Jan’s Showcase Concerts

After a long and blissful time at home in Sydney, Mike and I are looking forward to getting on the road to play 7 concerts in NZ; Auckland, Dargaville, Whangarei, Bay of Islands Jazz/Blues Festival, Takapuna and finally Wellington. 

These concerts will contain my favourite songs and instrumentals in a “Showcase” performance. 

Over the past 2 years with lockdowns and cancellations due to covid and border closures, I’ve had time to write new music, but also to reflect on my repertoire, rework some material, and bring out songs and instrumentals I haven’t performed in years. With the perspective of time and distance I have been able to hear my music anew, and I’m excited to be expanding my singing and playing!

Jump Music, Jive Talk and a Grand Piano

I am working on a special collaborative show with actor/writer/comedian ALAN GLOVER called JUMP MUSIC and JIVE TALK. Alan is a master wordsmith, hilarious comedian, who also sings and blows a mean harmonica. We are feverously rehearsing, too many ideas springing forth, (it’s like that hanging out with Alan) discovering elements of piano music, poetry, blues, comedy and some film music.

Keep warm guys, c u soon!

Jan

Benefit for Ukraine

On Sunday 5th June, we held a special event in Sydney – a Benefit Concert event for Ukraine.

We put on a show as a fund-raiser, with many local businesses making generous donations of their goods and services for auction.  Mic Conway did his exceptional best as Compere Extraordinaire, as well as performing his Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band 1974 hit “Wangaratta Wahine” with the band!

We raised $3700 which has gone to CARE Australia’s UKRAINE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS APPEAL, so huge thanks to everyone who came along to the North Annandale Hotel on Sunday! There was an amazing buzz in the room, made special by the performance of 5 Ukrainian musicians, 2 of whom are recent refugees.

 

 

The BBC needs me!

All suspicious looking emails are not scams! I received one recently from a guy claiming to be an entertainment producer at the BBC wanting to use my piano composition “Trout Blues” as title music for his new BBC London Evening radio show. I was so close to pressing delete, but something made me read on. Fortunately. 

My piano piece has proven so popular with their audience (over 1 million nightly) they are interviewing me next week. If you are able through the internet, please tune in to presenter Jo Good on BBC RADIO LONDON Evenings on 94.9 FM this Wednesday morning April 26th at 8am Sydney time. After our chat, Jo will play my song “The Boogie Woman.” 

So you might be wondering why I named the track “Trout Blues”? Actually it’s a family in-joke with a long backstory, the end result being my older brother Ted only ever refers to me as “Troutie”. (Something about having a mouth like a fish, yeah well that’s families for you…) And BBC producer George Burton wants me to compose more music for a couple of other programs he’s launching.

I was telling sister Gaylene about this extraordinary event exclaiming “Out of all the thousands of composers in the world! This sort of thing NEVER happens in Arts and Entertainment, to which she replied “Well Jan it just did.” 

Still it’s pretty amazing don’t you think?!

Victoria Calling….

We are so looking forward to travelling down to Victoria at last, renewing my contact with the MBAS (Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society) and the wonderful Phil Manning.

Phil is not only one of my absolute favourite players and songwriters, but also a good mate. There’s a little known fact (as he keeps reminding me) that he studied classical piano in his youth in Tasmania, but of course he is better known as the founder member of Australia’s iconic blues band “Chain.” 

The MBAS has invited Phil and me to headline a day long festival on Sunday May 1st and Phil and I are intending to play more concerts together this year, so watch this space.

Over that weekend we’re also playing 2 other shows and these are unique venues we haven’t visited before. The first is on an island believe it or not, and the 2nd in the concert room of a gallery specialising in archival Indian architecture. 

Interesting…..!

We will stoke up the fires of boogie and blues down South once more : hope to see you there!

All the best,

Jan

The Longest Grand Piano in the World!

We’re continuing on this amazing South Island tour and in Dunedin I was thrilled to go to the Alexander Pianos Workshop which houses the longest grand piano in the world. Utterly extraordinary that Adrian Mann started making this instrument when he was 16 years old, and completed it in four and a half years.

A full size grand piano is 9 feet, but this one is twice as long, at 18 feet. It’s an incredible feat to have made it, no-one else in the world has done it, and I was so lucky the workshop was open as we were passing through Dunedin.

Here’s clip of me playing it –  and if you want to see a short interview with Adrian as well ,go to here.

Our shows this week are over the mountains to Te Anau, Invercargill, Tarras and Kinross Winery in the Gibbston Valley, then next week we finally arrive in my beloved West Coast for shows in Okarito, Greymouth,and  Hokitika, then 2 shows in Christchurch. Full show details are on my website.here.

With numbers restrictions easing even further, I heartily invite you to come along and laugh, cry, clap, sing (but alas no dancing) as I take you on my musical journey.

Finding a Piano…..

So here we are having played one week of our South Island Tour. Huge thanks to the kind and hearty people of Motueka, Picton, Nelson and Murchison for being such amazing audiences. All those things that are said of South Islanders (friendly generous stoic etc) really are true.

And I found a piano!

On the one main street of Reefton (population 927) I found a real working piano. Paula who has the Reefton Art Gallery brings it out every day onto the footpath outside.

So of course I played it, and here is proof in the form of a Youtube clip. Check it out, almost all the keys make a sound!

https://youtu.be/FsuGcHQFLZE

We’re playing tonight here in Reefton, tomorrow the beautiful French-settled town of Akaroa, then Timaru, Dunedin and Kakanui.  Next week we move even further South to Te Anau, Invercargill, Tarras and Gibbston, before shooting back up to the beloved West Coast and Christchurch the week after.

Taking Winnie to Brizzie!

Hello Boogie friends,

Mike and I beat a hasty retreat from Sydney in the nick of time several weeks ago which means our upcoming concert in Brisbane is not cancelled (like all those in NSW) and will go ahead on
SAT JULY 24TH @ 6pm at the DONALD SIMPSON CENTRE in Cleveland.

And even more exciting than that, it will be the first time in a very long while that we will be presenting our show about Honky Tonk piano queen Winifred Atwell –  WONDERFUL WINNIE!

Come along and hear my trio and I play boogie and ragtime hits such as The Black and White Rag and Bumbleboogie, whilst I narrate Winnie Atwell’s fascinating life story together with extraordinary images from her life in Australia during her heyday in the 1950s and 60s.

All Queenslanders are welcome (as well as anyone else Annastacia will let in!) but it’s best to book  as we have limited seating.

Cheers, stay safe, keep wearing your masks as are we……

Jan

MayDay in Sydney!

Hello boogie friends,

We’re very excited to be launching the new CD “Piano Boogie Woman” next Sat night May 1st at the Leichhardt Bowling Club in Sydney’s inner west.

The club has a lovely concert/stage area with a great sound system and an old lady friend in the form of an English Grand piano I will be featuring, along with historical photos and information about the club, which was a vibrant dance hall/big band venue back in the day.

We’ll be coming from down the coast with a huge “thank you” to all the wonderful fans who came out to our shows at Merimbula, Moruya and Tathra. An added bonus is to be hosted in extraordinary country houses in Tathra (thanks Cliff and Sayaka) and Nelligen, where we played a memorable house concert for filmmaker Robynne Murphy’s birthday. (The moment in the cake room with the piano and washboard will be remembered and recounted as an outstanding piece of musical folklore for a long time to come!)

Btw, the Covid restrictions at Leichhardt Bowling Club are minimal, but it’s best to make a booking.

And on that subject, Mike and I are grateful to have had our first Astra Zenica shots with no symptoms so far!

Yours in boogie,

Jan

Sydney at last… and the South Coast!

Hello boogie friends,

Mike and I are finally emerging to play a special concert in our hometown on May 1st at the Leichhardt Bowling Club. This is the long awaited Sydney launch of my new CD “Piano Boogie Woman” and I so hope you can make it along to hear the new material (and some old) which I’m busting to perform.

Better still I have discovered a grand piano at the club; I’d love to know the story of how such a fabulous instrument ended up there. It will be brought out of retirement into the spotlight for our boogie concert, when we’ll be joined by the fabulous Jess Dunn on acoustic bass.

But before that we are playing some shows down the coast at Merimbula, Moruya and Tathra, with one special performance of the Australian Silent Movie Classic, The Kid Stakes.

I can visualise people singing (yes singing!), even dancing, all glammed up and maskless just like in the old days. Ah, ecstasy!

Yours in boogie and blues,

Jan