Jazz Bells ring for PhD project

Lisa Young

Lisa Young

A Monash University PhD project combining Indian and jazz music was a finalist in this year's prestigious Australian Jazz Bell Awards.

Third-year PhD of Music Performance candidate Lisa Young, from the School of Music – Conservatorium and her group, the Lisa Young Quartet, made the top three shortlist for Best Australian Vocal Jazz Album at the recent 2012 Australian Jazz Bell Awards with the album The Eternal Pulse.

Her PhD supervisor Professor Margaret Kartomi said Ms Young is renowned as an exceptionally creative vocal stylist and improviser, incorporating Indian and African elements in her work. As a long-time student of Mridangam maestro Karaikudi Mani in Chennai, Lisa specialises in South Indian vocal percussion, known as konnakol.

“It’s wonderful to have been nominated. The Eternal Pulse is my definitive work in this cross-over genre of Indian and jazz music. The PhD has been a wonderful opportunity to create the work and I’m thrilled we made the finals,” Ms Young said.

The Lisa Young Quartet features Steve Magnusson on guitar, Ben Robertson on double bass and Dave Beck on drums, all of who teach in the University’s School of Music - Conservatorium.

“The album was composed by myself and Mr Roberston, and includes some of maestro Mani’s rhythmic structures,” Ms Young said.

The Eternal Pulse explores a diverse musical expression, layering Indian elements, rhythmic textures and ensemble dialogue, and varieties of meter and sub-division.”

The Australian Jazz Bell Awards began in 2003 and are awarded annually, recognising and encouraging excellence in the performance, creativity, recording and presentation of jazz in Australia.

The awards, informally known as the Bell Awards, have seven categories plus a Hall of Fame award, and are named in honour of one of the greats of Australian jazz, Graeme Bell MBE AO.

The quartet’s previous album Grace won the Bell Award for Best Australian Vocal Album in 2007.

The quartet will be performing tracks from The Eternal Pulse at 2pm on 17 June at the Kew Courthouse as part of the Kew Music Series.

Further information and tracks are available on the Lisa Young Quartet’s website.