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Allan Browne Memorial Concert

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by Vanessa (subscribe)
WeekendNotes Chief Editor / Chief Writer / PR & Communications.

All are invited to attend a special Memorial Concert, this Friday 23rd September, to celebrate the musical life and legacy of drummer/bandleader/composer/poet Allan Browne, OAM, who passed away, just short of his 71st birthday, in the middle of last year.

This one night only event will feature an incredible line-up of Melbourne's leading jazz artists including:

  • Paul Grabowsky (Melbourne Music Prize recipient)

  • Barney McAll (who spent over two decades based in New York)

  • Andrea Keller (triple-ARIA winner)

  • Bob Sedergreen (Don Banks Award recipient), and

  • Tim Stevens

    Rounding out this incredible line up as well as saxophonists Julien Wilson and David Rex, and Red Onions trumpeter Brett Iggulden, OAM, (from Bellingen, NSW) as guest with Virus.

    There was a huge outpouring of grief at the passing of Browne, culminating in a New Orleans-style street music procession accompanying his hearse up Collins Street after his funeral. Allan was not just a pivotal figure in Melbourne's jazz scene: rather, he was regarded as the personification of Melbourne jazz: a living repository for the whole history of jazz, combined with a creative contemporary spirit.

    Browne first came to notoriety as a teenage leader of the traditional-based Red Onions Jazz Band, which formed around 1960. The band had considerable success, with regular T.V. appearances until early 1965 (when Gerry Humphries and Kim Lynch left to form the popular The Loved Ones). The band toured Europe for 10 months in 1967 before returning here to perform for another six years.

    An autodidact, Allan began to study modern jazz styles in the 1970s, and in 1978 began a long list of international credits in accompanying Phil Woods and Jimmy Witherspoon. From the early 1980s he was a regular at The Limerick Arms Hotel, in a residency with his original quartet "Onaje" on Monday nights, and accompanying visiting American artists such as Jay McShann, Teddy Wilson, Johnny Griffin, Barney Kessel, and Mal Waldron. "Onaje" toured overseas too, appearing at the prestigious 1982 Montreal Jazz Festival. He also began an association with Paul Grabowsky, firstly in a Trio that produced two ARIA-winning albums, and then in a Quintet with vocalist Shelley Scown.

    With the closure of The Limerick Arms venue in late 1993, his weekly residency there morphed into his legendary long-running Monday series at Bennetts Lane from 1993 until 2015.

    This residency was broken in the late 1990s by his years of illness with emphysema, when he was house-bound. A lung-transplant at The Alfred enabled his to return to performing with renewed passion and inspiration. This weekly series featured Browne's famous impromptu monologues and poems, as well as a rotating roster of Browne's ensembles, including his beloved Quintet, trios and new line-ups. These bands produced numerous albums of original material (mainly on the Jazzhead label), and he also mentored numerous young musicians. Throughout his career, Browne regularly returned to the traditional jazz style, but mainly recorded original works in that idiom. This is one of the elements that helped to make his style so unique.

    Having served on the Australia Council's Music Board in the 1990s, he later became Chairman of the Melbourne Jazz Co-operative. He was the recipient of the $30,000 Don Banks Award in 2001 and was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2013. He also was inducted in the Australian Jazz Awards 'Bell' Hall of Fame, and won several other 'Bell' and ARIA Awards.

    Browne's second wife is pianist Margie Lou Dyer, while all of his five offspring are musical performers, with credits including The Art of Fighting, and The Hoodangas.

    All profits from the concert will go be donated to Margie Lou and her family.

    The Allan Browne Memorial Concert will be held on Friday, 23rd September 2016, from 8 pm to 11pm at The Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins Street, Melbourne.

    Tickets are priced $40 / $30 concession / $20 Student Rush at the Door and can be purchased via Ticketek online, Ticketek Outlets or by calling 9650 1500.

    For more information on this event, please visit

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    When: 8pm, Friday 23 September
    Where: The Athenaeum, 188 Collins Street Melbourne, Victoria 3000
    Cost: $40/30 plus fees
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