performing at every major jazz festival in Australia as well as the Sydney Opera House. The band features award winning saxophonist/composer Jeremy Rose (2009 Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year, 2012/2013 Freedman Jazz Finalist) trumpeter/composer Nick Garbett, bassist, Alex Boneham (2012 Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year), and drummer/percussionist Alex Masso.
The Vampires’ music builds on the rich history of piano-less jazz quartets with a unique twist, adopting reggae, balkan, afrobeat and latin rhythms in unexpected ways. The dual saxophone and trumpet melodic lines have a strong sense of dialogue and emotional range – from exciting to soothing. The band draws on many influences, but have been compared to the likes of early Ornette Coleman, the Catholics, Bob Marley and John Zorn/Dave Douglas’ Masada.
The Vampires toured Germany in April 2014 and from only eight places The Vampires were selected from over 321 applications from 33 countries for the prestigious Jazzahead 2014 showcase.
“Played with verve, high ability and inspiration, The Vampires have produced another distinguished album.”
**** – 4/5 stars – The Australian
John Hardaker is a Sydney musician, graphic designer and writer. He writes on music in order to peer deeper into its mysteries. His blog is at wordsaboutmusic.wordpress.com