Since 1985, Paul has made numerous recordings, both in Australia and overeas. He has won several major awards for his music, including 3 ARIAs, an AFI, and the Sidney Myer Performing Artist of the Year Award (2001).
Listen: 01 – Angel
Crossing Roper Bar Volume 2: The Ghost Dances (AAO)
To have been allowed to embark on this journey has been a highlight, maybe the highlight of my musical career, and the AAO players who have given this concept so much substance are a uniquely talented crew. Niko Schäuble co-produced the CD and played drums, Phil Rex mastered it and played bass, Tony Hicks brought his countless skills on various woodwinds, and master musicians Erkki Veltheim and Stephen Magnusson remind us of why the are two of the most valued members of our musical community.
See more about Crossing Roper Bar on the Australian Art Orchestra (AAO) website >
The Bitter Suite (Paul Grabowsky Sextet)
The Bitter Suite is my new jazz recording, out now on ABC Jazz. There are nine pieces for jazz sextet in the suite, including an arrangement of a piano piece by Alexander Scriabin, a visionary, eccentric Russian composer who died in 1915.
On a Clear Day (Grabowsky/Oehlers)
Tenor saxophonist Jamie Oehlers and I love to mess around with chromatic harmony, polytonality and the spontaneity that comes from feeling comfortable with how we interact. We decided it would be fun to apply this feeling of freedom to a set of standards, some very well known, and others less so. On a Clear Day is the result, in which the fun is shared with a great rhythm section: Sam Anning, bass and drummer Ben Vanderwal.
Listen: ‘I didn’t know what time it was’
Lost and Found
A few years back, Jamie Oehlers, prodigiously gifted tenor saxophonist, suggested playing in a completely improvised setting with drummer extraordinaire Dave Beck. We call the project ‘Lost and Found’. We never discuss what we will do before we play; it just happens, and the results can be very surprising. It’s always fun, and our recording, made at Allan Eatons, is a good example of what can happen.
Listen: Evolution Part II
Crossing Roper Bar (AAO)
In 2004 I visited the community of Ngukurr in South East Arnhem Land, and met some of the custodians of traditional songs of place, identity and spirit called manikay. Since that first visit, the AAO have been very involved with these amazing artists, learning their music, and performing it with them throughout Australia, from our major concert halls to remote communities across the Kimberley. This is a studio album that documents part of that journey. I am very proud of it.
See more about Crossing Roper Bar on the Australian Art Orchestra (AAO) website >
Listen: Djuwulparra/Wild Blackfella:
Hush recordings: Love’s Calendar & 10 Healing Songs
During 2005, I met Dr Catherine Crock, who believes in the power of music to play a role in the healing environment of Children’s Hospitals. She has set up an organisation, the Hush Foundation, which commissions composers and musicians to create music for this very special purpose. There are now 11 Hush CDs, the sale of which has raised over $1 million for pain relief for children in hospital. I am one of two artistic directors for Hush, together with conductor Benjamin Northey. I have made two CDs for the project, the first being a jazz trio set with Andrew Gander on drums, and the late (and greatly missed) Gary Costello on bass. This is ‘Love’s Calendar’. The second, ‘Ten Healing Songs’, is a suite for jazz trio, string quartet and oboe. No less than the Goldner Quartet and Diana Doherty donated their services for this recording.
Bernie McGann is one of the greatest of all jazz musicians, either here or anywhere, for that matter. He represents the essence of the music; uncompromising and thoroughly schooled in the tradition, while creating his own response to it. We have enjoyed playing together over the years, and this album of ballads is the closest I have come to making a jazz album in the classic sense of the word. We are joined by two of my favorite people: Phil Rex on bass and Simon Barker, drums.
Before Time Could Change Us
Before Time Could Change Us is a cycle of songs set to love lyrics by the late Dorothy Porter, which I composed during 2003 as a result of a commission from the Queensland Music Festival. Dot’s words are magnificent: she always had the power to compress complex ideas into a few well chosen – and musical – lines, or even just single explosive words. The music runs the gamut from jazz and latin-informed structures to something more approaching art-song. Katie Noonan, who possesses rare and exquisite vocal talents, sings them beautifully, and the band, in which I am joined by Scott Tinkler, trumpet, Philip Rex, bass and Simon Barker on drums, play up a storm. This album won an ARIA in 2005.
Listen: Incapable of Caution
Recorded two months before Tales, Big Adventure is my fourth Australian trio project. With Philip Rex on bass and Niko Schauble drumming, I am free as a player and composer to go anywhere musically, and I feel that we set ourselves some exciting challenges on this recording.
Tales of Time and Space
My tribute to NYC, my favorite place after Melbourne. My dream all-star band, with Branford Marsalis and Joe Lovano on soprano and tenor saxes respectively, my old comrade Ed Schuller on bass and the irrepressible Jeff Tain Watts on drums. Scott Tinkler, who is a master interpreter of my music, proves that he is totally at home in such company.
Sita is the music from the acclaimed music-theatre production Theft of Sita, which was first performed as part of the Melbourne International Festival in 2000 and has sinced toured Europe and the United States of America. Sita is a collaboration between members of the Australian Art Orchestra and 5 Balinese musicians under the direction of the co-composer of the music I Gde Wayan Yudane. The music merges traditional Balinese structures with free Jazz and contemporary electronica, and features the beautiful voice of Shelley Scown.
Into The Fire
Into The Fire documents a collaboration between the Australian Art Orchestra (led by Paul Grabowsky) and the South Indian Sruthi Laya Ensemble led by Karaikudi R Mani. ITF consists of three works: Adrian Sherriff’s spectacular arrangement of Mani’s ‘Vasantha Pravaham’, the groundbreaking ‘Moras’ by John Rodgers and the beautiful ‘Ferryman’ by Niko Schäuble.
The third album from this award-winning trio features a number of stunning originals, as well as an arrangement of ‘Straight, No Chaser’ in 7/4 and arrangements of Burt Bacharach’s ‘Make It Easy On Yourself’ and Billy Strayhorn’s ‘Star-Crossed Lovers’.
Passion consists of five major works by Paul Grabowsky, Doug de Vries, Alister Spence, Niko Schäuble and John Rodgers each inspired by the St Matthew Passion of J.S. Bach. The pieces are linked by five chorales sung by Christine Sullivan with lyrics by Paul Grabowsky.
Keep Up Your Standards
Ringing The Bell Backwards
These radical recompositions of European songs from the 1930’s (including ‘Es wird Einmal ein Wunder Geschehen,’ ‘La Vie en Rose,’ ‘Unter Dayne Vayse Stern’ and ‘We’ll Meet Again’) were the basis for the formation of the Australian Art Orchestra (now one of Australia’s most respected ensembles) and represent a turning point for improvised music in this country.
When Words Fail
The Trio’s first recording in 6 years brought them a second ARIA, and cemented their reputation as one of Australia’s most important small ensembles. The material ranges from an Allemande of J.S. Bach to original Grabowsky compositions such as ‘Stars Apart’ and ‘Playschool’.
Ambitious originals and tight ensemble playing characterise Viva Viva, which features the mind-boggling title track (written during an ad break on ‘Tonight Live’) and a couple of Paul’s signature tunes, ‘Angel’ and ‘Isabella’s Dance.’ Paul’s personal favourite.
TeeVee features some of Australia’s finest improvisers, playing mostly original material. Standout tracks on this recording are ‘The Return of Prince Planet,’ ‘Snap Dance,’ ‘Rain,’ and a cover of John Lennon’s poignant song for his mother, ‘Julia.’
The Zurich Session
The Moon and You
The now-familiar voice of Shelley Scown was introduced to the world on this album, on which she sings four tracks. Four tracks on the album were recorded in New York, with an all-star band including Paul Motian and Dewey Redman.
Paul Grabowsky formed the Wizards of Oz with Saxophonist Dale Barlow and the now world-famous rhythm section of The Necks – Lloyd Swanton (Bass) and Tony Buck (Drums) – in 1987. Recorded prior to a world tour, Soundtrack consists of original compositions by the band and won the ARIA award in 1989.
Six By Three
This was the first recording by Paul Grabowsky’s trio founded in 1983 with Allan Browne (Drums) and Gary Costello (Bass). It was originally released in a deluxe edition including limited edition lithographs commissioned from 6 Melbourne artists including Philip Hunter.
It won an ARIA award in 1990 and is now recognized as one of the most influential Australian Jazz recordings.