A sneak peak into what inspires this year’s National Jazz awards finalists and where they are heading

JK: What has inspired you to date in your career?
JB: I’ve been super inspired by a lot of the amazing brass players surrounding us in Australia. Particularly Scott Tinkler, Paul Williamson, James Macaulay, Eugene Ball and Phil Slater. From a composition perspective I’ve been extremely influenced by Barney McAll, Andrea Keller and Arve Henriksen.

JK: Into the future what kind of music do you want to create?
JB: I’m really interested in creating new music with less conventional instrumentations and forms. I’ve recently recorded a piece of music for bass – less quartet (with cello). I’d like to continue composing music that takes influence from various idioms.

Josh Bennier (born Adelaide, 1995) is an improvising trombonist and composer. After completing a Diploma of Music at the Elder Conservatorium at the University of Adelaide in 2013, he moved to Melbourne to study at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University. Studying under Paul Williamson, Jordan Murray, James Macaulay and Robert Burke has been an invaluable experience for him. Josh was awarded the Marjorie Garner Orchestral Scholarship for Trombone in 2013 and has since been nominated for the Sir Zelman Cowen Vice-Chancellors scholarship twice. Josh won the Monash Jazz Conpisition Prize in 2017. Josh has also been privileged enough to be involved in the creation of the Australian Jazz Real Book site over the last two years by providing transcriptions for the site. Josh also spent two weeks in Tarraleah in 2017 taking part in the Australian Art Orchestras Creative Music Intensive.

One of his main ensembles is the ‘Josh Bennier Sextet’. The group exclusively performs Australian music, to share their passion for the country’s local artists. This sextet has been well-received by audiences at Uptown Jazz Cafe. Other projects include the ‘Pure Element Group’, a 4 piece contemporary ensemble featuring local musicians Nikki Edgar (Cello), Nick Kyritsis (Guitar) and Luke Andersen (Drums) and working on a series of duets with Nick Kyritsis. His latest project, ‘Josh Bennier’s Modular Group’, focuses on through-composed art music drawing inspiration from the jazz idiom.

He has performed and recorded with many musicians including Joe Lovano, Tomasz Stanko, Ben Monder, Mike Nock, Tony Gould, Paul Grabowsky, Barney McAll, Paul Williamson, Shannon Barnett, Stefan Schmid, Ed Partyka and David & Daniel Wilfred. Josh was privileged enough to record on 2016 Bell Award winner Niran Dasika’s project in collaboration with renowned composer Matuesz Gwizdalla entitled ‘Silver Letters’.



This year’s National Jazz Award finalists are Thomas Avgenicos · Josh Bennier · Niran Dasika · Simon Ferenci · James Macaulay · Ricki Malet · Eamon McNelis · Joe O’Connor · Alex Taylor · Patrick Thiele.
Jazz Australia feature story here
Link to Wangaratta Festival of jazz & blues – 3 – 5 November 2017 here