SIMA presents

SIMA: Summer Jazz 2018

13 Jan - 24 Feb

Experience Saturday nights at The Sound Lounge, voted one of the top 150 jazz clubs in the world by DownBeat Magazine, as the Sydney Improvised Music Association (SIMA) presents the best of contemporary Australian jazz in their Summer Jazz 2018 concert series.

Please see the full program below.

Sat 13 Jan - TRIGGER: Felix Bornholdt and Band




SIMA’s Trigger Initiative spotlights an outstanding young jazz talent each season. This is someone on the brink of their professional career, whose calibre of improvisation and composition has stood them apart. In Summer Jazz 2018, our Trigger Artist is pianist and composer Felix Bornholdt.


Felix is part of a new wave of young improvisers and composers in Australia. Originally from New Zealand, Felix moved to Sydney in 2014 to study at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music under Australian jazz luminaries Mike Nock, Judy Bailey, Kevin Hunt and Mike Rivett.


In 2017 Felix completed an Honours thesis investigating improvisational applications of French composer Olivier Messiaen’s music. This reflects Felix’s wider interest in contemporary composed and improvised music.


As well as performing alongside Anthony Pateras, Sandy Evans and Clayton Thomas, Felix co-leads the electronic band Minus Marcus and maintains a busy touring schedule as the keyboardist for Australian pop outfit Lime Cordiale.


In his Summer Jazz performance, Felix teams up with established jazz musicians bassist Clayton Thomas and drummer Laurence Pike. Expect melodic explorations and collective manoeuvring through emotionally evocative soundscapes, shaped by a deep curiosity for new sounds and unusual rhythmic spaces.




Guitarist, composer and label manager Aaron ‘Baz’ Flower is always learning new songs through regular gigs playing with gypsy swingers The Cope Street Parade and afternoon jazzers The Swingin’ Blades.


He also enjoys writing and playing crazy loud rock and roll guitar with his band Danaïdes and his side-project AKA BAZ.


In 2017, he started publishing a regular, informal video series online, ‘Baz’s Song of the Week’, in which he performed his favourite song from that week’s gigging. This created a Facebook sensation!


For Summer Jazz, Aaron plays a ‘Best of’ from this highly popular song series.


Main Act: Felix Bornholdt Piano, Composition Clayton Thomas Bass Laurence Pike Drums

Support: Aaron ‘Baz’ Flower Guitar


Running time: 150 minutes (including interval)


Adult tickets: $30
Concession / SIMA Member tickets: $26
Multi tix: $25
Student tickets: $15


Sat 20 Jan - Matt McMahon Trio



“McMahon’s playing is ravishing…” – Sydney Morning Herald


Award-winning Sydney composer and pianist Matt McMahon, bassist Jono Brown and drummer Simon Barker celebrate twenty years of making music together this year. They first got to know each other playing gigs in the early ‘90s. They realised it felt great to play together and they haven’t stopped.


As the Matt McMahon Trio, their music embraces song forms, original jazz pieces, collective improvisation and the influence of many traditions as vehicles for collective musical conversation. Their 2007 album Ellipsis was termed “stunning” by the Sydney Morning Herald: “Waves of invention pick you up and transport you with their ardour and grace”. The trio has a new recording due for release in 2018!


Matt McMahon is a National Jazz Award-winner (1999) and the 2005 Freedman Jazz Fellow. His compositions regularly appear on film, television and many ARIA and Jazz ‘Bell’ Award–winning albums.


Matt has played with some of Australia’s most distinguished jazz musicians, including Dale Barlow, Bernie McGann, David Theak, Jonathan Zwartz, Steve Hunter, Jamie Oehlers, Andrea Keller, Sandy Evans, Andrew Robson, Carl Dewhurst and Phil Slater. He has worked with singers and musicians as diverse as Tim Freedman, Gurrumul, Joseph Tawadros, Katie Noonan, Kristin Berardi and Jackie Orszaczky.




“Klumpes proves to have a distinct voice in the genre of modern electroacoustic piano music” – Jazz and Beyond


Adrian explores the colours of prepared piano, resonance and live electronic manipulations in his solo performances. Known as a frontman of Triosk, 3ofmillions and Tangents, Adrian’s 2017 recording, Yield (Preludes and Fugues for Piano), was in some ways an homage to Bach, with Adrian’s uniquely emotive storytelling at the fore.


“Adrian plays exquisitely beautiful, yet thoughtful and haunting music… Truly a unique talent for our time.” – The Wire


Main Act: Matt McMahon Piano, Composition Jono Brown Bass Simon Barker Drums

Support: Adrian Lim-Klumpes Piano, Composition


Running time: 150 minutes (including interval)


Adult tickets: $30
Concession / SIMA Member tickets: $26
Multi tix: $25
Student tickets: $15


Sat 27 Jan - Sandy Evans Trio



For one night only, saxophonist Sandy Evans presents excerpts from her new work Changing Times with her trio, bassist Brett Hirst and drummer Toby Hall.


Developed with the support of an Australia Council Fellowship, Changing Times explores intersections between diverse expressive and musical concepts in a contemporary jazz context. Prepare to be awestruck with modern mastery, soaring saxophone lines and transcendental rhythms.


“The way art is meant to be….” – All About Jazz


The Sandy Evans Trio performed to sell-out audiences on their European tour, including a sell-out show at the prestigious JazzFest Berlin. Sandy’s composition, ‘The Seed of Delight’ from the trio’s Not in the Mood album was an APRA Award finalist for Most Performed Jazz Composition, 2003.


“An important voice in Australian contemporary music…” – The West Australian 


An internationally celebrated touring artist, ARIA Award­–winner Dr Sandy Evans OAM has appeared at the Chicago Jazz Festival, Edinburgh Festival, The North Sea Jazz Festival and Jazz Yatra (India). She leads the Sandy Evans Trio and Sextet, co-leads the acclaimed Clarion Fracture Zone, and is a member of MARA!, The catholics, the Australian Art Orchestra, Ten Part Invention and austraLYSIS.




“Immediately unusual and totally captivating” – The Age


Andrew Robson and Paul Cutlan have developed their unique ‘simpatico’ over twenty odd years. Their shared experience and passion for a wide range of styles comes from performing together in groups such as avant-garde saxophone quartet Original Otto Orchestra and iconic world music band Mara!


As Simpatico, Andrew and Paul distill their stylistic individuality and mutual love of improvisation into spontaneous compositions which tell captivating stories, while traversing a universe of musical possibilities. Their self-titled 2007 album Simpatico received wide critical acclaim.


Main Act: Sandy Evans Saxophones, Composition Brett Hirst Bass Toby Hall Drums

Support: Andrew Robson Alto Saxophone Paul Cutlan Bass Clarinet


Running time: 150 minutes (including interval)


Adult tickets: $30
Concession / SIMA Member tickets: $26
Multi tix: $25
Student tickets: $15


Sat 3 Feb - Five Bells



Drummer, bandleader, composer, poet and autodidact Allan Browne OAM was termed a “spiritual leader” by Bennett’s Lane Jazz Club owner Michael Tortoni, and by pianist Paul Grabowsky, “the single most important jazz musician that Melbourne has ever produced”.


Over the course of a decade, the Allan Browne Quintet recorded five albums acclaimed by critics and peers, many of which took cues from great literary works such as Rimbaud’s The Drunken BoatA Season in Hell and Homer’s Odyssey.


In the two years since Al passed away, the remaining four members of his quintet have been developing and performing a new repertoire under the name Five Bells, inspired this time by the vast catalogue of unpublished poems and musings by Al himself. Five Bells are honored to present Songs in the Key of Al for the Sydney Improvised Music Association: musical responses to the literary works of drummer, poet, and autodidact Allan Vincent Browne OAM.




Writer and journalist John Clare speaks about Allan and presents some of his “witty and highly musical poetry”, accompanied by drummer Evan Mannell


From John Clare: “Toward the end of his life Allan suggested that he and I might perform some poems together at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival. In the forthcoming celebration, superb drummer Evan Mannell and I will subject some of Allan’s witty and highly musical poems to a textural and rhythmic going-over. This will have to do, but I am sure Allan would appreciate Evan’s work and kindly tolerate mine.”


Main Act: Eugene Ball Trumpet Phil Noy Alto Saxophone Geoff Hughes Guitar Nick Haywood Double Bass


Support: John Clare Words, Voice Evan Mannell Drums Allan Browne Oam Poetry


Running time: 150 minutes (including interval)


Adult tickets: $38
Concession / SIMA Member tickets: $32
Multi tix: $30
Student tickets: $25


Sat 10 Feb - Steve Barry Quartet Album Launch



“…dazzling in his harmonic adventurousness, melodic resourcefulness, switchback rhythmic ideas and non-bombastic sense of drama” – Sydney Morning Herald


Steve Barry is a pianist, organist, composer and improviser based in Sydney. His numerous awards include the Bell Award for Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year (2013), second place in the National Jazz Awards (2013), and a BBM Travel Scholarship (2011). Steve was also a finalist in the 2017 APRA Professional Development Awards and a nominee for the 2016 Freedman Fellowship.


Blueprints & Vignettes is a product of Steve’s recently completed PhD in composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. A meeting point of classical modernism and melodic lyricism, the music dances between intricate forms and free improvisation as it explores harmonic hues and spontaneously re-imagines preset structures.


Steve’s previous albums Puzzles (2014) and Steve Barry (2012), as well as the Australia-Japan collaboration Orbiturtle’s Sakura (2015), each received four-star reviews in The Australian.




For This Moment is a new collaboration between two creative Sydney musicians and composers, Jenna Cave and Keyna Wilkins.


Limited only by their instruments and imaginations, For This Moment explores the ways in which melodic lines can meet in free improvisation to create a meaningful and cohesive musical whole.


Nothing is off limits, with broad influences ranging from folk melodies to impressionism, contemporary and free jazz to minimalism, and 20th century classical music to the blues.


Jenna Cave is a composer, saxophonist, vocalist and conductor/band leader, best known as director and resident composer of the 18-piece Divergence Jazz Orchestra.


Keyna Wilkins is a composer, flautist and pianist. With international classical training (Hildesheim Germany, Bristol/Bath Spa UK, Sydney Conservatorium of Music) she has branched into jazz, flamenco and improvisation, performing with diverse ensembles including her own Ephemera Trio.


Main Act: Steve Barry Piano, Composition Jeremy Rose Alto Saxophone, Bass Clarinet Thomas Avgenicos Trumpet Max Alduca Bass Dave Goodman Drums


Support: Keyna Wilkins Flute Jenna Cave Alto Saxophone, Voice, Loop Pedal


Running time: 150 minutes (including interval)


Adult tickets: $30
Concession / SIMA Member tickets: $26
Multi tix: $25
Student tickets: $15


Sat 24 Feb - Reuben Lewis Album Launch



Led by Melbourne improviser/composer Reuben Lewis, I Hold The Lion’s Paw represents a larger collective who have made music together for several years.


Whilst the formations modulate, the ethos remains as one of exploration into the in-betweens of groove, group improvisation and transient compositional forms. These act as gravitational pulls, with the music finding a balance somewhere in between.


To celebrate the launch of their debut studio recording Abstract Playgrounds on Earshift Music, I Hold the Lion’s Paw will assemble in Sydney as part of SIMA’s Summer Jazz season to dissect, abstract and (re)bind composed material into long-form improvisations for the now.


Expect to hear anything from harmonious free-floating melodies, electro-acoustic noise, slowly shifting tectonic plates of sound, grungy grooves, afro-beat and free jazz.


I Hold the Lion’s Paw was the inaugural recipient of The Lebowski’s Creative Development Residency in 2017.





“Damian Wright is a brilliant flamenco guitarist… Wright showed what a captivating solo player he is on his own ‘In Time’, and elsewhere his articulation of complex lines was fluid and dripping with conviction” – John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald


As a solo artist, Damian Wright was invited to perform at the 2014 Rajasthan International Folk Festival, India and in 2016 performed at The Shanghai Fringe Festival, China.


His flamenco ensemble Bandaluzia, in which one of Australia’s most in-demand jazz drummers, James Hauptmann, is percussionist, was recently awarded “The Pick Of the Sydney Fringe” at The Sydney Fringe Festival. In 2014, Bandaluzia performed to a sold-out Sydney Opera House Concert Hall as an invited artist at TEDX Sydney. They were also invited to perform at the biannual Adelaide International Guitar Festival curated by Slava Grigoryan.


Main Act: Reuben Lewis Trumpet Jordan Murray Trombone

Scott McConnachie Saxophones Geoff Hughes Guitar Ronny Ferella Drums 

Dave Brown Electric Bass Tom Lee Acoustic Bass


Support: Damian Wright Guitar James Hauptmann Percussion


Running time: 150 minutes (including interval)


Adult tickets: $38
Concession / SIMA Member tickets: $32
Multi tix: $30
Student tickets: $25