Des Cowley

Leaf and Shadow 

Des Cowley
Tuesday, 24 September 2019

This year the Australian Art Orchestra (AAO) celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary. Originally conceived as a jazz ensemble, it has developed – first under the visionary leadership of founder Paul Grabowsky, and now under artistic director Peter Knight – into one of the country’s leading new music ensembles ...

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2019 Melbourne International Jazz Festival

Des Cowley
Wednesday, 12 June 2019

In 1959, Miles Davis entered Columbia’s 30th Street Studio in New York, with his sextet, and recorded what many consider to be the greatest jazz album of all time: Kind of Blue. It was an inspired idea to program a performance of this music, in celebration of the album’s sixtieth anniversary, at the twenty-second Melbourne International Jazz Festival ...

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The Stonnington Jazz Festival

Des Cowley
Tuesday, 21 May 2019

It was a bold move by Stonnington Jazz to program an all-female/non-binary performance for the Festival’s opening concert: War Cry. Jazz, like much else, has come in for its fair share of criticism in the #MeToo era, its historical icons – bar a few exceptions – made up mostly of male musicians ...

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Cold War ★★★★1/2

Des Cowley
Thursday, 20 December 2018
Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War picked up a slew of prizes at the recent European Film Awards, and is already being talked about as a major contender for this year’s Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, a prize he won with his previous film, Ida (2015) ... ... (read more)

2018 Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues

Des Cowley
Monday, 12 November 2018

Now in its twenty-ninth year, the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues continues to deliver programming that is innovative, ambitious, and far-reaching. That a long-running Festival of this scale and significance takes place annually in a regional Victorian city says much about the tenacity and dedication of the Festival’s artistic team ...

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Kites of Tianjin (fortyfivedownstairs) ★★★★1/2

Des Cowley
Wednesday, 01 August 2018
The Kites of Tianjin was the fifth and final set of performances by composer and multi-instrumentalist Adam Simmons in his series The Usefulness of Art, inaugurated back in March 2017 with Concerto for Piano and Toy Band. It has proven to be an ambitious cycle ... ... (read more)

2018 Melbourne International Jazz Festival

Des Cowley
Thursday, 14 June 2018

One of the key issues addressed by the twenty-first Melbourne International Jazz Festival (MIJF) is the role of women in jazz. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, there has been much debate around gender equality in jazz, including inevitable references to jazz as a ‘boys’ club’. While there has never been a shortage ...

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Travelling Tales (fortyfivedownstairs) ★★★★

Des Cowley
Monday, 11 December 2017

Travelling Tales is the third instalment in a series of five concerts, entitled ‘The Usefulness of Art’, by multi-instrumentalist Adam Simmons, all taking place at fortyfivedownstairs. The first, Concerto for Piano and Toy Band, was performed in March this year, and the second, The Usefulness of Art, in August. The final ...

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In 2002, journalist Guy Rundle published a piece devoted to the little-known visit by Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges to Melbourne in May 1938. During his ten-day stay, Borges spent time in the domed reading room of the State Library, a place he found ‘awe-inspiring, even overwhelming’. As a long-term reader of Borges ...

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It is a testament to Ralph J. Gleason’s standing in the jazz community, at the time these interviews were made, that a composer of the stature of Duke Ellington would consider ...

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