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John Shand

(b Oamaru, New Zealand, April 9, 1961). Australian keyboard player. Having moved with his family to Australia in 1964 he began taking piano lessons at the age of five; his early inspirations included the boogie-woogie pianists and Teddy Wilson. He took Australian citizenship in 1975. During high school he heard Red Garland on a recording by Miles Davis, which led him to contemporary jazz. He attended the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, where he formed The Benders with fellow students Dale Barlow, Lloyd Swanton, and the drummer Andrew Gander; the quartet recorded three albums in the first half of the 1980s. Abrahams was also involved with an improvised music collective, the Keys Music Association, which saw the start of an important association with Mark Simmonds. With the saxophonist Jason Morphett having replaced Barlow, The Benders recorded two more albums (1983, 1985), then toured India, Europe, and Cuba before disbanding. In those same years Abrahams recorded as an unaccompanied soloist, and in ...

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Bruce Johnson

(bSydney, March 31, 1922; dSydney, Aug 11, 1987). Australiansaxophonist, clarinetist, and bandleader. He began to play saxophone in 1933 and joined George Fuller before working as a freelance musician and in wartime entertainment units. Following the war he performed in nightclubs and pit orchestras, and in coffee lounges in Melbourne (1948), then worked in Sydney with the trombonist George Trevare and as a freelance musician. From 1955 he led bands in Sydney hotels, among them the Criterion (1958–65), the Windsor Castle, and the Bellevue. Later he was a member of bands led by Dick Hughes (1979–85) and Alan Geddes (1984–6) and led his own group at the Canberra Hotel in Paddington, Sydney. He retired in 1986 because of ill-health. Acheson’s playing, which was chiefly in dixieland and swing styles, is heard to advantage on Merv Acheson 60th Birthday Concert...

Article

Christine Logan

[Robert] (Ewing)

(b Sydney, Aug 23, 1891; d Sydney, Nov 12, 1944). Australian composer and pianist. He studied the piano in Sydney with Daisy Miller, Sydney Moss and Emanuel de Beaupuis and composition briefly with Alfred Hill at the NSW Conservatorium. From 1920 Agnew's pieces were performed by several eminent pianists, including Moiseiwitsch, Murdoch and Gieseking. Working in London from 1923 to 1928, Agnew studied composition and orchestration with Gerrard Williams. The Fantasie Sonata was given its première there by Murdoch in 1927 and, on his return to Sydney in 1928, the tone poem The Breaking of the Drought was conducted by Hill. From 1928 to 1935 Agnew performed and broadcast both in Australia and Britain, while from 1935 onwards he taught the piano, composition and a class entitled ‘General Interpretation and the Art of Pedalling’ privately in Sydney. For five years from 1938 Agnew presented a weekly radio programme for the ABC in which he introduced a wide spectrum of 20th-century music, including his own. In ...

Article

Roger T. Dean

(b Sydney, May 4, 1969). Australian guitarist. He first played drums, but while a rabbinical student, influenced by a mixture of Jewish mystical components and the music of John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, and others, he changed to guitar. He performed in particular with Rob Avenaim (percussion, electronics, sampling), for example in the rock-noise group Phlegm (formed 1993), and also with the pianist Max Lyandvert in Ear Rational Music. The latter group involved Eddie Bronson (a member of the earlier and influential band Free Kata), whom Ambarchi had met through his rabbinical studies and who had been another early influence. From 1994 Ambarchi coordinated a series of improvising large ensembles, often based on John Zorn’s conceptual “game” piece Cobra. Following a series of small-scale recordings, often involving studio manipulation of their playing, he released a major work with Avenaim, The Alter Rebbe’s Nigun (1998). In the late 1990s he focused intensively on unaccompanied solo performance and made a series of recordings on European labels, mainly recorded in real-time (rather than involving studio manipulation), and with analogue rather than computer processing. He uses an array of effects units linked to create varied timbres....

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(James )

(b Swindon, England, July 9, 1934). American drummer. He began to teach himself to play drums as a small child and studied formally from the age of seven into his late teens. From 1958 he lived in Australia, where he joined the Australian Jazz Quartet and recorded with Bryce Rohde in 1960. He gained his green card to work in the USA for a tour, with Rohde, in the Australian Jazz Quartet (or, by another account, in the Bryce Rohde Quartet), but within about five weeks of his arrival was taken on by Vince Guaraldi. He worked with Guaraldi until 1963, and recorded in San Francisco with the pianist’s trio accompanying Jimmy Witherspoon and Ben Webster (c1962; misdated as 1959, 1960, or 1967 in various discographies); he also collaborated with Guaraldi in recording the music for the Charlie Brown television shows in 1965. After settling in the Los Angeles area Bailey performed and recorded with Clare Fischer (...

Article

Jeff Pressing, John Whiteoak and Roger T. Dean

[Judith Mary ]

(b Auckland, New Zealand, Oct 3, 1935). New Zealand pianist and composer. After arriving in Sydney in 1960 she quickly became a prominent studio musician. She led a succession of trios and larger groups and worked with many important Australian players, including Don Burrows and Errol Buddle; she was also active in education, notably as a staff member of the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music (from 1990, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music) and as music director of the Sydney Youth Jazz Ensemble. Her compositional output increased considerably during the 1970s, when she wrote film scores and music for children. Bailey participated in performances of Don Banks’s Nexus for jazz quintet and orchestra, and made several recordings. In the 1980s she undertook several tours of Asia and in the 1990s she remained active, recording again as a leader in 1992.

Article

Mark Gilbert

(b Sydney, Dec 25, 1959). Australian saxophonist. He learned classical piano, flute, recorder, and drums as a youth and played electric bass guitar in a rock band at the age of 12. In his teens he took up alto saxophone, and when he was 16 he changed to the tenor instrument. He attended the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music (1980–82); later he studied at the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop in New York (1989–91) and the Australian National University in Canberra (MM 1995–7). When he was 17 he toured Australia with Sonny Stitt, and in 1979 he played at the Monterey Jazz Festival with the Young Northside Big Band. In the 1980s and 1990s he spent much of his time in the USA and Europe, and he performed with Cedar Walton and Guy Barker in London, and with Gil Evans in New York and Europe; during the same period he was a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (...

Article

Tony Gould

[Robert Graeme ]

(b Melbourne, Australia, Nov 24, 1933). Australian trumpeter, brother of Len Barnard. He gained early experience in brass bands, and first played jazz in 1947 with a group consisting of members of his family. From 1947 to 1955 he was a member of the traditional-jazz ensemble led by his brother Len; he continued to make recordings with this group at intervals until 1968, and also recorded as a leader in 1952, 1957, and 1962. In 1957 he moved to Sydney, where he played with a number of bands, including the Graeme Bell All-Stars (with which he recorded, 1962–4). Barnard formed his own band in 1974, and toured Australia, North America, Europe, India, and South-East Asia; he toured the USA as a soloist in 1985. As a sideman he worked in Australia and overseas with, among others, Bud Freeman, Ralph Sutton, Wild Bill Davison, Milt Hinton, Don Burrows, and Peanuts Hucko. Throughout the 1990s he continued to tour overseas, often joining groups as a guest artist. His recordings involve both prominent Australian and international artists, and his warm fluid playing with its origins in the styles of Louis Armstrong, Bunny Berigan, and Bobby Hackett may be heard in a wide variety of musical settings....

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Tony Gould

[Leonard Arthur ]

(b Melbourne, Australia, April 23, 1929; d Sydney, November 4, 2005). Australian drummer, brother of Bob Barnard. He first played jazz in his family’s band, then in 1947 formed his own traditional-jazz ensemble, which recorded from 1949 and made one of the first Australian jazz albums. The group continued to record until 1968, often under the name Len Barnard’s Famous Jazz Band; its albums include The Naked Dance (1961, Swaggie S1287 [incl. previously released tracks]). Barnard also played with the orchestra of the Palais de Danse in Melbourne (1956–60) and with the trio led by the pianist Les Patching (1961–70); during the same period he recorded with Roger Bell, Frank Johnson, Ade Monsbourgh, and Dave Dallwitz. After moving to Sydney in 1974 he performed and recorded with Judy Bailey, Errol Buddle, and John Sangster. In 1976 he joined the group Galapagos Duck, led by the saxophonist and flutist Tom Hare, with which he toured abroad in ...

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Rainer E. Lotz

[William ]

(b USA, c1890; d ? USA, after 1933). American alto and tenor saxophonist, clarinetist, and singer. His first known engagements were in China (1920) and Australia. After moving to England in 1925 he played in Bert Ralton’s Savoy Havana Band and recorded with Bert Firman (...

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Wim van Eyle

[Pieternella ]

(b The Hague, Sept 18, 1925). Dutch pianist and singer. She is self-taught as a musician. She sang with a Hawaiian vocal group, the Samoa Girls (1939–42), sang and played piano with the Dutch group the Miller Sextet (1944–9), and appeared in shows sponsored by the USO. From 1949 she led a trio and worked as a soloist, and between 1952 and 1967 she made several visits to the USA (approximately at yearly intervals) during which she performed in Hollywood and at Birdland in New York; she also took Eddie de Haas and Wallace Bishop for an engagement in the South in 1957, but racist conditions prevented Bishop from working – he returned to the Netherlands and Al Levitt took his place. Beck operated a club in Torremolinos, Spain, from 1965. In the 1980s she returned to the Netherlands, where she has worked mainly with her trio, with Koos Serierse, George van Deyl, or Henk Haverhoek on double bass, and Kees Kranenburg, Huub Janssen, or Roberto Haliffi on drums. She made a number of recordings, of which ...

Article

Bruce Johnson

revised by Roger T. Dean

(Emerson) [Gay]

(b Melbourne, Australia, Sept 7, 1914; d Sydney, June 13, 2012). Australian bandleader, composer, and pianist, brother of Roger Bell. He began classical piano studies at the age of 11, and was introduced to jazz by his brother. In 1941 he held a pioneering jazz residency at Leonard’s Café in Melbourne and played for the Contemporary Art Society, indicating his radical interests. After working briefly in Queensland (1943) he returned to Melbourne, where he took over the group led by his brother at Heidelberg Town Hall and performed regularly for the Hot Jazz Society of the communist Eureka Youth League. In 1946 he started the Uptown Club in their premises and helped to inaugurate the Australian Jazz Convention. Having established his reputation in Australia with recordings in the dixieland style made in 1947, he toured Europe with his band (1947–8) under the Eureka’s sponsorship. In England his “jazz for dancing” policy was influential in promoting the acceptance of jazz as a major form of youth entertainment. In ...

Article

Bruce Johnson

(Emerson )

(b Melbourne, Australia, Jan 4, 1919; d Melbourne, Australia, June 17, 2008). Australian trumpeter, washboard player, composer, singer, and bandleader, brother of Graeme Bell. He first worked as a drummer, then in 1938 began to play cornet. Having worked in Melbourne with his brother at Leonard’s Café, he briefly led the band at Heidelberg Town Hall (1943), where he recorded with a visiting Max Kaminsky, before Graeme Bell returned from Queensland to take over the group’s leadership. He remained in Graeme’s dixieland groups during their European tours (1947–8, 1950–52), after which he worked with Max Collie (1953) and in the house band at the Melbourne Jazz Club (from 1958). Bell was active as a freelance musician and led his own band, the Pagan Pipers (a name he had used first in 1949), which with various personnel (notably Len Barnard and Ade Monsbourgh) performed and recorded for many years; among its recordings were a number of Bell’s own compositions. His playing may be heard to advantage on ...

Article

Peter J. Pirie

revised by Robert Barnett

(Leslie)

(b Sydney, Sept 18, 1893; d London, April 10, 1960). Australian-English composer and pianist. After general education at Brisbane Grammar School he entered the RCM at 18, studying composition there with Stanford; a common admiration for Brahms eased his path with that teacher. Benjamin remained at the RCM until the outbreak of war in 1914, when he joined the infantry, later transferring to the air force. After the war he was for a short time a piano teacher at the Sydney Conservatorium, but his need for European musical life brought him back to London in 1921. His first published work, a string quartet, appeared in 1924 and won a Carnegie Award, and in 1926 Benjamin joined the staff of the RCM. An early enthusiasm for the music of Gershwin stimulated his Piano Concertino (1926), which he declared to have been influenced by the Rhapsody in Blue...

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John Shand

[Robert Anthony ]

(b Mayfield, Australia, March 6, 1939). Australian saxophonist. He was self-taught on clarinet from the age of nine, then studied both clarinet and saxophone for three years from the age of 15. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he worked with the Australian rock-and-roll star Johnny O’Keefe, and in 1958 he formed a jazz quintet which included either Bryce Rohde or Mike Nock on piano; later members were Keith Sterling (trumpet), Dave Levy (piano), Bruce Cale (double bass), and Lou Young (drums). Bertles, who plays a wide range of reed instruments, specialized on soprano, alto, and baritone saxophones. He worked in 1968–9 with the rhythm-and-blues band Max Merritt and the Meteors, which he left in England to join Ian Carr’s fusion band Nucleus. After four years he returned to Australia in 1976 and became a member of the quartet led by the pianist Col Nolan. From 1979 to 1983...

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J.M. Thomson

(b Lower Hutt, Aug 31, 1945). New Zealand composer, pianist, writer and teacher. She grew up in a musical family and began piano lessons at the age of seven. She graduated from the University of Otago, first in English and then in piano and composition (BMus 1968) and musicology (MA 1969). A New Zealand University Grants Committee scholarship took her to Victoria University in Wellington where she studied electronic music under Douglas Lilburn, gaining a diploma (1970). She subsequently studied in Berlin and Cologne (1971–5) with Aloys Kontarsky, Wilhelm Hecker, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Mauricio Kagel, being warded the Kranichstein Prize in new music (1974) and a Boswil Artistic Residency in Switzerland (1975). She married the singer Roger Wilson, returned to New Zealand as Mozart Fellow (1976–7), and after diverse experience in teaching, editing Canzona (journal of the Composers’ Association of New Zealand, whose President she was from ...

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E. Douglas Bomberger

(b Montmédy, France, Aug 9, 1789; d Sydney, Australia, Jan 6, 1856). French harpist, conductor, and composer. A large and imposing man who was among the greatest harpists of the 19th century, Bochsa was denoted by Fétis “as distinguished an artist as he was a miserable man.” Bochsa fled France in 1817 to escape charges of forgery, contracted a bigamous marriage in England, declared bankruptcy in 1824, and eloped with the soprano Anna Bishop in 1839. The two toured Europe in the years following and traveled to New York in 1847. There Bishop’s singing and Bochsa’s playing triumphed over American moral outrage at their lifestyle, and the two achieved success on Broadway and in North American tours that took them to New Orleans in the south, Quebec in the north, and major cities in between. They toured Mexico from June 1849 to May 1850 and California in 1854...

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Irene Weiss Peery

(b Sydney, June 29, 1886; d Philadelphia, June 20, 1948). Australian-American pianist, composer and teacher. He was first taught the piano by his mother and then, from 1901, by Sydney Moss. In the same year he made a concert tour of more than 280 towns and cities in Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand; further tours followed. From 1905 to 1910 he studied in Berlin with Busoni. During these years of intensive study he performed extensively throughout Europe and conducted orchestras in the UK. After he settled in the USA in 1910, such notable pianists as Mark Hambourg, Ernest Hutcheson and Backhaus continued to play his compositions in Europe. From 1910 until his death Boyle performed, taught and composed in America. He held positions at three major American conservatories: the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, as head of the piano department (1910–22), the Curtis Institute (...

Article

Elizabeth Wood

revised by Adrian A. Thomas

(b Orroroo, S. Australia, June 29, 1887; d Adelaide, July 8, 1949). Australian pianist and composer. A member of a notable pioneer musical family, he was taught the organ by his father and gave his first public recital at the Adelaide Town Hall at the age of seven. In 1899 he was accepted as a student by Bryceson Treharne at the Adelaide Conservatorium of Music, where he won an Elder overseas scholarship to the RCM. There he studied the piano with Franklin Taylor and composition (1905–8) with Bridge, Clutsam and Stanford. He gave piano recitals in Paris, Germany and London, specializing in the 20th-century French repertory. On his return to Adelaide, he became a private teacher, wrote music criticism (1935–40), and formed a symphony orchestra in 1918 to introduce contemporary music into the standard Adelaide concert repertory. He continued to give solo recitals through the Australian Broadcasting Commission network on its inception in ...

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Jeffrey Holmes

(b Auckland, New Zealand, April 23, 1947). American pianist, composer, and arranger of New Zealand birth. He was classically trained but developed a voracious appetite for jazz as a teenager and enrolled in the Berklee College of Music in 1966 to study composition and arranging. On weekends he traveled to New York for lessons with lennie Tristano. He toured with Woody Herman from 1969 to 1972, which garned him a Best Arranger award from Downbeat and two Grammy writing nominations. After moving to Los Angeles, he spent ten years as Nelson Riddle’s pianist and also worked with David Rose, Johnny Mandel, Henry Mancini, and Irene Kral. From 1987 he has played alongside Charlie Haden in the ensemble Quartet West. His albums as a leader include trio, duo, and solo settings. He has also collaborated with Michael Feinstein and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Broadbent’s arrangements, and his string writing in particular, are lush and inventive; this work, which has garnered two Grammy awards, has graced projects with prominent artists such as Mel Tormé, Scott Hamilton, Natalie Cole, and Diana Krall....