Its official, my first international gig as a guest composer/conductor in Europe is organised for July 3rd at at jazz festival in France called Jazz a Couches. The festival is held in a region called Couches which is a 3 hour drive south from Paris. I will be working will a youth jazz orchestra (musicians aged between 18-25 y/o) called l’Orchestre des Jeunes Jazzmen de Bourgogne (OJJB) which is usually under the direction of the great vibraphonist, and all round nice guy, Franck Tortiller.
Check out a great promo of the band
I must say the VISA situation to work in France is a lot less of an issue than working in the USA – 1 form – done – Thanks France!
I am looking forward to hanging with Franck and the OJJB gang soon. I will let you know how it goes.
For those of you who haven’t heard… The Australian Jazz Real Book is an actual thing. This book, available as hard copy or an e-book, contains about 400 pages of jazz tunes composed by Australian jazz artists. It is such a great idea and one that is now into its second edition. Imagine being on a gig and someone calls ”Is it Spring Yet?” by Tony Gould, “Dawnbird” by Mike Nock, “Red Door” by Scott Tinkler or this one…
Yep I have a tune in it! The old Mace Francis hit, Melodian Melody is in the book.
The layout is similar to the original legal published real books with an index for song titles and another index for composers name, also some great black and white photos of Australian jazz artists. Make sure you get yourself a copy – a big bound book or something you can download onto your IPad.
The first annual Perth International Jazz Festival kicks off this weekend (May 24-26) all over the city. MFO is playing on Saturday (May 25) in the Perth Cultural Centre at 3.30pm. It will be a chance to hear our new guitarist Harry Winton with the band. He was sounding awesome in rehearsal so the skies the limit! He will be featured on some new music that we will be recording later in the year.
The weekend will also be a chance, not only to hear killer international acts, but some locals guys who have made the trek back from the States. Troy Roberts, THE GRID and Sam Anning with be cool to check out!
The Australian Bell Awards have come and gone and so did my chance to take one home. I am still pretty excited to have been even nominated for one and my congratulations go to all of those who took an award home, or left one in the back of a taxi on the way home. It was a great night and so good to catch up with some Melbourne friends.
It was a fun night and a great excuse to hang in Melbourne for a few days. Even being punched in the head randomly on Russell St didn’t hamper my time in Melbourne.
Make sure you check out all the winners HERE and check out their great music. I especially like by Magnet (Best Contemporary Jazz Album) and Sacophile by Marc Hannaford (Best Original Jazz Album) - great Australian jazz!
Below is a video of Decibel Ensemble performing my piece “From Traffic Rises”. The ensemble also features some of my MFO friends Ricki Malet (trumpet), Andrew Gioia (trumpet), Ben Collins (alto sax) and Sean Little (tenor sax). Big thanks to Stuart James for helping make my electronic soundscape dreams come true. Thank you also to Cat Hope for the commission and coughing solo.
The sound of standing on a pedestrian bridge over the Mitchell Freeway. From the persistently irregular wash of sound rises melody. Vehicles passing in each direction. The initial hum of traffic focuses into individual voices approaching and then passing. The recorded soundscape surrounds you. The vehicles become pitches, approaching and passing. The recorded soundscape morphs into an acoustic soundscape surrounding you. From traffic rises the single pitch, swirling around you, spiralling upwards and then downwards resting at your feet where you were originally standing on a pedestrian bridge over the Mitchell Freeway.
Hi. November has been a good month especially for my CD – Land Speed Record. It has received some really positive reviews in the press. It received 4 starts from John McBeath in the Weekend Australian Review (see below).
It is also album of the week on ABC Jazz on digital radio. Check out the photo they have used here – it looks like I am a singer. You can hear tracks from the CD every couple of hours from Friday 23rd Nov – 30th Nov. Thanks ABC. And today I have alerted to a really nice review on the website – www.jazz-planet.com John Hardaker has written a really lovely review and we also did a bit of an on-line Q&A. Check it out. So now you have read all about it, you probably want to get yourself a copy? Well you can – right HERE at Listen/Hear Collective.
Other exciting news is that I have done some horn arrangements for the Hill Top Hoods and they will be playing one on the ARIAs this Thursday Nov 29th on Channel GO. I hope it goes well – I love those guys, but not as much as my wife Gab.
In unrelated music news… I went to Japan for a short spell to support my little sister and her fiancé as they were representing Australia in the World Kyokushin Union Karate Championship in Toyama. What an event! Fighters from all over the world. Although they didn’t win – they fought with true spirit and were total winners (in my eyes) to be there representing their country.
And to top it all off – it has also been my first wedding anniversary and my wife’s birthday – a celebetory month.
MFO has been a bit quiet recently. Why? This 8 months has been the longest the band has not performed since our first gig in 2005. What is the reason? Not sure… well maybe because the last two years were pretty busy with two national tours and a CD release and I guess I got a bit tired – not of the band – just the organising. Fear not! We are back and raring to go. I have really missed playing with the MFO guys and as it turns out – so have they!
We have some gigs coming up towards the end of the year. The first one on November 1st at The Ellington will be a real mixed bag – a few new works from an up-coming project and one that I will go into more detail later. Basically it is music to accompany photography, but not just any photography… really bad photography. In a time where everyone has camera phones and Instagram and think they are arty photographers I have taken it upon me self to present my own really average photography and accompany them with music… More on this project later.
It will also be the CD launch for a CD which I recorded in New York with a nonet last year. It is a strange situation to launch a CD of music with a different band playing it but we are going to do it anyway.
Hope to see you there. More about the other gigs later.
I am really happy to announce the release of this new CD – LAND SPEED RECORD by the Mace Francis New York Nonet. It was recorded in NY last year with a great bunch of musicians there. A few native’s and a few ex-pat Aussies who have made NY their home. A special thanks to saxophonist Jon Gordon who really helped me get this project together. He went above and beyond the call of duty, even accommodating me for some of the time I was there. I don’t think his cat appreciated my presence but…
The musicians were amazing and really bought my music to life – great playing, great solos and very gracious and professional. The studio itself was also great. A little inconspicuous door on a Brooklyn side street led into Systems Two which records mainly jazz artists. The walls were lined with old ribbon microphones and the studio was set before we even got there – Amazing!
After 2 sessions we had the material down with no real dramas and very little editing needed. It then took me about 18 months to get it mixed, mastered and artwork complete here in Perth, but hey – That’s Life! It is done now and available for you to get your hot little hands on a copy. It has been released on Listen/Hear Collective and is available HERE. I hope you enjoy it and please let me know what you think of it. Thanks
Make sure you check out the band members and all the other cool project they are involved in…