2017 Freedman Jazz Fellowship Nominees announced | The Music Trust

The Music Trust is delighted to announce the list of nominees for the 2017 Freedman Jazz Fellowship.

The annual Freedman Jazz Fellowship, is designed to assist young top Australian jazz musicians aged up to 35 years to build further career success.  Based on an invite-only process, nominees are selected by senior industry figures in each state. Those nominated compile a project proposal and a recording, and from these, three finalists are selected to audition for the judging panel.

The Freedman Jazz Fellowship is funded by the Freedman Foundation, which assists talented young Australians in the arts and supports important medical and scientific research.  The Fellowships for Classical Music and Jazz are managed by The Music Trust and administered by Sydney Improvised Music Association (SIMA).

The 2017 nominees are Sam Anning (Bass), Georgie Darvidis (Vocals), Angela Davis (Saxophone) Nick Garbett (Trumpet), Marty Holoubek (Bass), Dave Jackson (Alto Saxophone), Rafael Karlen (Saxophone), Damien Kingston (Guitar), Ellen Kirkwood (Trumpet), Aidan Löwe (Drums), Ross McHenry (Bass), Ed Rodrigues (Drums, Percussion), Daniel Joshua Ross (Piano), Emma Stephenson (Piano), Harry Sutherland (Piano), Allira Wilson (Vocals)

Sam Anning

“Sam is one of Australia’s most treasured and in-demand Bassists  – His instrumental virtuosity is unrivaled but I think that it is his breadth of musicality and personal philosophy that make him such an revered artist.  He is a very generous and empathetic musician who brings incredible nuance, warmth and positivity to so much music including his own projects that show his strength and agility in moving between varying musical worlds.”

Nominated by Gian Slater

Georgie Darvidis

“Georgie is something of a vocal chameleon.  On any given gig she might be re-interpreting a well-worn standard with devastating vulnerability; interrogating the improvisational potential of syntax in rapid-fire flurries of spoken word; or doing the most deadpan impersonation of Bjork I’ve ever heard. On the right night you might hear all three!  Georgie brings the sense of playful experimentation and open possibilities that for me characterises the best ‘jazz’, and I am excited to hear whatever she creates in the future.”

Nominated by James McLean

Angela Davis

“[Angela is] established on the national and somewhat international scene, with multiple recordings released – all in innovative ways”

Nominated by Dr Steven Newcomb

Nick Garbett

“Nick has been at the forefront of the Sydney contemporary jazz scene for the last 6 or so years.  He is an outstanding trumpet soloist, composer and band leader.  He has worked extremely hard running ensembles that perform contemporary original music, most notably The Vampires . I think he will put together a fantastic proposal that will build on the hard work and achievements he has already made with his music. ”

Nominated by Matt Keegan

Marty Holoubek

Nominated by James McLean

Dave Jackson

“Dave Jackson has been working very hard over the last 8 or so years leading his own projects and promoting contemporary Australian jazz music. He is a fantastic alto saxophonist and I’ve been particularly impressed with his recent work leading a cross cultural group based in Japan called Orbiturtle. I think his work here would make a fantastic proposal and deserves to be given an opportunity. ”

Nominated by Matt Keegan

Rafael Karlen

“As well as being strong performers [Rafael is]  building a library of compositional output…including works for large ensemble.”

Nominated by Dr Steve Newcomb

Damien Kingston

” Kingston’s unique musical voice draws on the extensive jazz guitar tradition, and marries it with the vast and various language of the avant garde.  Kingston’s strengths lie not only in his mastery of the instrument but also in his dedication to compositional exploration (his output is enormous), and the sculpting of the ensemble sounds he produces both live and on record.  If awarded a Freedman, I know Kingston would extract the maximum from this opportunity, taking the chance to further his career – and, ultimately, make a serious mark on the international stage as an Australian musician of the utmost caliber.  It would be most excellent to see Kingston rewarded for his art, which is of the highest order, and for his dedication.”

Nominated by Matt Boden

Ellen Kirkwood

“This artist has my highest recommendations”

Nominated by Ben Hauptman

Aidan Löwe

“Aidan Lowe is an Australian (Canberra) drummer based in Berlin since 2012. He performs and records as a freelance musician and as a member of groups Far East Trio (SCO/DE/AU), Burrows (AU), Tate Sheridan Trio (AU), Antipodes (AU/NZ), Eyal Lovett Trio (Israel/DE), Vulkan (AU/DK), SVELIA (AU/SWE) and Liu Xing Quintet (China).  He has toured extensively with these bands and as a guest drummer with Tal Blumstein Trio (Israel/NY), Guy Mintus Trio (Israel/NY), Amit Friedman Quartet (Israel), and Eden Holan (Israel), performing throughout Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and China. Aidan’s most recent release is the Eyal Lovett Trio album “Tales From A Forbidden Land” featuring Gilad Hekselman.”

Nominated by Mark Sutton

Ross McHenry

“Ross is a very fine musician who has played nationally and internationally and he has devised and run a range of very imaginative cross-genre projects. His interest in, and energy for, jazz is boundless and he can be counted on to be involved in ambitious jazz-related projects all the time. He played for me in my quartet, Schmoe & Co, for some years and during that time he was one of the most (musically and operationally) reliable band members. Ross has also been active in organizations which support jazz and jazz musicians. I have no hesitation in nominating him.”

Nominated by Sylvan Elhay

Ed Rodrigues

“Ed has given his life to music and seeks out a life of performance. As a loyal member of the internationally acclaimed ‘Casey Golden Trio’, a featured artist in Drum Scene up and coming Australian Jazz Drummers, and a passion for education. Ed has taught among many high profile tutors including John Foreman for the MCUI Sing Across Australia recording. Currently finding work in the blues and Jazz scene Ed can also be found running his own projects, the Ed Rodrigues Band, and Edband. With a release on it’s way in late 2017. His list of recording credits continues to grow and can be found for the above mentioned groups. Most notably his work in the Casey Golden Trio’s releases ‘Miniature’ and ‘Outliers’ ”

Nominated by Mark Sutton

Daniel Joshua Ross

“Daniel is a fine creative jazz pianist and composer. He studied jazz at the University of Adelaide’s Elder Conservatorium and later undertook a masters degree with Mike Nock in Sydney. He has performed in major cities around Australia and in Los Angeles. Daniel has a powerful technique which he uses to create interesting and complex jazz improvisations that are distinguished from the mainstream by his distinctive and original harmonic and melodic voice. Over the years he has demonstrated unremitting commitment to jazz and is just the sort of person that the Freedman awards were designed for and at just the right time in his jazz career. I have no hesitation in nominating him.”

Nominated by Sylvan Elhay

Emma Stephenson

“Emma’s music is a holistic expression of who she is  – each element of her artistry serving the other – her incredible piano playing is at its peak when playing her own compositions and her compositions are so intrinsically connected to the way she plays.  The strength and warmth of her vision is so clearly supported and transmitted by her trio. The culture she and her trio have created is truly refreshing and inspiring as are the ideas expressed through her lyrics and blog writing.”

Nominated by Gian Slater

Harry Sutherland

“This artist has my highest recommendations”

Nominated by Ben Hauptmann

Allira Wilson

“Allira has a unique conception of legato phrasing, a rare deep emotional connection to lyricism and melody, and a comforting sense of control to her performances that is rare to find in jazz singers today. Her interpretation of jazz standards crosses genres and makes them new for everyone to appreciate her soulful and sensitive approach, bringing out the best in her musical comrades. She has released recordings under her own name and has won national awards for her performances. ”

Nominated by Tom O’Halloran



Matt Boden has been the recipient of numerous awards, grants and prizes from various festivals and industry bodies.  In 2011 he won the Australian Jazz Bell award for Best Traditional Jazz Album, with Leigh Barker and The New Sheiks.  In 2008 Matt placed 3rd in the inaugural Boris Vian Concours du Jazz in Paris with his trio. He was a finalist in the 2013 Wangaratta Jazz Festival National Jazz Awards.

Sylvan Elhay has chaired the Music Council of Australia, of which he is now an Honorary Life Member, Jazz Action Society (SA), JazzSA and he served two terms on the Music Board of the Australia Council. He remains actively playing music in various music groups.

Ben Hauptman is nationally recognised jazz guitarist. Winner of the 2010 Freedman Jazz Fellowship and 2nd place winner in the National Jazz Awards at the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz 2007.

Matt Keegan regularly performs throughout Australia and around the world. He appears on over 50 albums as a recording artist, is a featured soloist for many well-known groups both past and present and has performed at music festivals across the globe.

James McLean was awarded the prestigious Freedman Fellowship in 2016, becoming the first drummer to win the award. In 2017, James is pursuing his fellowship project of establishing and recording duo works with Australian artists; and completing his PhD studies into contemporary Australian improvised music and applying systems of movement to drumset improvisation.

Dr Steve Newcomb is Program Director – Bachelor of Music and Head of Jazz at Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University

Tom O’Halloran won the Best Jazz Artist 2016 award from WAM, in 2017 and 2012 was nominated for an APRA Australian Art Music award and in 2011 was a finalist in the Freedman Foundation Jazz Fellowship.

Gian Slater lectures in Jazz and Improvisation at Melbourne and Monash Universities as well as guest lecturing at The Manhattan School of Music and the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts, as well as being a sought after international performer.

Mark Sutton has played with the ‘who’s who’ of the Australian Jazz scene including Mike Nock, Bernie McGann, Dale Barlow, Sean Wayland, James Muller, Matt Macmahon… just to name a few




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