May 22, 2009 § Leave a Comment
The Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Western Australia now has its own website. http://casswa.com/
April 20, 2009 § Leave a Comment
Last night I plucked up the courage to stand up and play bass clarinet at the Ellington Jazz Club. I chose a transcription of Chris Potter’s brilliant version of Body and Soul from his album “Gratitude”. Even though having a music stand full of printed notes is generally frowned upon in a jazz club, it was great to play with Matt Willis on bass and Mike Perkins on drums who managed to hang on to my efforts to imitate the great Chris Potter. (The original is for double bass and bass clarinet alone but given we hadn’t had a chance to rehearse, drums with brushes seemed to be a wise move….)
The evening was part of a Sunday series now at the Ellington called Explorations where players can put their name on a list and come up to play for an audience after the featured band has played the first set. This forms an important mentoring opportunity for the jazz students of Perth (myself included). It was great to see a good amount of people there too! It was conceived by the late Alan Corbet, whose vision and drive have led the Perth jazz scene to thrive and grow in recent times.
“The concept of jamming has been central to jazz music since its inception in the New Orleans ghettos around the beginning of the 20th century. Indeed some believe that jazz improvisation itself was unwittingly birthed by musicians who would ‘jam’ the melody of a well-known tune, that is, to embellish and add to a given melody to create new melodies over the chord sequences of the original song.
Another important factor of jamming was (and still is) its spontaneity. Often, the musicians on stage wouldn’t have played together before (or at least not in the particular combination), and certainly, the choice of repertoire and musical approach would be last minute. Now in some musical arenas this practice is discouraged – but jazz thrives on exactly this kind of on-the-edge approach. “I don’t think people don’t want to see a live band play the same song they have rehearsed over and over until it sounds like an old record” says Alan Corbet (WA’s Jazz Co-ordinator- JazzWA), “…what interests them is spontaneity, how it makes them feel when all the parts come together, the music, the environment, the people… then the magic is created.”
Jam sessions also created a sense of community amongst the musicians. Young players could listen to (in the days before iPods; sometimes this was the ONLY way a young player could get to hear other musicians), play with and learn from more experienced players whilst at the same time getting the opportunity to showcase their own abilities. The problem is that in more recent times, jazz jam sessions have all but disappeared from the Perth music scene but that’s all changing thanks to an ongoing initiative from JazzWA.”
Alan Corbet – Jazz WA.
The Ellington jazz club is the most important thing to happen for the WA live music scene. Even people who have never considered going to a jazz gig are turning up! The sharing of ideas and plans between people in the industry and cross fertilisation of genres means the WA music scene can now grow and flourish at this important forum. Long may it prosper!
Incidentally there’s going to be a classical version of Jazz Explorations at The Ellington starting May 25th. Local groups will be performing Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet, there’s the brilliant all-female wind quintet Pro Arte Collective and Arundo reed quintet will be playing too.
January 28, 2009 § 8 Comments
Daylight saving ends 29 March 2009 ….. Set clocks back one hour.
If the vote is no, are we setting back our thinking by 100 years?
We’re about to have a referendum in Western Australia about daylight saving. It’s probably going to be one of the hottest topics around. Barbies will be buzzing, pubs will be prattling and radios will be ranting about this incredibly divisive issue.
So what are the arguments for and against?
Well, the primary producers don’t like having to get up in the dark, nor do city people who have early shifts. People with kids complain that it causes disruption to their sleep patterns. And then there’s the stories about fading curtains and cows not milking properly.
On the positive side, I hear stories of families enjoying being able to share time outdoors walking and playing in the park before they head for the couch and the blue flickering screen. I’ve also heard it said that there’s a reduction in pedestrian fatalities due to increased daylight hours in the evening. People who finish work can come home and have time to enjoy some leisure time with a little more daylight. There’s also the greater ease of contacting the eastern states of Australia during their business hours.
Pollies will milk this for all it’s worth and WA Premier Colin Barnett has attempted to curry favour with the electorate by declaring his no vote long before the referendum.
For those undecided among you, let’s just examine the facts.
In Europe during summer, the sun goes down around 10pm and in some parts of Scandinavia it comes up again at 1am. How do they cope? Curtains. Not a new-fangled invention by any stretch of the imagination. And in winter, the sun barely comes up at all! Somehow their kids manage to deal with the slings and arrows of outrageous sleep disruption.
There is a strong argument that our hot climate isn’t suited to daylight saving. Maybe it could be shown that our use of airconditioners would be lessened if we didn’t have daylight saving. Maybe if we DID have daylight saving, there’d be renewed debate about extended trading hours in the city so the place doesn’t shut down altogether after business hours.
It’s going to be close, so get down to your local barbie, pub or talkback radio station and have your say. There’s a whole hour of daylight at stake here!
For another link to the whys and wherefores of daylight saving try visiting “Daylight Saving Time: What’s the point?”
What will YOU say to your kids when they are older and ask how you voted on May 16th 2009? If your answer is you voted no, you’d better have a plausible, rational reason for them.
October 21, 2008 § 2 Comments
In a move that was thankfully quickly quashed by newly-elected WA premier Colin Barnett, his National Party colleague Brendon Grylls demonstrated support for a nuclear waste dump.
This has also been the case with the NSW national party as outlined in the recent Newsletter by ARIUS (Association for Regional and International Underground Storage page 6 July 2008).
An extract from this newsletter is reprinted below.
“Following what appeared to be the dawn of an enlightened national debate on how it wants to see its role in the global nuclear fuel cycle, the new government of the worldís second largest supplier of uranium appears ready to step back into the darkness and firmly close the doors.
Last September, the previous government signed Australia up to the GNEP agreement (as well as the Generation IV International Forum). For a country to be part of GNEP implies that it has an interest in its place in the global fuel cycle (see article on GNEP onthis page). As has been frequently stated by many international and domestic commentators (including a past Prime Minister), Australia is one of the very few countries in the world that would be conferred the international trust to operate a full suite of fuel cycle facilities for use by other countries to the considerable economic and political advantage of the nation. The new government of Kevin Rudd is now looking again at the issue of nuclear. On being challenged that involvement in GNEP might mean consideration of hosting an international repository, Resources Minister, Martin Ferguson, simultaneously capped both ends of the fuel cycle by saying that the Rudd government “….categorically rules out accepting any waste from any other country and categorically rules out any enrichment programme in Australia”. Asked whether Australia would continue to be part of GNEP, he firmly stated that he was “not sure”.
Meanwhile, a June meeting in Sydney of Australian National party members from New South Wales seems rather to have shocked itself and other party members by voting in favour of a motion to the effect that they supported research into the development of a nuclear power industry and a commercial international nuclear waste facility in Australia. When the motion reached the NSW parliament, three days later, a vote was taken that, among other things, condemned this policy and called upon the Liberal party either to over-rule or endorse their “junior partner”. The vote was in favour. The leader of the NSW Nationals meanwhile distanced himself from his party members and said that the result of the original vote was “not binding”. He also said that, what Australian politicians continue to refer to as a nuclear waste dump, is “….electorally unpalatable …the same as for nuclear power stations”.
In 2006, the previous Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard had called for a full-blooded debate on nuclear energy. It does not seem that this debate is being approached in a responsible manner by most politicians.”
So the precedent is there for members of the National Party in Australia to be supportive of nuclear waste disposal in Australia. We need to keep a closer eye on them in the future and to ask them about this issue prior to state and federal elections.