Every thread needs updating but here’s my contribution from 2016’s “Your Top Ten Favourite Australian Albums if you were stuck on a desert island.”
While I’m not quite so delusional as to believe anyone’s interested, I did enjoy putting this together. Anyway, with the usual “I’d change it tomorrow” proviso, here goes. No order
Mark Simmond’s Freeboppers : Fire
THE cult Oz Jazz album. A belligerent and arrogant Sydney jazz fascist once pointed into my face and told me that the double CD “Fire” was “the best piece of Australian music EVER. Full ■■■■■■■ STOP.” I scoffed and kept arguing but later I bought the album and now I doubt I’d even blink. Simmonds burnt brightly but too briefly and then disappeared and no-one seems to know where he is anymore.
Blackbird featuring Martin Breeze: Last Man On Earth.
Martin Breeze is a Melbourne based singer songwriter who tried to break into the commercial market with this terrific album. “Schoolgirls and Angels” is the can’t miss single that couldn’t fail but did, and I still can’t see why. The only place I can find this album is my cd stack but his very good 2008 ABC album is on Spotify. Last I heard he’d given it away.
Joe Chindamo: The Joy of Standards.
The only Oz album to top the Japanese jazz charts. Swinging and yet with exquisite touch.
When I Fall In Love / Joe Chindamo Trio
Colin Hopkins: Still
Hopkins is a Melbourne based architect and potter whose forays into music are too rare for my liking. Sort of the closest thing we have to Jarrett, without the public tantrums. A solo piano album of gorgeous melodies full of flair and aching loneliness. This isn’t on the album but it’s representative of his style.
Michelle Nicole: The Crying Game
The popiest album from a great Melbourne based singer and I especially love her take on the Simple Minds song “Don’t You Forget About Me”, a song I’d never previously liked.
The Necks: Athenaeum, Homebush, Quay and Raab
Four sides of the closest thing modern Oz jazz has to a supergroup. The epitome of collective hypnotic creativity. Not surprising they’ve got a following in Germany because at times it’s almost “Krautrock”.
The Necks - Athenaeum
Andrea Keller: Mikrokosmos: The Bartok Project
Keller’s take on Bartok and it’s just a terrific melding of contemporary sounds and classical roots. On Spotify
Jonathan Zwartz: The Sea
I can’t count how often “Epic” has got me through tough work days. The sort of music Bach would be writing if he was alive. The best selling Oz jazz album of recent times and for good reason.
The Epic Jonathan Zwartz
Alister Spence Trio: Mercury
Spence writes great music and is backed by one of the great rhythm sections in Lloyd Swanton(The Necks) and Toby Hall. A brilliant live band too. Skip the intro below and go straight to the song at 4.20.
Alister Spence Trio - Mercury (Track 6 of 6) | Moshcam
Bernie McGann: Bundeena
Like many others I miss Bernie so much. Spent much of his life delivering mail, Bundeena was his round, and being shunned by the jazz establishment before being feted and canonised for the genius he really was late in his life. Paul Grabowsky aptly described his sound as resembling the call of a kookaburra. Maybe our greatest muso.
Bernie McGann ; Australian National Treasure.
Mark Isaacs Resurgence Band
Isaacs is an ambitious composer with a technique to die for and here he surrounds himself with the cream of Sydney’s musos. Complex, collaborative and inspired music.
Mark Isaacs Resurgence Band - Tell It Like It Is (Track 4 of 10) | Moshcam
Ted Vining Trio: Number One
Australia’s greatest ever trio, just can’t leave these old stagers out. They swing like there’s no tomorrow.
The Ted Vining Trio - Impressions
Mike Nock Trio: Changing Seasons.
Technically 2 of the 3, including the leader, are Sheepshaggers but they’ve worked here so long it doesn’t matter. I couldn’t go to a desert island without Nock and it’s a tough choice but I’ll take this.
Now I’ve squeezed 13 into my 10 and ■■■ I’ve still left out Allan Browne, The Hoodangers, James Muller Trio, Vince Jones, Paul Grabowsky, Stu Hunter, Barney McAll, Bryce Rodhe, Julie O’Hara, Red Fish Blue, Aaron Choulai, Nina Ferro, Paper Hat Trio, Kadoonka , Mike Nock’s Small Big Band and so many more.
Like I said, ask me tomorrow and it’ll be new list.
PS Like so much else in life the links no longer work BUT if you bring up the original thread they’re still firing.