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I was thrilled to receive a Music Award from the Canberra Critics’ Circle for my “…leadership as a vocalist, flautist and songwriter of the jazz band Bella Groove and for the…” entertaining launch of the new album City Lights at Ainslie Arts Centre”.
It was inspiring to witness other amazing local artists receive recognition such as the talented musician and composer Sally Greenaway.
I’m really looking forward to playing at the Foundry 616 this Thursday 3rd August!
This will also be my first gig in Sydney since the late 90s! So it is a real thrill to be returning to the old stomping ground to play at a top jazz venue.
Most of all, I’m excited to be perform with a great line-up of musicians and play for family and Sydney friends!
So I hope to see a supportive crowd at Foundry 616!
The City Lights album launch in Canberra was filmed with the help of talented videographer, Matt Ong. We’re going to release the videos in the same order as the tracks on the album.
City Lights is the first, we hope you enjoy watching it on YouTube and give us a like and share 🙂
The song City Lights, title of the Bella Groove album, was conceived about 8 years ago!
I wrote the main chorus of City Lights after seeing Dan Sultan perform at the Sydney Opera House.
It was exciting seeing a live band at The Opera House Studio. The Studio theatre, “with its capacity to transform, is a space where the edges of art are not only reached but explored”. I have been fortunate to see a few “bizarre and beautiful” acts perform at the Studio.
So, I was buzzing… walking down the promenade at Circular Quay, heading back to my inner West abode. Suddenly the tune just came to me, beginning with the lyrics:
Come down now, come to the city tonight
There you’ll find brighter skies than you’ll ever see
A full moon out there, full moon out there
Come take a risk with me…
The rest of the lyrics came later. The melody was fixed!
Piano player and arranger, Hugh Barrett, played some cool chords and I figured out the intro! Hugh went away and worked on a horn arrangement, then we had a tune!
Thanks to Matt Ong and James Robinson who assisted Matt with filming the launch.
Album post-launch update
On April 9, an enthusiastic crowed filled the main hall at the Ainslie Arts Centre! It was great to see such a supportive audience turn up for live music on a stormy Canberra day.
The afternoon was a success, more than I could have ever envisaged!
Listen to and buy album
The Bella Groove album, City Lights is now available on bandcamp!
You can purchase the CD and buy the streaming digital album or single tracks on Bandcamp.
I hope you enjoy this album.
It is said that bass players provide the link between the rhythm and melody of a song.
The amazing Eric Ajaye and the talented John Burgess are the bass players on the Bella Groove debut album.
I was so excited when Eric agreed to play on my album. Not only is Eric deeply respected amongst fellow musicians in Canberra, he is a widely respected player worldwide!
Eric has toured many parts of the world with acclaimed musicians such as; Freddie Hubbard, Taj Mahal, Nancy Wilson, James Morrison, Bob Sedergreen, Paul Grabowsky and Sandy Evans. He has also worked as a session musician on several film and TV projects in the U.S. and recorded for artists such as Chaka Khan and Bill Cosby.
John has been playing bass for 20 years. Eric was his teacher and mentor at the ANU Jazz school. According to Eric, John is the “poster boy” for the upright Steinberger electric bass. He produces such a unique tone and plays awesome solos too!
John has been my ‘go-to’ bass player in Canberra since Bella Groove formed in 2012. So it made sense for John to play on my debut jazz album!
Where would this album be without pianist, Hugh Barrett and guitarist, Victor Rufus!
Hugh was fabulous arranging 3 of my original tunes, City Lights, Open Your Mind and City Of Yes.
Hugh also spent countless hours putting down arrangements for some of the jazz standards on the album! He is also such a great pianist! It has been an honour to work with him.
Victor did a wonderful job arranging my tune, Tamar Dreaming. As one of Canberra’s go-to guitarists, he has been a key part of Bella Groove for over a year now. So it felt natural to have Victor play on my album.
Victor is heading off to New York soon to record an album. He will be missed!
I can not forget pianist Don Fraser, the original Bella Groove harmony player. Don is now living in Melbourne and playing the local traps. Don arranged my fun swing tune called Should We…?
Woo hoo! The album is now ready for mastering!
Thanks to Greg Stott and Mark Sutton, of Hi Hat Music Studio for doing a fabulous job editing and mixing the album!
Thanks especially to Greg Stott for the amount of hours dedicated to mixing 12 tunes!
I thoroughly recommend anyone to Hi Hat Music Studio. Greg and Mark are the loveliest guys to deal with, they’re so easy going! The quality of their work is paramount.
Maintaining the groove.
Where would this album be without the Bella Groove drummers!
Update: Album launch tickets available now!
It was great to have my “go-to” drummer on the album! Steve plays with the acclaimed Canberra band Brass Knuckle Brass Band and Victor Rufus Reverberation and many more local groups!
Steve is so easy going and upbeat (excuse the pun!). He has a natural feel & depth to his playing, without overplaying.
Thank you Steve for keeping me in line with those endings 🙂
What a privilege to have Mark play on the album. He certainly is one of the best swing drummers in town!
Mark has played with the ‘who’s who’ of the Australian Jazz scene including Mike Nock, Bernie McGann, Dale Barlow, Sean Wayland, James Muller, Matt MacMahon and Idea of North.
I’m also lucky to have Mark play considering the time and effort he spent on recording/editing/mixing.
Album launch concert
I’m excited to confirm a date and venue for my debut jazz album launch!
The concert will be held at The Ainslie Arts Centre, Main Hall from 4 to 6pm on the 9th April. Doors open at 3:30pm for tickets.
Tickets will be $20 full price and $15 concession. Available online and at the door, please book early as seating is limited.
Tickets also include a signed CD and poster!
I will update the website soon with links to purchase tickets. So keep in touch so you don’t miss updates.