02 December Saturday: SIMA End of Year Concert – “Celebrating Bernie McGann”

Saturday 2 December, 2017
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Photo – Mark Raketic PassionArt Photography

SIMA presents a very special end-of-year performance “Celebrating Bernie McGann” – a tribute to the man and the music of legendary Australian jazz saxophonist, Bernie McGann who passed away in September 2013.


SANDY EVANS tenor saxophone
ANDREW ROBSON alto saxophone

This band celebrates Bernie McGann and his music. Warwick Alder and Brendan Clarke were in Bernie’s quartet during the last period of his life. Along with Bernie McGann’s music, this concert also features a suite in which Sandy Evans pays tribute to Bernie as her long-time collaborator and friend.

Sandy based this suite on a phrase found in one of Bernie’s practice notebooks: “Long, Loose, Taste, Groove”. The group will also play Andrew Robson’s tribute to Bernie McGann, and some of Bernie’s favourite jazz standards.

Praise for Celebrating Bernie McGann:


“…compelling suite celebrated the musical legacy of the late Bernie McGann. Composed and led by Sandy Evans, it was both a joyous and poignant journey, and featured some outstanding playing from the three-horn frontline” – Jessica Nicholas, Sydney Morning Herald


“…Evans played with heart, soul, presence, spirit, feeling — call it what you will — and Robson sent alto notes darting as he ducked and weaved behind the music stand. It was indeed a celebration.
Roger Mitchell, AusJazz.Net

About Bernie McGann:

Bernie McGann was a pioneering figure in the Australian jazz scene. Widely acknowledged as an Australian jazz icon, Bernie was awarded ARIA and MO Awards and an Australia Council for the Arts grant. He was the first ever recipient of the Australia Council’s prestigious Don Banks Music Award in 1998.

“McGann’s raw-edged tone delivered exhilarating, hyper-fast flights of jagged post-bop with breathtaking leaps to the upper register. He also could express emotional depths of aching beauty in a slow ballad or blues. He was a trailblazer, always original, inventive, unmistakeable, a one-off giant of the alto saxophone”
John McBeath, The Australian

About the suite:

Celebrating Bernie McGann is a suite composed in honour of the legendary Australian saxophonist Bernie McGann. It was commissioned by the jazz community through the Sydney Improvised Music Association (SIMA) while McGann was seriously ill in hospital in September 2013. McGann passed away only a week after the piece was commissioned, so the work stands as a tribute to his life and work. McGann was renowned as one of the most original voices in Australian jazz. This suite pays tribute to his distinctive, individualistic and expressive musical legacy. As well as many years listening to and playing with McGann in Ten Part Invention, and in his own Quartet, research for this work included study of McGann’s practice notebooks in which McGann had written the phrase: ‘Long, Loose, Taste, Groove’. The architectonic structure of the suite is based on this quote.

Melodically, Interstellar Conversations references improvised passages from a solo by McGann on his composition Playground. The material is recontextualised in a new harmonic and rhythmic framework to create a dialogue between past and present, celebrating McGann’s inventiveness and the impact he has had on subsequent Australian saxophonists. Tales of the Incredible Antarctic Sax Explorer and His Conniving Manager explores links between McGann’s work and the blues; For Addie is a waltz with aesthetic roots in McGann’s most famous composition Spirit SongAddison Road Jive generates the high energy, celebratory gospel atmosphere of McGann’s work with The Last Straw and Ten Part Invention.


Additional Information

Ticket Type

General Admission, Concession, Dinner & Show – 7pm, Dinner & Show – 8pm, Premium Dinner & Show, Drinks & Show

Event Details

Date: 2 December 2017

Start time: 20:30

End time: 23:00

Venue: Foundry 616

Phone: 02 9211 9442

Email: info@foundry616.com.au