The Music Council of Australia and Freedman Foundation are delighted to announce CHRISTOPHER HALE as the winner of the 2012 MCA/Freedman Fellowship for Jazz, following a full-on confrontation between four of the hottest jazz acts in Australia.
Melbourne based Christopher Hale plays bass guitar with his trio, the Christopher Hale Ensemble, and internationally with numerous well known groups and singers. Since 2009 Hale has been the Brazilian percussion specialist for Channel 7’s Dancing With The Stars and has performed throughout Australia and across the US, UK, Europe and the South Pacific at major festivals and events, including the Copenhagen Jazz Festival.
Christopher intends to use the fellowship for intensive mentorship, recording and performance collaborations with two master musicians, Simon Barker in Australia and Kim Ju-Hong in Korea, developing new instrumental approaches for the bass guitar based on traditional Korean drumming practices.
The judges for 2012 are three of Australia’s most respected jazz musicians: David Theak, John Clare and Mike Nock. The judges commented, “This was an evening of world class music. Chris Hale’s ensemble edged out the competition with its variety, cohesion and sheer excellence. It was an extraordinary night of music and the Freedman Fellowship’s toughest decision to date but the judges were unanimous.”
Richard Letts, Director of the MCA said, As the organiser, I have now observed ten Freedman Jazz concerts. They have all been wonderful, but this one was exceptional insofar as we had four really accomplished bands each of a quite distinctive style. We were all on the edge of our seats, listening to subtle influences of Korean traditional music, a flamenco dancer joining the percussion section, a fusion with Peruvian rhythms, or inventive uses of computer-generated sound.
Years ago, jazz people used to fight over whether some music could be allowed to be categorised as jazz or had departed too far from the tradition. No-one here seems too worried about that any more. Musicians are taking advantage of our international consciousness or of new possibilities with technologies to do things never done before. This was shown tonight.
The MCA/Freedman Jazz Fellowship awards the winner with a $15,000 cash prize and the three other finalists for 2012 were Evan Mannell, Zac Hurren and Jeremy Rose.
The purpose of the Fellowship is to assist performers of maximum 35 years of age to further their careers and enhance their abilities as a jazz artist. Nominees propose a specific project to pursue their career objectives, either overseas or within Australia. The judging process involves a public concert at the Sydney Opera House as well as an assessment of their proposed projects.
Established in 1998 by Laurence and Kathy Freedman, the Freedman Foundation also supports visual artists, Australian youth projects, and scientific and medical research. The Music Council of Australia is a national music organisation representing the entire breadth of music in Australia.