The Australia Council for the Arts has recognised the outstanding contribution of jazz pianist, composer and bandleader Mike Nock by awarding him the 2014 Don Banks Music Award.
The Don Banks Music Award, named after the Australian composer, performer and first Music Board Chair, honours a distinguished artist who has made an outstanding and sustained contribution to music in Australia.
Dr Karl Kramer, Dean of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, said: “We are absolutely thrilled for Mike. He is a deserving recipient of this award. He has been and continues to be a formidable Jazz teacher and mentor to our students at the Con for many years. We share in publicly recognising and congratulating Mike for his great contribution to the music industry.”
Australia Council Chief Executive Officer Tony Grybowski said Mr Nock’s work as a musician, composer and mentor has had a huge impact on many musicians, both in Australia and internationally.
“Mike Nock has had an enviable career and produced a remarkable body of work, which spans performing, recording and composing,” said Mr Grybowski.
Born in New Zealand in 1940 and now living in Sydney, Mike Nock is one of the acknowledged masters of jazz in Australasia. His reputation partly rests on his imposing international experience.
Highlights of his long career include the 25 years he spent working in the USA with many of the world’s top jazz musicians including Coleman Hawkins, Yusef Lateef, Dionne Warwick and Sam Rivers.
His work in the 1970s with seminal jazz-rock group, The Fourth Way, established his international career and he has continued to tour extensively in Europe, Asia, the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
He has produced a large catalogue of critically acclaimed, internationally released recordings and, as an orchestral composer, has been commissioned by groups such as the Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, the Dundedin Civic Orchestra, the UMO Jazz Orchestra in Finland and the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
The Australia Council and members of the jazz and wider music community will pay tribute to Mike Nock at a ceremony prior to his performance at the Seymour Centre’s Sound Lounge on Saturday, 1 February.
After the ceremony, Mike and his band will perform a 60-minute suite that he composed through a commission from the Sydney Improvised Music Association (SIMA), with support from the Australia Council.