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Roof Rights

by Mark Helias

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Roger 11:13
Handycam 08:36
Gentle Ben 11:41
Dominoes 08:30


This concert was recorded in November, 2000 at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival in Wangaratta Australia. I visited Australia for the first time in January, 1996 with Trio Three, subbing for Reggie Workman. I had a great time and met and played with a number of Australian musicians including Sandy Evans and Tony Gorman, Alistair Spence and others. I also hung out with Mike Nock whom I had met and played with in New York in the late 70's.
In 1999 Adrian Jackson, the artistic director of the festival contacted me about coming to perform at the 2000 Wangaratta Jazz Festival with my trio Open Loose and we discussed strategies to maximize my time there. Apparently I initiated the idea of adding three Australian musicians to my trio and doing some sextet concerts. The trip is so long that I was of the mind to maximize my time there by booking more gigs. The fact that I was able to do that in the same location was a bonus. In this case I trusted Adrian to choose three horn players from down under so that I could compose sextet music for the ensemble. I sent the music in advance, as it was somewhat challenging, and hoped for the best, technically and spiritually. In this case, serendipity was on my side. Open Loose had a busy schedule at Wangaratta as did James, Scott and David, none of whom I had ever met. They were performing in their own groups and other cooperatives at the same festival so there wasn't really a lot of time for us to get together. We had one rehearsal for about two hours; for me, the ensemble spirit,
conviction and accuracy achieved by the sextet is astounding. It confirms my belief that bringing talent, attitude, fearlessness and generosity of spirit together in music is a winning combination. We seem to all immediately feel comfortable with one another and had a lot of shared musical ideas and humor.
They as a group understood what I was after and the concert was a pleasure and a powerful experience. I have since had a ongoing relationships with numerous musicians in Australia, continuing to work with Scott Tinkler and playing on and producing albums by the late David Ades. David and I became quite close over the years and we always visited and played together when either of us were in each others countries. Scott told me that he and David worked on the music together knowing there wouldn't be much time to rehearse, and their dedication was an enormous boost in making this concert happen with one rehearsal. It turned out that James, who was a very busy trombone player, had not had much time with the music and pretty much sight read it at the rehearsal. Needless to say I was very impressed and felt fairly confident about the ensemble after the session. Notwithstanding, it was the musical sense and group consciousness that made the music happen, not practice or rehearsal. I think it was Tony Malaby's first trip to Oze and maybe Gerald as well. They both played with a strength and grace that is very moving to me to this day. It felt like everyone brought all of their musical experiences with them on this rather varied and complex program.
I have always counted this concert and meeting as a highlight in my career and a seminal moment moving forward. In addition to all this wonderful stuff that happened at Wangaratta, Adrian Jackson arranged for me to have dinner with Joe Zawinul who was also playing at the festival with his group Zawinul Syndicate. I also got to hang out with my late pal Victor Bailey who was playing bass with Joe's band.
This concert was twenty years ago but it does not seem like a distant memory at all; rather a harbinger of great things to come.


released July 2, 2020

Mark Helias – Bass, composer
Gerald Cleaver - Drums
David Ades – Alto Saxophone
James Greening – Trombone
Tony Malaby – Tenor Saxophone
Scott Tinkler – Trumpet

recorded live at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival
Concert produced by Adrian Jackson
All compositions by Mark Helias Radio Legs Music BMI, GEMA
Cover Photo: Claudia Barritt/CBJ Photos


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Mark Helias New York, New York

Mark Helias is a renowned bassist, composer and producer who has performed throughout the world for more than four decades with some of the most important and innovative musicians in Jazz and Improvised Music including Don Cherry, Edward Blackwell, Anthony Davis, Dewey Redman, Anthony Braxton, Abbey Lincoln, Cecil Taylor, and Uri Caine.
Sixteen albums of his music have been released since 1984.
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