Jazz in the USC Gallery

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Jazz in the USC Gallery

Join Sean O’Boyle AM - USC’s Artistic Director, Music and the amazingly talented guitarist Simon Gardner in a jazz packed lunchtime concert on Thursday 26th April, 2018

Sean O’Boyle - Clarinet, Melodica, Cigar Box Guitar and perhaps some piano

Simon Gardner - Guitars

Music from New York to New Orleans to Noosa and much in between

Sean O'Boyle is well known for his orchestral prowess as a conductor and composer. There is an underlying jazz and blues side to this musician. He began his musical career on the clarinet and performed across the world in classical and jazz. Following an accident to his left hand in 1992, Sean gave up playing and concentrated on composing, arranging, producing and conducting. In 2002 the Australian Broadcasting Corporation asked him to come out of "retirement" and record an album of ballads on their jazz label. This led to appearances at Jazz Festival and tours of Australia, Germany & Switzerland. He "semi-retired" from playing and now dusts it off every 6 months or so. His semi-retirement includes performances with James Morrison, Tommy Emmanuel, The Whitlams and his band Blackwood. Sean has performed in many venues and festivals including BB Kings in NYC, Norfolk Island Jazz Festival, Bourbon Street New Orleans, Queens Hall in London, Dubai (UAE) and the dusty outback towns of Western Queensland.

Simon Gardner has released 5 solo albums and has produced albums for many artists. As a performer, he has supported artists such as Joe Satriani and is first call guitarist with the Queensland Pops Orchestra. Simon is a guitar examiner for the AMEB and Rockschool and regularly performs with a variety of bands and artists ranging from acoustic jazz to his own progressive instrumental band The Big Sky; including supports for Phil Emmanuel, Tim Gaze, Kevin Borich and the 2017 Melbourne Guitar Show.

More recently, Simon has become a proud endorsee of Ibanez guitars and delivers clinics on a regular basis throughout Queensland and for the Melbourne Guitar Show.

"Gardner's work is intensely original and he is extremely good at painting emotions with his guitar!" — Guitarist Australia

"Simon reminds me of a high-tech David Gilmour, but he has a style of his own and is breaking new eclectic ground." — Mike Varney, Guitar Player Magazine Spotlight

A Short History of the Jazz Clarinet

The clarinet was a central instrument in early jazz starting in the 1910s and remained popular in the United States through the Big-Band era into the 1940s. Louis Armstrong's clarinetist in the first "Hot Five" was Johnny Dodds best known for his recordings under his own name and with bands such as those of Joe "King" Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong.

He moved to New Orleans when he was a young man and studied with the master clarinetist Lorenzo Tio Jr. He played with the bands of Frankie Duson, Kid Ory, and Joe "King" Oliver. Dodds went to Chicago and played with Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, with which he first recorded in 1923. He recorded with numerous small groups in Chicago, including Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven and Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers. He also recorded prolifically under his own name between 1927 and 1929 for Paramount, Brunswick/Vocalion, and Victor.

Known for his professionalism and virtuosity as a musician and his heartfelt, heavily blues-laden style, Dodds was an important influence on later clarinetists including Benny Goodman.

Long before Elvis was King – The King of Swing was Benny Goodman. Clarinetists Artie Shaw, and Woody Herman also led successful and popular Big Bands and smaller groups from the 1930s onward. By the time WWII started, Big Bands were at their peak.

The end of the war came and so began the Big Band's decline. Returning soldiers (musicians) had little interest in hitting the road again as travelling musicians. The final blow for these huge performing acts was the advent of television. For those who did venture out into the smaller nightclubs, they were more likely to find a more compact and economical jazz quartet or witness the emergence of bebop.

The clarinet faded from its prominent position in jazz and was usurped by the saxophone. The saxophone projects a louder (yet inferior) sound and uses a far less complicated fingering system.

Through the 50's & 60's, a few leading players - Buddy DeFranco, Jimmy Giuffre, Acker Bilk, Pete Fountain (to name a few) kept the torch burning for the jazz clarinet.

In the U.S.A, the instrument has seen something of a resurgence since the 1980s, with Eddie Daniels, Don Burrows, Andy Firth and others playing the clarinet in more contemporary contexts.

In 2002, Sean O'Boyle formed a band in Australia - "Blackwood" - which became a vehicle for the renaissance of the clarinet as a seriously groovy instrument.

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