The first and second prize winners of the National Jazz Writing Competition were announced today at the TAC Wangaratta Festival of Jazz.

First prize of $750 and publication on the Jazz Australia website was awarded to Michael Webb of NSW.

Second prize of a CD pack from Birdland Records and publication on the Jazz Australia website was awarded to Keith Penhallow of the ACT.

Congratulations to both winners.

The shortlist this year was of exceptionally high quality, indicating that there is a great deal of unsung reviewing talent in Australia.

Judges for 2007 represent the spectrum of Australian jazz expertise from education, performance, composition, writing and broadcasting; each is outstanding in their respective field:

Allan Browne, musician and poet who has been on the panel since the competition’s inception,

Matt McMahon, pianist, composer and accomplished writer who also won the National Jazz Awards in 1999

Andrew Ford, writer, composer and broadcaster, known to many through his program The Music Show on ABC Radio National

Biographies of winners:


Michael Webb (pictured)

Growing up in Papua New Guinea, Michael rarely heard jazz but he was encouraged to be culturally and musically curious. In his teens in 1971, he clearly remembers the day that Louis Armstrong died, and he later discovered jazz through both the great bop trumpeters and 1970s fusion. Studying ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University in the 1990s offered direct contact with Karnatic, Indonesian, West African and Japanese musics, and Alvin Lucier, Anthony Braxton, John Zorn and others. Michael finds inspirational the musicians and musical projects of the AAO, and the diversity and originality of contemporary Australian jazz. He currently lectures in Music Education at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, The University of Sydney.

CD Reviews
Phil Slater Quartet, The Thousands

Andrea Keller Quartet, Little Claps

Gig Review
Adrian Sherriff Band at the Sound Lounge in Sydney on 15 September 2007



Keith Penhallow

Keith attended his first jazz concert in 1958, aged thirteen, when he saw the Chris Barber Band in London. He also listened to Jazz Club on BBC radio and a major influence was Joe Harriott.

Ray Charles became a big favourite and he remembers seeing Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson in concert in1965, but then rock took over.

He rediscovered jazz in 1974 when he heard Chick Corea’s Return To Forever. He now buys as many CDs and attends as many gigs as possible and he loves to hear what the young players are doing.

CD Reviews
Zoe and the Buttercups, Zoe and the Buttercups

Marc Hannaford, The Garden of Forking Paths

Gig Review
Sylvia Mitchell Trio at The Gods Cafe in Canberra on 7 August 2007


The National Jazz Writing Competition is an initiative of Miriam Zolin, a writer who enjoys jazz. www.jazz-planet.com/njwc