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.
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.
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).
George Golla AM (born 10 May 1935 in Chorzów, Poland) is an Australian jazz guitarist who commenced a long-term working musical partnership with clarinetist/flautist/saxophonist Don Burrows in 1959 that continued for almost forty years.
On 10 June 1985, Golla was made a Member of the Order of Australia, For service to music. In 1987, The George Golla Orchestra won the inaugural ARIA Fine Arts Award category of ‘Best Jazz Album’ for Lush Life.
He toured frequently throughout Australia and at times with international guest support artists such as vibraphonist Gary Burton in the early 1970s. He has had a long association with Brazilian musicians including Luis Bonfa and extensive performance of and many recordings of Latin American-/Brazilian- influenced jazz, including the acclaimed Bonfa Burrows Brazil (The Orchard).
He appeared at both the Montreux Jazz Festival and Newport Jazz Festival in 1972, and has performed at many Australian festivals. He is a frequent contributor at the annual Frankston International Guitar Festival.
Golla continues to perform in and around Sydney where he resides, touring interstate and internationally and recording. He has appeared at many workshops locally, nationally and overseas
Samuel Cottell is freelance jazz journalist and writer based in Sydney. He currently writes for several jazz publications and is completing a PhD researching the music of Tommy Tycho, at Sydney University. When he is not writing about jazz he plays piano and writes music arrangements.