Saturday, August 21, 2010

Part Two: An Interview with Australian Jazz composer/guitarist Peter Boothman

Jan.s: Peter, can you tell me what the driving force is behind your playing?

Peter: One of my motivations was to make a living without doing a boring 40-hour a week day job all my life Jan. Of course, always there is the love of music. I didn't actually start playing till I was 20, but for years before that I was endlessly at the radio listening to any music I could find, Sixties Rock, Jazz, Latin you name it. When I started learning guitar the driving force was to play with others, get into a band. When that happened it was a joy.

Jan.s: Who were you learning from Peter?

Peter: At first I taught myself, but being into jazz I soon realised I'd taken on a huge task & decided that some tuition would speed things up. My first teacher was Jack Richards at Guitar City. I owe him a lot, great player, great teacher. Later I would take a few lessons from Don Andrews, George Golla and from Antonio Losada for classical guitar. However in jazz, once you have the basics, the best way to learn is to listen to a lot of jazz and transcribe solos from record, and then when you start doing a few gigs that's when you really start to learn.

Jan.s: Who were the first players you joined up with?

Peter: Actually Jan, they were not jazz musicians. I teamed up with some local Bondi boys who were into Everly Bros, Roy Orbison and The Shadows. It was all a bit rough but we had fun; and we did do a few small gigs. Then I moved on to working in small clubs. I could read music (Thanks to Jack Richards) and reading guitarists were rare so I got a fair bit of work & experience in that area. The first real jazz I played was with Phil Treloar and Tony Ansell, that was in the late 60s, right at the start of our musical careers.

Jan.s: Following on from there Peter, with those gigs with Phil and Tony, tell us more about what you were playing and the venues you played at?

The three of us worked together in various bands in the early days, then when the "jazz explosion" hit Sydney around 1972 we tended to go our separate ways, although I did get to play with Tony & Phil again in later years. For most Sydney musicians the 70s were a great era with tons of work for everyone, and I got to play at most inner city venues from the Opera House Concert Hall & The Sydney Festival to smaller gigs such as The Rocks Push & The Limerick Castle. Mostly that was with my own quartet, Col Nolan's group, or with Jeannie Lewis. Overall a variety of music styles, and there was always improvisation involved. In later years I did a fair bit of freelance professional work, as well as a lot of jazz with players such as Roger Frampton, Bob Gebert, James Morrison and Lloyd Swanton.

 To listen to and learn more about Peter Boothman's  considerable compositon and writing talents please visit his websites :

Photos: Courtesy of & copyright of Peter Boothman

Friday, August 20, 2010

Jan.s: Sandie, I became aware of your presence in the Sydney jazz scene  during the 1980's I believe.

Sandie:Yes Janice that is true – I had stopped singing for quite a number of years – and one day I was invited out by a young man (haha) who took me to a pub abd there was my old friend Jack Allen.  To cut a long story short – he went to another gig and then 3 weeks later said I have a new gig and I want you to be my singer!  So suddenly there I was  back singing again!  Fortunately I had about 5 months with him and then started to work with other people who were really nice to me when they found I was back singing.

Jan.s: You exude the kind of know how and vocal style that takes me back to one of the first Australian jazz singers I heard in the 1960's, our own Kate Dunbar.

Sandie:  Well that’s interesting I must say – I mean Kate Dunbar is an absolute icon in Australian jazz – an amazing lady and I have the feeling that she really knows a lot more than me – but our styles are I think, really quite different!  I mean she is a fine trad jazz singer – I just go for the standards – eg the Great American Song Book – and bebop!  And would you believe I didn’t know she was English!!  Mind you I was born in Earls Court – so that really makes me an Aussie by birth!!

Jan.s: My perception is that here, as in most places, where Jazz is alive and kicking, a reinvention of the music takes place, yet the ground has it's roots in a well established vocabulary.

Sandie:  This is absolutely true – without that “vocabulary” – jazz would probably be all over the place!!  Wonderful people like Louis Armstrong,  Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Art Tatum planted the seeds and all the other greats that followed – just kept the flower growing!

Jan.s: Whilst we no longer have the urgency to create support groups such as SWIM, (Sydney Women In Jazz) established in the early ‘80’s but briefly lived… is there enough going on now that supports women playing/writing in the jazz idiom?

Sandie: - Well it was a shame that SWIM was so short lived – but I think you are right – there is very little support for women in jazz – basically I guess we just have to fight for ourselves – but for me singing is life itself and therefore I fight!  Maybe we should start something again!  

Sunday, August 15, 2010

ARTERIAL FLOW....a musical journey through the fluid systems

This is an introduction to the process that I entered into in order to create ARTERIAL FLOW and I will be happy to share with you this process in future posts.  I'd love to receive your feedback!

I'd like to begin by sharing part of the journey made to create 'Arterial Flow' with my collaborator Kirk Kadish.

'It is the mind that stops the flow and a change of mind that will release it too. We simply follow the course of nature, the natural pathways and rhythms, with our mind, and the fluids will respond'. 'The Wisdom of the Body Moving' by Linda Hartley.

janice slater & kirk kadish

1: ARTERIAL FLOW (Arterial Flow)
2 VENUS RED (Venous Blood)
3 CAP ICE (Isoring Fluids)
5 CLOUD OF UNKNOWING (Cerebro Spinal Fluids)
6 PANAMA (Interstital Fuids)
7 BIOS (Cellular Fluids)
8 RHYTHM BRIDGE (Synovial Fluids)
9 THE LOVING ARCH (Connective Tissue )

Sample 'ARTERIAL FLOW' tracks can be heard on the myspace and Centrifuge music links.  Downloads can be purchased via facebook link as on this page as well as on myspace.

ARTERIAL FLOW was born of a vocal response to the work of the wonderful writings of Linda Hartley in her book 'Wisdom of the Body Moving' .

Specifically via Linda's in depth explorations of the Fluid Systems.

Exploring the Fluid Systems kinaesthetically was an exciting process for me!

In addition, working alongside USA  composer Kirk Kadish was nothing short of awesome! Although Kirk and I had not met face to face we managed to keep the channels of communication open in a free flow of enhancing each other's musical explorations through the creation of  'ARTERIAL FLOW'.

Whilst 'The Fluid Systems' of the body may seem an unusual premise to base a CD of music on...each system lead me to discover a vocal response to an inner landscape of near imperceptible movement...

May 'Arterial Flow'  inspire you  to explore the nature of body/mind/spirit.

A thank you for the inspiration and the  invaluable body of work of both Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen and Linda Hartely.  Also a big thank you to Jacqui Bushell for allowing me to have her copy of 'Wisdom of the Body Moving' for longer than any book should be on loan for....!!!

I also would like to thank Australian artist Beth Norling for her extraordinary artwork and her graciousness in allowing  it to be on the cover of 'Arterial Flow'....

From an original art work by Beth Norling: etched plasticine on found print.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Gail Malone: Not everyone can see the beauty of Saltmarsh - we that do are rare birds!

Jan.s: Gail, You have a passion for land care and are committed to issues in your area. Can you share with us about the nature of the environment where you are and what problems you're addressing...

Gail:  Janice, I have so many concerns. Where to start? I’ve lived on a beautiful waterway for 25 years now and have noticed a lot of problems. These include reclaiming saltmarsh swamps, destruction of Mangroves, building retaining walls on the waters edge, litter and an increase in silt, because of the local damn and run off from the Sand Mining and other Industries on the Ridge. However, I think my main area of concern and also my area of knowledge, is protecting remnant bush from invasive and environmental weeds and regenerating the areas, which have been ravaged, with indigenous plants. By doing this, we the local community, can also protect our area of the catchment and make a greater connection to the planet.

I was involved in the environmental movement before I moved to the bush, however living here has seduced me into becoming more vocal regarding our natural heritage. My voice is not always welcomed and as a woman alone, I was seen as a lame duck and intimidation was the preferred method of ‘keeping me in my place’. I have had death threats and graffiti and general abuse. I have endeavoured to change peoples’ thinking by education and encouraging a love of the bush and its surrounds to hopefully make them feel connected to this place. As one of only three long term, full time residents and an elder in my community I felt I had the right to speak my mind and stood firm and would not be intimidated, which ironically only served to strengthen my resolve. As a member of the Central Coast Greens I found the tactics of intimidation were a tried and true method and I was told it is a sign that I was making headway. So, I continued my one-woman mission to educate my small community in the joys of the Australian bush and the importance of riparian zones to river health.

To my mind education is the key, so over a few years I garnered support from several environmental agencies to make the trek down to my little valley. As usual there was a handful of nay sayers, particularly the Progress Association but all in all it was taken very well. I keep a library of relevant material and provenance plants that I propagate on hand, so that if someone asks, I can give him or her some advice and something to take home. Public Relations is so important when educating, often unwilling, people and it’s nice that I can leave a living gift and not just facts and figures.

After three years of lobbying our area was given funds to start a Bush Care Group which included some tools, Public Liability Insurance and a paid supervisor. Further to this I applied for, and was successful in obtaining two Government Grants amounting to over $10,000 dollars. As part of the Grant criteria I devised a plan of attack for the area to maintain habitat, bio-diversity, wildlife corridors, start a seed bank, a small library, educate on Indigenous Cultural Heritage and ongoing help with keeping weeds in check.

Saltmarsh is a diminishing resource on the Hawkesbury, Nepean Catchment most of the roads close to the river system were built on reclaimed saltmarsh and this is one of the main reasons our waterways are under such great risk from soil and fertiliser wash off and weeds. The saltmarsh areas serve as a filter and collect erosion and weed seeds, over time extending the land. Weed seeds when caught there will not germinate because of the high salt content, so these areas tend to be weed free. When people move to estuary areas this is often the first thing they want to counter in an effort to increase land mass. Removing saltmarsh gives easier access to the water for landholders but also weed seeds. The lack of saltmarsh allows easy access for weed seeds to enter the water flow and then they can travel for great distances. With education I hope more people will see the shear beauty of it and understand how it can protect their properties. To this end I am part of a Waterwatch Program, Coordinated Samantha Kneeves of the Community Environment Network (C.E.N). C.E.N. relies on volunteers to test water quality in their given area once a month. The data is then uploaded to a central databank giving a clear view of the health of waterways within catchment areas. This is a program that has been taken up by a lot of Schools, they also do ‘Bug Watches’ which gives an added dimension to a river’s health. Again, I lobbied our local council for a Kit and was lucky enough to get one. Waterwatch has been successful in catching ‘dumpers’ and successful in having them charged and fined, it is a most worthwhile exercise. I am happy to say that my particular waterway is in good health. The testing is for pH, phosphates, turbidity, electrical conductivity and dissolved oxygen.

Janice, over the last six months I have also been involved in a community group, The Calga Peats Ridge Community Group Inc. (C.P.R.), formed to try and stop a proposed extension of a sandmine on the Ridge. The Ridge area has a lot of extractive industries placing pressure on the aquifer in the area that has existed for million of years. Most of these industries do not harm the Aquifer per say, they do put quite a strain on it, but over time the aquifer can recharge. The problem with the Rocla sandmine is that the aquifer itself is to be mined. The friable sandstone, rather like a huge sponge, stores water even in the driest conditions and it is this sandstone that is to be used. It is crushed into sand for the building industry. The friable sandstone is home to Hanging swamps, containing Ground Water Dependant Ecosystems (G.D.Es) and Endangered Ecological Communities (E.E.Cs). These are protected by legislation, but unfortunately ignored by the N.S.W. Government. The site has several threatened species of both flora and fauna and Aboriginal Cultural Sites. We have been lucky enough to have the support of the Australian Greens in both State and Local tiers of government. However, Lee Rhiannon (State Greens) and Peter Freewater (Local Greens) who have been so very helpful to our cause are both running in the upcoming Federal Elections. The Group has now created a website and also a Facebook Page that I have been given the opportunity to administer. This is a battle that could take years, as we were told by Lee Rhiannon, we have every chance of winning if we hang in for the long haul. The group has a great mix of people with important skills for the fight ahead. Most of all we won’t give up!

We can never know enough about our environment and as ‘greenies’ around the world say ‘think globally, act locally’. This mantra coupled with a thirst for knowledge are my tools. Although, all my environmental work is on a volunteer basis, it gives me a peace that money can’t buy and a connectedness to my place that is good for the soul.

All photos courtesy of and copyright of Gail Malone 2010

Links below to a number of the groups Gail is involved with: