Duo kick starts jazz band

NEW JAZZ SOUND: Shylie Harrison and Laura Small have kick started a new jazz sound here in Mount Gambier.

THE sound of jazz will return to the Limestone Coast pantry next month with the debut performance of the Corner Big Band.

After being tired of waiting for opportunities to hone their music craft amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Laura Small and Shylie Harrison incubated the idea of launching a big band.

Following 18-months of planning, modelling, budgeting and more, the duo decided on one season per year with two terms.

There’s expected to be 17 musicians and three live events hosted by the band each season.

Junior players will also have the opportunity to audition to join the band in the second season and sit alongside Mount Gambier’s top musicians in a mentor program.

This program would allow participants to eventually register for a position at Generations in Jazz in 2024.

“We wanted to create a model that saw our players transition from ‘paying to play’ to ‘playing for pay,” Ms Harrison said.

“This was so important to us, as the arts industry was decimated and continues to be severely impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic”.

Ms Small said the naming of the band was influenced by the style of music the duo wanted to play.

“Corner Pocket was recorded by Count Basie in 1955 on his April in Paris album and was then later

made into a vocalese by Manhattan Transfer,” Ms Small said.

“We thought this would be the perfect opener for our concerts and thought why not use it as the name too.

“We want to take audiences back to the roots of swing during the 1920’s1950’s, to relive or revitalise the love of the classic jazz composers of the time, from Basie to Nestico, Thad Jones, Duke Ellington to name a few.”

She said they wanted to keep the same passion and interest in jazz music alive in Mount Gambier following the James Morrison Academy moving in a new direction.

The first event will be held at the Limestone Coast Pantry on December 11 with tickets available at humantix