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Stu Hunter accepting Best Jazz Song award from Albert Dadon
Stu Hunter accepting Best Jazz Song award from Albert Dadon

Australia’s jazz music community gathered last night at Melbourne’s premier jazz club Birds Basement to celebrate the 2017 Australian Jazz Bell Awards.  Those in attendance witnessed some wonderful performances by award winning artists such as Michelle Nicolle, Joe Chindamo (a beautiful after-dinner Bach piece) and Stu Hunter, who played a solo version of his song of the year Eagle Fish, a tune normally performed by a ten piece band. All the while, a cracking group of house musicians  Phil Turcio (keys), Gerry Pantazis (drums) and Phil Rex (upright bass) provided  a world class backing band. A highlight of the evening was the acceptance speech by Graeme Bell Hall Of Fame Award winner Ted Vining, who merely read a list of musicians by instrumental category, who had inspired him, wrapping it up with a performance of his own.

Birds Basement owner Albert Dadon talked up the quality of Australian jazz and the importance of the Jazz Bell Awards. “The Bells are 15 years old this year and I’m thankful for the opportunity to contribute to the legacy of the greats that continuously inspires our contemporaries to expand the music and the meaning of jazz in the present,” he said.

Named after the late Australian jazz pioneer, Graeme Bell, AO, “The Bells” are prestigious and highly praised among musicians. They celebrate and elevate excellence in the performance, creativity, recording and presentation of Jazz in Australia.

The winners in each of the 7 award categories receive $5000 as well as the Award statuette.

The 2017 Jazz Bell Awards winners are:
TarraWarra Estate Winery Best Australian Jazz Vocal Album – Michelle Nicolle
‘A Flower is a Lovesome Thing’

Brand Partners Best Australian Instrumental Jazz Album – Andrea Keller and Tim Wilson Duo ‘Consider This’

Alfi Records Best Produced Album – Jeremy Rose and the Earshift Orchestra
‘Iron In the Blood’

APRA/AMCOS Best Australian Jazz Song of the Year – Stu Hunter
‘Eagle Fish’ from the album ‘The Migration’

Monash University Best Australian Jazz Ensemble of the Year – Stu Hunter

Fender Katsalidis Architects Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year –  Harry Mitchell

Graeme Bell Hall Of Fame Award – Ted Vining

The winners were decided by a judging panel of leading members of the Australian and international jazz community.

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