Aaron Choulai takes out the 2014 Freedman Fellowship.

Studio, Sydney Opera House

August 20, 2014

Having submitted an audition recording, preferably indicative of a developing project that would be brought to fulfillment should he or she win the coveted Freedman Fellowship, and being subjected to interviews by the judges, the four finalists in this very special annual event finally take part in their live auditions at the Sydney Opera House studio. Each contestant recruits his or her own band for the occasion. This is both a concert and a contest on the night. Well, so are all such events, but the spirit of fellowship that makes all the players fellows whether they officially become so or not is always inspiring. Also, in the many times I have attended this night (once as a judge) the standard has been remarkable, from the viewpoints of execution, interpretation and creativity. Many of the chosen vehicles are original compositions, and of course the improvisations and improvisatory developments are often brilliant.

Small wonder. The applicants have all been invited by a panel of outstanding veterans.

So eclectic can these concerts be that the only jazz aspects in some ensemble offerings are inspiraton and...