Archive for the ‘Current Listening’ Category

Jane Irving is one of Sydney’s most swingtastic singers. I’ve had the pleasure of performing and hanging out with her many times and she is one of my all time favourites.
Every Sunday you can check her out with her all star band “The Swinging Blades”  down at Marrickville Golf Club 3:30pm-6:30pm.

Check it!!!

Here’s her top 3 albums:

Sarah Vaughan ‘Swingin’ Easy’.
The tracks on this CD are from two New York recordings. 1954 and 1957. John Malachi and Jimmy Jones piano; Joe Benjamin and Richard Davis bass and Roy Haynes drums.
~I first heard this album somewhere back in the early 80s in high school. It was my introduction to jazz singing. It completely blew my mind then and when I return to it now it’s the combination of interaction, quality of accompaniment and Sarah’s effortless singing style that I love. Swingin easy indeed. The thing I remember the most however, was hearing Sarah’s solo on All Of Me. A perfectly constructed solo, inventive, grooving and acrobatic. It was that precise moment that I fell in love with Sarah and made my decision to go about learning how to sing jazz. I knew I had a long road ahead of me but I was attracted to that beautiful mystery. I love her time, her humour, the range (hello!) and the willingness and confidence to really take a tune somewhere –not just sing the melody and be done with it. On this album Sarah’s personality shines beautifully bright –especially for someone who had only recorded once before with a small group, and in the 50’s her larynx was no-where near as close to the floor as in later years. There are some straight ahead tunes here, ‘Polka Dots and Moonbeams’, ‘They Can’t Take That Away From Me’ and other tracks including a very swinging ‘You Hit The Spot’, ‘If I Knew Then’, ‘Words Can’t Describe’, ‘Linger Awhile’ and the opening track ‘Shulie a Bop’ (a tune that Sarah wrote with George Treadwell) -are tunes that I will forever associate with Sarah.

Mark Murphy ‘Kerouac, Then And Now’ 1989
Bill Mays piano; John Goldsby bass and Steve LaSpina bass; Adam Nussbaum drums.
~ Mark Murphy draws from the days of Jack Kerouac including readings from the ‘Big Sur’ and ‘On The Road’ both with rhythm accompaniment but
this is a pretty big album in terms of material. Mark says in the liner notes that people like Monk and Eddie Jefferson (who are also acknowledged in this album) “…all added a richness to the legacy of the Beats –and beyond. This legacy still is as hot today as it was then”. Well, Mark should know. He is jazz. Monk’s ‘Ask Me Now’ is so god damn groovy I can’t stand it and his singing on ‘The Night We Called It A Day’ is just sublime. Every single track on this record holds you, deeply invested in –what’s about to happen and there is a lot of ground covered. Mark is the ultimate story teller. His perspectives are totally unique and he goes to great lengths to get his point across over a lyric with the most beautiful phrasing – never the same, always giving every word the precise weight it deserves. Like a conversation. I’ve learned much from this record.

Sonny Stitt sits in with The Oscar Peterson Trio’
Two sessions1957 with Oscar; Ray Brown bass; Herb Ellis guitar; Stan Levey drums and 1959 with Oscar; Ray Brown bass and Ed Thigpen drums and Sonny on tenor and alto.
~This one swings it’s ass off, unwavering, right in the pocket. I’ve pretty much committed this album to memory – well, pretty much, ha! A tune that nobody does ‘The Gypsy’ was the killer for me. I’m sure that when instrumentalists know the lyrics to tunes, you can hear it in their blowing. Well, whether Sonny did or not, the soul and intent in this mans playing is extraordinary. This is pretty much a dream band and the vibe of both recordings is just so happening. ‘I Know That You Know’ is what I like to call stupid fast and they all get around it. Sonny with all those triplet rolls and the way he gets from one part of the horn to the other in half the blink of an eye, is so fluid. I think I’m gona take it for a spin right now… happy happy daze!

E. Dilla

P.S Coming up next – Kristen Beradi!!!


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Over the next few weeks I’m doing a favourite CD series with a few of my favourite vocalists that I’ve had the pleasure of playing with.
First up is the delightful Hannah Macklin who hails from Brisbane. We first met as finalists in the 2008 James Morrison Scholarship in Mount Gambier and I have been listening to a CD she recorded of her duo project with Steve Newcomb.
She is a wonderful, creative singer and I recommend you check her out at her Myspace.

Here’s what Hannah had to say about 4 of her favourite albums:

1. Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

This was without a doubt the most-listened-to album of my high school years. I still listen to it frequently and love it; Lauryn’s tone is my favourite! “Every Ghetto, Every City” makes me want to wear high top sneakers and Afro combs and play in broken water mains, all the time. The tunes and grooves are so super solid and the lyrics are powerful and passionate and intelligent.. I don’t really need to explain it. It’s dope.

2. Bjork – Homogenic

It’s kind of hard to choose one Bjork album as the most influential… Bjork in general is a massive presence in my life! Musically, artistically, lyrically, everything. I think what sets Homogenic apart for me is the personal listening experience I had with it… at first I found the album cold and harsh, with tracks like “Hunter” and “Pluto” that really get up in your face and scream right through you. With each listen, though, the album softens and the incredible beauty of tracks “Joga” and “Unravel” becomes apparent, as does Bjork’s raw, soul-baring vocal and lyrical delivery. The arrangements and instrumentation are a constant source of inspiration – I love how she blends pure instrumentation with electronic programming – as are the off kilter grooves and leaping, soaring melodies… Just talking about it makes me want to listen to it right now.

3. Wayne Shorter Quartet – Beyond The Sound Barrier

I love the language and the conversations between the players on this album, little bits of information that gradually come together – it reminds me of a jigsaw puzzle, starting with all separate bits which move closer together to eventually make a whole scene. Wayne’s tone is of course beautiful – vibrant and joyous and always carving the direction for the band. This is inspiring as a solo voice and a band leader. There’s a particular phrase he plays on… I can’t remember which track, but it’s in my head right now, and I could base an entire song around it, it’s so packed with grit and substance.

4. Rufus Wainwright – Release The Stars

Again, it was a toss up between a couple of Rufus albums, but by the time Rufus released Release The Stars I was already a huge fan… and then I heard this, and my respect for him increased tenfold. The impact it had on me was huge. For me, Rufus writes songs that sound larger than life… and he is the master of tension and the slow build. I transcribed the orchestral arrangement on Do I Disappoint You for a uni assignment, and one day in the library whilst listening intently to the crux of the song, I found myself crying like a baby. Pretty embarrassing, but also completely amazing. His voice is an amazing, amazing instrument, and the songs on Release The Stars are for me, perfect pop songs.

E. Dilla

Next week: Jane Irving

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Hey All,

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to fill in for a Ten Part Invention rehearsal in preparation for their SIMA gig on Saturday night. The reason I’m blogging about this rehearsal is that I felt very fortunate to get the oppotunity to play with the band which, in my eyes, contains some of the main innovators of “Modern Australian Jazz” from the last 40 years. For those not familiar with the band, it is spearheaded by John Pochee (who has been in and out of hospital the last 6 months, and was sounding truly amazing, plus forever telling the funniest stories) and also features Paul McNamara, Steve Elphick, Sandy Evans, Andrew Robson, Ken James, Bob Bertles, Warwick Alder, Miroslav Buckovsky and James Greening. Most of these players aren’t teachers at the Sydney Conservatorium so I hadn’t really met them before and only knew most of them from CDs and seeing them live at the Side-On Cafe many years ago, back when Alex Boneham and I used to go every weekend without fail.

The music consisted mainly of compositions by Sandy Evans, Andrew Robson and the late Roger Frampton, (unfortunately I never got the chance to hear or meet this Australian legend,) and what I noticed most is how unique and distinctly Australian it sounds. I must admit the majority of music myself and my peers listen to is from abroad, particularly America, but playing with this ensemble was a gentle reminder of the great things that are happening on my own turf. Roger Frampton’s compositions evoked so many different colours and textures and were full of harmonic surprises that keep you on your toes.

I have been listening to Andrew Robson for years and when I was 17 I was really into his album “On”, featuring Steve Elphick, Hamish Stuart and Alister Spence, to the point of knowing it back to front. For whatever reason, I have not been able to see him live for many years but yesterday I was fortunate to be sitting 4 chairs down, listening to him play. It is such a great experience getting to meet and play with those “idols” you grow up listening to. I must also mention the delight it was to play with Paul McNamara who, along with his partner Sally, were integral to my development as a musician. In 2004 they set up a mentoring program (of which I was the only one who partook) which involved being mentored by Phil Slater and Warwick Alder, having lessons and hanging out with them at gigs, as well as aural lessons with Paul and recording a CD with Paul and Alex Boneham. That program introduced me to this “other side” of music – creative modern jazz.

Here are the links to some of these great musicians’ websites.

Ten Part Invention

Andrew Robson


Sandy Evans


E Dilla

Current Listening:

Greg Osby – Public (Nicholas Payton & Greg Osby are killin!!!!)

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Terence Blanchard: Choices

Charles Lloyd: Dreamweaver

The Necks: Silverwater

Bobby Timmons Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard

Chick Corea: Inner Space

Current reading: The Greatest Show on Earth – Richard Dawkins

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