Looking back on 2019, I have lucky to have experienced a fantastic variety of amazing performance opportunities, collaborations and recordings… 2019 has also brought some unanticipated extra teaching my way, and I feel grateful for the faith my friends have put in me to look after students at 3 universities. It’s resulted in a much busier year than I could have predicted. Here are some highlights for me: My String Project co-presented a concert at the Darling Quarter Theatre with Lee McIver’s Polymorphic Orchestra. I had an amazing time down at the Four Winds Festival in Bermagui, playing some hip and tricky music with Compass Sax Quartet, Sarangan and Bobby Singh. Clarinettist Phillippa Murphy-Haste and I (our new duo Alterity) gave our first gigs at Johnston Street Jazz, Tempe Jets and Boho Grove. I had my first go at playing alto flute and bass flute (along with garden variety flute and tenor sax) with SSO, playing the soundtrack to Breakfast at Tiffany’s. There were various gigs at Foundry 616 with great pianists, including John Harkins, Tim Bruer and Leonie Cohen. Craig Scott Quintet had our only gig for the year at the Con International Jazz Festival Far Cry played Eric Dolphy’s iconic album Out to Lunch at 505 (my final gig at Cameron’s wonderful venue), sharing the bill with Phillip Johnston’s Coolerators. The Coltrane Project performed the massive work Ascension in 10 piece format to a capacity crowd at Foundry 616. Meanwhile, ABC Jazz has released a digital album of our 2004 concert of Ascension and other works, recorded at the Side On Cafe. Mara! had a few great gigs this year, including the inaugural Sydney Folk Festival and our 35th anniversary concert at Camelot Lounge. Bungarribee gave some beautiful concerts including at the Boiler House, Medlow Bath and on tour in Queensland. Jamie Castrisos’ Quartet had its maiden voyage at Butcher’s Brew. Van Morrison’s Masterpieces with Vince Jones had performances in Lismore, Gold Coast, Angel Place, Riverside Theatres and Thirroul. I played Roger Frampton’s sopranino saxophone with Ten Part Invention at 616. Zela Margossian Quintet’s concert at Bankstown kept me on my toes. Steve Arié Quartet Quirks played at Johnston St Jazz and recorded soon after. Sam Gill’s Scattered played at Boho Grove and recorded soon after. Chris Cody’s Astrolabe performed in quartet format at La Perouse Museum and recorded in octet format soon after.
My sincere thanks to all the people who came out to hear any of these concerts. I was thinking just the other day how there needs to be some sort of award for audience loyalty… there are some pretty committed concert-goers out there!