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Robbie Melville’s smallCHESTRA
18 September, 2022
Sunday 18 September 2022
ticket price: $25 – $35
bookings: 03 9662 9966
Robbie Melville’s smallCHESTRA is the latest project from Melville, winner of the Instrumental Category of the 2018 International Song Competition. The six members of the smallCHESTRA explore the meeting point between folk melody, jazz harmony and textural improvisation through a series of compositions written by Melville that allow and encourage spontaneous interaction, introductions and endings as soloists, duos and trios.
Featuring Melbourne jazz veterans Ronny Ferella (drums), Tamara Murphy (bass), Robbie Melville (guitar), Gideon Brazil (tenor saxophone, alto flute) and Flora Carbo (alto saxophone/bass clarinet), and classical cellist Zoe Knighton, the smallCHESTRA creates a spectacular range of dynamic and timbral possibilities in a relatively small package, and blurs the barriers between contemporary folk, jazz and classical.
“Think Frisellian-cowboy-quirkestra ambling along with a cup of tea in one hand and a stein of beer in t’other. On a horse”. – Tamara Murphy
GIDEON BRAZIL is a well regarded Melbourne musician, composer and contemporary music promoter. Gideon plays saxophones, flute and clarinet and performs regularly with original jazz projects including: Adam Simmons Creative Music Ensemble, Brenton Foster Sextet, Jazzlab Orchestra and his own group, The Natives.
Gideon has performed and recorded with some of Australia’s finest artists including Gotye, Paul Kelly, Vika & Linda, Eddie Perfect, Luke Howard, Orchestra Victoria, Bennetts Lane Big Band, Hoodoo Mayhem New Orleans Brass Band, The Black Diamonds, Adrian Sherriff, Andrea Keller, Eamon McNelis, Eugene Ball, Marc Hannaford, Ronny Ferella, Scott Tinkler and Shannon Barnett.
Gideon studied classical music at the Melbourne University Conservatorium of Music and jazz at the Victorian College of the Arts. He is also a sought after educator, currently teaching at Melbourne Polytechnic.
FLORA CARBO is a Naarm (Melbourne) based saxophonist who is quickly becoming one of the most exciting young artists in the Australian jazz scene. Flora’s practice explores the vocal quality of the alto saxophone and the improvisatory and compositional boundaries between genres.
Having studied with Julien Wilson, Melissa Aldana, Jim Denley and Scott McConnachie, Flora has performed extensively in Melbourne and around Australia and at festivals including Wangaratta Festival of Jazz, Melbourne International Jazz Festival and the Stonnington Jazz Festival.
Completing a Bachelor of Music (Degree with Honours) at the University of Melbourne and the James Morrison Academy in 2019, she has worked with world renowned artists including pianists Barney McAll and Andrea Keller, as well composing and playing with The Rest Is Silence, The Floor Is Well, Thanks, Flora Carbo Trio, Magnify and most recently Ecosystem. Their debut performance of new works premiered at the Melbourne Recital Centre Salon in July 2021.
The Take Note Leader for 2022 (Melbourne International Jazz Festival), Flora was nominated for the Freedman Jazz Fellowship in 2021, 2019 and 2018 and as a finalist for the Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year at the 2019 Australian Jazz Bell Awards. In May 2017 she won the James Morrison Scholarship at the Generations in Jazz Festival, in 2016 she was selected as one of the 10 finalists in the National Jazz Awards.
In 2018, Flora toured internationally with the ‘Company 2’ circus production ‘Scotch and Soda’, participated in the 2019 Banff Workshop for Jazz and Creative Music in Banff, Canada and is a part of the ongoing Isolation Improvisation Collective restlessly creating throughout the pandemic.
Flora’s latest release ‘Arthur’s Walks’ was released in Feb 2022, ‘VOICE’ in 2020 and ‘Erica’ in 2018.
Since moving to Melbourne from Adelaide in 1995 Ronny has regularly performed in the jazz, blues and experimental music scene with many of Australia’s leading performers. As well as a recognised composer and bandleader he is an in demand sideman and very active in the Melbourne music community organising concerts, workshops and opportunities for non mainstream music performances.
As a bandleader Ronny led and composed for the successful group IshIsh, which released five CDs and toured extensively around Australia as well as performing in Europe at the prestigious Umbria Jazz Festival (Italy) and Pori Festival (Finland). More recently he has led the group Wayfinders and performs in the cooperatively led and highly regarded groups Omelette, Peon and I Hold The Lion’s Paw. For the last 21 years he has played in and co-managed the Michelle Nicolle Quartet, in which time the band has released eight recordings and toured all around Australia and many major festivals in Europe and throughout Asia. Highlights include South Korea, Finland, and Czech Republic, Asia Pacific Festival (Russia), Tokyo Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival (Holland), New Zealand, Turkey, Estonia, Indonesia and Singapore. In 2018 Ronny travelled to Czech Republic and Germany where he performed his own music in collaboration with musicians Libor Smoldas and Peter Ehwald.
Ronny has been involved in the presenting of concerts since 1992. He has been on committee boards for the South Australian Jazz Development Office, Melbourne Jazz Co-op and on the advisory panel for Sound Travellers Aus Arts Council. He was co-director of five Half Bent Festivals 2003-2007, director of Melbourne University New Moon Festival 2017-18, and a founding member of the Melbourne Jazz Fringe. He has also been involved in jazz forums presented by the Australia Council for the Arts. He is a committee member of the Moreland City Band which provides rehearsal and performance space and tutoring for over 14 bands and music organisations as well as presenting concerts for emerging artists.
His most recent project is the volunteer organisation, small space music which aims to bring together curious listeners and small non mainstream music venues in Melbourne and regional Victoria. He is currently working with the venues The Brunswick Green and Cross Street where he helps to book young up and coming bands and artists to perform side by side with more established artists.
IshIsh are an Australian musical phenomenon. Their conception is at once unashamedly accessible and highly challenging, while each individual player is a true virtuoso. While transcendental looseness and abandon abounds, impeccably tight ensemble and intonation is available when this too is required. Precious few groups can do both these things and produce music so simultaneously fascinating and moving. It is music for the head, heart and feet…” – Mark Isaac Music Forum
After starting cello at the age of nine with Jill Kahans, and graduating from the University of Melbourne with the highest mark of her year, Zoe went on to establish herself as one of the country’s most sought after cellists. Having studied with Christian Wojtowicz, Michel Strauss (Paris) Nelson Cooke, and Angela Seargeant, she is now in demand as chamber coach and teacher at various institutions. A regular panelist for major competitions, Zoe combines many facets of her career with performing.
Zoe has played numerous concertos with Melbourne Orchestras and with pianist Amir Farid, made an impressive debut at the Melbourne Recital Centre to great critical acclaim in 2009. Their partnership has resulted in recordings for ABC, concerts throughout Australia and the release of five CDs on the MOVE label. Zoe and Amir will reunite in 2020 with performances in New York and throughout Australia.
Zoe has been praised for her “thrilling tenor sound” (Limelight Magazine), “sublime phrasing” and “many great technical demands carried off with ease.” She has released three other titles on the MOVE label, including the complete suites for solo cello by J.S Bach.
Zoe is a founding member of Flinders Quartet and plays a 2020 Rainer Beilharz cello made in Castlemaine, Victoria, and a Michael Taylor bow made in 2012. Zoe has been following Rainer’s cello making for a number of years. After falling in love with the deep, characterful sound and choosing to make this cello her own, Rainer revealed that he had made it with her in mind.
“Knighton has produced a reading of great artistic integrity.” – Gordon Kerry
“She radiates confidence in her work and participates with personality and no little finesse … Well worth hearing for the pleasure given through this player’s familiar warmth and honesty of musical character.” – Clive O’Connell
ROBBIE MELVILLE is a guitarist and composer. He began performing in his teens, and in 2005 was offered the Principal Guitar Chair in the Australian Pops Orchestra, appearing at Hamer Hall and the Sydney Opera House with artists such as James Morrison, Marina Prior, and Guy Sebastian.
Melville’s compositions have garnered several awards. Most recently he became a recipient of the 2021 Johnny Dennis Music Award. In 2016 he was awarded both the Industry and Orkeztra prizes in the Composition Competition for world music ensemble Orkeztra Glasso Bashalde with the piece ‘Tango In Pusan’. He was awarded first place for ‘Junkyard’ in the Instrumental Category of the 2018 International Songwriting Competition, a competition that amassed over 19,000 entries. The same song was shortlisted for the 2021 Composition-To-Choreography Competition “MadeBy”, an initiative of OneMusic Australia and the Australian arm of the Royal Academy of Dance.
In 2007 his quintet cleverhorse independently released the album ‘Goodnight, Mr. Monster’ featuring an eclectic range of Robbie’s compositions. The Sydney Morning Herald wrote, “They are onto something. They are undoubtedly creative”. Their second album ’50:fifty’ was released on the prestigious Jazzhead label in 2016.
Melvilles’s trio Antelodic released its debut album ‘Quiet Sufficient’ in 2017. Billy Pinnell wrote, “Antelodic…have created a sonically daring, accessible masterpiece”. 2019 found the trio road testing new material during a series of shows in London in preparation for their next record.
In March 2020 this new material was released as the album, ‘To Iceland! To Iceland!’ on ABC Jazz. Award winning Australian saxophonist Julien Wilson wrote, “Melville’s compositions are beguiling, but it’s the way they’re realised by the whole group that makes this recording so special. There’s plenty of intrigue, but always room to breathe”. The album was supported by a national Australian tour.
Robbie’s propensity for musical variety, and sensitivity as an accompanist, has seen him engage in a diverse number of collaborative enterprises. He has worked on recordings for artists such as Shane Howard, John Murry and Liz Frencham, toured internationally with Irish musicians Mundy and Roesy, performed with harpist/singer Mary Doumany, Krystle Warren, Nat Bartsch, Gallie, Aine Tyrrell, Carl Pannuzzo, Stephen Magnusson, Zoe Frater, Kristina Olsen, and Sarah Carroll.
He has composed and recorded music for The Australian Diamond Company, the Chinese/American short film, ‘Hidden Truths’, and the British documentary ‘Genus’. His combined interest in improvisation and silent film led him to form the Easy Street Ensemble, a stable of rotating musicians who improvise live soundtracks to silent films.
He currently works as the in-house guitarist and musical arranger for Mark Stanley’s Red Room Recording Studio, teaches guitar, and performs regularly with Antelodic, his new sextet the smallCHESTRA, and with his trio and solo projects.
While subtly evading expectations, Robbie Melville loads his music with a restrained melancholy conveying innocence rather than knowingness, the upshot being an unusual emotional ambiguity blending resignation and contentment – John Shand (Sydney Morning Herald 2021)
Robbie’s style of minimalistic jazz is unique and distinctive, perfectly phrased and placed, but remains unpredictable – Indigo Music
TAMARA MURPHY is a bassist/composer/educator based in Melbourne, Australia. She has been flat out for over 20 years, leading her own bands and performing with countless others.
She has released 10 albums as leader (or co-leader) and appears on over 30 recordings by other artists. She’s toured all around the world, performing in Japan, China, Europe, the UK and New York as well as Australia.
Currently, Tamara Murphy performs with Kate Miller-Heidke, Ali McGregor, Harry Angus, Clio Renner, Andrea Keller, Nat Bartsch, Paul Grabowsky and Stephen Magnusson and many more artists in addition to her own band, Spirograph Studies.
She ran her quintet Murphy’s Law for 14 years, releasing four albums and was a member of Keller-Murphy-Browne (with Andrea Keller and Allan Browne), releasing two albums. She also performs and composes for other projects. Her albums have been nominated for The Age Genre Music Awards, AIR awards and The Bell Awards.
Murphy was awarded the inaugural PBS Young Elder of Jazz Commission in 2011 and her compositions have appeared on albums by other artists, including vocalist Elly Hoyt, ATM15 Big Band, pianist Tony Gould and saxophonist Rob Burke. In the last few years, she has worked as a musical director and arranger for the Brunswick Music Festival and Monash University’s MLIVE Progress Festival. In 2019, she was shortlisted for the National Live Music Awards (Best Jazz Act).
In 2019 her band, Spirograph Studies, toured around Australia and New Zealand to support the release of their debut album, Kindness Not Courtesy (shortlisted for a Music Vic Award). Their second album Lowlights was released in October 2021.
In the lockdown of 2020, Tamara Murphy started an interview series entitled ‘Flipped Interviews’. This fun series of interviews features male musicians being asked questions previously given to female musicians. It’s a cheeky, yet inclusive way to highlight the different ways men and women are treated in our industry. Previous interviewees include Paul Grabowsky, Harry James Angus and Scott Tinker.
Group 8+: $25
Pensioners/Full-time students/MEAA members
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