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.
BRIAN BROWN AND JAZZ CO-OP IN CONCERT AND IN CAMERA
by John Clare
Jazz Down Under, January, 1975
Having tried feebly last month to describe the music of Brian Brown's band (there is a profile of Brown in this issue), I should simply say that their return engagement at Sydney's Basement was better than the first. There were times when I felt that music could not become any more intense than this. Their Conservatorium concert of the previous night was less satisfactory. The acoustics of the Con make it difficult for musicians on stage to hear each other through the louder passages, and this major obstacle prevented the band's overcoming the initial constraint of the concert situation…
MUSIC IS AN OPEN SKY: A REVIEW
by John Clare
Jazz Down Under, July/August, 1975
One of the traps these days in writing about Australian jazz is to start dithering about whether to stick one's neck out and say that a particular musician or band is in world class. The temptation has rarely been stronger than it was during the festival of contemporary music held over the month of May at Sydney's Basement. There were several points at which I thought, 'Surely it can't get much better than this'. Suffice it to say that Australian jazz has never been quite as good as it is today.
BOOK REVIEW: BODGIE DADA AND THE CULT OF COOL
by John Clare/Gail Brennan
Reviewed by Norm Dixon
Green Left Weekly, February 28, 1996
Gail Brennan — as writer John Clare is best-known these days — writes regularly in one of Sydney's give-away music newspapers. His column, "Ad Lib", is compelling. On the surface it reviews the latest in the jazz scene but inevitably Brennan veers off on always fascinating, often eccentric, sometimes infuriating tangents that touch on Australian society, cultural tolerance, a hatred of ignorance (for which he regularly and entertainingly vilifies the jazz critic of The Australian), and many other subjects…