last updated January 2011 Posted by Pete McDonald


In my graduation year of music study I gained a Bachelor of Music, Jazz Performance, along with the “Student of the Year” Award, and set out on my music career which was to take me down a diverse trail.

I have been performing for over 20 years in a wide variety of situations, styles (and costumes). A full list of venues and events can be found here, but highlights include Sydney's The Basement, The Darling Harbour Jazz Festival, and the Emirates Black and White Ball.

My jazz quintet lineup currently includes Sandy Evans (Australian Jazz Legend, Order of Australia winner and winner of the Inaugural Bell Award for Australian Jazz Musician of The Year, 2003), Ali Foster (winner of the 2007 Jann Rutherford Award for women in Jazz), and Chris Komorowski (master Jazz Guitarist who featured on ABC 702, with Adam Spencer).

I always aim to make live performances accessible and entertaining for the listener. Too many artists give the impression that they’re pursuing their own satisfaction and in the process, isolate the audience. I think its important to give the audience something to hook onto, be a part of, and then to take home with them in a positive way - in other words, give them an experience they want to remember, not try to forget. If someone in the audience goes home whistling one of my melodies, then I’m confident I’ve been successful.

I have recorded 2 CDs comprising a full repertoire of original compositions (loosely termed "jazz"). Both have been self-funded, and independently released.

My first self titled album was released in September 2006, and reviewed by the Sydney Morning Herald in January 2007 (the full review can be found on my CDs page). I was happy to know that it received airplay on Mal Stanley's ABC-FM JazzTrack program in 2006, and other local and regional radio stations. Mal is a great supporter of Australian music.

My second CD, aptly titled “Two” was released in September of 2010, and launched at Sydney's premier live music venue, The Basement, with airplay on ABC Jazztrack, Radio National and ABC Dig Jazz.

Both CDs have been included on playlists through an Australian company which transmits background music into live hospitality venues, such as the Coffee Club.

Like most other professional musicians who’ve chosen the jazz journey, I have been teaching piano for around 10 years, which helps the finances, and I cater for a wide variety of students. Full details can be found on my teaching page, but my aim is to make all of my students practical, functional musicians. I’ve observed that lots of teaching simply focuses on getting through one exam to the next, year by year, but I regard that too limiting. My background in jazz allows me to assist students with improvising, and moving away from simply "playing what's on the page", and allows them to get involved more in performing situations with either their friends or in church situations and the like.

I have been composing songs as long as I have been playing. My recordings are a compilation of my original works, and could be categorised as "accessible, groovy, funky, with a strong sense of rhythm and melody". Sorry, I can't think of an acronym for that.

In January of 2011, I was shortlisted as a finalist in the Jazz category of the APRA Professional Development Awards for composition & songwriting. Announcement of the winners of these awards will be made in March 2011.

I also have composed many songs which are currently being used in various churches in the NSW region.