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12.11.14 THE HIT LIST: The Lord Wolseley Hotel in Ultimo (265 Bulwara Rd) is a great neighbourhood pub especially on a Saturday night when pianist Bridie King holds court from around 8.30pm. Each week Bridie introduces great guest artists and this coming Saturday it’s Kiwi vocal duo Jason & Judy Klever. It’s free to get in and there’s always a friendly music-loving crowd on hand. lordwolseleyhotel.com.au

This was in The City Hub this week. Always good to get some press! Our Wolsely gigs deserve a mention, we've had some bumper nights this year!
Great highlights of 2014 include gigs with Pat Powell, Stave Garry, The Klevers, Nellie Pollard-Wharton, and newby Shane Pacey from the Bondi Cigars. Every gig Sammila delights us with extraordinary grooves and astonixhing solos, always our shining light!

4.10.14 The Boogie Woogie Blowout with Mitch Woods and Ali Penney at Caloundra Music Festival and the Great Southern Blues Fest was successful with great crowds and feedback at the festivals. The fb photos really show the fun we had. Great Southern's Neil Mumme's idea of 3 pianos really worked.

2014 Lord Wolsely Hotel Saturday night gigs, Rozelle Markets, with vocalists Pat Powell, Steve Garry, Dave Wray (also tenor saxophone) and the Klevers Jason and Judy. Also with Samila Sithole, master conga player and percussionist, and Katie Glendenning on kit drums.

2013 Lord Wolsely Hotel Saturday night gigs, Rozelle Markets, Glebe Street Fair, Mildura Food, Wine and Jazz festival and Thredbo Blues Festival with vocalists Pat Powell, Steve Garry, Big Blind Ray, Liza Ohlback, Dave Wray (also tenor saxophone)and the Klevers Jason and Judy. Also with Samila Sithole, master conga player and percussionist, and Katie Glendenning on kit drums.

1.12.13 We are playing for Mal Eastic's fundraiser for getting to Memphis to compete in next years Blues Challenge there. It will be a cast of Sydney's blues who's who. We are on around 4pm. Good luck to Mal and congrats to Mal for winning the chance to compete.

5.11.13. Our performance at Mildura Arts' Jazz, Food and Wine Festival was a highlight of 2013. Staying close to home at the Wolsely residence has been wonderful all this year. Getting away to nearly the centre of Australia was a big contrast.  With Pat Powell deserving all the superlatives and recent success with The Melbourne Ska Orchestra and master South African percussionist Samila Sithole excelling as always, how could we not have a fabulous festival performance?

The audience were spell bound and seemed a little shy, so I made a wish for some kind of ice breaker and, on a wing and a prayer, half way through the first set I left Pat and Samila on stage, who were providing an unbelievable Afro-Carribean groove. When I got to the floor the idea of a conga line suddenly came to me and after a few joined in, most of the audience was into it! We took a break but the dancers complained that they were up now and ready for more! So in the second set we had another conga line and more dancing. Pat later told me it was the men who were getting their wives up to get into the conga line, amazing! They lost all their shyness, danced or clapped along during the swing numbers and the boogies of the second set and at the end of 3 hours, you could have heard a pin drop during the final encore, the very sensitive and beautiful Leon Russell piano solo 'Island in the Sun'.

The night finished on a sweet note, photos with happy punters were taken, CDs sold and signed, CDs even sold out and cash orders taken. Mission accomplished.

17.11.13  The rain bucketed down on Glebe Street Fair but it didn't deter
75,000 people, must have been the 'glass half full' people. Our seemed to please the people, even our stage manager said it was 'a rare treat'.
Indeed it is a rare treat for me to play with Pat Powell and Samila Sithole, and it with great pleasure that I can present music played by these musical giants.

 

28.12. 2013. There will be two debuts for our residency @ The Lord Wolsely Hotel. Jason & Judy on 5.12.13 and Lauren Dawes on 21.12.13.

Jason & Judy sing, live and love in harmony. We are lucky to have this perfect match to sing for us along with the swinging talent of Miss Katie Glendenning on drums. The occasion is a Xmas party on Thursday night 5th of December, 8pm to 10.30pm. We will be playing some golden oldies from the fifties by Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, the Everlies et al but also by Wynona Carr, whose gritty rock'n'roll blues was some of the toughest of that time.

Lauren Dawes is a 'Voice' contestant and Eva Cassidy specialist, who will be dusting off her Blues for us on the 21st of December, 8.30pm to 10.30pm.
She'll be delving into the rich musical seam of southern female blues stars like Denise La Salle, Irma Thomas and Mavis Staples.

Also there will be repeat performances due to public and the Publican's demand of the wonderful Liza Ohlback @ The Wolseley. Liza's warm hearted interpretation of blues and soul is stunning and it is with great pleasure that we invite her back to play with Samila and I on the 7th and 14th of December.

As well, we are playing at Rozelle Markets on 21.12.13, 10.30am till 2.00pm.
Sir Samila Sithole and I will play with and back up the raunchy blues saxophone and crooning voice of great character and comedian Dave Wray (Frank Bennett).

Our final gig of the year @ the Wolseley is with the ultimate Voice of Sydney, Melbourne Ska Orchestra, Australia, Jamaica, the U.K., Africa, The World!!! Sir Patou Powell!!! See Pat sing and groove on percussion like no other on the 28th with our other Boogie Knight Sir Samila Sithole.  (nb amusing mistake on Glebe Street Fair program, people think 'boogie' then think 'boogie nights'! that works perfectly for Pat and Samila, who are truly deserving gentlemen of distinction who more than fit the bill of knighthood!!!



2.6.12 After a very busy start to the year, I have so far only four more public gigs to play, two with my trio and Katie Glendenning at the Roseville Club, and at the National Press Club, Canberra; and two with the Foreday Riders at the Empire and at Notes. I seem to be playing a lot of decade parties though, including my own! Time to practice new material will be welcome.

7.5.12. The launch for Blues Ivories at Notes was a success with a packed house at Notes, good cd sales, and the music was everything I wanted it to be! Two more shows at Notes in April followed, the support for Rosie Ledet (indescribable groove machine woman and band!!) and the 70s Blues Bands gig where I featured with the Foreday Riders, who are ever swinging and solid.

Coming up we have a show with great guests at Annandale's Empire Hotel on 24.5.12. Shane Pacey (Bondi Cigars) with his emotionally charged singing and guitar playing will head the list. For a special introduction to some new directions I'll be taking in the future, two new players Andree (piano) and Geraldine Kelly (violin) are going to play a piece of rare Turkish piano and violin duet, and a cute boogie duet by New Orleans pianist Sammy Price.

Also, thanks to the support of the team at the Art Gallery of NSW, we are playing at the open day on 12.5.12. We will be in the Members Lounge, Mike Rix on bass and will be playing some laid back blues and latin. Over ten acts will be playing that day, and I'm glad to say we were chosen for the promo picture in the SMH. This will be our fifth time playing at the Gallery. We have played in the Art Bar so far, which is a really nice venue. It's a big open white space, with a garden attached. I can't put my finger on it, maybe because everyone is in a good mood from being amongst all that art, but the place generates a great atmosphere.

I hope either or both of these gigs sound like they will satisfy your soul and a need for some good piano and rhythm music!

23.1.12 The new album Blue Ivories is about to be pressed.  The live to two track recording sounds very alive, fresh and acoustic, thanks to engineer Phil Punch, also Chris and David at Megaphon. The photos  by North Sullivan from thephotostudio in Glebe and graphics by Toby  at Lilypad in Byron Bay have come up a treat.

Toby Hall on drums adds a huge injection of jazziness and pizazz. Pat Powell’s voice enables my recreations to come to life with its luscious chocolatiness. His singing clearly demonstrates his formidable vocal abiltiies. Thanks to Narelle Evans whose work is so commendable but also her gracious presence always soothes.  Katie Glendenning helps make events flow, all the while ready to jump on any percussion instrument required. Thanks also to Mike Rix on acoustic bass, whose calm diffidence  and no frills approach achieves the work without fuss.

I should also mention my personal trainers at Vision PT studio  in Stanmore, first my son Art King-Macklin and currently  Ben Menzies. Without their support and inspiration, my more energetic playing and my new size 10 shape, as seen in the album's studio shots, would not have become possible and I would not I would not be experiencing the confidence and happiness that I’m now feeling.

Check out the flyer for the Sydney launch on 2.3.12 and see you there! Or at the Melbourne launch at the Lomond Hotel in Brunswick East, the week before 24.2.12. Or at the National Press Club in Canberra on the 2.2.12 (Hopefully they’ll be hot off the press for that one!)

Cheers Bridie

18.8.11 I have a new piano trio in the making! Toby Hall, jazz and blues drummer par excellence  on drums, and the prolific, eclectic scholar and a gentleman on bass, Mike Rix. There are also to be  guests vocalists including Pat Powell, Karana Nepe and Narelle Evans. We have put in our first rehearsal  for an imminent new recording. This will take place on October 6th. Again, the recording  will be engineered by Phil Punch, using his fabulous historic analogue gear and microphones  which attracted such praise from John Shand (SMH  09 see homepage). Live to 2-track again! Check the gig guide for our first upcoming forays into the public arena!

17.2.11 ORIGINAL HIPPOS LINEUP REUNION!!!! including Bridie, an original Hippo 1985 - 1989  The original Hippos play a reunion gig at the Petersham BC on the 26th February!The lineup is Lez Karski (guitar and vocals),  John Power (bass and vocals), Ace Follington (drums) and Bridie King (piano and organ).  The original Hippos lineup was a force in Sydney Blues scene from 1985-1989, with 2 CDs recorded for Warner Bros, national touring, a dozen or so appearances on TV and a Top 20 hit single 'Dark Age' written by Lez Karski which reached no 13.

The Hippos original lineup was reformed last for the 2009 final Narooma Great Southern Roots and Rockabilly Festival. The photo below was taken in a wild moment at that festival. Lez Karski's originals band with Bridie on keys,  featured on the ABC last year 3 times on Live at the Basement.  John's been playing with Jo Jo Zep on occasion and various other gigs and Ace with Dave Hole, overseas and locally, and with other Oz blues legends. See Bridie's home page and news page below for her recent goings on. Ian Jones, our sax player sadly passed away in 07. But at Narooma he was there in spirit with out a doubt, and as then we will leave a space for him and his mic will be set up in case his spirit comes back again.

The gig starts at 8pm with Bridie King piano trio, the Hippos are on at 9pm. Doors open at 7.30. Be early for a good spot! $15 entry.


1.2.11 Thredbo (14 - 17.1.11) was a blast! Our three gigs went off in three totally different ways: the first was seriously together, the second was afterhours funky with lots of dancing at the Lounge Bar. Then, finally a chilled outdoors experience at the Uhlr restaurant where our sound was enhanced by playing to stone walls and the lucky punters had a view of Kosiusko as a backdrop. We played under a gorgeous big snow gum too and it was a beautiful day! I love Thredbo in the summer!!!

HIPPOS reunion coming up! Lez, John and Ace (vale Ian) have been flown into town for a 50th birthday gig. Austin Harrison of 2MBS Stormy Monday fame is also putting the band on at the Petersham Bowling Club, 77 Brighton St., Petersham. It's on 26.2.11 8 - 11pm. Doors open 7.30, bistro open at 6. My piano trio with Mike Rix on bass and Rosscoe Clark will do a support set. Then it's rock out time with HIPPOS! I hope all the old fans find out, and can come and relive the good old days.

Bridie King with the Boogie Kings and Harmony Queens will play on the Sydney Blues Society Harbour Cruise 10.4.11, 12 - 4pm. See their website www.sydneybluessociety.org for details and bookings.


12.11.10 This year’s new lineup and repertoire has brought exciting developments, great music and lots of fun gigs.  There’s more Hammond, the zydeco songs sound stronger and really rock with the fuller sound, which is much easier to amplify than accordion, this is an understatement given the power of a mighty Leslie speaker! We are bringing in more Texan blues/rocknroll, with more kicka*** piano, and Matt’s vocals and guitar are so at home in this genre, as are Mike and Rosscoe’s rhythm work. Ali and Katie certainly are spicing up the right side of stage with their keys and percussion.  Audiences are loving this stuff.

We have just returned from an awesome time in Western Australia. We played the exclusive Murchison River Music event in a paradise so beautiful, it’s hard to describe. We played on the lush lawn in front of the Murchison Station historic  homestead on their property of 360.000 acres. The bush was behind us and the stars above us, while the audience were easy to please and danced the night away. We made many friends that night and during our stay. Kalbarri township where we stayed, was stunning, surrounded by superb untouched scenery that was there in front of you whether you were eating Jetty Fish Shack yummies, taking coffee next door or having a few at the pub. We were treated to an off-road quad-bike experience which converted an old greenie like me to raise a little sand in the bush fanging it along a track and going for an unforgettable dip in the Murchison River. Thanks to Ellen and Martin Nightingale, Callum and Belinda from Murchison and everyone involved, we had the most memorable time ever.

On the 19th November the band will play a special farewell gig to industry luminary Phill Tripp. A great fan of Southern roots music and being a Southerner himself, Phil saw fit to ask us to play for him at his farewell roast at the Vanguard late November. I trust our homage to him and his native culture will do him proud.

We will also play at the Baldfaced Stag Hotel Leicchardt at 2pm on Sunday 21.11.10 for fundraiser for Timor, a great cause to be supporting. Then on the 19th December we are delighted to be playing at the Petersham Bowling Club again, it’s one of the funkiest destinations in the Inner West.

Sister Sally King was a highlight at the Notes fundraiser for The Midnight Ramblers trip to Memphis in October. We are now planning a gig together to take place on 18th March 2011, venue to be announced.


28.10.10
2010  Lineup and repertoire have  proven to be successful musically and in keeping audiences entertained. While the accordion presented sound production problems, solutions opened the door for the Hammond to take a more prominent role. The Zydeco songs have a new sound to them, and good responses by listeners have been noted. 
The band will play a special farewell gig to industry luminary Phill Tripp. A great fan of Southern roots music and being a Southerner himself, Phil saw fit to ask us to play for him at his roast at the Vanguard late November. I trust our homage to him and his native culture will do him proud.

Sister Sally King was a highlight at the fundraiser for The Midnight Ramblers trip to Memphis. We are now planning a gig together to take place on 18th March 2011, venue to be announced.


05.03.10 Bridie has a new hot contemporary Zydeco, Boogie and Blues band (see Bridie’s Band for line-up). The zydeco repertoire will include songs by Louisiana new order giants: Chris Ardoin and Terrence Simien. The style includes old school zydeco, blues, country and reggae. Check the gig guide after May for the band’s next shows! Prepare to come over to Western Australia in November where Bridie will be playing with Lez Karski and most of the Sydney band in Kalbarri at the Murchison River Music festival.

1.7.09 REUNIONS and NEW GIGS

I will be playing with my old Hippos band mates. First with Lez Karski at The Basement on August 23rd. Lez will playing his awesome originals. What a great talent that guy is! What a voice and a good guitarist too.

Second, The Hippos will reform all together except for Jonesie of course (R.I.P.) at Narooma Blues Festival. That will good too. That’s on the Sunday.  The Harmony Queens, Boogie Kings and I play on the Friday night.

New gigs coming in July and September will be firsts for the Harmony Queens big harmony- gospel- soul vibe. I can’t wait to play those gigs, going on the two festivals we just played it (Manly Food  and Wine and Gosford City Blues). The sounds and feel coming from this outfit make for really good music and good times! It was awesome presenting the new material. Congrats to the HQs Karana, Lorna and Narelle for taking this music and making it really rock!!!. Well done also to Jacob and Vito.

9.2.09  RADIO, 5 STARS, GIGS AND HARMONY QUEENS

‘Piano Players Blues’, the first track of ‘Way Back Home’ is now being played nationally on all ABC music stations. It’s being given “rotation airplay”. In December it was also great when the Morning Show on ABC 702 in Sydney chose the whole album to be CD of the week as well as being featured on Radio National’s The Planet. In February’s Limelight (the ABC ‘s radio guide magazine), Jaslyn Hall gave ‘Way Back Home’  a very favourable review including a 5 star rating.Thank you ABC!

Two festival gigs are also in the pipeline: Gosford Blues Festival and Darling Harbour
Jazz and Blues Fest, both on the long weekend in June. March 1st’s gig with Andy Baylor will soon be upon us. I will be proud to present our new lead singer in her first bona fide gig that day.

Our new Harmony Queen is Lorna Tonga. This 24 year old has immense vocal skills that have been developed over the 10 years she has been performing since her father Kali Kaufusi discovered her talent. Singing solo and with traditional Tongan choirs for royal command performances have been par for the course for Lorna. She is considering a future career in opera, following a very promising audition for Opera Australia in November last year.  Being so young she has plenty of time to train and make such decisions.  So for the time being we are very lucky that Lorna will also be singing soul and blues with us, and she is sounding awesome. At the moment Lorna is rehearsing like a trooper with enthusiasm and hard work. Karana, Narelle and I greatly look forward to her singing with us (including Vito and Jacob of course) on March the 1st at the Baldfaced Stag gig.

Former lead singer Stephie Marchant sang her last gig at the record launch at The Basement in November. Stephie provided lead vocals from 2002 – 2003 and then 2005- 2008. She belted out the blues at most of the blues and jazz festivals we played and during the years of Bridge Hotel residency gigs. She won many fans that admired her for her huge voice and sultry stage presence. In her time singing out front for the Boogie Kings, she proved herself to be an outstanding musician, who worked hard in rehearsal and gave her all in performance. Good luck to Stephie in her new musical endeavours

20.12.08 TEACHING NEWS

This year’s Yuletide Concert at the Circle Café in Balmain was one of the most enjoyed of my students’ concerts ever. The year 6s and 7s were so into it! They, especially Uisce, were so enthiuisatic with their support and their clapping  along. This is a great feature of audience participation and performers feel very lucky when it happens. And it happened at both students’ concert this year! So it’s been a great year of performances and student audience participation in 2008.

I’m so proud of them all, each with their unique characteristics.
Some gave us the pleasure of a quiet little gem of a performance, notably Paloma and Brandon. Some surprised us with their first-time singing, especially Eddy and Lily. There were many highly practised seemless performances and then there were some lucky flukes, too.

Parent participation was fantastic. Ruby’s mum Anne and sister Tallulah formed a beautiful harmony trio for ‘Silent Night’ and Tom and his dad Peter on trumpet performed ‘Xmas Time in New Orleans’ with panache. The song was also enhanced by the very professional vocal performance by Sebastien.  He also sang ‘Run Run Rudolf’ by Chuck Berry, plus Mina with her great boogie woogie piano.

The biographies of the students went over really well (I’m glad I also asked for the funniest stories of their years!).

Teaching for 2009 starts at home on Monday February 2nd and at the Conservatorium on Monday 10th. Wishing my students all the best for their music learning and sharing this year.


9.11.08 CD LAUNCH @ THE BASEMENT

O what a night – it really, really, really, was …such a night, well afternoon. 250 + cheering and dancing music lovers went off. I’ve been so happy with how the CD’s progressed in every way, that to have such a crowning glory was so satisfying and truly joyous. Thanks to everyone who put their heart and soul into making this event totally memorable.

Many compliments have come my way since then – by phone, email and directly. It’s been an awesome amount of positive feedback. Individually, the outstanding performer of the day by popular vote was Sally King – my sister. Her commitment to communicating to the audience won her a lot of love, as well as her powerhouse singing. Next was Karana Nepe whose communicative singing and dancing were also loved. Steph’s huge voice was popular too. I agree with all this but I pick Jacob Cook on drums, amazing drum phrases kept coming out of his kit! …. As a whole, the material, the piano and harmony singing were given an overwhelming vote of approval. All the rehearsals paid off, everyone played and sang their best ever (in my book) and the atmosphere was so charged and electric it was really extraordinary from the word ‘go’.

CDs are selling very fast and the feedback there too has been fantastic. It’s so thrilling for me, it’s hard to describe. I am so grateful to everybody for their support. CD reviews will be in Limelight, the ABC magazine, in February, at some stage in the Herald and eventually in Rhythms and the Drum.

CDs are available at Birdland in the city at Warriewood in the Northen Beaches. I’ll put up a complete list of shops nationwide as soon as possible. Listen out for it on the ABC too, eg on the Planet and hopefully more. Amrap will be posting out CDs to 200 radio stations so I hope you hear it on the airwaves soon.

 



11.8.08 THANKYOU WYCLIFF GORDON

Mr Wycliffe (trombone master) Gordon did us the huge honour of playing with my piano trio last night. The master trombonist to Wynton Marsalis, is in town and recently starred in the Manly Jazz Festival and Melbourne International Brass Festival. Mr. Gordon was attending a party where we were booked to play. The luminary seemed quite attentive as we played our first set and to my relief I didn’t feel too daunted in his presence.

During our break while watching the cricket with Sg. Bella Figura and the vinyl-producing Mr Cook, the large handsome Southerner strolled passed on his way to the kitchen. Smilingly, he complimented our music and said if it was alright he would sit in and that he had his horn in the car. It was feather- knocking-over time.

We played a few numbers ( inc. Bill Doggett’s Hony Tonk and Willie Mitchell’s The Crawl ) then began Big Chief. In a moment I’ll never forget, in came the head on trombone like it sounds in New Orleans. How joyous it was to hear those sounds coming so loud and clear - and so near!

Thank you Mr Gordon for the subsequent sublime improvisations, empathetic communications and perfect manners.  In true masterly style, a la J.S.Bach or Ray Beadle, his solos began modestly in keeping with our playing and then naturally, due to the oncoming force of his improvisational powers, went into stratospheric regions where only true virtuosi reside. Exquisite high notes, staccato hits, deep rasberries (the term for this?), total ease in semi- and demi- passages, simplicity of melodic beauty…. are some attempts to describe his abilities. All of this prowess was achieved within Southern blues and traditional jazz playing without reverting to modern jazz clichés, mannerisms or  
devices.   

I feel sure I speak for Jacob Cook (drums) and Vito Portolesi (bass) when I say that this was a peak experience in our musical lives and it was a great pleasure and honour to meet and to accompany a true jazz giant, Mr. Wycliffe Gordon.

 

 

20.9.08 TEACHING NEWS

 

My students’ concert in pub gig style at the Baldfaced Stag Hotel, Leichhadt was deemed a success by the appreciative parents who spoke to me. Being in the eye of the storm it’s hard for me to judge. However, from my position as helper on stage the students it was clear that most of the students enjoyed the opportunity to express themselves through their playing and performing. Well done and thank you to all my young players, your playing sounded wonderful to me. And everybody dressed up for the occasion, thanks for that, too.

One thing that stood out overall was that it was very much a clap-along concert. After the second number I was wondering how it was going down with the audience, and then the clap-along started. I was blown away then and all throughout the concert. What a great audience, including 45 extra people. That’s such good support for my students. Thanks for coming everyone!

Thank you also to Vito Portolesi (bass) and Jacob Cook (drums), who not only backed up the young musicians in a most caring manner but also provided musical and stagecraft examples to the students on the day and in rehearsal. Thank yous go to Brian Wakefield whose perfectionism in audio engineering once again aided class to the whole proceedings; and to the mothers and fathers who gave me support and help on the day, as well. 

Some students put extra efforts for the concert and were also asked to honour a professional agreement. I felt this would help motivate them to make the extra effort and also make a gesture of appreciation on my part and on behalf of the students whose work to which they contributed. These were: vocalists Sebastien Bot and Ruby Adams; students who not only played piano but also sang for many of the numbers and gave the concert  flourishes of excitement and stylishness, our star-quality guests: guitarist Luciano Beccher from Leicchardt High and Sebastien’s band partner, and Vito’s daughter bassist and violist Kate Stevenson, were both sensational. I also asked a number of students to form a small choir of backup singers and learn Everyday People. These were:Lotte Beckett, Olivia Capelin, Scarlett Armstrong, Geordie McCormack, Audrey and Stella Bennett who worked really well with Sebastien and Ruby and delivered their parts with excellence and grooviness. Thankyous to all these students and guests.

I’m now looking forward to our musical endeavours and the preparations for the Yuletide Party-Concert in Term IV on the 20th December at the Circle Café, Balmain.

 

 

1.9.08 RECORDING NEWS

 

My new CD Way Back Home has been recorded and mastered!

All on analogue and valve equipment with vintages microphones as well. The mastered recording sounds great  - thanks to Phil Punch at Electric Avenue recording studio and Don Bartley at Benchmark mastering. The photos were shot by Tony Peri at The Abbey, Annandale, which has special significance for me. I love its place in the Inner West’s history and in Sydney’s architectural heritage, but it also holds childhood memories of cracker nights and jazz parties for me. Dr Geoff Davis of The Abbey’s and his uncle Professor Clive Davis were very good friends of my father’s. Geoff and I believe Dad’s always there with us, especially when I’m playing piano there. Tony  Peri used vintage cameras for the shoot and we hope to use his special bromoil technique photos in the booklet art as well. As on My Blues Toby Andrews’ Lilypad Graphics will be in charge of the artwork. The CD launch will be at the Basement on November 9, from 3 – 7pm. Cost is $25 entry and $25 a CD. Pre-selling tickets starts now. The Harmony Queens (Stephie Marchant, Karana Nepe and Narelle Evans) with Vito Portolesi (bass) and Jacob Cook (drums) and myself on a Steinway grand piano will prove that the music we all make together is something special! We’ll also have guests including Sally King (vox), Michelle Vander Meer (vox), Alison Penny (Hammond), Jack Evans (gtr), Drew Wimhurst (Groove Kings)( Harp) and Dave Shaw (gtr). A rocking good evening should be had by all, I’m so looking forward to it! So get your tickets and come and a have wonderful evening with us.

 

 

26.5.08 RECORDING DATE AND MORE'S CAFE GLEBE GIGS

 

A recording date for the new album ‘My Soul’ has been set for 20 July 2008. I’m glad to say that again I will collaborate with my colleagues from the first album ‘My Blues’. The album will be put out on Trailblazer. It will be distributed by Trailblazer’s Richard Fields. We will record at Phil Punch’s Electric Avenue live to 2 track, as before, with Phil as engineer. Toby Andrews will do the graphics and design. Newcomer to the team, Tony Peri will be photographer. Tony has also proven to be a musical aid and supporter. Not only plugging my work on his stints at 2MBS FM ‘Stormy Monday’ show, Tony also made me a collection of tunes and songs he thought I might like. Thanks to Tony, ‘Piano Players Blues’ by Dorothy Donegan and ‘Groovy Chick Blues’ by Camille Howard have been two important repertoire inclusions for many years. The Harmony Queens and I will be performing at More’s Café Glebe Pt. Rd., Glebe on the 12 and 19 June, 7.30 - 9.00 pm. More’s Cafe serves great Lebanese food. It also has a piano there and a really good atmosphere to play in.

15.5.08 BLUES IMPROVISATION SPEECH TO CON HIGH SCHOOL

I was asked to speak at the Conservatorium High School by the principal Robert Curry about pursuing a non-Classical music career. As I was an old girl of the school and had experienced this myself, and was old mates with Robert ( we were in Year 11 and 12 together 1969/70) it seemed like a good idea. After a lunch meeting with Robert and some nights of midnight speech writing, the day of speech making finally came around. After I told my story of how I crossed over form Classical to Blues and stressed the importance of improvisation, I invited some kids up to improvise. This brought the house down. I played a bit of Nat Dee Special boogie with the enthusiastic hand clap accompaniment, there were loud cheers and applause for the improvisors and me and I was very glad it went so well. Thanks to Robert and the kids of the Con High.

Update 10.5.08 MAYHEM PARTY FANTASTIC

Many compliments have been received for the The Mayhem Supper Club of 3.5.08 at Rozelle Hospital. It was agreed by all who put in their two bob’s worth, that it was heaps of fun and when will the next one be. One punter on booking her ticket declared that she’d been too serious too long and too often. It seemed that everyone there had the same beef and fun was surely had in spades. Next time (end of November) we want to enhance the chillout room with a screen showing the action in the dance room (and more lounges) for punters who would like that as a background to their chatting and socializing. The big room will be just for dancing … we’ll keep tweeking it. Thanks so much for giving us good reason to put it on.

18.4.08 – FIRST SUPPER CLUB A HIT, LIBRARY GIG BEAUTIFUL AND NEW NAME FOR THE SINGERS

A new name for the singers - The Harmony Queens.

Stephy Marchant, Narelle Evans and Karana Nepe long ago proved that their vocal gifts are of   royal quality so let's give them their due. They and the Boogie Kings excelled themselves at our two recent gigs at the Circle Café (8.3.08) and the Glebe Library (5.4.08).

  Both gigs were very successful. Bridie's Supper Supper Club went off like a cracker! That house was rocking. People danced on the bench-thing and squished between tables, they barely let us stop, Stephy's voice had given up and my arms had nearly dropped off   - but it was so worth it. Audience participation was awesome from the first song.

The Glebe Library gig was a repeat of last year's Jazz at the Library program except we were the one and only band and this time we doubled the numbers of the audience. 400 people gathered under the trees and in the sun, it was a perfect autumn day with a beautiful light breeze and gentle sunshine.

Also newsworthy is a recent feature article in April's Fine Music, the 2MBS magazine and listening guide. Chris Rhule chronicled my musical life and presented my philosophy about my playing and teaching in a way that many have commented on as being true to life, very readable and most supportive. Tony Peri contributed two emotive photos taken at the 2MBS Christmas Party last year, which reflected the text perfectly. Both these individuals not only excel as radio presenters but also respectively in writing and photography. I really appreciate this article and the pictures and feel honoured to be included in the magazine and in this manner.

10.3.08.

Teaching news

Final student performance for Daniel Neurath at Sydney Opera House.

Daniel played his version of Henry Butler's 'Blue Moments' at the Supper Club in preparation for the Opera House Encore performance 2 nights later. The audience was blown away as usual. I accepted many accolades on his behalf later that night. The Encore performance was outstanding! Daniel appeared to be the most relaxed of the Year 12 performers and most at ease with his instrument. The deep bow, the sauntering on and off with a smile and a wave added charisma to a performance of expressive musicianship, sonorous playing and absolute clarity. As Robert his dad said 'He couldn't have played it better'. Congratulations on a fitting completion of his school age piano studies. NB See 2007 Teaching news updates for more info on Daniel Neurath,

11.4.08

Students'concert at the Circle Cafe

Nearly 30 of my students played their first term pieces at this little concert.

It was mostly a works in progress affair. Nevertheless it was really valuable as

A preparation for the next concert which will be more involved. It was also important for all the new kids to get up and start performing. Congratulations to everyone who made it a great night that was enjoyed by everyone, especially the new parents.

Update 18.01.08

Happy New Year to everyone! Irish blessings to all for 2008.

This year's gigs will kick off on March the 8 th . This will be the inaugural Bridie's   Supper Club . It will be held at the Circle Café at 344 Darling Street in Balmain (see 14.12.07). For the entry price of $35 patrons will be treated to 2 sets of music and refreshments.

The musical format will include Piano trio, BK on piano, two Boogie Kings:Vito Portolesi on bass and Jacob Cook on Drums. Stephanie Marchant will provide lead vocals and she will be backed by two new Harmonaires. This promises some beautiful sounds I assure you.

Refreshments will include Blacket's (http://www.blackets.com.au/)fine boutique wines (Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, beer, soft drinks and antipasto platters.

So come and soak up the New Orleanean -type atmosphere we are going to create through music, food and the groovy venue of the Circle Café in Balmain, Sydney.

Update 14.12.07

Teaching News

The year ended very well with our Students' Xmas Concert. It was held at the Circle Café in Balmain. Our hosts Martin and The Uniting Church whose building it is, supplied us with a good little baby grand, lots of seating for our 90 or so audience members, our BYO party fare, and lovely Xmas deckers, when placed either side of the piano under the stage lights looked beautiful. Thank you to Jeff for the sound and lights. A big thankyou goes to the students for such great performances, almost every piece was perfectly played. Several students told me they liked their little presents, especially the koalas.The parents were enthusiastic about the concert musically and also they liked the students' profiles. I felt it was my best ever Xmas concert. I also graduated at Sydney Uni's Great Hall that morning, officially attaining my Master's Degree in Music and Music Education. What a wonderful day. Looking forward to more great stuff next year.

Update 9.12.07

The 2MBS-FM Stormy Monday Xmas Party was a great gig. The Baldfaced Stag again provided us with a good big stage on which to present the show. Thank you Austin, Chris and Tony for putting us on and giving us the headline spot. I was   really happy with the performance and enjoyed playing the tunes and songs.   In general a very happy gig for one and all. Thanks go to Clayt and Light for filmimg it, too, despite difficulties, some songs came out really well, Brickyard Blues, Hello Sunshine and Merry Xmas Baby especially. Thanks to the Boogie Kings and the Harmonaires:

Stephie Marchant Lead Vocals

Maryanne Griffin Bvs

Karana Nepe Bvs

Steve Husband Bvs

Vito Portolesi Bass

Jacob Cook Drums

Adam Pringle Guitar

David Stabback Hammond organ

David Learmonth Rhythm guitar and percussion.

Update 29.10.07

The official launch (literally) of the Bridie King, the Boogie Kings and the Harmonaires' new show on the Sydney Blues Society Harbour Cruise went off beautifully. I feel so good to my soul about how it all went. It is wonderful to have worked so hard for months rehearsing with everyone in order to feel this good. We played three sets, two full-tilt blues and boogie pub sets with Stephie and the Kings and then the hour long festival set with the Harmonaires. The marrying of the Maori harmonies and Steph's leads in those first strong songs of the third set drew the audience in closer and sent a charge of excitement through the room. The Zydeco accordion numbers added a new flavour and power to sound, Funky Bars (Allen Toussaint) deepened the groove and then the first Leon Russell number Say You Will began the final climb towards the climax that I had been hoping for for so long. Say You Will is a perfection of musical and poetic beauty and the audience stayed closely by us, hardly moving except for a few dancers and I heard no-one speak. The rising tide of feeling and commitment to the music from both performers and listeners kept us locked together in anticipation. And then it came in in waves of more and more musical, spiritual and poetic beauty and power, in the form of Russell's Island in the Sun. The five parts of this magnificent work lead us all towards a conclusion of human connection through music and allowed us to complete the rituals of a day marked by lovely sunshine, our glorious Sydney Harbour, food, wine and music-lovers. Bravo to all!!!!

I'd like to thank the Sydney Blues Society, especially Di and Dave and some supporters who not only brought themselves but also lots of people, Rose Peel, Joan Troy, Roo and Barb and Wagga Blues Club.Also staunch are Dr. Geoff Davis and my cousin Alice, Elizabeth Barry and friends, Jackie Lawes, Clarrie and girlfriend, auntie Katie Dunbar and Di Faith.

Thanks go to newlyweds Patrick and Dawn, who hired us to play for their wedding reception the day before the launch, giving us two gigs in the one weekend. Not only that, but Say You Will formed part of the wedding vows, was the music of choice for the bridal waltz and those three words were inscribed inside the wedding rings. The reception was made beautiful by the harbourside venue, the creativity present in the guests, who provided abundant musicality to the wedding ceremony, and which was almost palpable in the atmosphere; the attire of the guests and everyone's demeanour; and the inspiration afforded to us by the couple. I know you will inhabit Island in the Sun forever! Congratulations, Dawn and Patrick.

  Our next performance will be on the

9 th December

Baldfaced Stag Hotel

Parramatta Rd., Leicchardt

4.00pm - 10.00pm (time tba)

Teaching News

Star Student makes Top 40 in the State's musical performances! Daniel Neurath has made me so proud. Dan (aka Dazza) put in countless hours of playing, working out solos by ear, improvising, being inspired, motivated and whatever else it took to accomplish this extremely high achievement. It was a privilege to help Dan along his path to be one of the best players of his age, indeed of any age. Dan's parents also were explorary in their support of their child's music learning. His performance in the exam was benefited by the monthly rehearsals and diligence of his accompanying musicians Christian Young on bass and Zac Milner-Cretney on drums. This performance was near 100% and Dan recounted that he mostly played with his eyes closed, and did not drop a note in the virtuoso solo Blue Moments (Henry Butler) and spared me a thought when he finished it, knowing that I would have been pleased. Dan's recounting of this moment of remembering of his teacher, in my mind somehow acknowledged my input and not only reflected his good character but also reflected the teaching satisfaction I have experienced with this student.

Having achieved such a high result meant that Dan was nominated for the Encore performance at Sydney Opera House in March 2008. This nomination required one further effort from me as his teacher. A DVD of his performance pieces was now required to be submitted to a committee who decides which 15 students of the top 40 will play at the Encore concert. So it seemed to me that to record Dan while playing live to air on the 2MBS radio show Stormy Monday was the solution for a few reasons. Dan is an accomplished 'live' player, able to really perform and communicate to an audience, having done so in many student concerts and twice in sit-ins with the Boogie Kings; 2MBS has a beautiful concert Steinweg grand, and a good studio with enough room to bring in a small audience and to achieve filming it. The filming was by Simon Clayton, whose camera work reflected sensitive creativity to match the music and is characterised by close-ups and shots from interesting angles that do justice to the performance.Dan, Christian and Zac put on a great performance, which was awesome live and looked excellent on film.

Good luck to Daniel for getting onto the Opera House stage. I hope he does for all the obvious reasons, but also if he is chosen, he may be the first Blues improviser to be chosen in this major event in school music education. Blues and improvisation are undervalued in most music education and Dan's achievement may help other music educators to realize its value.

Update 23.9.07

Teaching News

My students' concert in the form of a Blues Gig at the Baldfaced Stag, went really well, according to great feedback from parents. Thankyou.. We started with a Boogie Kings set, which was a delight for me since it was the first chance for me to present myself as a musician to my students and their parents. It was probably a good idea too, in terms of modeling beahaviour. This set also included my star student, Daniel Neurath. Daniel must have played in at least a dozen students' concerts over the seven years he learnt with me. This was his final concert, so he sat in with the Boogie Kings and played about 6 blues and boogies with us.

The second set presented all sorts of blues, calypso, reggae, soul latin, and boogie tunes. The students played in ones, twos, threes and a few large configurations. The room was packed with enthusiastic parents and kids ready give their go their best shot. The atmosphere was warm and   the music was lovely. The were lots of really good performances, to name a few: Caitie Denahy and Fuzzy Lefurniss : Money ; Mina Dudley-Smith Albert Ammons Boogie ; Aurora Sice and Rebecca Lacey Perfect Day ; Ruby Adams* Hallelujah ; Issy Roomey * Ruler of my Heart and all the littlies in Roll Muddy River. (* including vocals as well as piano). Well done students!

The last set was actually a rehearsal for the big band songs, which went pretty well.I really enjoyed putting on the concert, all the concentration in lessons and the extra efforts put in by the students. It actually was quite empty without students concerts in 2006 when I was too busy for concerts (that was a first!) when I was completing my Masters. I look forward to more students'concerts next year.

Update 8.8.07

Rehearsals for the debut of the new festival line-up(see Gig page) are increasingly satisfying, thanks to the great efforts of all involved. Welcome to Steve Husband (lead /backup vocals), who joined us last week. Welcome also to Maryanne Griffin, sister of Steve, who started rehearsing in July. Karana Nepe and Christine Verrichio make up the quartet of backup singers since May. Welcome back to Stephie Marchant. These five voices sound magnificent. Vito Portolessi (bass) and my cousin David Learmonth (guitar) are proving to be staunch and most helpful. Jacob Cook will coming in on drums soon. Roll on September, when we start incorporating the saxophones, whose lineup may also include Steve as a sax player.

Thankyou to the inimitable Patti Qua, whose Italian villa otherwise known as the Hot Club of Ashfield, was the venue for our first vocals +  rhythm section rehearsal 3 weeks ago. Patti even blessed us with a delicate yet funky Boogie! I was honoured to be her duet partner in this impromptu musical offering which concluded the day’s endeavours. For most of the time Patti sculpted a figurine in clay, as she is commonly happily preoccupied sculpting something, while she bestowed a tender nurturing eye on David’s daughter my cousin Kara. Ah, precious Patti Qua. We had some inspirational moments that day, a sign which augers well for the big gig on 12.10.07. Don’t miss out, tickets are selling well. Email or call me to order/obtain tickets. (See gigs page)

Teaching News

My Master’s results finally came. An uncharacteristic bout of modesty suddenly prevents me from announcing them -  perhaps I’m sick of bragging, or perhaps the awarding of grades is just a Sydney University thing, so that at the end of the day a Master’s degree is just that. Anyway, I was well pleased and really appreciated the comment s made by Lucy Green. Ms Green, a highly esteemed author and leader in this field, was the overseas marker of my thesis and conclude that the thesis was a clear contribution to both practice and research in this field. It is now my final task to hand in a corrected and bound copy of the thesis to the university and prepare to Graduate and Celebrate!

The Conservatorium Blues course continues this term, with four of the original students still standing as we approach the end of the year. Welcome to the newcomers. I’m also proud to say that the teaching of this course was unanimously agreed to be “assisting of progress and development, stimulating and exciting, fulfilled expectations, maximized learning, balanced individual and group needs etc” when students gave their evaluations. Thank you so much for this vote of confidence, I really appreciate it. I’m looking forward to the end of term session with bass and drums, as well as the end of year concert.

Home teaching cruises along, we ware also preparing for a students’ gig-type concert with rhythm section (at the Bald-faced Stag Hotel Leichhardt, Sydney end of term III) as well as a classical and Christmas end of year concert. Dates for both are yet to be announced. Good luck to my students who are about to face their HSC moments of truth, Dan, Emily and Ella, come September. So many of the students are making good music right now. Good on you all. 

Thanks go to the piano technicians from Ron Overs (02-97362332) who have provided great services recently. Thank you Curtis for tuning the Richard Lipp and the Helpinstill pianos, and for identifying the need and organizing the big job that was undertaken, by Leo, on the action of the Lipp.  Thank you to Leo for that work. I appreciate how well the Lipp is sounding and playing since you’ve both been looking after my lovely old piano.

Till next update,

Bridie

After reeling for some time after completing my Master’s degree (4 years of study including a research project and a 35,000 word thesis) I’ve finally put together the news of late and some reminiscences of not so recent times….

2007

The year kicked off with some nice little gigs that gave me small doses of what most musicians know to be their pride and joy, playing to appreciative audiences. Included in them are two at the end of 06 as well. There were two BBQs where I played Zydeco on my newly-acquired piano accordion and a backyard birthday party with me on piano (solo) at Joan’s. The first at my student Steve Moir’s in Balmain and the second was on Australia Day at Elizabeth’s in Hurlstone Park.

Another little gig was on May 18th ‘A night for Carol’. Singer and friend of the late Carol Ellicott, Diana Faith, and I (a cousins’ cousin of Carol) decided to have a memorial night for her, a night of baudy blues which she would have loved. It was at the Bald-faced Stag Hotel in Leicchardt. My cousin (Carol’s blood cousin) David ‘Fred’ Learmonth sang, then David and I played amongst other things some Lyle Lovett songs with me on accordion. Then we played with Steve Ley on drums and Trevor on bass, a short set of my favourite Boogie Kings’ grooves. Then Diana Faith and Katie Dunbar sang songs from Bessie Smith’s and Dinah Washington’s, amongst others’, repertoire. Thankyou to Diana for putting that gig together and singing beautifully, thanks also to Kate who at 83 is a phenomenon of good health, looks, spirit and lifelong commitment to traditional jazz and blues roots music. This commitment was rewarded with an Order of Australia, so it was an incredible honour to play with her for that reason but also because I’ve known her all my life as my Auntie (by marriage)and it was lovely to look across at her singing. I enjoyed feeling aware of our family connection and knowing someone for so long, in combination with being amazed at her venerable state. It was a night of family connections and it was further graced by Carol’s son Tristram and her cousin and my cousin Wendy.

In March a more public event, (in fact it was totally public since it was sponsored by the Sydney City Council), saw us in Boogie King mode play at the Glebe Library ‘10th year at the new building’ celebration. It was a really hot day, so I insisted we played under the trees. That was heaven with a breeze gently blowing and we played sweetly, my opinion anyway. We had about 200 in the audience, including lots of my students and their parents. It was fun to be playing straight at the Wigram Rd. bus-stop and see the surprised and mostly increasingly happy faces of the bus-riders as they alighted, heard the music and saw the band. Members of the public also were there and everyone seemed to be having a lovely time day listening to beautiful music as they picnicked. It was all written up in the local paper and they reported that the children were dancing, and they were. Those kids were my students Livvy Capelin, Lotte Beckett and Phoebe Sayle and their little sisters. All my students who came that day had been asked to play a tune between the band sets. They were so keen, I have never seen students so enthused to play quite like that before and I’ve seen a lot of students prior to playing their concerts. We are going to repeat that performance with a new band and more students later in the year.

Talking of later in the year… At the moment a new band is forming. Our first gig will be on the harbour cruise organized by the Sydney Blues Society in October, date to be confirmed . Watch this space and my My Space for details and I will be pre-selling tickets come September.

Teaching News

The Master’s was one of the best things I’ve ever done (I’m awaiting results at the moment). I was very pleased to be able to research my students’ learning and my teaching of improvisation. It was mammoth effort, especially the thesis, but by my second year I was asked to contribute some of my ideas in a teaching capacity there. Susan James at the Conservatorium asked me to give workshops and a lecture to piano teachers at Teachers’ Festivals in 2003 and 2004. Spreading the word about improvisation is vital, I believe. It takes me out my comfort zone, though. I’m also teaching a class in Blues improvisation this year, for the third time. The students are producing some great leaps in learning and their grooves are coming along.

My teaching at home has never been stronger as improvisation is more and more what we do. In some cases it’s learning tunes by ear and improvisation 100%, and in many it’s learning to read for about 10 – 20% with the rest ear and improvisation. With some people classical studies follow improvising and playing by ear. Some learn classical favourites by ear and some come to me for classical and do 50% ear and improvisation at my suggestion. That’s roughly how it pans out, but I try with everyone to prioritise attention to detail no matter whether the music is improvised or not or Blues or Classical. This, I am pleased to say, has resulted in as much clarity in students’ playing as any teacher could wish for.

 

One student deserves special mention. This year Daniel ‘Dazza’ Neurath is completeing his high school studies and will perform in piano trio format for his HSC in September. Rehearsals have started in earnest, and we now have an excellent rhythm section in bassist Christian Young (professional) and drummer Zack Milner-Cretney (FSHS). Daniel has been producing outstanding form for at a least a year now. Always an excellent student (since he was in Year 6), I’m proud to say Dan has now surpassed me in many areas of improvisation abilities through his own exploration, although I think I still have experience on my side. It’s good to hear that he wants to have a ‘gap’ year next year and do some gigs. I wish him good luck every step of the way to his HSC and beyond.

I’m looking forward to organizing students’ concerts for my private students later in the year and also preparing for the end of year students’ concert at the Con. The Blues course students have just finished a second term at the Con, which culminated in a workshop where Christian Young and Steve Ley (drums) provided backup rhythm for their improvisation. It helped lift everyone’s game. We now want to include this workshop at the end of each term. The final year concert should be an even bigger goal and bound to be a hoot.

More updates and pictures soon,

Bridie

 

2006 – The end of an era

Due to the time and energy constraints of my Master’s thesis the Boogie Kings Saturday afternoon gigs were put on hold late October, just before our 9th birthday.

When I think back to the first Boogie Kings gig in the beer garden with a handful of old aquaintances in the audience, and having since finished our residency at the Bridge, I realize the progress that was made over the 8 years from then, which culminated with the Boogie Ball.

Fact not brag:

  • recorded ‘My Blues’ which, given the lineup and the production values, was always destined for the reviews and acclaim it received. Thanks go to Richard Fields of Trailblazer Records  -  for insisting I make it, and Ray Beadle -  for musical, cultural and personal inspiration.
  • participated in over ten  major blues and jazz festivals including some very strong performances and record-breaking CD sales, notably at Wangaratta both 2000 and 2002, Narooma 2002, Manly Jazz 2004, Thredbo 2004.
  • put on big nights with packed houses at the Bridge: the 1999 CD launch, the 2001  and 2002 anniversaries and the 2005 Boogie Ball
  • interpreted to the best of our abilities great piano-driven Blues, Soul and Boogie-Woogie from Memphis, New Orleans and anywhere else in the South. 
  • worked with extraordinary people namely Ray Beadle, Stephie Marchant, Kara Grainger, Jerome Smith, Clive Suares, Rosscoe Clark, and Rowan Lane. I loved working with these musicians and many others: Ilya Szwec, Darren Jack, Patrick Savina, Adam Pringle, Jacob Cook, Jim Finn, Bill Crossland, Michael Lynch, Steve Garry, Glen, my cousin David ‘Fred’ Learmonth, Steve Edmonds, Christian Young, Hal and Kimi Tupaia and Toby Andrews to name a few.
  • played on Sunday nights for seven years and Saturday arvos for two years, when we had some amazing musical highs, good crowds and great audience participation from such standout characters as Chrissie Robertson whose beautiful dancing and enthusiasm inspired so many people to dance ‘like no-one was watching; Dave Gunter the best punter and friend; Danny Ma an old old friend who was there on the first day, Andrea Baker opera diva and lovely Ronnie Hird who sang the Ha Ha Ha song with us (friends now); Kaz (see Boogie Ball pictures) lone handsome Moari side of stage), Houna, and bar cuties/good guys Zane and Gareth Williams Tane; Stephie’s friends and family, Pat’s huge entourage of beloveds; Katrina, Margaret, Elizabeth et al; Jacob’s little boy Sebastian who rolled leads expertly and bumped out at the age of 2, and going back some Bernard, Jean, Allanah, Al and the Uraguyans. There were many more of course, some people came plenty of times faithfully, some came once and made an unforgettable impact…love to you all and thanks. 

It was a very productive time and I appreciate immeasurably the Bridge Hotel publican Richard Keough for his staunch support throughout all those years. Also I would like to thank the much venerated Mary Keough for the post gig parties during the Saturday afternoon years and mention that prior to playing for the publican and fans of the Hippos at the Bridge Hotel 1986 – 1989, we played at the Keough’s previous pub The Sir William Wallace in 1985.

 

Interview with Dave Gunter, taken from the Blues Times Sept issue.

How long have you been teaching the Blues?

I have been teaching the Blues since 1978. Until that time I was classically trained and had been teaching classical piano I had always wanted to play the Blues, but didn't know how. Until one day, I taught myself to improvise a boogie from an Albert Ammon's transcript. I then went on a mission to help people to play by ear and improvise.

How do you teach the Blues?

I teach the Blues by listening and copying. This is a traditional method where someone else shows you how to play, or you listen to a record and copy by ear.

Recently, I interviewed some Black American musicians. They unanimously responded to the question "Would you describe your learning as listening and copying?"

"Yeah definitely" For years I have taught this method within a piano lesson one to one. I show students bass lines, chords, riffs, licks, and how to improvise with them. I've also been basically doing the same thing but with groups of students.

These workshops are for either piano teachers who are learning to teach improvisations, or students who are keen to learn the Blues. The Blues workshops are the result of a course called "Southern R 'n' B Piano" which I designed for the Conservatorium Access Centre's Outreach Programme. In the Blues workshops, the keyboard lab comes in handy because the class can be split into groups of bass-line, chord-riffs and improvisation groups. The class kind of turns into an all keyboard band.

In May, my private school age students took part in a workshop where each student individually was backed up by the Boogie Kings. It went so well I am keen to repeat it with my students from the Con, and my private adult students. In fact I want to open it to the public, so I will be advertising in The Blues Times and Drum Media.

What gave you the idea of workshops using a whole band for backing students?

The idea was based on one technical aspect, which is that playing solo piano involves a high degree of independence between the hands, whereas in a band situation the playing is simpler. So I figured workshops where the student is backed up by experienced blues musicians, would create a supportive learning environment for jamming and combining band style. Often this outcome is, sadly, a long way down the track for students. Jamming with a band can be achieved quickly in this way.

The idea of the backing band in a workshop is unique as far as I know. In this case who better than Adam Pringle (guitar), Jacob Cook (drums) and Par Savina (bass). As the adage goes "you learn more by playing with people who are better than you"

I know you've been working on your masters degree fro several years now, tell me how your masters I teaching improvisations is related to Blues improvisation.

I am researching how to teach improvisation by trial ling and developing my teaching model with other piano teachers. This topic is related directly to my background in Blues improvisation. It is a natural progression for me because of my life long association with African-American music. I've become interested in how these musicians learn and want piano students to benefit from these great learning traditions.

Tell us what you wish to pass onto your students?

I want my students to play by ear and improvise. Also I really want to help my students to understand ho important it is for the people around them to hear them pay. Music is something to share.

To sum up, what is your philosophy on music and teaching?

I feel music is a right not a privilege. And there should be more music in community life. And that means piano lessons should be more than just some half-baked classical teaching. Learning piano can mean playing music by ear, without reading music; it can be fun, relevant to you and the people around you and a life long pleasure.

Blues workshop (any instrument) 5th November 2005, Bridge Hotel Rozelle. Enquiries Bridie King 9660 3256

2005

The highlight gigs of 2005 were the fundraiser at the Basement for New Orleans victims of Hurricane Katrina and the Boogie Ball. The Basement benefit night was on the 9th of October, a year to the day from when I had played in a tiny little bar on Frenchman’s St in New Orleans in 2004 (I hope to print on my website the short story of my trip to New Orleans which became a short story published by my cousin, author Rosaleen Love who accompanied me there). I managed to namedrop this into my speech in support of the city of my dreams, which was warmly received I’m glad to say. We played a set of all our New Orleans songs, including Big Chief of course and all the Toussaint songs. We also played My Darlin New Orleans, Ron Cuchi’s love poem to the city which was recorded by Little Queenie in 1981. 

The inaugural Boogie Ball was held on the 26th of  November at the Bridge Hotel and was a celebration of the Boogie Kings’ 8 years residency  there. We started our long stay there on 27th November.

The Boogie Ball was a great success. 250 tickets were presold, a ton of Southern food was brought in, the stage was bedecked with a dozen watermelons, the room enhanced by potted palms, balloons and authentic Mardi Gras decorations from New Orleans. I hired a grand piano, ten Boogie Kings played and we raised $US 1000 for Little Queenie, who had been displaced during Hurricane Katrina from New Orleans.

There are many people to thank. Thanks go to Joan for the truckload of excellent cornbread and New Orleans deccas; Rose, Alice, Matt, my son Art and his mates Tim, Pauli and Frank and Drew for kitchen wizardry,serving, drinking and dancing (see pics); Jo-Bo for piano removalling, Cajun sausage and watermelon delivery; Ojars Greste for photography; choir members for enthusing and
dancing their way through the songs, Maryanne for being their gutsy leader;  Jonesy for saxophone playing which took the 3rd set even higher. Thanks also to Adam, Pat and Jacob for the first set; Kimi, Christian and Ilya for the 2nd crazy set with the grand piano on the floor.

The latter thankyous remind me of the extraordinary vibe of that afternoon, the place was electric and that set was supposed to be a chilled Latin-inspired warmup for main set, but it turned into a much hotter affair. I couldn’t help respond to the crowded and excited room and kind of went bezerk. I got Stephie up and we improvised a raunchier blues set with Jonsey going off as well.The last set was a cracker. The grand piano and most of the tables and chairs were packed away, and the uptempo grooves and dancers took off. The choir, a bunch of 15 or so enthusiasts, who had practiced ‘My Darlin New Orleans’, ‘Creole 2-step’ and  ‘Big Chief’ gave it their all (see pictures to be posted soon)and basically we cranked it up as high as we all could. When the audience had drifted off, about 20 of us had an afterhours treat in the form of Donny Hopkins piano wizardry - playing and singing his New Orleans favourites. What an unforgettable day/night in my time as piano-player and band-leader.

News Update - September 2004

Well the last couple of months have been so exciting, and it seems we've done so much in such a short space of time!

The big news is of course that after a record seven year Sunday night residency at the Bridge Hotel, we have moved timeslot to Saturday afternoons from 4pm to 7pm and the response has been overwhelming.  Now everyone can enjoy our show without worrying about work the next morning.

We also performed a live to air acoustic show and interview with Sydney blues radio legend Austin Harrisson on his radio show "Stormy Monday."  We played five songs live to air and it was a truly magical night.  A very big thankyou to Austin for having us on his show, we'd love to do it again - soon!

Also coming up Bridie & the Boogie Kings are performing at the Manly International Jazz Festival and Jazz in the Garden at Vaucluse House.  These are both wonderful gigs and a great chance to see our festival shows in addition to some other first class Australian performers.

I'd love to see you at the Bridge or at the festival performances - or both.

I'll write again soon,

Cheers

Bridie

Press Release from Manager, Dave Gunter.
April 2004

Bridie King and her band, The Boogie Kings, are entering a new era of wonderful swing blues and boogie. Bridie's reputation as a master of generating music that makes you want to dance, clap and cheer is on the rise with the announcement of four fine musicians joining The Boogie Kings line up.

Chris Mawer and Steve Gary on vocals, Adam Pringle on guitar and David Weir on sax are joining Tony Georgeson on drums, Bill Crossland on electric bass and Bridie on piano, with one musical mission , to bring joy and dancing to their audience. The band has, over its unbroken seven year Sunday residency at the Bridge Hotel, Rozelle, been acclaimed and celebrated as a musical collective second to none in capturing the hearts and feet of their audience. The new Boogie Kings are set to extend this reputation.

With Adam, Chris, Steve and David also comes, many new songs that promise to deliver some delicious swing to a repertoire of blues and boogie that is simply unreal. The only possible downside of attending a Sunday evening at The Bridge with Bridie and the Boogie Kings is you may need to get in touch with a good bootmaker on a Monday morning.

Bridie & The Boogie Kings play every Sunday, and from the new time of 7.30 from May 16th , at The Bridge Hotel, Victoria Rd, Rozelle.

News Update from Bridie!
Feb 2004

Just to recap the events of the last few years...
Bridie and the Boogie Kings are still grooving at their “never-ending” residency at the Bridge Hotel. It’s been since Nov ‘97 that they’ve rocked and rolled their boogie and blues to many a happy punter. Recently when collecting email addresses for the new data base excited comments such as “great big girl! you rock the house down” (thanks Chris, a new convert from Canada), “great show”, “great band” were enthused by the punters.

The festivals showcased the band’s ability to get bigger crowds swaying, diggin’ it and dancing.
Just to show off how many we played:
Wangaratta Jazz Festival 2000
Coogee Jazz Festival 2000
Melbourne Women’s jazz Festival (Bennett’s Lane) 2001
Manly jazz Festival 2001
Darling Harbour 2001
Bent’s Basin Liverpool 2001
Threbo Jazz Festival 2002
Brunswick (Melbourne) Music Festival 2002
Narooma 2002
New Year’s Eve, Hyde Park, Sydney 2002
Castle Hill Tavern Blues Day 2002
Sweeney SW Sydney 2003
Wangaratta Jazz Festival 2003

And! We have sold the first 2000 of My Blues CD’s that were produced!

Playing with Eric Burdon. A Highlight of My Life...
To my amazement I found myself on stage playing piano for Eric Burdon. Eric’s book launch tour for his Biography “Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” started in Auckland , New Zealand on November 3rd 2003 where he tirelessly spun his yarns and wove his magic as a true story –teller. We did the launch at the wonderful Real Groovy Records store and he did loads of TV and Radio. At the gigs Eric told stories of his life experiences, then we would play one of his old favourite boogie woogie songs from his formative years. As a teenager he had loved and copied the sounds of black early rock ‘n’ roll and he wanted to “bring them on home” for his audiences to love too.

We also played Sydney gigs at the Basement and the Bridge Hotel where we shot video for DVD (thanks Roslee and Julia..more about that soon). Actually they weren’t public gigs but private book launch events for the publishing industry.
Melbourne was really cool at the Manchester Lane Club, and we did a live to air ABC Radio National Show “The Deep End”. Eric again was spellbinding and the Steinway was Great.

The Bert Newton Show was incredible. Eric did his thing, and then we did our thing. I thought it was all over and snuck off thinking I was not on camera. Uh-oh! Bert (luckily for me) made a song and dance about it .. “You come back here and sit down there. Do you realize you have just shot John Forman (his own pianist) in one gunshot” And he said our music was “out of this world”. I looked ridiculously chuffed.
We also did a TV cooking show “ Fresh”. Eric cooked a boiled egg.
What a thrill! What a world treasure rock legend! What an honour!
Eric’s doing it all again in Germany around Easter time, but without me. Sadly. The costs proved too great to get me there. Hopefully, another time.

Right now we continue to do the Bridge Hotel Sundays (8.30 – 12.00) residency. We will be adding guest vocalist spots to the gigs as Stephie will be moving to Melbourne soon.
We are looking forward to another play with Steve Garry! Especially since we played and sang together so well together on the 24th January Bridge Gig. He’s a beautiful big ol’ cat and an entertainer with a heart of gold. When he sings about love you believe in him – a rare gift.
Then there’s Chris Moore who will also join our ranks as a vocalist. A cool young dude with a New Orleans bent. Smooth and funky.

All about Jacko...
Jacko, the explosive true original of his own making, will be continuing to grace us with his presence not only on our new CD but from February 15th onwards.

Playing soul blues for us next week is Adam Pringle who by the way started his new residency at the Rose of Australia on Tuesday night with Chris Moore and the rest of the Beans. Chris will play bass for us that night - we are blessed.

New CD...
We plan to record at David Holmes studio in April! Recording can be painfully unspontaneous. Wearily grinding away at the task is necessary. Keeping your eye on the prize maintains the will to have your product at the end. We will succeed!
My thanks go with the wonderful musicians I play with:
Darren (Jacko) Jack on guitar
Bill Crossland on bass
Tony (the Lair with Hair) Georgeson on drums
Vocal will be shared by Stephie Marchant, Chris Moore and Steve Garry
This major event ends my new product drought and will hopefully usher in a new era.

More Big News!
Dave Gunter is now helping at the helm of the Blues Mothership. We need Dave to manage affairs of a career nature – talking to agents, consultants, website (thanks Freya) and database people (thanks Ojars) etc. What better person could we have – honest to the core, selfless in his support, humble determined, democratic, dashing and a credit accountant with lots of experience in asking people for money (nicely of course). Also Dave’s a conflict resolution expert. What a guy to have on board. Thanks Dave. See Contact page for Dave’s details.

That’s all for now. We’ll talk some about Stephie next month. See you all at a gig soon.

Musically yours,

Bridie


 
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