The finalists announced for the 2021 Freedman Jazz scholarship

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The Music Trust has announced the finalists for the 2021 Freedman Jazz Fellowship. They are Flora Carbo (saxophone), Joseph Franklin (bass), Hilary Geddes (guitar) and Maria Moles (drums).

Hilary Geddes. Photo © ABC Jazz

Without COVID, the $ 21,000 prize would have been awarded at a Studio concert at the Sydney Opera House, originally scheduled for August 30. But the current lockdown has put an end to that and instead, the four finalists will work with mentors to hone their creative plans before meeting virtually with the judges, which this year includes trumpeter Nadje Noordhuis, saxophonist Loretta Palmeiro and pianist and producer Stu Hunter.

Flora Carbo is an emerging saxophonist from Victoria. Twice nominated for the Freedman Jazz Fellowship, her project includes creative mentoring to develop composition and performance practice and new performance work, as well as participation in Speak Percussion’s Bespoke program. Her goals are to work as an artist, composer, curator and artistic director. She will work with mentors Jim Denley, Eugene Ughetti and the Speak Percussion community to support this next step in her career.

Melbourne-based bassist Joseph Franklin is a member of the avant-garde Music Box Project ensemble and an ever-evolving collaborator. For his proposal, he would undertake three interdependent projects: an international collaboration with the Tunisian musician of Stambeli Salah Ouergli; composing, recording and touring an original solo double bass guitar album; and composition, recording and tour with his quartet. He will be supported by mentor Erkki Veltheim.

Originally from rural NSW, multidisciplinary guitarist Hilary Geddes oscillates between jazz, indie rock and commissioned art music. She plans to tour the Riverina, Goulburn and Canberra with her band, the Hilary Geddes Quartet. Spending five days at The Cad Factory at the Riverina Arts Center, the group rehearsed and recorded new works written under the grant that would be released as a new album ahead of performances in Sydney and Melbourne. His advisor is Andrea Keller.

Maria Moles is a Tasmanian-born, Melbourne-based drummer / percussionist whose style blends electronics and Kulintang music from the Philippines in a contemporary experimental setting. She plans to compose and record a new suite of solo drum music called Abundant flowering, inspired by the practices of contemporary drummers Tony Buck, Will Guthrie, Susie Ibarra, Simon Barker and Laurence Pike. These recordings would form a new album released on the Black Truffles label. Moles will be assisted by mentor Simon Barker.

Designed in 2002 by Laurence Freedman and Dr Richard Letts, the Freedman Jazz Fellowship is offered annually to Australian musicians under the age of 35. Leading jazz musicians from across Australia nominate 16 musicians they consider to be among the best in the country. Among these, four finalists are chosen by the judges.

“It was fantastic to hear submissions of such caliber, with a range of inventive music and thoughtful projects reflecting the current creative landscape. The judges and I are confident that the finalists showcase the breadth of musical voices emerging from our national jazz scene, ”said Judge Nadje Noordhuis, who has lived in New York for two decades.

Richard Letts said: “Fortunately, a revolutionary result this year is that three of the four finalists are women. It must be said that there was no positive action here. The selection was made on merit. The finalists are stylistically different to an unusual degree. It’s a problem for the judges when they decide, but a boon for Australian jazz. The differences encourage the vitality and invention and an even faster development of the Australian jazz scene. All of this is identified and awarded with the Freedman Jazz Fellowship. “


More information on the Freedman Jazz scholarship can be found here.

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