WA has a vibrant live jazz scene and some great organisations and clubs bringing people together who share a love of jazz. The WA Jazz Directory lists artists, bands & ensembles, composers, arrangers, venues and organisations from all around Western Australia.
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Brenda Lee is an Australian Eurasian of Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese, Malay and Irish ancestry. Born in Kuala Lumpur, Brenda lived as a young child in historic Malacca before relocating to sunny Perth in her early teens. A diverse heritage of Eastern, Western, European and Australian influence adds colour and depth to this performing artist’s warm and energetic personality.
Music was instilled by her late singer-guitarist father, Basil Lee. Brenda played piano, sang and danced at social and community events since the tender age of four and continued her talents into adult life as a professional dancer and choreographer with the Elevation Dance Troupe, performing at many community, fashion and entertainment events in Perth, including Government House and the Hilton Hotel.
Her musical career began in Perth, playing keyboard and vocals in various top forty, pop and funk bands. Trained as a jazz vocalist at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Brenda has traveled and performed in Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, New York and Canada with a diverse range of established jazz artists around the globe.
Performing for private, corporate and festival events, Brenda has also held long term residencies in Perth’s well established jazz and entertainment venues - Benny’s in Fremantle and The Universal Bar in Northbridge with regular jazz performances at the Burswood International Resort Casino (VIP & Atrium Cocktail Lounges), The Rose and Crown, Sittella Winery and The King’s Ambassador Hotel. In March 2010, Brenda launched her classic jazz standards album at The Ellington Jazz Club in Perth.
Brenda Lee’s vocal character is deep with sultry tones, exuding an unquestionable trueness of essence in jazz improvisation. Her major musical influences include Shirley Horne, Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto, Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Erykah Badu, Me’shell Ndegeocello and Tania Maria.
Singing from her heart, this artist exudes a quiet sophistication which transforms any space wherein she performs.
Libby Hammer is one of Perth's premier jazz vocalists.
With a background in musical theatre and circus, along with five years of music study and 16 years of music industry experience, she has developed a solid reputation in Western Australia as an accomplished jazz singer, bandleader and vocal coach.
In 1996, while still studying, Libby and three of her fellow students formed a quartet which they called Hip Mo' Toast (Hip because it's cool, Mo' because you get more for your money and Toast because everybody loves toast!). Over the years Hip Mo' Toast matured and grew in to an outstanding collective of Perth's best jazz musicians, performing in ensembles ranging from a trio to a big band, all led by Libby herself.
Hip Mo' Toast has performed thousands of concerts since 1996, including touring to the eastern states of Australia on two occasions, performing at the Villa Celimontana Jazz Festival in Italy in 2006 and for a royal wedding in Singapore in 2007. Hip Mo’ Toast has made four CD recordings and in 2006 won its sixth consecutive Western Australian Music Industry Association award for Most Popular Original Jazz Act.
As well as having composed original songs for Hip Mo' Toast recordings, in August 2006 Libby completed her first commissioned work ‘The Glade’ for New Music For The Southern Forests. In her own right, Libby has performed with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and alongside such Australian jazz icons as James Morrison and Joe Chindamo. She has worked with international jazz artists such as Josh Hilberman (USA), Christoph Spendel (Germany) and two - time Grammy Winner Gary Bartz (USA).
Libby was a key member of the Perth Jazz Society committee from 1992 until 2006 and in 2005 won the PJS Award for Most Outstanding Individual Contribution To Jazz. In 2007 she won another PJS award - Life Membership for Outstanding Long - Term Contribution to Jazz. She is proud to be Patron of Jazz Fremantle. Libby regularly adjudicates eisteddfods and singing competitions and is sought after for her professional development workshops. She has taught jazz at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts, and currently teaches singing at two of Perth's leading private schools.
Upright and electric bassist and composer Nick Abbey has become an integral fixture of the jazz and contemporary music scenes in WA since arriving from Melbourne in 2006.
As a performer, Nick has appeared with the likes of international luminaries George Garzone, John Scofield, Paul Bollenback, Alex Norris, Jim Pugh, Howard Levy, and Troy Roberts, as well as local legends Paul Grabowsky, Jamie Oehlers, James Morrison, and Graham Lyall. Aside from his main ensemble TRISK, Nick is also currently an active member of Abbey|Foster|Falle, Det Nopsus, Libby Hammer Quintet, Hammer 9, Johannes Luebbers Dectet, Paul Grabowsky's Perth Sextet, and The Fix, amongst others.
Nick's compositions have repeatedly drawn accolades, including the recently announced award of the WA Music Industry's Jazz Song of the Year 2014 for a new TRISK tune entitled Charon. This is Nick's third consecutive receipt of this accolade, with tracks from Abbey|Foster|Falle's Brotherhood album previously taking it out in 2012 (Maelstrom) and 2013 (Avina).
Nick has toured nationally and internationally (including Singapore, China, France, and Italy), has featured on over a dozen recording projects, and has recently commenced Ph.D studies at the WA Academy of Performing Arts, focusing on rhythm and extended techniques of the upright bass.
Keep up to date with Nick at www.triskmusic.com!
Jazz Vocalist and Tutor. This stylish and sophisticated singer has long been established as one of Western Australia’s premier jazz vocalists, performing with her band since 1996. Penny is as well known to those in the know for her passionate and evocative stage presence as she is for her diverse arrangements of standards and contemporary tunes alike.
Her position as vocal tutor in the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts’ jazz department is testament to her respected place in the thriving Perth Jazz scene.
Active as a professional musician for over 20 years, Pete graduated from the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (W.A.A.P.A.) in 1997 with a Bachelor of Music (Jazz) and is an in-demand bassist performing regularly in a wide range of styles on both Double Bass and Electric Bass Guitar.
Pete has performed extensively throughout Australia and also in India, China, the U.K, Italy, Singapore, Japan, the U.S.A and New Zealand and he has performed with many well known artists including Michel Legrand, Hank Marvin, Mark Murphy, Geoffrey Keezer, George Garzone, Leo Sayer, Carmen Lundy, Andy Sheppard, Gary Bartz, Walter Smith III, Karrin Allyson and James Morrison to name only a few.
Currently a member of the highly acclaimed Tom O’Halloran Trio, Pete is also bassist for the Perth ensemble “Memory of Elements” (MOE) which launched it’s debut album and toured Australia in 2011 including performances at the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues. MOE recently released it’s second album “Now Noise” composed by the group’s pianist Tom O’Halloran. Pete is also a member of the gyspy jazz groups “Belleville” and “Sassafras” and he has been a member of many other perth-based jazz groups including “Michael Pigneguy Sextet” and “The Perth Jazz Orchestra”. Pete has also led/co-led a number of groups including “Thrust” (funk-jazz) “Salamander” (jazz & electronic music) “Frames of Minds” (modern jazz) and continues to lead jazz groups under his own name ranging in size from trio to quintet.
An avid composer, Pete has written numerous original works including commissions for the Nuevo Tango group ‘Guapo’, Southern Forests Arts and also JAZZWA (the 26th Parallel Suite - written for 20 piece ensemble) and he has won WAMi awards for jazz composition. Pete also writes for his own groups/projects including the Pete Jeavons Quintet.
Named the Perth Jazz Society’s most outstanding contributor in the year 2011 (and previously in 2000 too), Pete was also a finalist in the 2008 National Jazz Bass Awards. Despite maintaining a busy schedule as a freelance musician Pete has been a driving force in the not-for-profit arts organization “JAZZWA” for 17 years, in various roles including Project Manager, General Manager, and currently Treasurer. As a Project Manager for JAZZWA Pete has produced six volumes of the Jazzaziz Compilation CD for JAZZWA (which features original contemporary jazz from various Perth jazz groups) and organized countless performances, tours and jam sessions for JAZZWA. Pete also runs the annual JazzNOW! Jazzcamp for JAZZWA, designed to educate young jazz musicians.
Pete also teaches bass at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (W.A.A.P.A.), and is a presenter of the ‘Giant Steps’ contemporary jazz program on community radio station RTR-FM 92.1.
Edith Cowen University (ECU)
Recognised as one of the strongest jazz courses in the southern hemisphere, the WAAPA Jazz Performance major produces many nationally and internationally renowned jazz musicians. The strength of the major lies in the focus on performance outcomes, and all educational units are based around developing these skills. Students have the option of pursuing a performance or arranging stream in their final year, culminating in a professional recital.
All students participate in many varied ensembles, from big bands to jazz trios and everything in between. The major also has a visiting artist program that is second to none, and prides itself on the depth of professional knowledge that is on offer to students year round.
Recognised as one of the strongest jazz courses in the southern hemisphere, WAAPA Jazz produces many nationally and internationally renowned jazz musicians.
WAAPA Jazz faculty members include:
Chris Tarr (drums)
Fred Grigson (guitar)
Jamie Oehlers (saxophone)
Jeremy Greig (trombone)
Paul Pooley (bass)
Ric Eastman (drums)
Tom O'Halloran (piano)
Victoria Newton (voice)
For the Jazz performance schedule at WAAPA visit: www.waapa.ecu.edu.au/performances-and-events/performances/music/jazz
Trumpeter Adrian Hicks currently directs The Oz Big Band, The Metro Big Band as well as playing in a handful of various jazz and contemporary bands around WA. WAAPA trained in Arranging & Composition he also specialises in brass with embouchure and technical difficulties associated with their playing. The Oz Big Band is currently one of the most sort after swing dance bands in Australia due to their authentic feel and energy.
From 1996 to 1999, Benn Hodgkin completed a Bachelor of Jazz, during which time he was recipient of the fifth WA Youth Jazz Orchestra Scholarship. He has performed with a number of Perth's leading groups, such as Hip-Mo-Toast Big Band, Manteca, Perth Jazz Orchestra, Thrust, Salamander & WA Symphony Orchestra, plus interstate and overseas artists including Daryl Somers, James Morrison, Marcia Hines, Jerry Lewis and the RAAF Central Band. Benn has also recorded on a number of released albums including Thrust's "Survival of the Funkiest", Tim Minchin's "Timmy the Dog:Sit" & Hip-Mo-Toast Big Band's "Mischievous Girl". He has performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland, as well as a number of jazz venues in London, Austria, Ireland, Spain, Singapore and The Netherlands.
After completing his Bachelor of Music with Distinction in 1991, Chris went on to post graduate study at North Texas University, studying drum set and percussion with world renown jazz educator, Ed Soph. During his time at North Texas, Chris attended clinics with David Garibaldi, Jim Chapin, Adam Nassbaum, John Robinson and Bill Stewart, and was fortunate enough to perform with Trilok Gurtu, Steve Smith, Lew Soloff and Louis Bellson. Upon his return Chris became involved in the Perth music scene playing and recording with local artists. He also performed with international jazz artists such as John Taylor, Dave Samuals, Frank Foster, Randy Brecker, Kenny Drew Jnr and Mark Livine. In 1995 Chris won Australia s Best Up and Coming Drummer award and received $3000 worth of prizes and endorsements. Chris is currently teaching at the Western Australian Conservatorium of Music Full Time and playing in Afro-Cuban group Descarga.
Known as The "KIng of Swing"
Freddie Grigson has been at the forefront of Australia’s ever-evolving jazz scene for the past 35 years. His artistic virtuosity and authentic interpretation of the Jazz language has earned him a reputation as one of the country’s most in-demand guitarists.
Beginning his musical career in Melbourne, Freddie moved to Perth in the early 1980’s where he continues to perform, teach, record and develop his skills and unique sound.
Armed with an extensive and increasing number of original compositions along with the ability to continually reinvent the standard jazz repertoire, Freddie delivers a harmonic sensitivity, together with an instinctive melodic flair.
He is an experienced and sought-after sideman, working alongside legendary artists such as Sammy Davis, Jr and Shirley Bassey. He is also a headliner in his own right and has shared the stage with jazz giants, including Joe Pass and John Scofield.
Freddie has released two albums, Bluezone in 1997 and Past and Present, released in early 2012.
Graham Wood has been a professional pianist, arranger and composer since 1989. He has toured extensively nationally and internationally and has worked with many renowned international artists including Frank Foster, Sam Rivers, Ernie Watts, Sheila Jordan, Dave O’Higgins, Cindy Blackman, Dave Weckl, Claire Martin, Reggie Workman, Ingred Jensen, Mark Murphy, Greg Osby, Bob Sheppard, Carmen Lundy, Chris McNulty, Paul Bollenback, George Garzone, Mike Moreno, Gretchen Parlarto, Howard Levy, Jon Gordon and Fred Wesley. He has been commissioned to compose three major works for Jazz orchestra including one for the Fremantle International Jazz Festival.
He completed the Bachelor of Music (Jazz) course at WAAPA in 1992. He was awarded an ARTSWA grant to study Jazz piano in New York in 1994. After completing a Graduate Diploma in Education in 2000 he pursued a PhD in Music Education. The topic of his PhD research was “Prevalence, factors, and effects of Performance Related Medical Disorders (PRMD) among tertiary-trained jazz pianists in Australia and the United States”. His work is published internationally in the Performing Arts Medical Association (PAMA) journal and he makes regular presentations at the Performing Arts Medical Association annual symposium in Aspen, Colorado.
Associate Professor Graham Wood (PhD) was appointed Jazz piano lecturer at WAAPA in 2001 and the head of Jazz studies in 2004. He was then appointed Dean of Music in 2006. He was nominated for the 2013 Western Australian of The Year in the Arts Category and was also nominated for a 2013 Golden WAMi by the Western Australian Music Industry Association.
Graham is represented on five CD’s: The Graham Wood Trio ‘Real’ and The Graham Wood Trio + 2 ‘Jazz Juice’, ‘The G Train’, ‘Piano Perspectives’ and his latest release ‘Remembrance’. He also performed on the 2013 Best Australian Jazz Vocal Album with Chris McNulty “The Song That Sings You Here”. This album was recorded in New York City. In addition to this, Graham is also half owner of The Ellington Jazz club and is founder and artistic director for The Perth International Jazz Festival.
Now based in Perth, Western Australia, Jamie was the winner of the 2003 White Foundation World Saxophone Competition, was named Australian Jazz Musician of the Year at the 2007 Bell Awards, as well as winning the Best Jazz Release category and is now coordinator of Jazz Studies at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.
Jamie has performed in the United States, Asia, India, UK, Europe, New Zealand and throughout Australia with leading international jazz artists like Charlie Haden, Geri Allen, Robert Hurst, Eric Harland, Reuben Rogers, George Garzone, Cindy Blackman, Ronnie Scott, John and Jeff Clayton, Curtis Lundy, Paul Grabowsky, Dale Barlow, Bernie McGann, Barney Mcall, Scott Tinkler, Joe Chindamo and James Morrison, and with groups like the Australian Art Orchestra, Sam Keevers Octet, Paul Grabowsky Quartet/Qunitet and Sextet, Blowfish and the Paul Williamson Sextet.
Composer, Lecturer in Arranging and Composition at WAAPA, Artistic Director of the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO). Advocate for original Australian big band music.
Tom O’Halloran leads his own original jazz piano trio outfit and conducts orchestras from time to time, composes new classical music, plays wild old analogue synthesizers and even rock guitar. Most recently he has played with acclaimed bassist Robert Hurst (USA), was nominated for a 2012 APRA Australian Art Music award and was a finalist in the 2011 Freedman Foundation Jazz Fellowship – where he was featured at the Sydney Opera House.
He plays a myriad of styles, and recently arranged all the music for the concert series JONI – a Joni Mitchell tribute that was staged at the Sydney Opera House, Melbourne and Brisbane, starring Katie Noonan and Wendy Matthews. He has also worked with other industry names such as Pete Murray (Sony), James Morrison, singers Tina Harrod, Ilan Kidron (Potbellez, Universal), Max Sharam, Geoff Duff, Josh Quong-Tart (Home and Away, All Saints), Hugo Race (Bad Seeds), David Campbell, Deni Hines (Sony BMG), Mark Sholtez (Verve label), Rick Robertson (DIG), and other jazz musicians of the caliber of James Muller, Simon Barker, Kristen Berardi, trumpeter Phil Slater, bassist Cameron Undy and 20th Century Dog, Dan Barnett’s Big Band – and has performed at other Australian jazz festivals including the Melbourne Jazz Festival, Newcastle, York (WA), Manly and Coolah Jazz Festivals.
Tom O’Halloran leads the Jazz Piano department at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) at Edith Cowan University, and also lectures in jazz composition and improvisation. He is a regularly commissioned composer, and currently holds a Master of Music in classical composition from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and a Bachelor of Music (Jazz Performance) from WAAPA.
[Sourced from http://www.tomohalloran.com.au]
Victoria, relocated to Australia in 2008 after many years in the UK where she is recognised as one of the most exciting and dynamic jazz vocalists on the scene.
The last few years have seen her perform at the famous Ronnie Scott's in London, Alexis in Kuala Lumpur, for their International Jazz Series, and a dream gig performing Brazilian songs cruising up the Amazon!
She has appeared at many festivals and venues throughout the UK and Europe concerts including Queille in France and The Ingolstadt Jazz Festival in Germany, The Oxford Literary Festival, Pizza Express, The 606 Club and the Jazz Cafe in London where she supported Terence Blanchard and performed with Ronny Jordan.
Victoria experienced international success during the mid-1990s UK dance/pop group 'Strike' and their massive hit, “U Sure Do”. This led to her appearing on MTV and the BBC’s Top of the Pops, releasing the critically acclaimed album 'I Saw the Future', touring throughout the world and sharing the stage with such names as Jocelyn Brown, and The Spice Girls.
She released her first jazz album 'The Song is You' in 2004 which received great response from the press and regular air play in the UK
Since arriving back in her Australia she has appeared at the York Jazz Festival, performed her own cabaret Downstairs at His Majesty's Theatre, invited as the featured singer to open Perth's premiere jazz club, The Ellington, performed with Jamie Oehlers at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club in Melbourne.