A grand day for JAZZ in Ballarat

There is no question. John Scurry’s contribution to the Australian Jazz scene for the last fifty years is the product of a dedicated, reliable and hardworking artist. Mr. Scurry is a ‘constant presence’ in the recent history of Australian Jazz.

John joined the legendary Red Onion Jazz Band in 1965 playing banjo and guitar. In 1967 he was off on a 10-month world tour performing at the Jazz Jamboree in Warsaw, Poland, at Jazz clubs, festivals, ballrooms and on radio. Arriving back in Australia Onions continued to appear on television, at balls and discothèques, Jazz clubs, university concerts, and fashion parades. The band continued to perform together across 30 years. Their last formal performance was at the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues in 1996.

John formed the band Reverse Swing and in November 2017 and released a cool jazz album —  Post Matinee, the cover is  “Landscape” an oil painting by John Scurry 2016. Reverse Swing formed as a means to perform original compositions and interpret standards.

John’s contribution to the visual arts in Australia is likewise notable. Scurry has an established national reputation as a printmaker and was the head of that discipline for many years at the Victorian College of the Arts. His paintings have been exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of NSW.

The band’s anarchic, punk approach to the New-Orleans-style-infused jazz they play, basically becoming the inspiration for Melbourne’s abundance of early-jazz-with-a-twist bands. His own version of it, as showcased by his group, Reverse Swing, is much less ‘in-your-face’. Going for lighter arrangements, Reverse Swing have created a signature airy sound, a cool take on hot jazz.

An afternoon with John and his band promise beauty and vitality in the collective experience of music. For those in the know, this is an opportunity to experience something special.

Guitarist and composer John Scurry will be performing in Ballarat along with Eugene Ball on trumpet, Brennan Hamilton-Smith on reeds, Sam Keevers playing the piano and Howard Cairns with the bass.

John Scurry is in Ballarat with his band Reverse Swing and performing at the PWTN on Sunday 28 July 2019.