I’m so thrilled to be asked to perform at this wonderful, jazz venue in Canberra, the Jazz Haus.

The Jazz Haus is a new venue in Canberra, established in 2018 by bassist/educator, Eric Ajaye.

As a musician, I feel responsible for promoting this amazing venue. The Jazz Haus is a room located within the Mawson Austrian club. Eric wanted Canberrans to have a New York “Blue Note” or “Birdland” club experience, where the musicians and audiences are treated to a room with engaged, appreciative, listening audiences.

I have a terrific line-up of musicians joining me at the Jazz Haus on April 3, including two top Sydney musicians, who will be driving down for the occasion.

Toby Hall

Toby Hall, one of the most highly regarded Australian drummers, (who has worked with the finest jazz musicians such as; Don Burrows, James Morrison, Sandy Evans, Paul Grabowsky and Vince Jones).

Tim Rollinson

Talented guitarist, composer, Tim Rollinson (founder member of Australian band D.I.G, Directions in Groove), who has also worked with a number of notable Australian musicians.

Miroslav Bukovsky

Miroslav Bukovsky, legendary  Australian Jazz musician, composer, Aria award winner, educator and leading jazz trumpeter.

John Black

Piano player extraordinaire, John Black worked full-time as a musician in Sydney before moving to Canberra in the mid 80s to lecture at the ANU School of Music. He played support at the Canberra Theatre for Dizzy Gillespie and his United Nations Orchestra. John also studied Cuban piano styles in Havana with Andres Alén. He is a highly sought after musician and educator in Canberra.

Eric Ajaye

Last but not least is Eric Ajaye, who’s resumé reads like a musical who’s who. He has played with notable and diverse musicians such as; Freddie Hubbard, Taj Mahal, Nancy Wilson, the Pointer Sisters, and Chaka Khan. He has also performed for television shows and commercials as a session musician.

Eric runs the Jazz Haus. He does all the promotion via all his social media channels and Canberra’s local community radio station, Art Sound. He donates $100 from each concert to his preferred charity.

Eric and his lovely wife, Karen, put so much love into setting up this venue. Karen sets up the tables with lit candles and the room is filled with jazz memorabilia. You really do get the feel of being in a New York Jazz club.

So this is indeed a treat for musician’s and audiences alike! I hope to see you at my concert on April 3rd, it will be an exciting one indeed!

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.

Elise with music award
Elise receiving an award from the Canberra Critics Circle.

 

 

Listen to City Lights by Bella Groove
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 🙂

Song background

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.

Thanks to Helen Musa, City News and Eric Pozza, Canberra Jazz, for such wonderful reviews!

The afternoon was a success, more than I could have ever envisaged!

Tributes

Thanks to all those involved in this project including; my fellow musicians, my partner, my mum, my family, friends, HiHat Music Studio and Andrew Edgson at Studios 301.

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.

It’s also on iTunes, Google Play and soon to Amazon, Pandora, Deezer, Tidal, YouTube, Microsoft Groove, ClaroMusica, Saavn, MediaNet, and Shazam!

I hope you enjoy this album.

Bella Groove album launch band members were great

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!

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.

Now I’ll be handing over the tunes to be mastered by Andrew Edgson, from Studios 301. Thanks to Bob Scott‘s recommendation.

The line-up

The band is back at the Hippo Co this week and what a line-up!

This time we have two special guests:
Esteemed Australian trumpeter Miroslav Bukovsky and National Jazz Award finalist for keyboard, Hugh Barrett, will be playing with Bella Groove for the first time at Hippo Co!

The remainder of the Bella Groove line-up are; the talented John Burgess on electric bass and the amazingly versatile drummer Steve Fitzgerald (also the drummer for the Brass Knuckle Band).

We’ll be aiming to get the groove on this Wednesday!

The tunes

The set list includes some upbeat favourites by Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Horace Silver, including a tribute to Al Jarreau, who recently passed away.

I’m also looking forward to trying some of my new original tunes that were arranged by the amazing Hugh Barrett!

Look forward to seeing you there!

Miroslav Bukovsky, Hugh Barrett, John Burgess, Steve Fitzgerald will play at Hippo Co

Horn Finale!

Woo hoo…! It was great to have Miroslav Bukovsky and John Mackey in the studio last night!

With no time to view the tunes beforehand, Miroslav and John just sailed through their parts. Everything just fell together so smoothly.

Their playing just added that final touch that was so integral to the album.

So it was a real treat to have this awesome duo play for me!

I can’t wait for the final mix and to share all the tunes with everyone!

Here is John and Miroslav in action:

All tunes have been laid down!

The harmony and rhythm players have completed their roles on my debut jazz album. It’s very exciting!

I am so happy with the results so far.

Thanks to Mark Sutton and Greg Stott for their amazing job recording all the players so far!

Here is a photo collage of the main players, who were all magnificent!


I can’t wait for the next session with the horn players!

 

First day in the studio!

I’m excited that the recordings are underway at Hi Hat studio for my debut jazz album!

I have some fantastic musicians joining me on the album including:

This album has been a long time coming, with 5 original pieces on the album.

One of my original pieces, Open Your Mind, was written at least 20 years ago!

So it really is a thrill to be finally ‘releasing’ these original tunes, plus my favourite jazz standards!

Me & Eric in the studio

Stay tuned for more updates!