Venue: InterContinental Hotel, North Terrace, Adelaide
The Helpmann Academy held its annual Jazz Awards ceremony at the InterContinental Adelaide featuring performances by the winners, students of the Elder Conservatorium of Music’s School of Jazz Studies, with the addition of special guest vocalist, Luke Thompson, in the second half. Thompson trained in Adelaide and was a member of the Adelaide Connection before embarking on a national and international career.
The theme for the music this year was Broadway show tunes, always a rich source of material for jazz players. It also included a few tunes from jazz composers such as Charlie Parker, Pat Metheny, Billy Strayhorn and Joshua Redman. There was a good variety of music during the evening, played extremely well by the Award winners, and an appreciative audience was kept busy applauding..
The Intercontinental Award for Most Outstanding Honours Jazz Student for 2010 again went to two recipients, vocalist Lauren Sturdy and drummer Holly Thomas. I first heard Thomas playing during the Fringe, accompanying Carla Conlin in her show, An Evening of Dangerous Liaisons, and was enormously impressed, not only by her technique but by her musicianship.
Drummer, Stephen Neville, won the City of Adelaide Award for Most outstanding Undergraduate Jazz Student for 2010, Natalie Ahrens, won the Keith Langley Award for Top Jazz Saxophone Undergraduate for 2010, Aaron Deanshaw, won the Keith Langley Award for Top Jazz Trombone Undergraduate for 2010, pianist Alex Wignall again won the Tommy Norman Scholarship for Most Outstanding Undergraduate Jazz Student for 2010, Martin Holoubek won Mitzi’s Prize for Top Jazz Bass Undergraduate for 2010, Marko Gal won the dB Magazine Award for Top Jazz Guitar Undergraduate for 2010 and Adam Williams won the Allans Music and Billy Hyde Award for Top Jazz Drums Undergraduate for 2010.
During the evening there was plenty of opportunity to listen to them playing, in ensembles of varying size, and also soloing, and they are all worthy winners of these awards and a credit to their teachers. If you are a jazz aficionado you will, no doubt, see more and more of these young performers in the near future. This was a terrific evening of great music that left a lasting memory.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.