Sunday, 17th September
Wollcon Jazz Festival 2023
11am-5pm, Wollongong Conservatorium of Music
The Wollongong Conservatorium of Music is excited to present the inaugural WollCon Jazz Festival on Sunday September 17th. The festival will feature some of the biggest names in Australian Jazz including legendary saxophonist Sandy Evans (OAM), James Greening (The Catholics, Mara), Tamara Murphy (Melb), Freyja Garbett, Chris Fields and many more!
This exciting new Festival will also highlight the next generation of jazz stars with performances from the prestigious Sydney Conservatorium Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Workshop Australia and local student groups from Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts, Smith Hill High School and all ensembles from the award winning WollCon Jazz Program.
11am-4pm - WollCon Student Jazz Ensembles and School Jazz Bands (various times)
12pm - Sydney Conservatorium Jazz Orchestra, Dave Theak director (one show only)
12:45pm and 1:45pm - Chris Fields Afro Indian Jazz Collective
1:15 - Sydney Conservatorium Jazz Combo (one show only)
1:30pm and 2:30pm - Tamara Murphy Spirograph Studies
4pm - Freyja Garbett Music From The Waves ft. Sandy Evans (one show only)
Saturday 26th August
8pm - The Music Lounge
Ellen Kirkwood – trumpet; Hilary Geddes – guitar; Nick Henderson – bass/synths; Alex Inman-Hislop – drums
The full moon through trees and mist. Towering majestic cliffs above a quiet rural valley. A calm river winding through a rocky landscape. A swim in a tidal ocean pool. A muddy swamp, teeming with life. The effects that being in nature has upon our senses and our minds, and the stories and memories that places hold. This is what Underwards makes music about.
Led by award-winning trumpeter and composer Ellen Kirkwood, Underwards features some of Sydney’s most exciting, versatile and creative musicians. Their music, like nature, combines beauty, mystery, colour and rhythm, but also leans in to the ways humans experience nature; sometimes with joy or calm, other times melancholy or bewilderment, even awe.
This performance will be part of Underwards’ launch tour for Delve; their characterful and eclectic debut album. Delve boasts ten original, contrasting and evocative tracks, in which Kirkwood and her talented band mates show off their abundance of musical versatility, wit and expressivity.
Tickets click HERE
Sunday 25th June 2-5pm
Hammerhead Album Launch
As part of Jazz Showcase
Wollongong Conservatorium of Music
Powerhouse sextet Hammerhead burst onto the Sydney scene in 2010, playing from a catalogue of music largely inspired by the late 50s and early 60s ‘Hard Bop’ movement. Formed by internationally acclaimed tenor saxophonist Jason Bruer, Andrew Robertson (alto sax and flute), Simon Ferenci (trumpet), Greg Coffin (piano), Alex Hirlian (drums) and David Quinn (bass) make up the sextet.
Their debut album ‘Mozaic’ (2014) was a genuflection to the movers and shakers of the hard bop movement and received widespread acclaim in Australia & Japan. Since that first release, Hammerhead’s music has morphed into a set of all original compositions from the pen of band leader Bruer, showcasing his eclectic influences including hard edged Urban Jazz, Hard Bop, Funk and Chamber Jazz illustrating a considerable contemporary shift in approach & style.
This performance will celebrate the release of their new album ‘More Questions Than Answers’ as part of a National tour. It contains 10 new original compositions from bandleader Jason Bruer. The music was written during the pandemic and resultant lockdowns and is Bruer’s artistic response to his first-hand experiences as a sufferer of long Covid and a subsequent heart attack brought on by the virus.
The band will be special guests at the end of term jazz showcase...so come for the afternoon and catch some of the up and coming talented jazz musicians of the future!
Thursday 18th May 6-9pm
William Endicott -trumpet; David Reglar - tenor sax; Kali Gillen - bari sax/flute; Cailey Mei-Soon - trombone; Cameron Henderson - guitar; Freyja Garbett - keys; Tim Sampson - bass; Alex Masso - drums; Sean Valenzuela - percussionThe Sydney based, 10-piece instrumental groove machine know as Lyre Byrdland has established itself as a powerhouse of party music since its inception in 2014. Born from a late night of banter and booze in a hip Melbourne bar, within a few years the group has become a heavyweight on the Sydney music scene with an ever-growing fan base of fellow groovers who love to get down. With a four-piece horn line-up featuring some of Sydney’s grooviest masters of brass and a powerful rhythm section, Lyre Byrdland has honed their distinctly modern sound with the aim of getting people onto the dancefloor. Drawing inspiration from the greats of the genre such as Fela Kuti and The Daktaris as well contemporary powerhouses Daft Punk and Snarky Puppy, Lyre Byrdland’s sound is both reassuringly familiar but strikingly fresh.
The band recorded their debut full length album Hotfoot in 2016 and last year released their new single Low Life.
Saturday 6th May 5:30-8:30pm
Lift-Off Sextet feat. Russ Spiegel (USA)
Five Barrel Brewery
“Lift-Off” is a hard-swinging, bop-laden landscape on which this band of monster musicians can flex their chops. With a line-up that includes Bernice Tesara (trumpet), David Reglar (saxophone), Nich Polovineo (trombone), Lauren White (bass), and Ryu Kodama (drums), the ensemble's music is characterised by complex harmonies, intricate arrangements, and inventive improvisations that showcase each musician's unique talents. Audiences will enjoy original takes on classic jazz standards and re-worked arrangements of iconic jazz compositions from the likes of Miles Davis, Tadd Dameron and Marty Paich. For this performance, special guest guitarist Russ Spiegel (USA) will join the band.
Russ Spiegel is a multi-talented musician, composer, arranger, and producer. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy from the University of Michigan, studied Composition, Arranging and Guitar Performance at the Berklee College of Music, and has a Masters Degree in Jazz Performance from the City College of New York. He is currently planning to start his Doctorate in Jazz Performance. Originally from Santa Monica, he spent close to twenty years in Germany before returning to the US in 2001 and settling in New York City. Russ has released several CDs, written music for film, TV and musicals, toured Europe and Asia, taught college-level courses, run workshops and seminars, worked as a music copyist for Broadway shows and major-label recordings.
Sunday 21st May 4-6pm
Wollongong Conservatorium of Music
Born into the legendary Mishra family who are of the renowned Banaras Gharana (school of music), North India. Sangeet Mishra is an 8th generation sarangi player. Living the culture of North Indian classical music from birth it is not surprising he is doing what he does best, playing the Sarangi full time. Sangeet plays with a great depth of cultural understanding and knowledge that rises above gymnastics, he plays with soul straight from the heart. Rooted firmly in the ancient traditions and techniques of shastriya sangeet (classical music) Sangeet has created a distinctive individuality to his playing. Through his innovations as a musician he has succeeded in blending contemporary musical thought in playing the sarangi without compromising on its traditional purity and essence. A versatile performer, he is known for his solo recital, accompaniment playing and successfully collaborating with musicians from different genres across countries together, creating a unique musical language.Presently based in Mumbai, Sangeet maintains a busy schedule, traveling interstate in India and globally. He is a sought after musician for solo recitals, accompaniment for traditional vocal and dance, contemporary Indian music, as well as within the global world of fusion music. Don’t miss this intimate concert featuring a truly world-class musician, accompanied by WollCon staff member and accomplished percussionist, Chris Fields
Tuesday 9th May 7-9pm
Lisa Oduor-Noah (KEN) & Aron Ottignon
Wollongong Conservatorium of Music
Kenyan singer-songwriter and producer Lisa Oduor-Noah was introduced to music through her family's love for different musical genres, which fed into her a deep love for music and passion for performance. The soulful, silky-voiced singer boasts a resume filled with partnerships with famous local acts such as Blinky Bill, Kato Change, June Gachui, and Sauti Sol, as well as performances on stages such as Coke Studio Africa, The Global Citizen, and the Shanghai Jazz festival, to name a few.
A Berklee College of Music graduate, Oduor-Noah hopes that through her performances, she can be an agent of hope, healing, and restoration while creating wholehearted moments of connection. In addition to this, she desires to bring higher quality music education to Africa as an educator in forums like Afreative and perFORM Music Incubator, and be an aide to better emotional and mental health awareness in the entertainment industry through platforms like Engage Talks.
This rare, intimate duo concert will also feature prolific New Zealand pianist Aron Ottignon
WollCon Jazz Showcase
Wollongong Conservatorium of Music
Saturday 1 April 12:30-3pm
Sarah Purdon Sydney Jazz Collective
Five Barrel Brewery
Sunday 2 April 2-5pm
Thursday, March 9th
Jo Lawry Album Launch feat. Linda May Oh and Ben Vanderwal (USA/AUS)
7pm - WollCon Auditorium
Friday, March 17th
The Three Seas
7pm - WollCon Auditorium
WollCon Jazz series presents this international, cross-cultural ensemble fusing West Bengal and Himalayan folk song with contemporary sounds from Sydney and Kolkata.
Soaring Baul vocals and majestic sounds from North Indian traditions are combined with Bengali beats, and the deep groove of the baritone saxophone in an energetic, uplifting … “Bermuda Triangle of electro-dub, funk and Hindustani music” – Songlines magazine, 2022.
Drawn together by their distinct and diverse backgrounds, and their passion for creating music that resonates universally, be transported into the supernatural world of The Three Seas.
General $30/Concession $25/Student $15
Click HERE to purchase tickets
A 'musicians singer', Trish has tackled everything from music theatre, opera and cabaret to jazz ensembles, big bands and a cappella - but jazz is her home. There, in her own arrangements and compositions, her unique and uplifting presence and voice find their highest expression.
Trish's decades of performance experience and commitment to ongoing study and authentic connection transfer into her teaching, making Trish a highly respected and sought after Voice Coach and Estill Certified Master Trainer.
Jiem and Thibaud Kessell
Rogues and Jetrio
Melissa Aldana – saxophone; Pablo Menares – bass; Kush Abadey – drums; Lage Lund - guitar
Born in Santiago, Chile, and growing up in a musical family, Award-winning saxophonist Melissa Aldana has garnered international recognition for her visionary work as a bandleader, as well as her deeply meditative interpretation of language and vocabulary. She performed in Santiago jazz clubs in her early teens and was invited by pianist Danilo Pérez to play at the 2005 Panama Jazz Festival. At 24, she became the first female instrumentalist and the first South American musician to win the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition. In 2019, Aldana release her celebrated album Visions (Motéma), which earned her a GRAMMY nomination and led to NPR Music naming the release among the best albums of the year.
For this intimate performance at the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music Auditorium, Aldana’s all star quartet will play music from the saxophonists new album, 12 Stars, which grapples with concepts of childrearing, familial forgiveness, acceptance, and self-love. Inspired by the arcs and nuances of tarot, 12 Stars features a series of tributes to moments of challenge and triumph in Aldana’s New York life.
$35 General One Show/$65 Two Shows
$30 Student/Concession Per Show
Click HERE for tickets
Mara Kiek - voice and percusssion; Silvia Entcheva - voice (soprano); Jarnie Birmingham - voice (alto); Llew Kiek - bouzouki, bağlama, acoustic and electric guitars; Sandy Evans - saxophones; Paul Cutlan - clarinets and saxophones; Andrew Robson - saxophones; Sam Golding - trumpet, sousaphone; James Greening - pocket trumpet, trombone; Gary Daley - piano accordion; Lloyd Swanton - double bass; Tunji Beier - drums and percussion
A kaleidoscope of musical colours between gypsy brass and jazz big band.
The Mara! Big Band is a 12-piece ensemble that straddles the Eastern European gypsy brass band and jazz big band traditions. It is a kaleidoscope of musical colours including brass, piano accordion, percussion and voice. The new work is called Zashto? meaning “Why?” in Bulgarian. Exploring the experience of migration to Australia through music and featuring poetry by migrants and refugees. Sharing stories of displacement, hope, longing, despair and resignation in their journey towards a new life in Australia. The Mara! Big Band features some of the greatest names in Australian jazz and world music. The Mara! Big Band Project is supported by Create NSW, The Australia Council For the Arts, The Australian Govt. Regional Arts Trust & Flying Arts Alliance.
$40 Premium/$35 Standard/$20 Student
Click HERE to Purchase Tickets
Peter Farrar – saxophone; Mike Nock – piano; Cameron Undy – bass; Pheeroan akLaff - drums
American jazz/avant-garde drummer and percussionist, Pheeroan akLaff has appeared with some of the more adventurous musicians in jazz of the past 20 years. He has performed and recorded the world over with some of the most prominent musicians on the free jazz scene including trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith's New Dalta Ahkri, a longtime association with altoist Oliver Lake (including work with the reggae group Jump Up), Henry Threadgill's Sextet, Mal Waldron and Cecil Taylor to name a few. In 2006 he co-founded Seed Artists in Brooklyn and in 2009, he reestablished his creative partnership with Leo Smith after thirty years, resulting in a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013.
For this rare performance, akLaff will be joined by a stellar band featuring the living legends Mike Nock on piano and Cameron Undy on bass plus firebrand saxophonist Peter Farrar.
$30 General/$25 Concession/$20 Student
Tickets available now:
Eric Harland (USA) - drums; Will Vinson (UK) - saxophone; Gilad Hekselman (ISR) - guitar.
Trio Grande is the debut statement from a brand new project that unites three of the most inventive, exciting and accomplished musicians working at the interface of New York’s contemporary musical culture, where the city’s rich tradition of jazz meets crosscurrents blowing in from across the world.
Vanessa Perica is a Melbourne based composer, arranger, conductor who is rapidly gaining an international reputation as a jazz composer of the highest order. The ANJO Youth Big Band brings together Australia’s brightest and youngest jazz stars, aged 18 - 25, from across the nation. Expect an exhilarating concert of powerful writing and memorable melodies and grooves as one of Australia’s most dynamic composers meets the best of Australia’s young jazz musicians.
$35 General/$30 Concession/$25 Student
Sandy Evans - tenor sax; James Greening - trombone; Gary Daley - piano/accordion; Jon Pease - guitar; Llyod Swanton - bass; Fabian Hevia - percussion; Hamish Stuart - drums
Formed in 1991, the Catholics are one of Australia’s most distinct contemporary ensembles. Over three decades, they have formed a unique body of beautifully crafted music that takes in various African, Caribbean, Latin, and Eastern influences.
$35 Premium/$30 Standard/$15 Student