6 Australian artists to discover – Specials


Saxophonist and songwriter (as well as Mornings’ recent guest) Cheryl Durongpisitkul shares six up-and-coming artists with us to keep a keen ear for this Ausmusic month!

You heard me on Mornings on ABC Jazz, but you might not know that I’m also a saxophonist and songwriter. I was nominated for the Freedman Jazz Fellowship 2021, I won the APRA / SIMA Young Composers Award 2018, I was commissioned to compose a 20-minute suite for the Monash Art Ensemble, I released two albums in as a member of the collaborative trio Koi Kingdom, co-founded The Jazzlab Orcheztra (a nod to the Bennetts Lane Big Band) and released my own album in 2017, a large-scale work for 8 musicians, titled Follow me through the red ash.

Now, however, I would like to take the opportunity to shine the spotlight on a few other artists from across the country who are doing some very exciting things:

1. Bohjass

More an artistic movement than a group, this folk-jazz ensemble of more than 20 years led by a saxophonist / clarinetist Tim pledger has graced the stages of Northcote, Melbourne for decades. Their long-standing residence at Bar 303 has created a vital outlet for creative expression, not only for the many, many members of the band, past and present, but for an entire community of musicians that has grown around the institution that is ‘Bohjass’, including feeding my own group ‘Koi Kingdom’. The line-up, although constantly evolving, is built around core members, including Belinda Wood on the flute, Alistair Watts on bass, Daniel brates to the battery and Chris lewis percussion. Watch this music video featuring stock footage of the band to get a feel for the legacy this band has created and see if you can spot any familiar faces!

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2. Carlton / Pass / Macpherson / Valenti

Each of the musicians who make up Carlton / Pass / Macpherson / Valenti are incredible composers, conductors and improvisers in their own right. They came together to combine their superpowers, recording their debut album earlier this year before Macpherson flew off to complete his Masters of Music in Austria. This group is a pure expression of creativity and passion that shows what Perth has to offer while drawing on deeply personal stories.

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3. Julius Schwing

Created off the southern tip of Australia, Julius SchwingThe music of is spellbinding, captivating and beautiful. Music that is inherently location-based, you can almost hear the darkness of the Tasmanian sky in his compositions and improvisations. I first met Julius in 2012 during an intensive creative workshop in Banff, Canada. A gentle soul, he stole my heart and my ears with his musical narration.

4. Sophie Min

Sophie min just hit my radar, and I’m SO excited about his music. Incredibly talented pianist and songwriter, she is extremely prolific with an abundance of artful compositions and technically exquisite performances. His music suits me perfectly, a mix of chamber, avant-garde and modern jazz influences, fearlessly performed with certainty and balance.

5. Tail of fire

An eclectic and versatile group, Firetail creates strange music, sometimes dancing, sometimes textured and sometimes hilarious. They draw inspiration from drum and bass, funk and avant-garde while always presenting the individual perspectives of their diverse musicians. I love this uninhibited band not only for their absolute commitment to making this wacky music, but also because they have a distinctly Melbourne sound that never fails to bring me back to the dark, sticky bars of my hometown.

6. Frejya Garbett

I like Freyja Garbettthe expansive approach to his music. From Wollongong to Berklee College of Music and back again, Frejya’s music is a snapshot of the present day, drawing on electronic influences to create textured backdrops for his compositions and sometimes extending to the electro-pop. Intricate lines and decidedly modern jazz influences pervade his music and are rooted in a deep embodied understanding of groove. Get ready to dance!


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