Posts Tagged ‘James Greening’

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.




Read Full Post »

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!!!!)

Read Full Post »

Lucian McGuinness is the latest musician to participate in The Dilworths Top 5 influence column.
Recently we’ve been playing a few horn section gigs and hanging out afterwards having great discussions about music and how we get our music out there.
He’s a killer trombonist and can be seen regularly playing with his band Keizer-McGuinness Quintet (check them out at the Kinetic Festival this month), King Tide and the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra.
Here it is:

My top 5 top 8 influences on my instrument

In order of my exposure to these trombonists, I would have to begin with Vic Dickenson. My mum had some Billie Holiday records – cassettes – that we loved, and I learned later that it was his trombone on most of those recordings. And now, listening to that stuff again, especially the late 50’s recordings of Billie, I’m sure all those years of listening to a pretty limited repertoire burnt that sort of lyrical, easy and slightly humorous approach to playing jazz in my brain. I guess by that time almost everybody on those recordings were in the twilight of their careers and didn’t feel the need to playing in any manner other than an ‘easy’ one. There was a tv show made of those sessions, here’s : Vic blows after Lester Young and Ben Webster.

When I started learning ‘jazz’ trombone towards the end of high school, I chatted to a busking saxophonist and he suggested I check out a Sydney trombonist James Greening, on a Catholics record called Simple. I’m sure you’ll all sneer at me when I say that at first I didn’t like it much. I found the texture of the music too subtle, too understated, and that Greening’s sound was too gritty or harsh. This is probably because I had had no real contact with Australian jazz at that point, or any jazz that stylistically reached beyond the 1950’s. (My teacher at the time had me working on J J Johnson and Carl Fontana recordings, both of whom are much more proper than almost any Australian muso, which in turn is something I now love Australians for). Of course, I soon came to my senses and at one point our high-school jazz hang almost became a Catholics tribute band. Then I got the Bernie McGann record with Greening on it, and refused to play anything other than piano-less quartet for a while. This somehow got me to Bassdrumbone, a trio of Ray Anderson, Gerry Hemingway and Mark Helias. I guess Greening and Anderson have some elements in common, although I don’t think Greening lists Ray Anderson as an influence per se. Those reduced combinations (Greening’s World According to James is also a piano-less situation) highlight the incredible freedom that both these guys have. Their sounds differ a lot, but they share a virtousic facility and deceptively ‘loose’ feel. I had a few lessons with a heavy classical cat in Canberra, whom I asked if he could make me sound like that (dumb question). He listened to about 5 seconds of Greening on CD and said something like, “This guy makes it sound free and easy, but underneath all that he has an incredible amount of control.”
Halfway through my conservatorium study Dave Panichi moved back to Oz to teach in Canberra. Dave was my first experience with a trombonist who knows post-bebop developments in jazz inside-out and upside down, which was intimidating at the time. At first Dave sounded too complex and almost pedantic to my ears (I had left J J behind for a while) but watching him play up close changed my whole perception of how at home and confident a trombone could be in sax-and-guitar-dominated-mainstream-modern-jazz.

Around the same time Phil Slater told me to check out a NY trombonist Josh Roseman, who I chased through Dave Douglas recordings to his own debut CD, Cherry. You could argue that there’s not that much trombone playing up front in this record I guess, at least, not in the old-school I’m the bandleader and I play first and the most kind of way, but what Josh plays and the way his personality is stamped across the whole disc is alluring: a kind of anti-Conrad Herwig (can I say that?) I used to spin the Marvin Gaye cover ‘Just To Keep You Satisfied’ on my radio show to sync up with the love scenes on Dawson’s Creek. Who knew trombone could be steamy and sexxy?

The conclusion to this list is another piano-less quartet leader, Nils Wogram. Sydney trombonist Jeremy Borthwick played me, among many other fine eye-openers, some early Nils Wogram quintet CDs which at the time I found so obtuse that I couldn’t fathom, let alone like them (I’m recognising a familiar theme in my journey of discovery). Later along the way, probably at Birdland Records, I heard Root 70’s Getting Rooted, and was completely blown away. Root 70 use high-fidelity to draw you in, and in, to sometimes very fragile timbres on their instruments. There are other amazing elements in the playing, rhythmically and harmonically, but I guess the most striking thing is how Nils can use that ‘fragile’ sound (with plenty of chops) to move in and out of the foreground, adding melody above and harmony or bass below. Oh crikey, there’s so many more…of the 8 names here, I have seen all the living ones play quite often, which greatly determines the scale of their influence, but there are many more!

L (January 2010)

Check out Lucian’s Blog at http://lucianmcguinness.com


Read Full Post »