Having recently finished ranking APRA/AMCOS Professional Development Awards applications (as the Jazz Partner organisation) and listened to virtually every Bell Award nominated album, I can concur with Julien Wilson’s Facebook post on the health of our local jazz-related music scene. With the PDA applications, there were several equally strong proposals, but for very unique and widely contrasting proposals, with at least two composers working on personal systems of composing (I do not envy the final adjudicator with their decision).

Julien mused, “Just checked out the list of nominations for this years Australian Jazz “Bell” Awards. All I can say is, there is an astounding amount of wonderfully creative music being produced in this country right now. Get out there and check some of it out live. Or order some online and listen in the comfort of your own home. But wrap your ears around some of the great homegrown talent being lovingly produced here in one way or another”.

For a variety of reasons, the field of nominations for the Bells is by no means exhaustive of all the albums released in 2018 either (missing albums by Tim Steven’s double Trio; Steve Barry; Andrew Dickeson; and, Sophie Min, amongst others).
Julien also went on to opinionate that, “as with any voting procedure, no system is perfect I guess. I’d rather make a contribution than just put it in the too hard basket”

There are definitely aspects that need refinement with the Bells still, but these Awards are a very valuable part of our national scene. Having worked on them behind the scenes this year, I can better appreciate the time and funding required just to get them up and running, so thanks to Albert Dadon for this contribution.
Through one of my other interests, I spent several days in Canberra last week attending lectures and workshops in the 2019 RAAF History and Heritage Publishing Symposium. This was a stimulating event (even allowing for the 8 AM starts), with presenters from the National Archives, National Library, and UNSW Special Collections, as well as the Copyright Council. Some of this information and approach could definitely be applied at the Australian Jazz Museum. And, with the exception of Michael Veitch, authors in this niche area have parallel challenges to those of jazz artists self-producing albums.

It is pleasing to see part of drummer/composer Niko Schauble’s contribution to the Melbourne music scene acknowledged with his nomination in the APRA AMCOS Art Music Awards for Excellence in Jazz (for his work with Pughouse Studios, which he opened in 2012). Since moving here in 1989 from a successful role in Berlin’s jazz scene, Niko has been a consistently positive contributor to the Australian jazz scene, leading various ensembles, or performing with the Australian Art Orchestra, Paul Grabowsky, Ren Walters’ TiP, and Jex Saarelaht Trio (amongst others). He has always been a generous supporter of others, and the first to volunteer for Benefit concerts. At the recent Carlo Alberto Canevali memorial concert he recorded the whole event (as well as performing in in a few sets), and then supplied recordings to the performers. There appears to be no end to Niko’s skills – if he was not so busy with the recording studio, I imagine a micro-brewery could have been next!

Lastly, remaining on the topic of drummers, John Fordham (an old mate of Brian Brown’s, who helped him to buy his first tenor saxophone) turns 85 on Sunday, and will be celebrating by playing a gig, no less. Keep swinging, John!