For just over 24 years I have been a freelance writer, publishing in that time a wide variety of genres: news items, live concert reviews, travel articles, features, personality profiles, and CD and book reviews. I have written for various in-flight magazines, The Adelaide Review, The Republican, The Bulletin, The Australian, The Advertiser, The Melbourne Herald Sun and several regional newspapers. In 1994 I won a national travel-writing prize sponsored by The Australian newspaper, which led to my writing regularly for that paper. Since 2003 I have been jazz critic for The Advertiser and The Australian newspapers, on average contributing weekly to each paper. In 2005 I won a national Jazz Writing Competition sponsored by the Wangaratta Jazz Festival.
In 1985 my then partner and I underwent a total sea change, moving to India to try and implement a business plan involving the acquisition and establishing of a small scale pensione, a scheme which ultimately failed to materialise, due to insurmountable problems with the Indian bureaucracy. At the same time our relationship deteriorated, and eventually in 1990 I returned alone to Australia. These major events in my life form the basis of my book What Westerners Have For Breakfast published in late 2013 by Transit Lounge Publishing.
I spent four years until 1993 managing Community Radio Station 4CCR.FM, Cairns, and then four more years managing another community station 8CCC.FM, Alice Springs where I met my present wife. In 1994 while at 8CCC.FM I was elected to the community radio peak national body, the Community Broadcasting Assn of Australia (CBAA). I had worked in commercial radio previously in the 1960s: announcing, copywriting, programming and scriptwriting for stations 2LT Lithgow, 2NM Muswellbrook and 2NX Newcastle.
Throughout the period from 1990 until 1997 I had numerous freelance articles published by The Cairns Post, Barfly Magazine and The Alice Springs News.
In 1997 we moved to my wife’s home town, Adelaide where we’ve happily lived ever since, and in 2003 I began writing for The Advertiser as a freelance music critic, and continue in that role. I was made Jazz Critic for The Australian in late 2003, a position I presently hold, and in addition I had been writing travel pieces, profiles and book reviews for The Australian since 1995.
John Clare was born at Maroubra Bay in 1940. He has written on diverse topics for most major Australian publications, including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian, The National Times and Nation Review, as well as Town and Queen magazines in England. His poetry has appeared in Poetry Australia and New Poetry and has been read on the ABC’s old Quality Street programme. He has published three books: Bodgie Dada: Australian Jazz Since 1945 (UNSW Press), Low Rent (Text) and Why Wangaratta?: Ten Years Of The Wangaratta Festival of Jazz (Victorian Tourist Bureau). John currently reviews books for The Sun-Herald and writes essays and reviews for SIMA.org.au
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.