Luke Sweeting, Joe O'Connor and James McLean will each be performing as the three finalists for the prestigious Freedman Fellowship 2016. The three present a short set of music at the Opera House and the panel will award the fellowship prize at the end of the evening.
Taken from The Music Trust:
"The Music Trust today announced the three finalists for the prestigious 2016 Freedman Jazz Fellowship, Australia’s premier award for excellence in jazz. This year’s contenders for the annual scholarship are drummerJames McLean and pianists Joseph O'Connor and Luke Sweeting
The finalists will now have the opportunity to compete for the $20,000 cash prize in a live performance ‘play-off’ at Freedman Jazz at the Sydney Opera House on Monday 1 August at 7:30pm.
The judges, distinguished jazz musician/composers Stu Hunter, Laurence Pike and Brendan Clarke selected the three finalists from a group of 16 national candidates. The finalists were judged in part on their proposed career enhancing project for which the prize money would be used.
Drummer James McLean has proposed to use the Fellowship award to establish five new duos with distinguished Australian artists. Their work will be compiled into an album and released. Collaborating artists would be Simon Barker (drums), Chris Hale (electric bass), Andrea Keller (piano), Gian Slater (vocal), and Scott Tinkler (trumpet).
National Jazz Award winner and Bell Young Artist of the Year recipient, pianist Joe O’Conner plans to develop a work titled Antique Dance as a collaboration between two contemporary dancers and his trio. The festival work would broaden the reach of O’Connor’s music, emphasizing hybrid art forms while providing an opportunity for O’Connor to develop as a producer.
Luke Sweeting, Dennis Griffin Masters of Music Scholar, plans on enhancing his career through the Fellowship by leading his Grey Wing Trio on a tour to Europe in 2017. The award would fund an international pathway for Sweeting, consolidating networks made over the previous two years.
Dr Letts says about Freedman Jazz “This year new developments will add to the already electrifying atmosphere of finals night. Laurence and Kathy Freedman of the Freedman Foundation have generously increased the prize money to $20,000 in 2016. And this year Freedman Jazz will include a special performance by 2003 Freedman Jazz Fellow, saxophonist Andrew Robson. The Freedman Fellows (listed below) are Australian jazz royalty.”
ABC Jazz is the media partner for the Freedman Jazz Fellowships and will be covering the event and will broadcast the concert. In addition to the cash prize, the winner will receive three days recording time in the superb ABC Jazz Studios. The addition of this recording package makes the Freedman Jazz Fellowship Australia’s most lucrative Jazz award. Tal Cohen, the winner of the 2015 Fellowship, is returning to Sydney in June to claim his award, recording a new project in the ABC Jazz Studios in Sydney.
The Jazz Fellowship is funded by the Freedman Foundation, a philanthropic foundation chaired by Laurence Freedman, which assists and supports young Australians in many areas including medical and scientific programs and the arts. In 2001, Laurence Freedman was made a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the community, to medical research, the arts, and to business and investment in Australia.
Past winners of the Freedman Jazz Fellowships are a Who’s Who of Australian jazz. They include guitarists Ben Hauptmann and James Muller, saxophonists Julien Wilson, Andrew Robson and Matt Keegan, pianists Andrea Keller, Matt McMahon, Marc Hannaford and Aaron Choulai, trumpeter Phil Slater, bassist Christopher Hale and vocalist Kristin Berardi."