Jay Rodriguez (USA) @ Venue 505 Review by Steve Barry

Thanks to John Shand for a nice review of Jay Rodriguez's gig at 505 last Saturday!

When it’s like this it rearranges your very molecules for you. You walk in from a world defined my time, cost and practicalities, and suddenly all priorities are reset. Jay Rodriguez’s huge sound on a tenor saxophone immediately declares – insists! – that this being alive lark is actually about daring to feel our humanity and responding accordingly; about emotions too big for words.

Then he goes and develops a solo that is monumental in its scope, and his collaborators – collaborators just for this one night – go with him, providing not just foundations but musical exhortations that lift him higher. Cameron Undy’s bass is driving like a snow-plough, Tim Firth’s drums are snapping and whipping and Stephen Barry’s piano is slicing up the harmonies.

The repertoire ranged across his own compositions (including the elegiac As the Rain Subsides and the sizzling Your Sound) to a potent reading of Keith Jarrett’s soulful The Rich (and the Poor) and even to Procol Harum’s A Whiter Shade of Pale (which was possibly surplus to requirements).
— John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald, September 3 2017

Vista Needle National Tour by Steve Barry

Daniel Susnjar and I spent the last few weeks on the road premiering our new project, Vista Needle: both a vehicle for our own music and to explore some interpretations and re-compositions of 20th century classical music from Paul Hindemith to Federico Mompou.

We had a blast making music with some of the countries finest bass players - Chris Hale in Melbourne, Thomas Botting in Sydney and Canberra, and Pete Jeavons in Perth.

Thanks to Eric Pozza for a nice review of our gig at ANU on 13th April, and thanks to the Melbourne Jazz Co-Op, Alec Hunter and Laurence Inkpen at ANU and the Perth Jazz Society for putting us on. Daniel, Pete and I spent a day at Villanova Studios in Perth laying down some tracks at the end of the run - some of that will be up soon!

Duo with Judy Bailey by Steve Barry


Next week I'm overjoyed to be playing a set of free improvisations with the lovely Judy Bailey in the Sydney Conservatorium's West Recital Hall. We first played together during a series of two piano concerts way back in 2011 and discovered an intuitive, empathetic connection that somehow has taken us a while to find the opportunity to revisit.

Since my undergrad lessons with her at the Con, I've always been blown away by Judy's incredible touch and command of the piano, and the joyous, incessantly inventive energy she brings to making music. During our sessions I'd sometimes have to stop Judy mid song to ask her what voicing she was playing, only to find it was one I knew...somehow she managed to always extract the magic out of the notes!

6:30pm Monday 23rd November, Recital Hall West. We're also recording the night with the view of releasing a live record - hope you can join us!


Thanks to Jim Rolon for taking this great polaroid shot of Judy as part of a focus series on Australian Composers - http://www.cutcommonmag.com/jim-rolon-and-the-composer-polaroid-series/

ABC Session with Jamie Oehlers by Steve Barry

After a couple of months studying and traveling overseas I headed into the ABC in Sydney last week to lay down some new music with Jamie Oehlers, Thomas Botting and Tim Firth for Jazztrack with Mal Stanley.

I always enjoy working in new collaborations and it was great to have Jamie involved after the few short chances we've had to play together. Huge thanks to James Kennedy and Henry Rasmussen for engineering the session - it'll be broadcast on ABC Jazz in the near future!

In Tandem, At Twilight - Contemporary Dance Collaboration with Lisa Barry by Steve Barry

My sister Lisa recently graduated from the Contemporary Dance Program at QUT - Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance Performance).

We'd been talking about working on a project together for a while, and Lisa had the idea for this piece as part of one of her assessments. She was interested in exploring the connection between music and dance, and the ways in which they could inform each other through improvisation. We got together one rainy afternoon at the QUT campus in Brisbane and workshopped a few ideas; just Lisa, Jill and I improvising using this idea of the two dancers' position relating to the registers of the two parts on the piano.

15 minutes later we'd pretty much come up with the final piece, which we refined separately over the next few days and is ultimately what you see here. It was a pretty inspiring process and we're looking forward building on the collaboration into the future...so stay tuned!

Choreography by Lisa Barry
Performed by Lisa Barry and Chiu-Ju Wang
Music by Steve Barry

"Puzzles" Launch Oct 17th, New Zealand Tour and Wangaratta and Queenstown Jazz Festivals by Steve Barry

It's going to be a crazy few weeks with the launch of my latest record, Puzzles, a tour of New Zealand and performances at the Wangaratta and Queenstown Jazz Festivals!

Puzzles Quartet Album Launch @ SIMA, October 17

I'm happy to announce that my second album, Puzzles, will be launched at SIMA in Sydney on Friday October 17th! Alex Boneham, Tim Firth, Dave Jackson and I flew down to Melbourne to record at Niko Schauble's Pughouse Studios in February, generously donated as part of a prize I received at the National Jazz Awards last year. Copies will be available on the night and from then on through BandcampHelping me propel the music into the ether will be Dave Jackson - alto, Thomas Botting - bass, and Tim Firth - drums.

This week Alex has accepted a place at the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz - a two year Masters program based in Los Angeles that counts Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter as part of the faculty. Al and I started playing together when I first crossed the ditch in 2009, and countless gigs and road trips later I'm glad to count him as one of my closest mates and comrades in music. Good luck bro!! 


I'm making a short launch tour of New Zealand later this month, which includes a couple of performances at the Queenstown Jazz Festival.

Oct 22 - Havana, Wellington (Umar Zakaria - bass, Reuben Bradley - drums)
Oct 24-26 - Queenstown Jazz Festival (Roger Manins - tenor, Brett Hirst - bass, James Waples - drums)
Oct 28 - Orange Studio, Christchurch (Jimmy Rainey - tenor, Michael Story - bass, Joe McCallum - drums)
Oct 29 - CJC, Auckland (Roger Manins - tenor, Cam McArthur - bass, Ron Samsom - drums)


I'm thrilled to be a part of this year's Wangaratta Jazz Festival for the first time as a leader, as well as performing with some of my favourite groups and musicians. Tickets available here.

Nov 1 - Steve Barry Quartet, Jazz at the Gateway 5-6pm
Nov 1 - Andrew Dickeson Quintet, St. Pat's Hall, 8-9pm
Nov 1 - Andrew Gander Quartet, WPAC Hall, 9-10pm
Nov 2 - Andrew Dickeson Quintet, Jazz at the Gateway, 12-1pm

It's also going to be another sensational year at the National Jazz Awards. I'm excited to see two of my longest musical comrades in the finals, Carl Morgan and Peter Koopman (with whom I had my first experience of Australian jazz at Wangaratta in 2007), as well as local Sydney heroes Paul Mason and Oli Thorpe.

Japan Collaboration

In April of this year Dave Jackson and I travelled to Japan to record an album with two outstanding Japanese musicians: drummer Ko Omura and bassist Yoshio Suzuki (formerly of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers). I'm excited to announce the album will be released on the Japanese label "Studio Songs" in February 2015 - more info coming soon.

Andy Gander Quartet Tour

This month I'm also doing a short tour with Australia drumming legend Andrew Gander and his quartet with Carl Morgan on guitar and Brett Hirst on bass. 

Oct 15 - Hippo, Canberra
Oct 16 - Smiths Alternative Bookshop, Canberra
Oct 30 - Venue 505, Sydney
Nov 16 - VJ's, Chatswood, Sydney

All the best until next time!

Patience - Commission for Two Pianos by Steve Barry

With Natalia Ricci and Daniel Rojas

Last night I was thrilled to see Daniel Rojas and Natalia Ricci perform a composition of mine for two pianos at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Verbruggen Hall.

The piece is a product of my PhD studies, which explore ways to facilitate improvisation at the piano through developing a contemporary, creativity-focussed repertory for pianists.

While Daniel is well known as improviser it was close to the first time Natalia had improvised in public - although you wouldn't have guessed it!

A recording of the performance is on its way, and more music for two pianos is coming soon...!

Jeremy Rose - Iron in the Blood by Steve Barry

Last weekend I was honoured to play a movement from Jeremy Rose's work for Chamber Orchestra "Iron in the Blood", inspired by Robert Hughes' book "The Fatal Shore", on the arrival of Europeans in Australia. It was also my very first gig on Harpsichord!

It was performed by the Conservatorium of Music Modern Music Ensemble, conducted by Daryl Pratt and recorded for the ABC - broadcast date coming soon.

Check out Jeremy's diverse plethora of musical projects at http://jeremyrose.earshift.com.

Album Launch and New Videos Up! by Steve Barry

Puzzles (2014)

I've just added a 'videos' tab to the site and added some clips from a recent at 505 in Sydney with Alex Boneham and Tim Firth.

We'll be launching my new record "Puzzles" (which actually contains none of this music!) at SIMA at the Sound Lounge on October 17, with guest Dave Jackson on alto saxophone.

Monday Jam Session/Games Night at 505 by Steve Barry

I'm excited to announce the start of a new jam session at 505 on Monday nights! Each week I'll be joined by some of Australia's finest bass players and drummers for a short set of piano trio before we open up the session, and occasionally we'll also feature the music of a celebrated jazz composer. The last two weeks have been a great success with a really fun and creative community vibe.

Best of all it's free entry, and there's a huge selection of board games and 505's extensive and delicious food and drink menu to keep you entertained and replete.

Here's a taster from a previous session with Tom Botting and Max Alduca on bass, and Andrew Gander on drums.

See you Mondays from 8pm!

Dave Jackson - Cosmontology Live Out Now by Steve Barry

Lately Dave Jackson and I have been making a lot of music together; Dave features on a new album of my music I recorded in February and we travelled to Tokyo together in April to record another album with Japanese musicians Yoshio Suzuki (formerly of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers) on bass and Ko Omura on drums.

In June/July of last year Dave took his quartet on the road around Australia, and he's just released a live album of music recorded during that tour. I think it captures some of the band's best playing and I'm really proud to have been a part of it. The record also features Tom Botting on bass and Paul Derricott on drums, and is available here!

Stay tuned for release dates for the other aforementioned records!