20 July: The Ellington-Strayhorn Songbook: Matt McMahon Quintet + Rebekka Neville


Foundry 616

616 Harris Street, Ultimo, NSW 2007

Ultimo, NSW, AU, 2007

The Matt McMahon Quintet and singer Rebekka Neville celebrate the brilliant music and songs of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.

Edward Kennedy ‘Duke’ Ellington (1899 – 1974) American jazz pianist/composer and leader of his jazz orchestra from 1923 through the rest of his life. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Ellington was based in New York City from the mid-1920s and gained a national profile through his orchestra’s appearances at the Cotton Club in Harlem. Ellington wrote or collaborated on more than one thousand compositions: the largest recorded personal jazz legacy, and many of his pieces have become standards.

At the end of the 1930s, Ellington began a nearly thirty-year collaboration with composer-arranger-pianist Billy Strayhorn (1915 –1967), whom he called his writing and arranging companion. With Strayhorn, Duke composed multiple extended compositions/suites. who collaborated with bandleader and composer Duke Ellington for nearly three decades. Billy Strayhorn’s compositions include “Take The ‘A’ Train”, “Chelsea Bridge”, “A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing” and “Lush Life”.

A pivotal figure in the history of jazz, Ellington is described as “the most significant composer of the genre”, renowned for his inventive use of the orchestra, or big band, as well as for his eloquence and charisma.

Pianist Matt McMahon was the winner of the 1999 National Jazz Piano Competition and serves as pianist of choice for singers Virna Sanzone and Emma Pask. Matt is well known nationally as a pianist/music director for Vince Jones. Matt looks forward to performing the Ellington Strayhorn Show written by his good friend, pianist Rodric White.

Rebekka Neville is a Sydney-based singer/songwriter who performs internationally and locally with her trios/quartets entertaining crowds at Jazz in the Park Balmain, Toowoomba Festival of Flowers, 180 Degree Marquee Bennelong Point, Manly Jazz Festival, and Brunei for the Brunei Musical Society. Rebekka performs regularly to local and overseas guests onboard the Vagabond Jazz Lunch Cruises of the beautiful Sydney Harbour.

  • Matt McMahon – Piano / MD
  • Chris O’Dear – Saxophone / Clarinet
  • Steve Crain – Guitar
  • Fiona Lugg – Acoustic Bass
  • Steve Ley – Drums
  • Rebekka Neville – Special Guest Singer