We are thrilled to announce that the latest recipient of the Jann Rutherford Memorial Award is Jazz drummer Jodie Michael.

Drummer Jodie Michael is an outstanding jazz musician. As a teenager she displayed a jaw dropping flair for her chosen instrument.

Though only 23 years of age, Jodie has been playing the drums for a decade. Her music career started in high school. Her brilliance was already on display when she attended SIMA’s improvisation workshops for young women in 2005. During high school Jodie gained valuable experience in jazz ensemble playing at the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music. She was awarded jazz scholarships from Wollongong Conservatorium and IAJE Pan-Pacific Jazz camps.

In 2007 Jodie toured America with the Wollongong Conservatorium Jazz Orchestra. She gained more experience of the heady US Jazz scene during subsequent study in New York with world-class drummers Michael Carvin, Eric Harland and Kenny Washington. Jodie has played with many acclaimed Australian jazz musicians including James Muller, James Morrison, Dale Barlow, Bobby Gebert, Carl Dewhurst, Craig Scott and Matt McMahon.

Jodie graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2012 with a Bachelor of Music, (Performance), Jazz. She continues to further her career in Australia and overseas. She returned to New York during 2013 for further study.

Jann Rutherford logoThe Jann Rutherford Memorial Award was founded in 2005 at the instigation of a private benefactor who recognised a need to support young female jazz musicians at the beginning of their professional careers. The award is a professional development opportunity.

The Award is named in honour of the late jazz pianist Jann Rutherford, and is funded by private donations in partnership with Melbourne Womens International Jazz Festival (MWIJF), Sydney Improvised Music Association (SIMA), Jazz Queensland and ABC Radio National.

Recent recipients of the award were Jessica Dunn and Harriet Harding, enabling them to launch The Sirens all woman big band; Bassist Hannah James; and Ellen Kirkwood leader of the group ‘Captain Kirkwood’.

Jodie Michael Trio

Jodie has assembled an impressive organ trio featuring outstanding musicians of the new generation.

Jodie Michael (drums) Steve Barry (organ) Carl Morgan (guitar).

Her musical intention - ‘I want to present a repertoire of music that expresses my love for all styles of music, something that highlights the “broken” quality of music; an adventure of sorts into music, breaking it up and putting it back together rhythmically and structurally, communicating what I had found in the process of exploration.

Steve Barry

Since moving to Sydney from New Zealand in 2009, Steve Barry has quickly made a name for himself as an accomplished pianist, improviser and composer. Demonstrating a natural creative flair, technical facility, and artistic maturity, Steve forms a part of the new generation of young Australasian artists exploring both the jazz tradition and modern approaches to improvisation and creative music.

In 2013 Steve received the Bell Award for Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year.

Carl Morgan

Australian guitarist Carl Morgan spent the first 18 years of his life in the rural village of Central Tilba, on the NSW South Coast, picking up the guitar at the age of 9. After completing high school, Carl attended the Australian National University in 2006-09, graduating with a Bachelor of Music. He was awarded the Peter and Lena Karmel anniversary award for the most outstanding graduate at the ANU School of Music. Carl was a finalist in the National Jazz Awards in 2007, and a finalist in the James Morrison Scholarship in 2008.

Jodie Michael Trio Performances

Friday 11 October Sound Lounge, Seymour Centre for Sydney Improvised Music Association (SIMA)

Saturday 19 October, Turbine Jazz Series, Brisbane Powerhouse

Sunday 8 December, Melbourne Womens International Jazz Festival, Bennetts Lane, Melbourne

More information

Jane March, Administrator Jann Rutherford Memorial Award

T/F | 02 9938 2180 | M | 0407 220 380 | E | jrma@ozemail.com.au | W | www.jrma.info |

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Ellen Kirkwood, smiling, leaning against a brick wallPrior to publishing his review of Theseus and The Minotaur (Captain Kirkwood), John Hardaker asked Ellen Kirkwood some questions about the album and here are her responses.

Read the interview on australianjazz.net

The Sirens Big Band was years in the planning – Jess Dunn and Harriet Harding had been talking for a long time about starting an all-female band with a specific focus on attaching a new ethos and sound to the big band format.  The band became a reality in late 2009 when Jess and Harriet received the annual Jann Rutherford Memorial Award, which assists young female jazz musicians at the beginning of their careers

Read the interview here >

2012 Jann Rutherford Mentorship Awards announced. This award pairs talented Young Women Jazz instrumentalists with a mentor who can offer technical support, encouragement, inspiration and advice to these young aspiring jazz musicians.

Congratulations to:

Elizabeth Jigalin (piano): Mentor Monique Lyziak.
Danica Hobden (guitar): Mentor Jess Green
Isabel Stewart-Kasimba (sax): Mentor Gai Bryant
Mary May Horton (sax): Mentor Sandy Evans

The Sirens Mentorship went to:
Abi McCunn (sax): Mentor Loretta Palmeiro

Ellen Kirkwood received her JRMA from Sandy Evans and Cathy Peters (ABC).
The band gave a standout performance of her original piece “Theseus & The Minotaur’.
Ellen Kirkwood – trumpet, Paul Cutlan – reeds, Tom Botting – bass, Alon Ilsar – drums, Glenn Doig – piano, Ketan Joshi – narration

Captain Kirkwood presents ‘Theseus & The Minotaur

Sydney Improvised Music Association will present the JRMA recipient Ellen Kirkwood with her group on Saturday September 1 at the Sound Lounge, Seymour Centre.

The Ellen Kirkwood Group features jazz musicians with an inspired mix of youth and experience in Ellen Kirkwood (trumpet, composer, leader) Paul Cutlan (reeds) Adam Ponting (piano), plus New Zealand bassist Tom Botting, Alon Ilsar (drums) and narration by Ketan Joshi.

Debut performance for SIMA

8.30 pm Saturday September 1, 2012


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Jann Rutherford Memorial Award is delighted to announce that although we did not make our target at the wonderful recent fundraiser we have since secured sufficient funds for next year’s activities.

This turnaround is due to the magnificent generosity of individuals making direct donations to the award.

So many heartfelt thanks are due to:-

Margery Smith, Peter Rutherford, Grahame Campbell, Joan Spiller, Louise Denson, Beverley Garlick, Dr Barry Hodges & Caroline Webb, and Lloyd Swanton.

In addition we have a number of pledges which are yet to be received plus plans for a future crowd funding venture.

Since 2005 the Jann Rutherford Memorial Award (JRMA) has been helping to redress the gender imbalance in the field of Jazz performance. This has been effected by supporting outstanding young female instrumentalists and arranging mentorships for those with potential.

The Jann Rutherford Memorial Award was founded in 2005 to assist in the professional development of an outstanding young female jazz musician. The Award is named in honour of the late jazz pianist Jann Rutherford, and is funded by private donations.

Over the years we have had 2 generous major sponsors but now must look for alternative support. So a massive fundraising concert is planned for Thursday July 12, 2012 at the wonderful new club Blue Beat in Double Bay.

Three main groups will perform.

1. Paul Cutlan leading ‘The Jann Rutherford Quintet’.

Paul Cutlan

Paul writes:- The Jann Rutherford Quintet with guest pianist Matt McMahon are privileged to have the opportunity to perform compositions from both her solo piano and quintet albums. These range from hard bop classics such as Mr Visa Man, through tender ballads and waltz numbers to songs like Expectations, bursting with optimism and joy.

Matt McMahon (piano), Roger Manins & Paul Cutlan (saxophones) Craig Scott (bass) and Dave Goodman (drums).

2. Hannah James Quartet

Hannah James

Jazz bassist, composer Hannah James was the recipient of the 2011 Jann Rutherford Memorial Award. Hannah’s group is a showcase for her beautiful, subtle and sophisticated compositions.

Hannah James (bass) Tim Clarkson (saxophone) Casey Golden (piano) and Ed Rodrigues (drums)

3. The Sirens Big Band

In 2010 the award recipients were Jessica Dunn and Harriet Harding. It enabled them to launch The Sirens all woman big band.

They have had exceptional success including a season in the Sydney Festival re-creating the days of the famous Trocadero.

As a bonus we can expect some anecdotes both from long term collaborators Paul Cutlan, Roger Manins and the rambunctious star of Beer Drinking Woman Christa Hughes. Christa also promises a sample from the show which Jann collaborated on.

8pm Thursday July 12 @ BLUE BEAT 16 Cross Street, Double Bay – $40/$25 bookings (02) 9328 4411

Also massive raffle with prizes including concert tickets, books, cds, photo sessions. $5 each or 5 for $20.

Further information direct ticket sales, interviews etc (02) 9938 2180 jrma@ozemail.com.au

Ellen Kirkwood | Photo by Karen Steains

We are delighted to announce that the 2012 recipient of the Jann Rutherford Memorial Award is trumpeter, composer Ellen Kirkwood.  Ellen’s wealth of curiosity, imagination and musicality has led her to take inspiration from the classic Greek tale of Theseus and the Minotaur.   Her group debuts for SIMA and records at the ABC in September. Other performances are planned for Brisbane and Melbourne.