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February 18, 2020
Culture

Adam Page’s guide to Adelaide’s best jazz venues

When the mood calls for a smoke-hazed backroom jazz jam (sans-smoke), Adam Page knows where to go.

  • Pictures: Supplied

As a UNESCO-verified City of Music, there’s an array of aural art on offer throughout Adelaide on any given night, meaning that you and I, dear music fan, are very spoilt for choice.

Remarks

Adam Page is busy again during Adelaide Fringe 2020. Be sure to check any (or all) of his shows:

SOLO at The Wheaty
4 Saxophones and a Beat Machine at The Wheaty
For Kids… And Their Adults at The Wheaty

You can also see Adam as part of Georgie Aue Band’s Bossa Nova tribute, Come to Brazil.

Often, selecting where, what or whom to see is heavily influenced by whatever your preferred local haunt is – be it a brash local band over a jug at the Ex, or pints and a snag while Billy Bob and his band have their BBQ Jam.

Sometimes, though, a certain mood will strike, and a strong feeling for a particular type of experience will wash over you: sinking into a barstool, watching a cohort of musicians noodle through a setlist of original and old standard jazz songs, all the while sipping from a glass of something neat.

When CityMag starts to feel this way, we know just who to turn to for a mid-week jazz gig recommendation – one of Adelaide’s most-loved multi-instrumentalists, Adam Page.

Adam runs recording studio and record label Wizard Tone Studios, which has a strong focus on jazz, and he is a constant presence on stages in Adelaide, playing both in the genre and alongside it, as an improvisational musician and loop-pedal aficionado, including during this year’s Fringe.

Below, Adam has provided CityMag with his recommendations for Adelaide’s best jazz venues.


 

COMA at The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Thebarton

The Tin Shed at The Wheaty is an iconic Adelaide live music destination for all styles, five nights a week (sometimes more). You will be pressed to witness a cover band at The Wheaty, as they focus on original music – which is a very big plus for me. No pokies too!

I cut my teeth as a performer on that stage so I owe The Wheaty a LOT.

When is the best time see a jazz artist?
The only regular time to check out jazz at The Wheaty is on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month, as a part of the COMA (Creative Original Music Adelaide) series. There are usually two bands a night, and although you can expect anything from classical to electronic most acts have a jazz lean.

Any upcoming gig recommendations?
Any COMA night – but I couldn’t walk away from this article not spruiking my 2020 Adelaide Fringe shows! They are steeped in jazz but may not always come out that way!

 

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Django’s Jazz Jam at The Grace Emily, CBD

The Grace Emily is Adelaide’s most pubby pub with a great atmosphere and focus on live music. The small band room out the back is a legendary spot to get up close and personal with the artists and fellow punters. I have many fond memories of The Grace both on stage and in the audience… also, no pokies!!

When is the best time to see a jazz artist?
On the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month local guitar legend Django Rowe hosts a jazz jam where the house band (comprising of other Adelaide jazz legends) plays the first set then invites guests up to jam in the second.

Any fond memories from this venue?
Although not a jazz act, I had the pleasure of being one of only a few lucky punters to check out kiwi artist and friend Thomas Oliver a few years back. He has a knack for making you feel like he is performing just for you, but with this intimate crowd it was kicked up to the next level.

 

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Vintage Vulture

By day it is a second-hand shop specialising in stereo amps, speakers, odd electronics, lamps, retro art – you name it. By night it is Adelaide’s quirkiest live music venue! It’s always a great show at The Vulture and always very well attended by music students, music lovers and partiers from way back.

When is the best time to see a jazz artist?
The nights vary – best to check in with their Facebook page, but the first Thursday of the month is the most regular spot. Not every gig will be jazz as such, but a fair chunk will be and they will always be ‘modern’ and often intense!

Any fond memories from this venue?
I think my fondest memory was my first gig there playing with afro-beat band The Shaolin Afronauts. I immediately fell in love with the place. You play in the middle of the long room with the audience all around you. Such a great vibe!

 

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The Gilbert St. Hotel

The Gilbert has had regular jazz on for years now. I appreciate their support of this art form as often, after some time, venues let their jazz night slip away. It’s still going strong at The Gilbert and we are all happy about that!

When is the best time to see a jazz artist?
Every Tuesday night, The Airbenders perform a free set in the front room. Led by organ player Paul White, this night is always a cracker. Often attended by international jazz legends when in town (who will always have a jam) the core band consists of drummer Ben Riley and jazz guitar superstar James Muller

Upcoming gig recommendations?
Tuesday night

Any fond memories from this venue?
The original Airbenders band featured my close friend and saxophonist Mike Stewart who sadly passed away in 2014. I used to go to the Gilbert regularly to get my Mike fix. He was a wonderful player and his notes still reverberate off the walls.

 

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