Chris Cody is one of Australia’s foremost jazz pianists and has performed and recorded around the world. He began his musical career as a classical pianist in Australia, after being a finalist in the Roger Woodward Piano Scholarship at the age of 14. He gained a Bachelor’s Degree in music from the University of Sydney, and the Licentiate of Trinity College, London, with high distinction, for classical piano performance. He performed solo and chamber music at venues including the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Town Hall.
His musical versatility found expression in a wide variety of work situations, and he began to play with some of Australia’s leading jazz musicians such as James Morrison and Don Burrows. He played and composed for numerous musical productions in Sydney, worked with conductor Simone Young, and also wrote and directed the popular jazz cabaret 31 Celestial Flavors, that enjoyed repeat sell-out seasons in Sydney. He formed his own jazz quartet playing in local clubs, festivals and for Australian television and radio.
After gaining the Diploma in Jazz Studies at the Sydney Conservatorium and the Jazz Action Society Award for Best Jazz Composition in 1989, he left Australia to perform and tour in the USA and throughout Europe with international stars including Roy Hargrove, Antonio Hart, Sunny Murray, Herb Geller, Stephano di Battista, Frank Lacey, Graham Haynes, Rhoda Scott, Marcel Azzola and Yves Robert. Cody recorded with numerous artists before forming his own highly successful group in Paris – the Chris Cody Coalition – and recording his debut album in 1996, released to international acclaim.
Returning to Australia in 1997, he performed at Australia’s leading jazz venues and festivals including The Basement, Bennett’s Lane, Manly and Wangarratta Jazz Festivals. He formed an Australian version of the Cody Coalition featuring Sydney’s finest jazz musicians and recorded the CD Oasis on Naxos Jazz, receiving glowing tributes from press around the world. Cody was a regular guest on radio programs, including Jazztrack, ABC FM, the 2BL Morning and Afternoon Shows, and The Planet (ABC). Chris Cody taught at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in the Bachelor of Music program, as well as giving masterclasses at universities and conservatoriums around Australia, including the University of Sydney and the Australian Institute of Music. He also co-founded and directed the Sydney School of Piano. His music was selected for the in-flight jazz programs of several international airlines including Qantas. Chris also wrote music for theatre and cinema and appeared performing in the film Dr Jazz at the Sydney Film Festival. Chris was a featured guest and performer on numerous TV and radio programs around the world including France 2, Bernard Pivot, ABC TV and SBS TV. He hosted his own jazz radio program in Sydney, Dr. Cody‘s Hip Transplants and in his spare time was a surf lifesaver at Bronte Beach.
Since his return to France in 2000, Cody has performed at numerous clubs and festivals around France as well as in England, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Cuba, Austria, Algeria, Morocco, and Sweden. He was commissioned to compose and perform a suite of pieces for the inauguration of the Australian Music Centre in Paris and also composed and recorded the music for the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Moliere’s Don Juan at the Sydney Opera House. He has recently performed and recorded his own compositions for Radio France, France Culture, France Musique, ABC and SBS TV, and has been a featured guest of Claude Carrière’s national program Jazz Club on France Musique. He has also worked as a regular collaborator with the psycho-acoustic research team at IRCAM, Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics and Music.
Chris Cody recorded a new CD Midnight Tide (Cristal/Harmonia Mundi), with top American trombonist Glenn Ferris, released to international acclaim in 2003, and recently released Conscript (Nocturne, France), also with Glenn Ferris, receiving further accolades from press around the world. He continues to perform and record at major clubs and festivals throughout Europe and Australia at the head of his own group and as pianist with other leading ensembles.
His recent work includes performing for festivals in Marciac, Munich, Derry, Stockholm, Paris Quarters d’Ete, Melbourne, and Sydney. He has co-produced a documentary, “Paris Ville de Musique”, on music in France for Australian television, and has written the music for various short films and theatre, as well as creating and performing music for the American Academy of Dance Paris. Chris Cody most recently received a US Department of State Federal Award to tour Algeria and is currently preparing a new album of his recent compositions.
Cody’s music reveals not only his deep love of the jazz and classical traditions, but also the influence of contemporary French and African musicians he has encountered in Paris, and its warmth, sense of space and humour touch a wide and diverse public around the world.