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ABC Jazz Home > Music News > Rest in peace Bernie McGann

Rest in peace Bernie McGann

2012 Wangaratta Jazz 21
Sep 18, 2013 Updated Sep 26, 2013

One of Australia's clearest jazz voices has passed away at the age of 76. The legendary saxophonist died following recent heart surgery.

Hear a Bernie McGann obituary from ABC News Radio here.

McGann was a pioneering figure in the Australian jazz scene, mixing it with the most groundbreaking musicians and bands, such as Roger Frampton, John Pochee, Judy Bailey, Ken James, Sandy Evans, 'The Last Straw' and 'Ten Part Invention' as well as his own trios and quartets.  Bernie also supported touring US musicians during his career, including Freddie Hubbard, Dewey Redman, Sonny Stitt and Dave Liebman.

Bernie famously retreated to Bundeena in Sydney's south during the 1970s, taking a job as a postman and practising saxophone in the Royal National Park.  Since that time he has been widely acknowledged as an Australian jazz icon, having been awarded ARIA and MO Awards, an Australian Arts Council grant and the prestigious Don Banks Music Award, in 1998, the first jazz musician to receive the honour.

While Bernie will be missed by the Australian jazz community, we are grateful for the large quantity of recorded material available, including many features captured by the ABC since the 1950s.

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Artist Biography

Fromwikipedia

Bernard Francis "Bernie" McGann (22 June 1937 - 17 September 2013) was an Australian jazz alto saxophone player. He began his career in the late 1950s and remained active as a performer, composer and recording artist until near the end of his life. Born in Granville, New South Wales, in Sydney's western suburbs, McGann first came to prominence as part of a loose alliance of modern jazz musicians...

This entry is from Wikipedia external link, the user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors and is licensed under CC-BY-SA external link. Visit Bernie McGann external link on Wikipedia to correct or update this entry. Any changes made to the Wikipedia article will not be immediately available here. The ABC is not responsible for the content of external sites.

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On Sep 18, 2013. 3:04pm
Mal Stanley said

The gentle giant of Australian jazz. An enormous contribution to the music and a wonderful example of someone who held to their personal musical beliefs and created such an individual voice. He will be deeply missed.

On Sep 18, 2013. 8:42pm
Christopher Lynch said

The saying "Nobody can like McGann can", means Bernie's glorious legacy must surely endure despite his sad passing. Bernie's sound was always very much his own despite having so many outstanding influences. Thankfully, Bernie leaves us plenty of his stunning work with his brilliant trio along with Ten Part Invention meaning he'll never be too far away. Bernie live was always a treat. His innovative improvisations could make time stand still. I pray ABC Jazz will be doing a feature on Bernie.
I'll forever remain one of many of his awestruck admirers.

On Sep 19, 2013. 3:18am
Greg said

Those who love jazz,the insane purity of a musical vibration that can transfix you for a brief moment as if you had touched the face of GOD. Gone too soon but jamming with the greats,upstairs with Trane,Miles,Monk and all those real gone cats.Bye Bernie,thanks for the music.

On Sep 20, 2013. 11:40am
Christopher Lynch said

Further to my earlier comments on the magnificent Bernie McGann, his life and music would make a superb, compelling video documentary. A biography would also make worthwhile reading.

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