Music & Book Reviews

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Latest Music Reviews

Music Live

Category:Big Band, Jazz, Music Live, Traditional

Reviewed by: Andra Jackson

In reviewing the festival back in 1998, Jessica Nicholas wrote that while American musicians topped the bill, “the festival’s primary focus is on the strength and diversity of Australian jazz’’. 25 years later, the MIJF has moved well away from this model leaving a vacuum for a festival that could focus more on Australian musicians. It certainly did not include significant collaboration between local jazz artists and leading overseas musicians that was such a strong feature in the programing of the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues for many years which it has now eclipsed.

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Music Live

Category:Jazz, Music Live

Artist(s): Professional performers included Ingrid Jensen, Canada, trumpet, leader; Stephen Magnusson, guitar; Andrea Keller, piano; Sam Anning, bass; Felix Bloxsom, drums. The program also included students from Monash University, named in the text.

Location, Date: October 21 and 22, 2023, two performances on each day, Jazzlab, Brunswick, Victoria

Reviewed by: Ian Muldoon

Legendary jazz trumpet player and composer Ingrid Jensen led students of Monash University in a programme called Monash Jazz Futures. All  performances were models of modern jazz arranging, composing for jazz instruments, and commitment to the art. Some perfect moments of baton passing to a new generation.

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Music Recording

Category:Classical, Early Music

Artist(s): Judith Lambden, piano

Label: CD, Move Records MCD 653

Reviewed by: Toby Wong

“Ever-changing characters and an almost ‘romantic’ style of playing were my impressions as I penned my review of Judith Lambden’s previous J.S. Bach album, Bach Piano 1 (2021), several months ago. Her newly-published Bach album elevated these characteristics to a sublime level.”

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Music Recording

Category:Eclectic

Artist(s): Stuart Greenbaum (keyboards / many various instruments), Barry Cockcroft (soprano sax / track 1),Ken Murray (electric guitars / track 2), Barrie Webb (trombone / track 3), Marianne Rothschild (violin and vocal samples / track 4), Daniel Farrugia (drum kit), Peter Neville (live percussion, track 1), Amy Valent Curlis (percussion samples track 4).

Label: Salisbury Records 310721

Reviewed by: Kevin Bonnett

“With Electric Confession Stuart Greenbaum presents an eclectic and at times existentially beautiful collection of live solo performance and fixed media that charts an instructive course through his development as a composer.”

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Music Recording

Category:Big Band, Jazz

Artist(s): Vanessa Perica (composer and conductor), Carl Mackey (soprano and alto saxophones), Tessie Overmeyer (alto saxophone), Julien Wilson (tenor saxophone and clarinet), Jamie Oehlers (tenor saxophone), Time Stocker (baritone saxophone), Wendy Clarke (flute), Mat Jodrell (trumpet), Daniel Beasey (trumpet/flugelhorn), Paddy McMullin (trumpet/flugelhorn), Paul Williamson (trumpet/flugelhorn), Jordan Murray (trombone), Nick Mulder (trombone), Thomas Voss (trombone), Joe O’Callaghan (bass trombone), Theo Carbo (guitar), Andrea Keller (piano), Sam Anning (double bass), Ben Vanderwal (drums).

Reviewed by: Gavin Franklin

“Vanessa Perica deserves all the adulation that she will receive when the jazz world hears the contents of this album.” 

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Music Recording

Category:Jazz

Artist(s): Ben Winkelman  (piano), Matt Penman (bass), Obed Calvaire (drums), Gilad Hekselman (guitar).

Label: OA2  Records OA2 22217 and benwinkelman.com. Recorded in May 2023 in NYC. Album assisted by the Australia Council for the Arts.

Reviewed by: Chris Cody

“This new release from pianist Ben Winkelman showcases his increasingly assured writing and playing in the piano trio format, as well as the added involvement of guitarist Gilad Hekselman.”

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Music Recording

Category:Jazz

Artist(s): Phil Slater (leader, all compositions and arrangements; trumpet), Matt Keegan (tenor sax), Matt McMahon (piano), Brett Hirst (bass), Simon Barker (drums)

Label: Artist's release. Go to philslater.bandcamp.com or Birdland

Reviewed by: Ian Muldoon

“Phil Slater’s 2023 release Immersion Lure is a quintet of masters of the genre. It sits comfortably within the best of the ECM aesthetic and may be compared to Ambrose Akinmusire’s minimalist approach to a lot of his music. It is unembellished acoustic jazz of an exquisite kind recorded to the highest contemporary standard. Beauty is this music’s touchstone.”

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Music Recording

Category:Big Band, Jazz

Artist(s): List of performers is not complete: LAC Stephanie Paris, vocals / LAC Louisa Williamson, flute; LAC Frank Talbot, clarinet; Cpl Oscar Laven*, sax; Cpl Michael Costeloe*, LAC Cam Robertson, trumpet; LAC Louisa Williamson, LAC Kaite Walley, trombone; LAC Leonardo Coglini, piano, LAC Seth Boy, bass, LAC Darren Mathiassen, drums. Composers shown with asterisk *, plus Anita Schwab, Cpl Blair Latham

Reviewed by: Ian Muldoon

I imagine the RAAF and RNZAF military bands are vastly underrated by both Defence hierarchy and government. But these bands are a public face of Defence and a potent soft diplomacy weapon. 

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Music Recording

Category:Contemporary, Folk, Pop, Rock

Artist(s): Jamie Hutchings: guitar / bass / drums / vocals, Clare Moore: vibes, Lee Hutchings: tenor sax, Danny Carmichael: trumpet / trombone,Tim Kevin: piano, Leanne Clarey / Jeanne Poisson: backing vocals.

Label: Released through MGM

Reviewed by: Noel Mengel

“There is much to discover in the Hutchings catalogue but ‘A New’ is an excellent place to start, with some of his most appealing songcraft.”

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Latest Book Reviews

Book

Category: Memoir

Author: Jim Moginie

Publisher: Sydney: Harper Collins, 2024. Paperback,256 pages

ISBN 9781460717486

Reviewed by: David Mayocchi

Jim Moginie’s The Silver River covers his time as a member of Midnight Oil, the incredibly successful Australian rock band that Moginie helped form fifty years ago. But there is a parallel story here, one of a person searching for their place in the world, searching for the mother that gave them up for adoption, and the family that might have been his.

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Book

Category: Biography, Music and related arts, Music Business, Musicology

Author: Authors: Edited by Kerry Murphy and Jennifer Hill Co-authors: Jim Davidson, Gerard Vaughan, Sarah Kirby, Catherine Massip, Susan Daniels, Rachel Orzech, Thalia Laughlin, Carina Nandlal, Madeline Roycroft and Isabelle Ragnard,

Publisher: Publisher: Carlton, Victoria, Australia, Lyrebird Press, The University of Melbourne, https://ecommerce.unimelb.edu.au/faculty-stores/lyrebird-press/lyrebird-press-australia, 2023, xxii; 262 pp.

9780734038012 (paperback, e-book available)

Reviewed by: Elaine Lewis

“As learning has become universal so culture has become rare … thus sensitive beauty calls us to pause and be refreshed …” Louise Hansen-Dyer Louise Berta Mosson Hanson-Dyer, philanthropist and music publisher, was born in Melbourne on July 19,1884 and…

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Book

Category: Biography, Memoir, Non-Fiction, School education, Social History

Publisher: Wurundjeri Country, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia, Black Inc., an imprint of Schwartz Books Pty Ltd, www.blackincbooks.com, October 2023, 336pp.

ISBN: 9781760643690 (paperback, e-book available)

Reviewed by: Elaine Lewis

“It is a true memoir—but also a nonsense, a farce, a daydream and, in response to my six very happy years at that place, a love letter of sorts.”
A. J. Mackinnon

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Book

Category: Research

Author: Louise Devenish, Cat Hope, Editors

Publisher: Publisher: Routledge Research in Music.

Hardback ISBN 9781032310855. Also available as an eBook ISBN 9781003307969

Reviewed by: Mandy Stefanakis

Throughout the volume, sound makers are deliberately shaking up the boundaries of the possible, and this would seem to be because of virtuous attempts to reframe not only music, or even social norms, but musicians’ own expectations of themselves. In…

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Book

Category: Memoir

Author: Deborah Conway

Publisher: Sydney: Allen and Unwin. Paperback, 400 pages

781761069383 (pbk)

Reviewed by: David Mayocchi

Deborah Conway has written a brave memoir that charts her career over four decades in Australian music. With candid honesty, Book of Life provides us with insight into Conway’s own life, as well as some of the major figures in the industry.

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Book

Category: For children

Publisher: Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 266 pages

ISBN: 978 1761068607 (paperback)

Reviewed by: Loretta Barnard

“Aimed at children 6-10 years old, this is the second book in the Jawsome series by Gold Coast author and illustrator R.J. Timmis. It contains two stand-alone stories, both of which are rollicking good fun.”  By day, Finley and his…

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Book

Category: Music and related arts, Non-Fiction, Social History

Author: Loretta Barnard and Ingeborg van Teeseling

Publisher: MoshPit Publishing 2023

ISBN: 978-1-923065-33-8 (Soft cover)

Available online at: https://imagining-australia.com.au/ and through selected bookstore

Reviewed by: Mandy Stefanakis

In this wonderful book, we savour a banquet of amazing Australian artists across all fields, understanding their striving through artistic portrayals which both depict and profoundly alter our historical and socio-cultural perspectives of this country.

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Book

Category: Lyrics, Media, Memoir, Music Business, Music creation, Social History

Author: Bob Dylan

Publisher: Sydney: Simon and Schuster (Australia), 2022. 340 pages, hardback. Also Ebook. 

ISBN 9781398519411

Reviewed by: Libby Myers

I loved the images that accompanied each chapter, which felt like just as much a device of the book’s multisensory mode of storytelling as the text and music. In particular, I enjoyed the photos of record stores in their heyday, the early days of American rock ‘n’ roll, as bustling centres of social, economic and artistic opportunity. These exemplified Dylan’s earnest nostalgia for the truly ground-breaking time he came of age and became a musician.

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Book

Category: Biography, Music creation, Music Education, Social History

Author: Kerry Alexander Wirripang Pty Ltd, Wollongong, NSW, 2023. 330 pages, ISBN 9781876829865

Publisher: Wirripang Pty Ltd, Wollongong, NSW, 2023. 330 pages,

ISBN 9781876829865

Reviewed by: Elaine Lewis

At the end of her introduction to this biography Anderson writes “This book is not about the technical or musicological aspects of Ann’s work; rather, it is about the life of someone who is a unique human tour de force.”

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