This section is dedicated to the work of John Clare, who began writing in the early 70s, and has long been regarded as the doyen of Australian jazz writers. Helen Garner, in her preface to Clare's book Take Me Higher, describes how she used to cut out his writings under his Gail Brennan pseudonym and paste them into her diary. Originally she thought the articles were written by a woman. She describes his writing as "superbly literate and articulate, deeply informed, yet completely ordinary in tone, even at their most elated. A relaxed freedom flowed through everything he wrote. He was fearless. He rejoices. He celebrated. Years later, an art critic who admired him said to me: John Clare’s an ecstatic.” Many of John Clare's articles that were published previously in various publications are collected here. Click on the INDEX button for a list of articles in this folder.
DICK HUGHES’ PORT JACKSON FIVE
Reviewed by Gail Brennan/John Clare
Sydney Morning Herald, July 18, 1992
The Soup Plus restaurant is currently celebrating its 20th birthday. For much of its life, it has been the central venue for traditional jazz, and a secondary but important forum for more recent styles. With his love for — some might say obsession with — historical detail, Dick Hughes has put together a band drawn from the famous Port Jackson Jazz Band and the more recent and slightly less famous Famous Five...
Album review by John Clare
australianjazz.net, August 12, 2014
We can’t always assume that we are right when we speculate on the self-identity of people who play or listen to the various idioms of music. But that doesn’t stop us. Alright, but we should also realise that self-identification by players of the same idiom might be different in different countries. The music here – some of it recently composed and some of it interpretations of pieces by such as Wayne Shorter, Eddie Henderson, Cedar Walton, Oliver Nelson, Pat Metheny etc – covers hard bop, post-bop, funky jazz (where the time is often in eight or sixteen rather than four), and it seemed to project self-identification with the people and even the ghetto, yet also a certain self-aware sophistication. It had a punch, an exciting soulful attack, yet also a certain cool self-containment...
THE INTERNATIONAL JAZZ BOOM
by Gail Brennan/John Clare
Sydney Morning Herald, September 1, 1990
The international jazz boom will be good news, not only for jazz, but for other new music activities — if it lasts. A range of factors from economic considerations to the carefully cultivated prejudice that the music has always faced, make any jazz boom a precarious thing, particularly in Australia....