2021 Helpmann Academy Jazz Awards

24 September 2021

Eight emerging jazz musicians have been presented with $27,500 in awards at A Night of Jazz with Harry James Angus, Helpmann Academy’s annual Jazz Awards event that honours outstanding musicians from The University of Adelaide’s Elder Conservatorium of Music.

Held at Elder Hall, University of Adelaide on Friday, 24 September, the event saw the emerging musicians take to the stage with trumpet firebrand Harry James Angus (of Cat Empire fame) for a thrilling improvisational and collaborative hour long set.

Jazz vocalist Eliza Dickson was presented with the top honour, Helpmann Academy’s Langley Award for Jazz, valued at $7,500 and supported by K & S Langley Fund. Eliza completed her Bachelor of Music (Jazz Performance) in 2016 and is a past recipient of numerous Helpmann Academy grants. Eliza has shared the stage with notable artists such as Kate Ceberano and James Morrison and has performed at high profile events such as Clipsal 500, Generations in Jazz, AFL ANZAC Day Showdown and Adelaide Fringe.

Eliza will be using the award to record and produce her debut full-length album, working with LA based producer Drew Moore and a range of guest artists.

She says Producing a full-length album is a milestone achievement in any musician’s career, and the Helpmann Academy’s Langley Award for Jazz will allow me to advance plans for my debut album with confidence. This record will showcase my development as an artist, demonstrating more involved, creative and unique work. I am excited that Helpmann and the K& S Langley Fund is supporting me to record and spread new sounds!”

Other awards presented on the night:

Helpmann Academy Top Honours Award, valued at $5000 and supported by The Lang Foundation was presented to Morgan Fletcher.

Helpmann Academy Top Undergraduate Award, valued at $5000 and supported by David McKee AO & Pam McKee was presented to Corey McNulty.

Helpmann Academy Award for Outstanding Drummer, valued at $2000 and supported by DankPods was presented to Miles Farnan.

Helpmann Academy Award for Outstanding Trombonist, valued at $2000 and supported by the Helpmann Academy was presented to Jasmine Ferguson.

Helpmann Academy Award for Outstanding Vocalist, valued at $2000 and supported by Dr Rob Lyons was presented to Emma Simpson-Smith.

Helpmann Academy Award for Outstanding Trumpet Player, valued at $2000 and supported by the Helpmann Academy was presented to Harrison Smith.

Helpmann Academy Award for Outstanding Bassist, valued at $2000 and supported by DankPods was presented to Tasha Stevens.

In preparation for the performance, the graduating musicians participated in a series of exclusive masterclasses with Harry James Angus, as a part of the Helpmann Academy Masterclass Series. The series aims to provide students and graduates with unique opportunities to work with a diverse range of professional artists to develop their skills and experience.

Jane MacFarlane, Helpmann Academy CEO, said that the Jazz Awards were an opportunity for the community to acknowledge the incredible skill of South Australian jazz musicians.

“The Helpmann Academy Night of Jazz is a celebration of the next generation of South Australian jazz talent. Their skill, drive and passion are obvious to those fortunate enough to be in the audience on the night. We can’t wait to see what bold leaps the 2021 winners will take in their creative careers with these funds and support.”

Thank you to the Elder Conservatorium, and our generous award partners and donors for making this event so successful.

Photos by Russell Millard