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.
The Darren Heinrich Trio is a classic Hammond Organ combo – Organ/Guitar/Drums. The music’s emphasis is groove, with equal parts tradition and innovation. Original music by Darren forms a significant part of the band’s repertoire in addition to standards and blues.
Darren Heinrich – Organ
Sam Rollings – Guitar
Tim Firth – Drums
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).
Kristin Berardi, originally from the country town of Koumala in North Queensland, is a one of Australia’s first calls when it comes to Jazz Singing. Her accolades include winning the Montreux Jazz Festival’s International Vocal Competition in 2006, supporting Al Jarreau and George Benson at Montreux Jazz Festival 2007, winning the National Freedman Fellowship 2007, receiving two National Australian Bell Awards for the Best Jazz Vocal Album for 2010& 2012, and most recently winnning the the National Jazz Award for Voice at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival (2012), and being one of five finalists in this year’s APRA Professional Development Awards for Jazz (2013).
She studied in Brisbane, at the Conservatorium of Music, with Irene Bartlett. She has released numerous albums, including her two Bell Award winning albums – the duo album, with the incredible Australian/NZ guitarist James Sherlock “If you were There”, and “Kristin Berardi meets the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra”. She also has her self titled band album on the Jazzhead label featuring all Berardi orginal works. She has successfully completed tours in Europe and Australia, and has performed locally, nationally and internationally at Jazz Festivals and Jazz Clubs, such as New York, Germany, Switzerland, Japan and Indonesia.
She also teaches at the Brisbane Conservatorium of Music, as well as guest lectures around the country.
Allan spent the 1960s establishing the The Red Onion Jazz Band with close friends Brett Iggulden and Bill Howard. They toured extensively in Europe.
From the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, after studying percussion with Graham Morgan, Allan worked extensively with Peter Gaudion, Geoff Kitchen, Ken Shroeder, Vince Jones, Barney Mc All, Steve Grant and Paul Grabowsky’s Trio and Quintet. Simultaneously he led the contemporary jazz group Onaje, which was selected to represent Australia at the prestigious Montreal Jazz Festival in 1992.
Allan has worked with over 35 International Jazz icons including Milt Jackson, Jay Mc Shann, Herb Ellis, Phil Woods, Al Cohn, Plas Johnson, Jimmy Witherspoon, Art Hodes, Barney Kessel, Urbie Green, Buddy Tate, Joe Newman, Mal Waldren, Johnny Griffin, Scott Hamilton, Wild Bill Davidson, Urbie Green, Ronnie Scott, Charlie Bird, Ralph Sutton, Sheilah Jordan, Red Holloway, Emily Remla and Richie Cole.
His discography totals over 70 LP’s or CDs, including The Red Onion’s “Big Band Memories”, “Creole Rhapsody” and “Crisis”. The Paul Grabowsky Trio’s “Six by Three” (Aria best jazz album 1990) and “When Words Fail” (1995, Aria best jazz album 1996), Onaje’s “Straight as a Briefcase “, New Orlean’s Rascal’s “Out of Nowhere”, “Genre Jumpin Jazz”, his Quartet’s “BirdCalls”, Shelley Scown’s “Angel”, Browne,Haywood and Steven’s “Sudden in a Shaft of Sunlight” and His New Rascal’s “East St. Kilda Toodleoo”. (The last five were short-listed for Aria awards).
Allan has also been involved in many film scores including Paul Grabowsky’s AFI award-winning music for the documentary on Joy Hester, “The Goodlooker” and Sue Stamps animated “The Whirligig”. Television credits include “The Esso Jazz Summit”, Wangaratta Jazz Festival, Bodgie Da Da and the Birth Of Cool “Access All areas”, The ABC Arts Programs and many variety appearances.
Browne is also a keen writer. He has some articles and poems published and is working on an anthology of poems and essays from the perspective of a forty-year career as a jazz musician.
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).
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.