GUEST CLINICIANS - 2023
Describe your event here and generate buzz. Where's it happening, and when does it start?
ANDREW ROBERTSON - SAX
After completing the Jazz Studies course at Sydney Conservatorium Andrew has followed a career as a professional musician, composer/arranger, publisher and educator. He has performed with artists as diverse as Michael Buble, Boy George, George Benson, Franki Valli, Michael Feinstein, Jerry Lewis, Paloma Faith, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Wayne Bergeron, Hugh Jackman, and most of the professional major Broadway shows. Andrew has also recorded/arranged many well known jingles for Australian television including Mortein, Woolworths, Commonwealth Bank, Finder.com and Carlton United Breweries.
Andrew is one of the most in demand jazz/commercial arrangers in Australia. He has been the Jazz Harmony & Arranging Lecturer at Sydney Conservatorium of Music since 2016 and has written for innumerable artists for live performance and recordings; US Superbowl 2021; Australian Idol; Eurovision Song Contest; many television ads on Australian TV and every year for the NSW Schools Spectacular. Specialising in Big Band and orchestral arranging, Andrew writes for a diverse range of musical groups from Choirs to 800 recorders + 250 strings for the NSW Primary Instrumental Festival!
In 2021 during the Sydney COVID lockdown Andrew completed a 3 movement, 30 minute work: “Symphony For Big Band” featuring Tenor Sax and Viola. The 1st Movement received grant funding to record in a virtual ‘Big Band @Home’ and can be seen on YouTube.
HANNAH JAMES - DOUBLE BASS
Hannah James is an award-winning bassist and composer in Sydney, Australia.
Hannah leads the acclaimed ten-piece ensemble Pharos, the HJT (Hannah James Trio) and quintet Hatch. She is the bass player of choice for some of Australia’s leading big bands including the Jazz Groove Mothership Orchestra, Divergence Jazz Orchestra, Mingus Amongst Us and the Andrew Robertson Big Band. Amongst her playing credits Hannah has worked with Don Burrows, Katie Noonan, Ingrid and Christine Jensen (USA), Helen Sung (USA), Lakecia Benjamin (USA), Silke Eberhardt (Ger.), Sandy Evans and Matt Keegan amongst others. She was the 2011 recipient of the prestigious Jann Rutherford Memorial and a recipient of the ANU National University Scholarship. Hannah has performed across Australia, the UK and Asia in jazz, contemporary pop and theatre productions.
Hannah is lecturer in Jazz at the University of Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music and has an extensive background in teaching and workshops in the secondary education sector.
ERIC DUNAN - TRUMPET
Eric Dunan is Head of the Jazz Program at the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music, a program he established in 2001.
Eric’s bands have toured China, Japan and the United States and won numerous awards at the Reno International Jazz Festival. His bands have performed with Sandy Evans, John Morrison, and Bobby Shew and he conducts the 200-member Wollongong Megaband, which has performed with Fred Wesley, Mucho Mambo, and James Morrison.
Eric has a degree from California State University, East Bay. He worked as a freelance trumpet player in San Francisco from 1989-2001, performing with numerous bands including the seminal soul-funk band Lydia Pense and Cold Blood. He currently leads his own quintet and performs regularly as a free-lance jazz trumpeter.
DAVID THEAK AND THE SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM JAZZ ORCHESTRA
Since its inception in the early 70s, the Sydney Conservatorium Jazz Orchestra has formed an alumni that features many of the leading lights in Australian Jazz. Comprising 5 saxophones, 4 trombones, 4 trumpets, guitar, piano, bass and drums, the CJO features many of Sydney’s finest young improvisers.
Over the past 5 years, the standard of Jazz Orchestral studies has developed rapidly with an emphasis on collaborating with, and performing the music of leading international composers such as Bob Brookmeyer, Maria Schneider, Bert Joris, Florian Ross, Jim McNeely, Darcy James Argue, Julian Arguelles and Dick Oatts to expose the students to the leading music and contemporary techniques required to perform jazz orchestral music at its highest level. These amazing young players have risen to the challenge on every level, and we aim to continue impressing audiences whenever we perform, with a level of sophistication normally reserved for professional jazz.
RAN BAND SYDNEY BIG BAND
The RAN Band Sydney Big Band features some of Navy’s top jazz musicians and performs Big Band music at events across NSW and Australia. Performances vary from small community performances, balls and corporate events, to major festivals, national, and charity events. Appearances in recent times include Thredbo, Manly, Darling Harbour, Merimbula, and Wangaratta Jazz Festivals as well as ‘Jazz in the Vines’ in the Hunter Valley.
The Band continues to work in association with many acclaimed artists including James Morrison, Don Burrows, Guy Sebastian and Katie Noonan.
The Big Band’s repertoire is extensive, with styles ranging from the traditional swing era to contemporary big band compositions. A major focus is placed on featuring contemporary Australian compositions and arrangements, particularly those of our own musicians.
Two exciting albums have been produced under the name of Admiral’s Own - ‘Compositions’ and ‘Straight Ahead’. These albums feature members of both RAN Band Sydney and Melbourne Big Bands. ‘Compositions’ showcases the talent of the jazz composers of the band and ‘Straight Ahead’ features our musicians highly developed arranging skills. The CD’s title ‘Straight Ahead’, a title made famous by the legendary Count Basie Big Band, shows respect to the greats of the genre and presents traditional jazz standards in a new, fresh way.
Both albums are available for direct download, free of charge from their website.
We welcome the RAN Sydney Big Band back to Blast for the 2nd time and thank them for their contribution.
CONNECTIONS BIG BAND - MITCHELL CONSERVATORIUM
Mitchell Conservatorium’s Connections Big Band was formed in early 2023 after a chance meeting of some former musicians and band directors of Denison College’s Swing Factor – a band well known to the Big Band Blast Festival. These, now, adult musicians expressed a desire to again, play Big Band music but the opportunities after high school graduation had not been available in the Bathurst region.
The Connections Big Band was then formed under the direction of Mitchell Conservatorium, Executive Director, Andrew Smith, with co-direction from Brent Dickson. With a great deal of interest about this program, the positions were quickly filled, and the band represents a broad cross section of the Bathurst musical community.
Connections members have been keen to extend themselves with challenging, Swing, Latin, Funk and Popular arrangements. As a result, the band has quickly developed and with such experienced musicians, they have produced a strong adult contemporary sound and style which offers a point of difference to the high school-based bands of Bathurst.
Connection Big Band members feel honoured to be a part of the new, Big Band Blast Roadshow and are looking forward to performing.
JACKI COOPER - https://www.morrisonmusic.com.au/
Jacki Cooper is an exciting performer who has been living and working all over the world, and now calls Sydney home. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Jazz voice in 1993 at Adelaide’s prestigious Elder Conservatorium and has since released 6 independant CDs.
In 1994, Jacki was invited to teach jazz voice for the world-renowned Stanford Jazz Workshop at Stanford University in California and while there studied with several of the jazz greats of the area.
Always ready to hit the road to sing, Jacki has toured Europe, Russia and Scandinavia with an 8 piece swing band, and sung with jazz luminaries in the USA, Vietnam and China, as well as Australia of course. A highlight was performing in New York City in March 2009 with her husband, drummer and big band leader, John Morrison.
Both dedicated jazz educators, Jacki has been lecturer in jazz voice at Central Queensland University since 2014. Jacki and John travel around Australia teaching and performing in schools and lecturing and the annual Jazz Camp. They founded Big Band Blast together with a passionate team of Port Macquarie teachers and musicians in 2013.
JOHN MORRISON - https://www.morrisonmusic.com.au/
John Morrison has delighted audiences for more than 25 years with his humour and dedication to sounds that swing. Equally at home in a small group or big band setting, his musical facility runs the entire spectrum from traditional jazz, swing, Bebop, R&B, Soul and commercial jazz rock.
The eldest of the Morrison family, John has spent much of his musical life playing and recording with his younger brother James Morrison. At age 8, John began playing cornet in the school brass band and by the age of 10 had built his first drum set from pots and pans. In these early few years he played many different instruments and styles but jazz drumming was to be his calling.
After living in New York in the late eighties, John and James returned home to form Australia's premier jazz big band "The Morrison Bros Big Bad Band". John widened his exposure and experience also playing with a variety of other well-known international artists.
As the driving force behind Swing City, John, who was voted Australia's best big band drummer, loves the big band sound and started his own big band festival, Big Band Blast.
For the past few years, John has worked for the Queensland Music Festival starting band programs in the 3 indigenous primary schools in the Cape York Peninsula region. John is passionate about music education, and travels the country presenting workshops in schools, teaching at jazz camps, and helping teachers develop their skills.