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GUEST CLINICIANS - 2024

 

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Describe your event here and generate buzz. Where's it happening, and when does it start?

BIOS

JOHN MORRISON - ARTISTIC DIRECTOR - BIG BAND BLAST 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.  

JACKI COOPER - PRESIDENT - BIG BAND BLAST  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.

ANDREW ROBERTSON - SAX - BATHURST

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.

ERIC DUNAN - TRUMPET - BATHURST AND WAGGA

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.

CON CAMPBELL - SAX - WAGGA

Constantine Campbell is a widely recognised jazz saxophonist, composer, and educator. He has recently completed his

second doctorate through the Australian National University, exploring the fusion of jazz and Greek rebetiko music. He teaches jazz performance and theory at the ANU School of Music. Among other projects, Campbell leads the Greek-jazz fusion ensemble, KAVOS, who have just released their second album, Athina.

 

Campbell won the James Morrison Jazz Scholarship—awarded to one musician annually. His first album received critical

acclaim in The Canberra Times (“He plays with breathtakingly appealing confidence, technique, skill and, most importantly, deeply penetrating understanding in a most demanding medium,” Michael Foster), The Sydney Morning Herald (he

“plays the tenor saxophone with a robust tone and technical assurance,” John Clare), and JazzChord magazine (“The talent of Con Campbell can be seen from the fact that he has mastered a style and form of music that is, in many ways, still foreign to the Australian tradition,” Del Stevenson). The album was launched at The Basement, Sydney, in concert with James Morrison and Don Burrows. Campbell has since released several more albums as leader. Recent praise has described his playing as of the “highest calibre” with “superb improvised solos,” and “world-class

playing at its finest right here in Canberra”(Tony Magee, Canberra City News).

PETER LOTHIAN - TROMBONE - WAGGA

From high school beginnings in the Henderson School of Music Big Band (Perth), late night performances at Hernando’s Hideaway Bar and a graduate of Australia’s first tertiary Jazz programme at Sydney Conservatorium, Peter is well versed and experienced in Big Band art and commercial music. 

A well-travelled, kaleidoscopic freelance music career includes performances and recordings with legendary and independent contemporary Australian artists, the famous Morrison Bros Big-Bad-Band, member of Perth City Jazz Orchestra, and professional big bands in Sydney club-land, TV shows and theatre seasons. 

His influential tutors and knowledge are drawn from George Powers (USA, WASO), Michel Becquet (France, International Soloist), Keith Stirling (Brass calisthenics, Improvisation), Ron Prussing (Sydney Symphony Orchestra), Phil Wilson (USA, Improvisation), and Ed Neumeister (USA, Improvisation).

Performing six nights a week for 12 months in one of Africa’s first five-star multi-racial hotels during the Apartheid era launched his interest in music from other cultures - in particular Brazil, Cuba, Africa, Jamaica and the Caribbean – and over the years was a member of notable Sydney Latin groups Espirito, Batuka, Cumana and Son Veneno. 

A strong supporter of new music performance and education, he enjoys balancing traditional music learning with the development of creativity and improvisation and has an interest in new music across all genres.

In 2021, he and RCM colleague Kara Williams established the Simmons Street Big Band. 

DAVID THEAK AND THE SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM JAZZ ORCHESTRA - BATHURST

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.

AUSTRALIAN ARMY BAND SYDNEY BIG BAND - BATHURST

The Australian Army Band Sydney, located at historic Victoria Barracks is dedicated to enhancing the public image of the Australian Army.

 

The Australian Army Band Sydney is widely acknowledged as one of Australia’s most dynamic and active musical ensembles. Within the City of Sydney, the band is primarily responsible for providing ceremonial support for Vice-Regal events. Its other important function is to provide musical assistance to Australian Defence Force units based within, and outside of the Sydney metropolitan area. This encompasses a range of tasks including parades, unit functions, church services, ramp ceremonies and training activities.

The vibrant enthusiasm, tight section playing and show-stopping soloists ensure that the Sydney band is in constant demand to support high profile public events, including the Australia Day celebrations at Darling Harbour, Jazz in the Vines and other jazz festivals in the region. Of equal significance is the band’s philosophy to provide ongoing musical support for charitable and community projects within the wider community. When the calendar allows, the band endeavours to tour to outlying areas of regional New South Wales, where access to quality live music is limited.

The Australian Army Band Sydney has the capability to provide a range of ensembles for any occasion. The rock band, most recently showcased at the Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix, are a 9 piece ensemble with an extensive repertoire of hits ranging from the classics of the 60's and 70's to today’s top 40 hits. There is also a 20 piece big band which was ARIA nominated for 'Best Contemporary Jazz Album' in 2003, promoting the works of contemporary composers and arrangers whilst upholding the traditional standards of swing music.

Marching band, bugler and drummer support are also available for ceremonial parades, funerals, services and military training activities. The band also has the capacity to provide smaller ensembles for formal occasions or for venues where space is limited. These ensembles include a variety of jazz ensembles, a saxophone quartet, a brass quartet and a solo pianist.

AUSTRALIAN ARMY BAND KAPOOKA BIG BAND - WAGGA

The Australian Army Band Kapooka consists of 30 soldier-musicians with the mission to enhance the image of the Australian Army through community and military engagement. Their engagements and activities include providing musical support and entertainment to Army activities, exercises and deployments in Australia and overseas. They provide a diverse array of musical support, ranging from march out parades for Army’s newest soldiers, to contemporary music in schools and in the

community.

CONNECTIONS BIG BAND - MITCHELL CONSERVATORIUM - BATHURST

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.

SIMMONS STREET BIG BAND - RIVERINA CONSERVATORIUM - WAGGA

The ‘Simmons Street Big Band’ was established in 2021 by RCM staff members Peter Lothian and Kara Williams to give students and musicians from the wider community an outlet to experience, learn and develop a range of skills necessary to play a broad cross section of modern music. 

The only education big band in the region, its consistent growth and positive reception at live performances can be attributed to the diversity, interest, and longevity of its players.  Under the direction of Peter Lothian, the band has performed at regular RCM contemporary ensemble events, the annual ‘Spring Swing’ dance, Wagga Fringe Festival, Wagga Civic Theatre 60th Anniversary Concert, and the more recent John Morrison / Jackie Cooper workshop. 

The band is really looking forward to meeting other musicians in Wagga attending Big Band Blast 2024, but please note, the Simmons Street Big Band has ABSOLUTELY NO REFERENCE AT ALL to actor JK Simmons management style in the Big Band movie – Whiplash – in case anybody is wondering…

MURRUMBIDGEE MAGIC CHORUS - RIVERINA CONSERVATORIUM - WAGGA

Murrumbidgee Magic is an award winning, dynamic female singing group whose members meet regularly to practise, perform, socialise in an enjoyable atmosphere.. Started in 1992, we currently have about 35 singers of all ages, all walks of life and from all parts of the Wagga Wagga area and beyond.

Their repertoire spans a wide and varied range, from traditional "barbershop style" arrangements to contemporary songs in 3 or 4 part harmony. Having a number of Australian arrangers who are part of sweet Adelines means we have Australian songs sung in 4 part harmony such as "Shelter", "Love is in the Air", "I Still CAll Australia Home", "I Am Australian."

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