2014 Freedman Jazz Fellowship
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Aaron Choulai has been awarded the 2014 Freedman Fellowship for Jazz.
ABC Jazz was in attendance at the Sydney Opera House for the 2014 Freedman Fellowship. There were four performances from four finalists: Aaron Choulai (piano), Shannon Barnett (trombone), Gina Slater (vocals) and Matthew Sheens (piano). It was a fantastic evening of Australian jazz, and whilst Aaron Choulai has taken out award of $15,000, all the performers joined together to make wonderful music.
Aaron Choulai joined us at the ABC studios in Ultimo for an extended interview with Gerry Koster. Jessica Nicholas also featured an extended version of that interview on her program, which you can listen again to here.
More on the winner
Aaron Choulai has spent the last few years in Tokyo, Japan, where he has been recording and performing as both a jazz painist and a hip hop producer. He has also spent time in both the US and back in his home town of Melbourne producing music.
Candidates for the Freedman must submit a project plan which they will execute with the prize money should they win the Fellowship, with Aaron's project proposal to set up a recording studio.
Aaron Choulai will return to Japan with plans to release a trio recording in late 2014.
More on the awards
The Freedman Jazz Fellowship Finals was held on August 20 at the Sydney Opera House Studio. 4 finalists were selected to perform from a list of 16 submissions by some of Australia's most prolific young jazz musicians.
Respected Aussie jazz musicians Andrew Gander, Chris Cody and Phil Slater were the judges for the performances of the 4 finalists, with the winner picking up a career development award of $15,000.
2014 Freedman Jazz Fellowship finalists
Gian Slater (vocal)
Matthew Sheens (piano)
Shannon Barnett (trombone)
Aaron Choulai (piano)
"To be invited to apply as a candidate is already an honour, so to be judged as producing one of the standout projects is something that all finalists can be immensely proud of. The standard of their work is now known as amongst the best produced by an Australian jazz artist and that’s a remarkable thing."
Phil Slater (judging panel)
Previous Freedman Jazz Fellowship winners include Andrew Robson, Matt Keegan, Matt McMahon, Phil Slater, Andrea Keller, Christopher Hale, Ben Hauptmann, Julien Wilson, James Muller, Kristin Berardi, and last year's winner Marc Hannaford.
Interview: Gerry Koster
Sydney Opera House
August 20, 2014
Audio excerpts in finalists interview
1. 'Pesos' (Shannon Barnett)
2. 'Untranslatable' (Matthew Sheens)
3. 'Bedira' (Aaron Choulai)
4. 'The Differences' (Gian Slater and Jamie Oehlers)
Audio excerpt in winner's interview
1. 'Tic Toc' (from Aaron Choulai: Place)
Images: ABC Jazz, except where indicated: Karen Steains, with thanks