Looking back at Jazz Cafe 2019

Jazz Cafe special guest artist, violinist Llewellyn (Elle) Osborne, with Lachlan Coventry

Jazz Cafe special guest artist, violinist Llewellyn (Elle) Osborne, with Lachlan Coventry

By Joshua Daffern, Ensembles Captain

Radford's jazziest time of year has once again come around. Family and friends of Radford's student jazz musicians were treated to an evening of fantastic music on Friday 30 August. 

Little Big Band opened the evening with classic tunes such as George Gershwin's Summertime and Dave Brubeck's Take Five. This talented group of young musicians finished off their set with an improvisation showcase in the form of Moanin', a famous bluesy tune from Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. 

Big Band treated audiences to the energetic swing tunes of Just Friends, featuring Year 12 vocalist Tash Erb, and One by One. Big Band then presented a segue from Freddie Hubbard's smooth fusion tune Little Sunflower to the punchy Latin rhythms of Dance of Denial

Finishing the student performances, the Year 11 and 12 students of the Bird Jazz Ensemble showcased their improvisation abilities in classic standards such as Blue Bossa, All the Thing You Are and Dizzy Gillespie's A Night in Tunisia

The night was capped off with this year's guest artist, violinist Llewellyn "Elle" Osborne. Elle performed a wide variety of music, ranging from classical motifs played over John Coltrane's chord changes from Giant Steps to an energetic rendition of the Thomas the Tank Engine theme song. Playing alongside Radford music staff members Clare Fitzgerald on the keys, and Lachlan Coventry on guitar, Elle treated the evening's audience to a truly unique, memorable and remarkable performance. 

Jazz Cafe 2019 Elle Osborne at Jazz Cafe

Elle's contributions to Jazz Café were not limited to her performance on the evening. On Tuesday 27 August, Elle spent the day at Radford completing workshops with Years 10, 11 and 12 elective music classes and Bird Jazz Ensemble. Elle broke down the cognitive processes involved in improvisation and used her own experience transitioning from classical to jazz violin playing, to open the door to more effective improvising for the students in these workshops. Elle showcased several theory and practice exercises to engage students in motif-based improvisation. Elle's contributions were certainly noticed in the evening of Jazz Café itself, as the students all improvised with a high degree of competence. We look forward to welcoming Elle back to Radford in the future. 

If you missed this year's Jazz Café, be sure to catch Little Big Band, Big Band and Bird Jazz Ensemble at the Twilight Fete this November. The wonderful work behind the scenes by all members of the music staff made this year's Jazz Café a truly memorable evening. Special thanks to Ben Marston and Kirsten Knight for their continued support of our excellent jazz musicians.

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