Posts Tagged ‘australian jazz’

Here’s a tune I wrote entitled “Trapped” and features Karl Laskowski and Steve Barry. Dig!

Below is a PDF of the score.
Click here to view the score for Trapped (E.Dilworth)




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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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Hi Everyone,

This week I was fortunate to attend the Australian Bell Awards in Melbourne as a nominee in the Young Australian Category and it was a wonderful oppotuinty to meet some truly great musicians from both Sydney and Melbourne. My congratulations to Linda Oh who took out the Young Australian of the Year Award and also to Jonathon Zwartz who recently released a seriously good record “The Sea” and took out 2 Bells for best composition and best ensemble. The other nominee in my category was Nat Bartsh who I hadn’t met until the awards dinner where we were seated together and did a CD swap. I got back home this afternoon and put on her CD and was entranced by her music. Really great stuff. Another highlight of the  night was Kristen Berardi and James Sherlock’s performances (Kristin won best vocalist) – they stole the show and had the whole room at a stand still, mesmorised. It was great to catch up with her and Dave Theak – two of the nicest and giving musicians around.

I enjoyed an extra night in Melbourne (courtesy of my girlfriend Phillippa’s mother) and picked up some really great CD’s that I’ve spent my weekend checking out.
Here’s what I bought – check them out:
Kenny Barron  “What If” Featuring Wallace Roney, John Stubblefield, Cecil McBee and Victor Lewis
Katie Noonan & The Captains “Emperor’s Box” Featuring Stu Hunter (Best Album Winner Bells 2010) Cameron Deyell & Declan Kelly
Nat Bartsh Trio “Trio” Featuring Josh Holt & Leigh Fisher
The World According to James “Lingua Franca” Featuring James Greening, Andrew Robson, Steve Elphick & Toby Hall

That’s all for now, coming up this week is video footage of the great Roger Manins and a series of top albums with some of the finest vocalists in Australia.



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E. Dilla

Current Listening:
Pivot – Make Me Love You
Wynton Marsalis – Black Codes From The Underground
Sufjan Stevens – Come on Feel The Illinoise

Current Reading:
The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins
Footprints – The Wayne Shorter Biography

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Hey Everyone,

Just a heads up that The Dilworths have to exciting shows coming up this weekend.
We are featuring music from our debut album “Introducing The Dilworths” as well as a whole set of new original compositions the band has been workshopping over the last few months. This will also be Hugh Barrett’s Last run of gigs with the band while he heads away for 6 months with The Beautiful Girls so make sure you come down to here him before he goes.

On Friday (26th March) we make our long awaited debut at SIMA
For full details click here.

Two sets 8:30pm and 10pm

Please note: This is an All Ages gig (under 18’s need to be accompanied by an adult)

To celebrate this debut performance we have a double pass giveaway for the first person to email us at management@thedilworths.com

Also, on Monday (29th March)we are taking over the new 505 venue for the night. 505 has since moved from its hidden warehouse and now sits on the corner of Clevelend St and Perry Lane.

9pm Start

$10 entry and you can find out more at http://www.venue505.com

Hope to see you at one or both of these gigs this weekend! be sure to come say hi!


E Dilla

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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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Last night I caught the first set of one of my best mates – Steve Barry. For those who haven’t heard this Kiwi now Petersham based piano player, he’s one of the best around.

His trio with Dilworths Alex Boneham and Cameron Reid played a great gig at 505 and here’s one of the tracks. enjoy!



P.S check out his top 5 influences list here

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Mike Rivett hails from Cairns, studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, then moved to Tokyo (married) and is now about to finish a Masters Degree from the Manhattan School of Music in New York. He was a few years above me at University and I only got to see him play a few times but last year while I was in New York I met him, hung out and made some music. He is an amazing saxophonist and one of those guys whose always willing to share information. Each time i saw him he’d show me a new idea he’s working on and even got me into one of his classes at MSM with Phil Markowitz. I sent him a few questions via email recently, as he’s someone who has inspired me greatly. Click here for his MySpace

1. You’ve lived in Cairns, Sydney, Tokyo and New York. Can you describe the transitions moving cities and trying to play music?

Moving to Cairns was great for me.  It gave me a chance to really study electronic music production.  I built a studio in my parent’s basement and acoustically treated it on the cheap- making acoustic panels out of rock-wool, caneite and frontrunner.  While I was there I studied various books such as “Mixing with your Mind”, “The Visual Guide to Mixing” and a bunch of other things I can’t remember off the top of my head. I got totally obsessed with it.

As far as playing went, there wasn’t much – a couple of functions here and there and the occasional cafe gig.  There was only really one other musician there that I dug playing with- Andre’ Houghton- a Guitarist that studied at Berklee.

Teaching was easy.  In a small town it’s easy to be “the man” as a musician.. I ended up teaching woodwind at a school and a bunch of private students- sax, piano, flute and clarinet. But of course I got bored with not playing serious music all the time.  As well as this I missed my girlfriend (now wife) who was living in Tokyo.

Next came the Tokyo stint.  This was a tough one- initially at least.  First came debt.  I was trying to find the ideal english teaching job- something that paid well and had flexible hours so I could still gig.  It took longer than I expected- thus the debt.  But eventually I settled on GABA corp- they had flexible hours… one out of two ain’t bad.

In terms of playing I was limited to what Ko (my good friend from Sydney who is bilingual in English and Japanese) would book me for, as in the beginning I couldn’t speak any Japanese.  However, as the time went on I picked up more and more and got to the stage where I could have very simple conversations in Japanese and thus could book some of my own stuff.   I ended up doing pretty well in Tokyo as far as playing at cool clubs with cool musicians went, but there was almost no money.  Most clubs offer a door deal.  So the english teaching job was essential.  If I was fluent in Japanese I could have taught music for a much higher rate- but that’s how it was.

While I was there I also started a record label with my friend Andre from Cairns, who eventually moved to Tokyo to live with my girlfriend and me.  The label is a minimal techno label and is called “Primpy Records” www.primpyrecords.com

Lots of fun.. silly… but fun.   We made a 12″vinyl and released also on all the digital platforms such as beatport etc.

Tokyo was a super positive experience and I wholeheartedly recommend doing what I did.  Possibly the best 2 years of my life.

Next came NY.  This is still happening but so far has been really intense, lots of study and practice- but I have learned a lot and made some great friends.  This school is the absolute bomb but really expensive.  With no scholarship it is US 100 grand including living expense for 2 years.  I managed to get a small scholarship- the president’s award.  I have been lucky enough to have my parents pay the difference.

2. Can you tell us about studying at Manhattan School of Music? What was the audition process like – demands, requirements – and the kinds of classes you undertake.

First you send a CD of “Billie’s Bounce” and a couple of other standards.  This is the prescreening process.  Then, if they like you, you get offered a live audition.  I sent a DVD audition from Tokyo which had 10 standards on it.

We take Improv, Jazz Styles, Piano, Ear Training, History, Arranging and Pedagogy.  There are many other electives too.  There has been a lot of composition involved. We have to write a tune a week for improv and write a more serious composition about once a month for Jazz Styles as well as writing solos and performing them for the class.  The requirements for improv are ridiculous.  Hexatonics, Pentatonics, approach notes through a progression in 4, 5, and 7/4, structures e.g. 1, 2, 6, b9 , structures with chromatic approach- i.e Maj. third above and below of the 1st note of the structure.. so in C it would be E, Ab, C, D, A, Db.  Then we do every possible approach up to a Maj. 7th.  Now we are working on countdown in 12keys with various patterns.  E.g.- chromatic below, scale above, chord-tone, chord-tone.  so for Emin7 it could be- F#, A, G, B..etc etc.

3. Who have you been learning from and what are some of the teachings they have imparted on you?

I’ve been studying triadic chromatic approach with George Garzone intensely for the last few years, even before MSM.  This is the secret weapon. Come and take a lesson if you want to get into it hahaha.  Takes a bit of explaining.

I’ve been studying bebop with Garry Dial.  Learning how to take the line from anywhere in the scale and knowing all the possibilities to play totally inside but really chromatically (tonal chromaticism).

With Lieb [Dave Liebman] and Phil Markowitz we learn more non-tonal chromaticism.  Again.. it would take a while to explain..

4. About a year ago in New York, we were discussing ‘developing your own sound’ and at the time what you were working on. (triadic approach to improvising) How has this developed since and if changed, what is your concept towards working on developing your own sound.

(For me) Developing your own sound means playing only things you like and filtering out the stuff you hate.  It’s about having enough musicianship to then execute those decisions.  In terms of the saxophone getting your own sound is inevitable as no one has the same mouth. But it’s all about hearing something and trying to achieve that.  You also need a concept for how in or out you want to be- how pretty, or how aggressive you know. I think it really starts by listening to cats and thinking to yourself, “I would have done that differently”  or ” I like that, I’m going to steal that”.

5. What projects are you currently working on?

I just recorded a CD with this drummer from Austria- Peter Kronreif.  He’s bringing some other cats and me out to Europe in March for a tour to promote the record.

I have an organ trio of my own.. We are going to record in late Feb.  The music has interesting harmony but is melodic as well.  We are trying to make it as interactive as we can.

I’m also playing in Dan Jamieson’s big band.  We are going to record at the end of May with John Riley on drums.  The music is a mixture of straight ahead and more chromatic, experimental sounds.

I also have a rock band that I just started writing for.  It’s the band that plays after the jazz guys when everyone wants to drink and party.. always fun to be in that band you know haha.  It has a few notey heads, which is unavoidable for a jazz geek like me, but the bulk of it is filthy grooves that would make you want to “have another beer and possible get the courage to go and talk to that chick over there.”

6. Who are some musicians we may not know about here in Sydney but should check out?

All the cats at this school.  Don’t worry you’ll hear about them.  Give it 5 years they’ll be the new cats.   But as far as pros on the scene:  I really like Ari Hoenig’s band with Gilad Hekselman and Orlando Le Flemming and Tigran Hamasyan. That music is SO INTERACTIVE.. it’s what we would all dream of achieving.  It is real jazz.  Totally open, anything can happen, but the architecture is strong and the form perfectly adhered to.


E Dilla

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This week we have Simon Ferenci’s main musical influences. Ferenci is one of the trumpeters in the generation before me (by that I mean a few years older) that I drew a lot of inspiration from. I first heard him play in Judy Bailey’s Jazz Connection and since then we have played many times together in various big bands and recently more frequently in a Mariachi Band. Ferenci can be heard with his own group ‘Simon Ferenci Quartet’, ‘Doig Collective’, ‘Watussi’ and ‘The Beautiful Girls’. Check out his Myspace and hear what he does!

Here are some musical influences of mine (in roughly chronological order).

Lee Morgan

Hearing Lee Morgan was what really got me into jazz – I’d heard some other recordings before but none of them had the impact that he did right from the first note. The first album I heard him on was “Blue Train” (thanks to Scott Simpkins), but not long after that I heard his own album “The Gigolo” which is still one of my favourites. I also really like “Live at the Lighthouse” (the 2CD Fresh Sound one). So raw and dirty but it just sounds so good.

Miles Davis

I love Miles Davis’ playing but he also had a great ability to bring together some really great combinations of musicians (I think Dave Douglas is another musician who is really good at this). The quintet with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams is probably my favourite band of all time – I love the way that they play together, sometimes going with the soloist and sometimes playing against each other. Also the freedom they have within a composition. I think the tunes “Country Son” and “Black Comedy” from “Miles in the Sky” are probably the two tunes I’ve listened to more than any others – and I still can’t believe what Tony plays!

Chris Speed/Jim Black (I reckon they count as one influence… it’s hard keeping the list down to 5!)

I went through a period where I listened to hardly anything else. ‘Alasnoaxis’, ‘Yeah No’, ‘Pachora’ etc… (and Human Feel! Gotta use this opportunity to put in a mention of Kurt Rosenwinkel who nearly made my list of 5!). The sounds and textures they get are amazing and I really like their approach to composition/structure. Also I love how “simply” Chris Speed plays his notes -no vibrato, shape, not much variety in his articulation – but still makes it sound beautiful. That’s definitely not easy. Current Chris Speed/Jim Black favourite: “Swell Henry” by Chris Speed’s band ‘Yeah No’.

Tony Malaby

One of my favourite musicians playing today. I was fortunate to see his band ‘Paloma Recio’ (with Ben Monder, Eivind Opsvik and Nasheet Waits) twice when I was in New York a couple of years ago. The second time I heard them was maybe the best gig I’ve ever seen (it definitely had the best drum solo I’ve ever heard!). I also really like his recordings as a sideman/collaborator with Angelica Sanchez, especially “Mirror Me”. Again, as much for the way the band plays together as for the individual playing.

-The other musos I play with

They probably deserve more than being lumped in one group together – collectively they have influenced and inspired me in my playing and approach to music more than anything else. Especially the members of my quartet (Hugh Barrett, Mike Majkowski and James Waples) but also many others: Dale Gorfinkel and Scott Simpkins back in high school, a lot of the students and teachers I studied with at the Con, and a lot of musicians/groups I’ve had the opportunity to play with since. Pretty much any playing situation you find yourself in there’s something (even if it’s only a little thing) you can learn by listening to the other musos; I try to always be open to that.

That’s it.



E Dilla

P.S He’s playing down at the Big Gorilla on Sunday

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