Harry James Angus to share the stage with South African jazz talent


After a year of closures and uncertainties, ardent trumpeter Harry James Angus is looking to bring some joy back into the unknown.

Angus will be in Adelaide to perform alongside a cohort of top graduates from the University of Adelaide’s Elder Conservatorium jazz program and is delighted to take the audience on an ad hoc ride.

“What I would really love to do is demonstrate how somewhere between the confidence of walking on stage without a plan, but also having a little plan, that’s where the big improvisation happens,” says -he.

“And I think when you give improvisers the tools to really perform with a little more theatricality and a little more emotion and vibe, that’s when the real magic can happen. “

For those who are in the room at night, it means a rare glimpse of the spontaneity that makes live jazz an experience in itself.

Or, as Angus puts it, “We will venture into nature together. “

This is not the first time that he has partnered with Helpmann Academy to support emerging musicians. In 2018 and again in 2020, he shared his experience and technical knowledge in an intimate masterclass setting.

“Helpmann had me do a masterclass maybe four or five years ago and I exploded and I just couldn’t believe such a great resource for musicians exists in Adelaide. I couldn’t believe they had this. It’s good.”

Trumpeter Harry James Angus on stage. Photo credit: Martin Brown

Engaging with the next generation of music creators is an important part of Angus’ profession, with the seasoned performer stating that it is in these interactions that real musicians are created.

“Everything I’ve learned, whether in a structured environment or in an unstructured environment, comes from real musical relationships,” he says.

“So the teacher-student relationship is really important, but really once I start thinking about being an artist and thinking, ‘What do I really mean with music? It comes from conversations with other artists and watching other artists’ work.

“It’s like your technique and your technical ability and your craft is your hanger and you need a coat to hang it on. And I guess it’s the stories and the tradition, but also giving someone the confidence to do their own thing too.

It’s a goal that has grown in importance since the start of the pandemic and the catastrophic effect the restrictions have had on the live music scene. Reflecting on the events of the past year, Angus offers some hope for the future.

“I think there’s going to be a real shift towards music being in the community and being actively supported by the community – I guess, the way Helpmann Academy is already doing in Adelaide,” he says.

“Early career artists may not be established, but that’s where the ideas come from. There are very few artists my age or older who push the boundaries and provide the creative fire that will spread throughout the community and inspire everyone.

“They need to be supported because they are the ones who keep the conversation going.”

The Helpmann Academy will present more than $ 20,000 in prizes to outstanding jazz graduates from the University of Adelaide on the night.

A Jazz Night with Harry James Angus has been rescheduled since the publication of this article. It will now be at 7 p.m. on Friday September 24 at Elder Hall. Tickets: $ 30 + reservation fee. Book here.

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