A couple of big singing weekends coming up!

I have a couple of big weekends coming up! On Saturday July 29, me and my fabulous little a cappella group from USQ, the Harmony Wednesdays, are participating in the QMF You’re the Voice event with 2000 other singers at Suncorp Piazza. Big hardly describes it. THEN, I rush over to the Brisbane Jazz Club, where it’s my yearly showing as jazz vocalist (7:30-10). I’ll be joined by Paul Hudson and Jamie Clark and special guest Josh Hatcher will join us in the second set.
The next weekend, on Sunday morning August 6, I’ll be back at BJC with those clever little Harmony Wednesdays again, singing our jazz repertoire, followed by myself and Melissa Forbes doing a special set of music for double bass and vocal duet. This is part of the Brisbane Jazz Vocal festival – we’ll be followed by the wonderful Elly Hoyt. So if jazz singing is your thing, I’ll be involved in quite a lot of it in the next little while, so come along if you can!

Happy new financial year!

I have some interesting and unusual events coming up over the next couple of months.
On July 13 I’m taking off to Melbourne for the Australian Society for Music Education conference were I will be presenting a paper.
July 29 is a big one. I’m brining my vocal group from USQ, the Harmony Wednesdays, to Brisbane to participate in the “You’re the Voice” event that the QMF is putting on in the Southbank Piazza, an awareness raising event for domestic violence and the services available for those experiencing it. There will be over 2000 people singing their hearts out. The song has been arranged by Emma Dean, and will be conducted by Dr Jonathan Welch AM. Dr Welch made the trip to Toowoomba to work with my group and some member of other groups from Toowoomba and Warwick that will participate. So a big day – followed by my yearly Brisbane Jazz Club gig as featured vocalist – yes, that evening! I will be assisted by my long-time cronies Jamie Clark and Paul Hudson, and have asked saxophonist Josh Hatcher to come along and help.
The next weekend, on the morning of August 6, I’m back at the BJC as part of the Brisbane Vocal Jazz Festival. First up is the Harmony Wednesdays, followed by a duet set by myself and my colleague Melissa Forbes. The morning session is rounded out with an appearance by Elly Hoyt. If you’re you can find out all about it here: http://brisbanevocaljazzfestival.com.au,
I’ll be playing with the lovely Elly at Brisbane’s excellent new jazz venue, Doo-bop, on July 8, and the following evening in a duo with Jamie Clark. If you haven’t been there yet you really must check it out.
Last but not least – tomorrow, Sunday July 2, I will be helping my sister Sharny launch her fab new CD in our home-town, Toowoomba – that’s at The Office, Duggan street, at 2:30.
So, with the start of semester 2 on July 10, the next month is going to be busy busy!

2017 so far…

Well, not much action here lately, not that I haven’t been doing anything. I had a nice run of gigs in January with Bruce Woodward and Aaron Jansz at Ric’s, although got cut short by the Australia Day holiday Valley blowout. I’ve done some nice gigs at JMI live with Bruce, Andrew Garton and Charlotte McClean, and did a recital at the Queensland Con with Louise Denson, Martha Bartz and Paul Hudson.

I wouldn’t normally mention it, but I’ve been to some nice muso parties recently, a 50th, a 30th, and a surprise 70th for a couple of my teachers from my study at DDIAE 30 + years ago, which was a bit of a reunion, as you might imagine.

At USQ we have a nice new intake of bright-eyed bushy-tailed students who are going along swimmingly.

But it is clearly time to update you all on what I have coming up. Firstly, another JMI gig with Bruce Woodward, tomorrow in fact, and the next Thursday at BJC with the Joshua Hatcher quartet. Then on May 5 I’ll be helping my sister Sharny launch her CD at the Bangalow Bowls Club. The following Friday will be the next instalment of the Little Village project at USQ, featuring Sara Storer accompanied by myself and my USQ colleagues and a few students. The end of May sees the start of the Brisbane International Jazz Festival, at which I will be performing with Louise & Martha, doing a live recording in fact.

The next weekend I’ll be taking off to Melbourne, not only to catch some festival gigs but also to attend the inaugural Australasian Jazz and Improvisation Research Network conference. The following Thursday is the long-awaited (by us anyway) Good Bait trio gig at the BJC.

So, stuff is happening! I hope I’ll be seeing some of you at the gigs/conference etc.!

jazz bonanza weekend

Just letting you know that I’m taking over the Brisbane Jazz Club next weekend. Well, ok, it’s not a coup, BUT – Thursday 23 I’m there with Martha Bartz & Louise Denson, Friday 24 I’m there with my Toowoomba USQ colleagues Melissa Forbes & Bruce Woodward, they’re letting somebody else play there Saturday (actually I think it’s Karen Anderson) and I’m back bright and early Sunday morning (10-12:30) doing my yearly gig as vocalist. On all of these occasions you will see Paul Hudson behind the drum kit and of course Jamie Clark will be there with us on Sunday morning ($20 entry, $35 entry + brunch). In the following week I’m having a rare Wednesday night in Brisbane playing at the Press Club with Bruce at Shannon Marshall’s jazz night. I’ve had a lot of 1-gig weekends lately, so I may end up  feeling like a professional musician again by the end of all that! I hope some of you can join us a one (or more!) of these events.

South East QLD music bonanza!

After a couple of quiet weekends, next week I have lots of stuff happening. First of all, the second of our “Little Village” series of concerts at USQ will feature Rick Price, joined by myself and my USQ music colleagues, Mark Sholtez, Melissa Forbes and Bruce Woodward, with a little help from Paul Hudson and some of our students. This takes place in the Arts Theatre on Thursday night April 21.

The following evening at JMI live in Bowen Hills it will be a bit of a trip down memory lane for me and my old mates Leah Cotterell and Jamie Clark. Leah and I will pull out a duet set, something that hasn’t occurred for many moons, and in set two we’ll be joined by Jamie and will feature some of the songs we’ve written over the years, as well as few oldies we like to play.

Saturday Jamie and I trek out to Queen’s Park in Ipswich to play some jazz with Tyrone Noonan. So there you go, SE Queensland is going off this week!

A New Year

Ok, I’m a little late with the new year but for those of us who teach at university the new year starts next week when our new students show up for O week. I’m currently under the impression that I’m pretty well prepared for lectures the week after but I’m ready to be proven wrong come approximately Tuesday week.

December and January provided a fair bit of beach time for Ken and me, although our last long weekend at Coolangatta coincided with some windy stormy weather. It was when the really hot weather started in Brisbane so it was still good not to be home, but the weather has stuck around – even up on the hill in Toowoomba it’s been hot and muggy.

I also managed a quick trip to Melbourne to catch up with a few old friends, which is always fun. I got to see my mate Carita Farrer-Spencer performing in the wonderful new Australian musical “Ladies in Black”, with music by Tim Finn – luckily, as it turned out, since it has sold out since! I also braved my holiday chops and sat in with the wonderful Michelle Nicole at her weekly Brunswick Green gig – thanks to Frank DiSario for letting me play his bass, and always a treat to be on stage with the venerable Paul Williamson.

Speaking of holiday chops, it’s almost time for my first gig of the year, after a particularly quiet January/Feb! On Friday night I’ll be playing with a quartet under my name at JMI live – yes, this year JMI is putting on gigs 2 nights a week. Jamie Clark, Steve Russell and Nathan Goldman will be joining me for kind of retrospective of repertoire that has previously been attempted by the forgoing, and it’s turned out to be a pretty interesting list! We start at 8 and do 2 sets, with the usual jam before & after and a $10 entry. We’d love to see you there.

August

I know we’re well in to August, but things have been quiet on the gig front in July although I did have a blast doing a trio gig with Andrew Garton and Paul Hudson at JMI live on July 16. I also got my masters paper handed in, which was a relief! August has started off in a theatrical style, with a show with music theatre legend Peter Cousens at the lovely Empire Theatre in Toowoomba on the 8th, and on the 16th, the Seniors’ Cabaret Gala at City Hall, which is always a fun day. However, another yearly (approximately) event is to take place at the Brisbane Jazz Club on Friday night the 21st, when myself and my siblings Sharny and Steve take the stage for a night of jazz and perhaps some weird bits and bobs from our childhood! We will be joined by the always swinging Paul Hudson on drums. Music starts at 7:30 and cost is $25/15. We would love to see you there, we don’t get to do many gigs together these days and it’s always excellent fun.

Russell Siblings 2013Russell Siblings Kids

June

Well, it’s been a little while since I had anything to say here – not that things haven’t been happening, I’ve just been so busy that I haven’t gotten around to writing about them!

Last Monday was the culmination (or culmination #1) of a project that I have been working on for the Brisbane International Jazz Festival with Leah Cotterell and Gian Ferrett commemorating the Primitif Coffee Lounge, a venue that Gian’s mum Peter Hackworth opened in 1957 in Brisbane city. It was one of the first venues in Brisbane to feature modern jazz and many of the elder statesmen (and women) of the scene today played there in their youth. I rehearsed up a band of appropriately young talented things, namely Melissa Lathouras, Sophie Min, Lachie Mitchell, Matt Hunter, Elliot Parker and Lachie Hawkins, who took on some hitherto unfamiliar repertoire in order to evoke a late-50s-early 60s ambience. Gian cooked up a storm in her evening wear (not for the first time in her career) and Leah marshalled the coming together of the folks that frequented the joint in its heyday. The band was augmented for a few tunes by the percussion of Buzz Ennis and Barry Sutton, and we had the pleasure of a couple of songs from the amazing Wilma Reading, who also led her own band in a set on Saturday evening. I think it is safe to say the afternoon was a great success, and Leah and Gian will be continuing to find and speak to people who remember the Primitif.

Next Sunday evening the 21st,  I am going back to my old job of Musical Director for Women in Voice when we do a one-off show at QPAC as part of the Women of the World event. The show features Leah Cotterell, Megan Sarmardin, Alison St Ledger, Carita Farrer and the founder of WIV, Annie Peterson as the singing MC, with Bethan Ellsmore on board as all purpose BV singer and the classic WIV band, me, Jamie Clark, Steve Russell and John Parker.

Things are busy at USQ as we come to the end of semester – lots of things to mark and student assessments to be listened to. My colleagues Melissa Forbes and Bruce Woodward also played at the festival with the Hiroyuki Minowa trio from Japan and encored with a free concert in the Arts Theatre at USQ on Thursday night to an ecstatic audience. The trio also did a workshop with some of the students in the afternoon, which was lots of fun.

If you are a cabaret fan don’t forget that the Brisbane Cabaret Festival is on right now, with events happening all over town – lots of interesting shows happening.

That’s it from me for now, I shan’t leave it so long next time…..

March

Hi, well here we are well into March and there’s not very much to report on the gig front. I’m having a few weekends off and hanging at the beach with friends, so it’s not all bad. However, there is one very unusual event looming. 18 Wheels is doing a gig for the first time in, let’s see, maybe 15 years or so! This gig will be taking place at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, in the Ian Hanger recital hall, on March 20 at 6pm, $15 for adults and $10 concession. Some of you may remember our Sunday night gigs at the Zoo way back in the 90s, where we indulged ourselves with country music from the 40s to the 70s and eventually started to write some of our own tunes. We are so looking forward to this one, it’s going to be big fun to revisit that stuff.

Later in the month I’m appearing at the Toowoomba Jazz Club with my colleagues from USQ, Melissa Forbes and Bruce Woodward, and we’ll be joined by Joe Marchisella on drums – that one’s on Friday March 27.

On the uni front, it’s nice to finally have some students to teach at USQ now that the semester has begun!

Hope to see some of you at one of these gigs, I think the 18 Wheels one could be a huge catch-up event!

February

Well, tomorrow I’m starting a new chapter in my life, to use the well-worn cliche. A new job at USQ in Toowoomba and a new lifestyle living half in one place and half in another. I think I’m organized…… we’ll soon see.

Meanwhile, February is when the gig machine slowly starts to crank up again. I have a couple of JMI live gigs, one this Thursday the 5th in a quintet with Andrew Garton, playing new music of his, and on the 19th with my old partners in crime Jamie and Huddo. I’m also making 2 appearances at the Brisbane Jazz Club, one with my colleagues at USQ, Melissa Forbes and Bruce Woodward (+Huddo) on the 20th and my second outing there as vocalist/bassist, again with Jamie and Huddo on Sunday morning the 22nd. It would be grand to see any of you at one or more of these gigs, they’ll all be excellent fun.

I was just thinking that my new life coincides with a new page for Queensland, with the removal of that embarrassing git Campbell Newman – almost seems to good to be true! Well done Queensland.

 

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