June-July 2003

Miriam Zolin By

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I don't ever do jazz performances continuously for six months. There are always other projects. —Mark Isaacs

These notes include:

  • Welcome
  • Reviews: (No reviews this time around - get ready for a bumper offering in the August / September edition!)
  • Requests (tell us if there's someone you'd like to see us profile, or any Australian jazz topic that you think requires investigation.)
  • General News (news from three Australian cities and links to interesting sites in each)
  • Artist Profile - Mark Isaacs (pianist, composer, lucky dip afficionado)
  • Rufus Records - "The Adventurous Label" (a conversation with Tim Dunn, who confesses to being a conservative non-conformist and once had a cat called Rufus)



Hello, and welcome to the June / July 2003 edition of Notes from Downunder. A new face, but the same high-quality information about what's going on in the Australian jazz scene as you've been receiving from Shane Nichols. Taking advantage of the change-of-face, we'd like to introduce some different types of information - some general news and links to our sources, so that you can join mailing lists, and receive real-time updates from the sites you love.

Many people say Australian jazz is 'different'. I hope that in the months that follow, I can help define that difference, by talking to local artists, reviewers, labels, festival directors and maybe even some overseas artists who visit our fair shores, to get a complete picture of what makes Australian jazz 'Australian'.

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General News and links

Below is some of what's happening around Sydney, Melbourne and Perth at the moment.

Perth (Western Australia)

A vital and exciting wave of talent has been emergin in and from this State over recent times. In current news, we hear that Andrew Fisenden is this year's winner of the James Morrison scholarship. Other recent WA winners of this award include Jamie Oehlers (sax), Matt Lees (trombone), Matt Jodrell (trumpet), Troy Roberts (sax) and Dane Alderson (bass). Jamie Oehlers, currently based in Melbourne was also a finalist in the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz 2002 and Montreux 2002 jazz competitions for saxophone. Troy Roberts was a recent winner of two Downbeat awards in the USA (outstanding solo performance and outstanding group performance).

Alderson and Roberts are also members of the group 'K', that has recently completed a tour to the Eastern States of Australia to launch their debut CD New.

Detailed updates are available at the website for JazzWA, the government funded jazz development office in Western Australia. www.jazzwa.com

Sydney (New South Wales)

www.eastsidefm.org - A new website for Eastside Radio, 89.7 Jazz Plus - Sydney's only radio station specialising in jazz. Eastside radio features jazz presenters who are musicians and their music encompasses the full range of jazz styles - from swing to Latin to bebop. Eastside specialist music programs cover soul, blues and funk, Cuban and Brazilian, gypsy, world and dance. Presenters include: Lloyd Swanton (bass - The Necks , The catholics) and Matt McMahon (piano), Dan Barnett (trombone), Bob Bertles (sax - mentioned in our Rufus Records feature in this edition), Gerard Masters (piano). Unfortunately, the website doesn't have streaming media, so you can't listen in, but the definitely worth a visit, particularly for any Sydney-siders reading this, or anybody planning to visit Sydney who wants to tune in to some jazz while they're in town - either on the radio or at one of the many local jazz gigs (the site has a well-researched gig guide that's updated weekly).

Melbourne (Victoria)

Under the auspices of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival (to be held next in May 2004) a new national jazz award has been launched. Affectionately known as The Bells, nominations have now closed for the award, which will be announced in August. Check future Notes from Downunder for some great interviews with winners and others involved in the awards. The National Jazz Awards is an annual event that will recognise and encourage excellence in performance, recording and presentation in Australian and international jazz. For more information on the awards and updates on the Melbourne International Jazz Festival, see www.mijf.org

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Is there a particular Australian jazz artist you'd like to know more about - someone whose music you really enjoy, perhaps and you feel like you just have to know more about them? A topic to do with Australian jazz that requires investigation? A CD you want reviewed? Please contact Miriam at miriam@jazz-planet.com with your suggestions.

Rufus Records - 'The Adventurous Label'

Have you noticed ? People who find jazz and are caught up in its magic often find themselves wanting to give something back. Tim Dunn, President of Rufus Records - the small Sydney based label dubbed 'The Adventurous Label' by the Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD - is one such person. When Dunn started Rufus Records in the early nineties, it was in direct response to the music he was hearing for the first time - moving, personal, intelligent music. Years on, Rufus Records is still a one-man show, with a catalogue of which Dunn is justifiably proud. And it's still very much a labour of love ( not about the money). AAJ caught up with the mild-mannered Dunn over a glass of the red stuff to talk about what possessed him to start the label that is now recognised at home and abroad for its quality and distinctive Australian sounds.

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