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.
Winner of the Inaugural Bell Award For Australian Jazz Musician of The Year 2003
‘protean, ethereal tenor saxophonist Evans in flights of scintillating, lucid post-Coltrane vernacular.’ Down Beat’s Fred Bouchard, reviewing Sandy Evans’ performance with Dutch percussionist Han Bennink at Wangaratta ’99,
Sandy Evans: Tenor and Soprano saxophone, composer
Sandy Evans is an internationally renowned saxophonist and composer with a passion for improvisation and new music. Sandy was awarded an OAM for her work as a musician in 2010. Sandy received the Inaugural Bell Award For Australian Jazz Musician of The Year 2003, a Young Australian Creative Fellowship, APRA Award for Jazz Composition of the Year, 2 Mo Awards and three ARIA Awards.
She leads the Sandy Evans Trio, and co-leads the internationally acclaimed Clarion Fracture Zone. She is a member of the Australian Art Orchestra, Ten Part Invention, The catholics, austraLYSIS, Kim Sanders and Friends and the saxophone quartet SNAP. In 2004, together with composer Tony Gorman she launched the critically acclaimed 8 piece ensemble GEST8.
Sandy toured nationally with her trio in 2010 with the assistance of Sound Travellers.
Sandy recently recorded a 60 minute extended jazz composition When The Sky Cries Rainbows for The Sandy Evans trio and special guests Phil Slater: trumpet, James Greening: trombone and Alister Spence: piano. The work was recorded for ABC Jazztrack for release in 2011. It is being released in September 2011.
Sandy has a keen interest in Indian classical music and is a student of Sarangan Sriranganathan. In January 2009 she travelled to Chennai, India, with the assistance of an Australia Council study grant to study Carnatic music with Guru Mani and B.V.Balasai. Sandy is currently undertaking a Masters at Macquarie University, researching Carnatic Jazz Intercultural music. She has recorded a CD with Sruthi Laya as part of her research. Sandy toured with Five Elements in 2010.
She collaborates regularly with Sydney-based Indian musicians Sarangan Sriranganathan and Bobby Singh.
With percussionist Tony Lewis and koto player Satsuki Odamura, she co-leads the innovative world music trio Waratah. Sandy is a member of the Bulgarian folk-jazz fusion group MARA! She is a featured soloist on Andrew Robson’s CD of music by Thomas Tallis Bearing the Bell.
Sandy delivered the Peggy Glanville-Hicks Address for the New Music Network in December 2008.
Her composition Testimony about the life and music of Charlie Parker with poetry by the Pulitzer prize winning American poet Yusef Komunyakaa has been a highlight of her career. Testimony, commissioned originally by ABC Radio, was premiered by The AAO in the Concert Hall at The Sydney Opera House for The Sydney Festival in January 2002.
She has composed a major work commissioned by the Sydney Opera House: The Beatitudes, for the Sydney Children’s Choir, 6 vocal soloists and a 25 piece ensemble of young musicians.
Sandy is an experienced teacher and inaugurated a Jazz Improvisation Course for Young Women run annually by SIMA. She was the director of this course until 2010.
She performed in the award winning show, The Theft of Sita, touring with the company in Australia, America and Europe.
She played Ross Edward’s Dawn Mantras on the roof of the Sydney Opera House at the dawn of the new millenium playing. In 2000 she also performed at the opening ceremony of the Paralympics in Sydney.
She has played with and written for some of the most important groups in Australian jazz since the early 1980s including Great White Noise, The Bruce Cale Orchestra, the KMA Orchestra, Kristen Cornwell Quintet, the Bernie McGann Trio, Judy Bailey, the Gai Bryant Quartet and Jeremy Sawkins. Her group Women and Children First was a ground-breaking ensemble during the 1980s, undertaking an epic seven month tour by bus around the whole of Australia. While living in Scotland in 1987, she played with the saxophone quartet SAXTC and the rhythm and blues band Tam White and The Dexters.
Sandy is a graduate of the Jazz Studies Course at the NSW Conservatorium of Music. She has also studied in the US, Germany, Hungary and the UK with the assistance of an Australia Council study grant.
She has toured extensively in Australia, Europe, Canada and Asia. Some highlights have been the Chicago Jazz festival, the North Sea Jazz Festival, WOMAD, the Brecon Festival, the Outside In festival, the Edinburgh Festival, Montreal and Vancouver Jazz festivals, the Knitting Factory (NY) the Wangaratta Jazz Festival, the Manly Jazz Festival, Sydney and Melbourne Jazz Festivals, the Brisbane Biennial, the Adelaide Festival, Jazz Yatra (India), the Sidmouth Folk Festival and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. She has toured Russia, China, Estonia, Lithuania, Denmark, Holland, Italy, Germany, Finland, Singapore, Taiwan, India, Fiji, Western Samoa, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea and Hong Kong. She has been featured in several television programs for the ABC and Scottish television as well as radio broadcasts on the ABC, BBC and WDR (Germany). She appears in the Australian jazz documentaries Beyond el Rocco and Dr Jazz.
She has been featured on over 30 albums.
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