Paul Grabowsky is a pianist, composer, conductor and founder of the Australian Art Orchestra. Born in Papua New Guinea in 1958, and raised in Melbourne Australia, he began classical piano lessons as a five-year-old, studying with Mack Jost from 1965-1978. He began informal studies in jazz around 1976, and devoted his energies fully to improvised music from 1978. Paul lived in Munich, Germany from 1980-1985, where he was active on the local and European jazz scenes, performing and/or recording with Johnny Griffin, Chet Baker, Art Farmer, Benny Bailey, Guenther Klatt, Marty Cook and many others. He returned to Australia in 1986.
In 1983, he formed the Paul Grabowsky Trio, winner of two ARIA awards and still one of Australia’s longest-living and most influential bands. Their latest recording Big Adventure was released in November 2004 on ABC Classics.
As a performer, he became known for his work with the Wizards of Oz, a group he co-lead from 1987-1989 with saxophonist Dale Barlow and Vince Jones, and for whom he was musical director from 1988-89. From 1990-1992 Paul lead the Groovematics, the band on the nightly national television show Tonight Live.
He performs and records regularly with singers Robyn Archer andKatie Noonan (george / Elixir).
In 1994, he founded the Australian Art Orchestra that features the cream of Australian improvising musicians.
Paul produced and presented the television series Access All Areas in 1996, and was Commissioning Editor for ABC Television Arts and Entertainment 1996 -1998.
He is regarded as one of Australia’s foremost screen composers, working with such directors as Fred Schepisi (Empire Falls, Last Orders), Paul Cox (Human Touch, Innocence), John Irvin (The Grooming, Shiner) and Gillian Armstrong (The Last Days of Chez Nous). His television credits are numerous and include the ABC series Phoenix and Janus and the award-winning Channel Ten mini-series Jessica directed by Peter Andrikidis.
His works for the theatre include the operas The Mercenary(1997-99) and Love in the Age of Therapy (2000-2001). His music for the shadow play The Theft of Sita (1999-2000) won a Helpmann award. Before Time Could Change Us – a Song Cycle with lyrics by Dorothy Porter and music by Paul Grabowsky – is scheduled for a 2005 CD release featuring Katie Noonan and the Paul Grabowsky Trio with Scott Tinkler.
In 2004 Tales of Time and Space (Warner) was released to critical acclaim. Paul recorded this in New York with Branford Marsalis,Joe Lovano, Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, Ed Schuller and Scott Tinkler.
Photo Credit: Jeff Wassmann
Tinkler Rex Grabowsky Edie (2005)
Tales of Time and Space (2004)
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Australia jazz drummer and composer born in 1944.
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.
Formed originally in 1985, the Paul Grabowsky Trio(Paul Grabowsky – Piano; Philip Rex – Double Bass; Niko Schauble – Drums) is one of Australia’s most original and successful jazz groups. PG3 plays innovative and demanding original compositions by Paul Grabowsky and his arrangements of standards and classics from the jazz repertoire.
In 1988 the PG3’s debut recording, Six by Three (Spiral Scratch), was released. Six by Three went on to win an ARIA for Jazz Album of the Year 1989. The trio’s second album, When Words Fail (Origin) also won an ARIA award in 1996. Three (Origin) was released in 2000 and in 2004, PG3 released Big Adventure (ABC Classics) – both albums have received much critical acclaim.
The Paul Grabowsky Trio regularly tours nationally appearing in major jazz venues and festivals and has just returned from Mexico City in April 2005.
As fine as anything recorded anywhere… Grabowsky is a vital musical presence in this country. Empathy does not really come close to describing the rapport…As rich and sharp as a Boyd painting… This trio must be in love with one another. James Valentine (Rolling Stone)
The music is appropriately lustrous, Grabowsky is an outstanding pianist, as inventive as he is eloquent. Without doubt this is one of the best Australian jazz recordings…
Adrian Jackson (Business Review Weekly)
When Grabowsky makes a trio recording of his own, it is full of commitment and integrity. This is a piano trio that can be played beside those of Bill Evans and Paul Bley…
Gail Brennan (Sydney Morning Herald)
Giving thanks for this magic album.
Michael Foster (Canberra Times)
Photo Credit: Jeff Wassmann
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.
Since the release of her first album in 2000, jazz pianist and composer Andrea Keller has established herself as an important contributor to Australian jazz and contemporary music. Dedicated to the performance and creation of contemporary, original jazz and improvised music, she has been described as having “one of Australia’s most consistently interesting musical minds” (Doug Spencer 2007).
Best known for leading the Andrea Keller Quartet and the Bartok Project, Keller has been a member of many contemporary jazz ensembles and duos. She was a founding member of the Bennetts Lane Big Band, and her performance calendar is increasingly marked by solo concert performances.
As a composer and arranger, Keller has received commissions from a broad spectrum of musicians, ensembles and organizations. She is a represented artist of the Australian Music Centre.
Keller’s music has attracted high acclaim in Australia, winning her three Aria Awards, four Australian Jazz ‘Bell’ Awards, an Art Music Award, an MCA/Freedman Foundation Jazz Fellowship, and an Australia Council Fellowship.
“Her work is always lit brightly by the spark of originality.”
– Roger Mitchell, 2012.
“One of this country’s most daring and fascinating composers, she produces work that bristles with surprises, a powerful blend of European lyricism with space and improvisation.”
– Leon Gettler, 2005.