Scene News: The Necks to receive the Distinguished Services to Australian Music honour at 2019 Art Music Awards!

Legendary experimental jazz trio The Necks will receive the Richard Gill Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music at the 2019 Art Music Awards on Monday 19 August. They are the first band to receive this honour.

Since their inception in 1987, The Necks have developed an original sound and an unconventional approach to long-form, minimal improvisation. Featuring Chris Abrahams on piano, Lloyd Swanton on bass and Tony Buck on drums, the line-up has remained stable since day one.

After more than three decades and 20 albums, the trio continue to thrill audiences around the world. The music of The Necks defies categorisation: part avant-garde, part improv, minimalist, trance, but still paying respect to jazz, their music is unique in the world today. Though not overtly striving for an “Australian” sound, it has been observed that The Necks could have originated from no other place.

The Necks released their first album, Sex in 1989 to enthusiastic reviews, and in 1994 the band established their own label, Fish of Milk.  The following decade saw them release numerous albums, experimenting with format, electronics and guest artists, and gradually consolidating the band’s essential elements.

The success of their work on the AFI-nominated soundtrack for the 1998 film, The Boys, saw the rest of the world catch on, and the group embarked on a series of European tours which continue to the present day. The releases of Aether (2001) and Drive By (2003) led to more accolades, including ARIA and APRA Awards, with critics comparing The Necks to musicians as wide-ranging as Philip Glass, The Dirty Three and Faust.

Aside from their work within the group, each member has enjoyed considerable individual success – but it is together that they have created a legacy. Selling out consecutive nights at the Sydney Opera House, opening for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and playing in venues from Dublin to Prague, Chicago, Moscow and Beirut, and creating from scratch every night, The Necks are a cult band who perform outside of conventional constraints.

“…They produce a post-jazz, post-rock, post-everything sonic experience that has few parallels or rivals. They may teach us to listen in a new way, but they communicate a fierce energy and warmth at the same time. Their music is a thrilling, emotional journey into the unknown. Like seeing a world in a grain of sand, The Necks permit us to hear a whole new world of music in a sliver of sound.”  The Guardian, UK 

The Necks will receive the Award at the 2019 Art Music Awards ceremony on Monday 19 August at the Great Hall of the University of Sydney.

Live performances curated by musical director Barney McAll will feature music by one of this year’s Work of the Year finalists, composer Alice Chance; a performance by pianist Sonya Lifschitz of Work of the Year finalist Robert Davidson;  exciting Australian improvisational saxophonist Scott McConnachie teams up with Sydney University Organist and Honorary Carillonist Amy Johansen; and Ensemble Offspring’s Jason Noble and Anna McMichael join Benjamin Kopp, Sonya Holowell and Chloe Kim to perform a work by Ngarra Burria alumni Rhyan Clapham (AKA Dobby) . 

Presenters on the night will include the Chief Executive Officer of the Australia Council for the Arts, Adrian Collette AM; Create NSW Executive Director of Investment & Engagement, Elizabeth W. Scott; ABC Classic FM’s Content Manager Toby Chadd; Artistic Director for SIMA, Zoe Hauptmann; Philanthropist and Chair of the Copyright Agency, Kim Williams AM and Dr Simon Barker, Senior lecturer in Jazz Studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. 

2019 ART MUSIC AWARDS
Monday 19 August @ 5.45pm
Great Hall of the University of Sydney
With host Jonathan Biggins and music curation by Barney McAll

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