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In Concert: Jex Saarelaht BMW EDGE Nov 2006

Year: 2006, 61 mins

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In 1986 Jex supported Dizzy Gillespie at Melbourne's Dallas Brookes Hall and his trio was selected to be the support act for legendary jazz vocalist Betty Carter's performance in June '95. Residing in London, June '87 to July '88, Jex played a year long solo piano residency, as well as presenting his trio with Steve Rose, bass, and Winston Clifford, drums, at the original Jazz Café, Newington Green.
Spending the last three months of 1995 in New York, Jex took formal lessons with Joanne Brackeen and Don Friedman, among others, and lessons by way of example from Geri Allen, Kenny Barron, John Hicks, Cedar Walton, Marilyn Crispell, Bobby Hutcherson, Dr. John, the Meters, the Skatalites.

Melbourne pianist-composer Jex Saarelaht, best known as the leader of a long-running trio, debuted his quartet with saxophonist Julien Wilson at the 2007 Wangaratta Jazz Festival. Since then the personnel has settled to include Jonathan Zwartz (bass) and Niko Schäuble (drums). Since the mid ‘80s, Jex has performed and recorded with an impressive list of Australian and international musicians, from Dale Barlow and Bernie McGann to Vince Jones and Chris Wilson, from Renee Geyer and Kate Ceberano to Sheila Jordan and Steve Lacy. Key international performances include the Edinburgh Festival, Birmingham International Jazz Festival, London’s Jazz Café and Southbank, and the Aarhus International Jazz Festival, Denmark. A founding member of legendary Melbourne bands, Dianna Kiss and Doug de Vries’ New Tango Quintet, Jex has also led his own bands, including the Jextet in the mid ‘80s. His trio played its first gig in 1993 with the same line-up (Philip Rex and Niko Schäuble) remaining to this day. They released a superb 2-CD set, ‘Fridays, Late’ (Bennetts Lane) in 1999. In March 2006, Jex was awarded the Melbourne Jazz Fringe Festival’s inaugural composer commission, resulting in the 30-minute piece ‘For Love of Ivor’, performed at Federation Square.

'"The seamless way they combine, whichever member is taking the lead, reflects the benefits of the regular work so many local bands find elusive. Saarelaht's piano playing is brilliant…" - Adrian Jackson, The Age

"…some world class jazz piano providing a solid basis for the band…" - The Guardian, London

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