Mike Nock’s BigSmallBand
Mike Nock’s BigSmallBand is widely recognised as one of Australia’s premium modern jazz ensembles. In its short lifetime the group has established a well deserved reputation for presenting some of the most exciting young jazz talents in the country, combining contemporary musical excitement together with a strong audience appeal.
Showcasing the music of Mike Nock, the BSB’s repertoire also includes contributions from such outstanding Australian composers as Andrea Keller, Dave Panichi and Phil Slater, among others.
Their recent CD Mike Nock’s BigSmallBand LIVE ( ABC/Jazz 981-567-6 ) won Best Australian Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year at the 2003 Australian Jazz Awards. Featured on the recent ABC-TV series THE PULSE, they have also made several live ABC radio broadcasts and toured widely throughout Australia.
The musicians are drawn from a pool of Sydney’s top creative jazz talents including such outstanding players as…
Simon Sweeney or Phil Slater – trumpet
Dave Panichi or Jeremey Borthwick – trombone
David Basedon – tuba
Roger Manins or Paul Cutlan – tenor sax / bass clarinet
Matt Ottignon – tenor sax / flute
Andrew Robson or Blaine Whittaker – alto sax / clarinet
Cameron Deyell or Aaron Flower – guitar
Brett Hirst or Ben Waples – bass
Toby Hall or Felix Bloxsom – drums
Mike Nock – piano
“Sydney-based pianist, composer and band-leader Mike Nock has long been regarded as one of our finest jazz musicians. During the past couple of years, Nock has assembled a stellar 10-piece band of leading Sydney jazz musicians to present his own compositions and contributions by other band members.
The emphasis throughout the concert was on improvised soloing but unlike the small combo setting, the soloists were supported by arranged backings. This was never more evident than on the composition Upline, which saw Nock out front conducting the band with its highly syncopated ‘stabs’ behind the soaring trumpet of Simon Sweeney.
Nock’s big band voice, with its frontline of tuba, trombone, trumpet, alto sax, flute and tenor sax provides a texture that is uncommon. This band deserves to be recorded and hopefully will continue to play an important role in the development of Australian jazz.” – Gary Lee, The West Australian, 30 Oct 2002
“The audience was not laughing as they went, to paraphrase the show-business adage, but still clapping, simmering with excitement.
The 10 musicians did not leave but stayed to meet the surge of students and fans seeking knowledge or expressing personally their delight.Throughout nine originals, the titles of which reflected Nock’s idiosyncratic search for the ‘different’ in his composing, his playing, his sometimes almost-manic ‘conducting’ exemplified the all-embracing energy of the concert.
Each musician took turns at leading, played ensemble work admirably, while all reacted with delight as the audience’s approval washed over them, acknowledging solos, tight presentations by small bands within the big band and soaring, roaring ensemble work. They continously exchanged musical and verbal wisecracks, physical and sight gags and expressions of encouragement and appreciation.
And while the band played on the audience listened with rapt and wonder-full enjoyment.” – Michael Foster, Canberra Times, 22 Oct. 2002
“On Sunday evening Mike Nock’s BigSmallBand wove complex interlocking harmonies and rhythms into a vibrant, pulsating collage.” – Jessica Nicholas, The AGE Melbourne, 6 Nov, 2001.
“Mike Nock has been plotting for a while to find the right combination of instruments and personalities for this project. That he has succeeded was thrillingly obvious right from the opening bars. Rather than dealing with the instrumentation as blocks of unison or harmonised sound, (Nock) revelled in the individual voices, creating what were sometimes highly complex charts, the instruments plaited together in infinite colour combinations. I have never enjoyed this aspect of his abundant creativity more” – John Shand Sydney Morning Herald (review of the BSB’s first performance, May 11th, 2000)