finalistsEach year, Miriam Zolin talks to the ten finalists in Australia’s most prestigious jazz competition, the National Jazz Awards. The award in 2009 is for saxophone.

The award finals are held at Wangaratta Jazz.

The National Jazz Awards have been staged annually at the Wangaratta Jazz festival since 1990. The roll call of past winners includes such names as Barney McAll, James Muller, Steve Magnusson, Julien Wilson, Phil Slater, Scott Tinkler and Michelle Nicolle.

The 2009 Awards attracted a record number of entries, which were assessed on a blindfold basis by the judges : Sydney pianist Mike Nock, Melbourne saxophonist Julien Wilson and Perth saxophonist Jamie Oehlers. The finalists will perform at Wangaratta with highly regarded pianist Sam Keevers, bassist Phil Stack (winner of the 2008 National Jazz Awards) and drummer Ben Vanderwal.

The ten finalists perform in the first round, with three then selected to play in the final round, which is broadcast live-to-air on ‘Jazztrack with Mal Stanley’, on ABC Classic FM.

See Q&As for NJA finalists in 2009 >

  • James Annesley, from Melbourne
  • Nick Bowd, from Sydney
  • Jon Crompton, from Melbourne
  • Zac Hurren, from Brisbane
  • David Jackson, from Sydney
  • Jacam Manricks, currently living in New York
  • Willow Neilson, currently living in Shanghai
  • Phil Noy, from Melbourne
  • James Sandon, from Perth
  • Tim Wilson, from Melbourne

The Q&As provide fascinating insights into what connects and distinguishes these talented players…

These annual Q&As with National Jazz Awards finalists are coordinated by Miriam Zolin. Miriam is the publisher and managing editor of extempore, an Australian journal of writing and art inspired by jazz and improvised music.

Hash Varsani is the owner of The Jazz Directory, a network of sites related to jazz, travel and everything else he loves. He also runs a selection of jazz related sites including Jazz Club Jury, a jazz club and festival review site. Check out his Google+ Profile, to see what else he's up to...probably setting up another website from one of his many passions.