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by Tony Roma
posted 22/02/2021

SIMA Contemporary Underground

SIMA Presents Four Incredible Nights of Underground Contemporary Jazz at Mary’s Underground

In one of SIMA’s most diverse and eclectic programs to date, Jazz Now Summer audiences will enjoy inspirational music across a range of new and established venues.

Hauptmann says “Previously the Sound Lounge at the Seymour Centre was our regular weekend haunt, but since moving to Joynton Avenue Creative Centre we’ve had the freedom to spread our wings”.

Anchoring the program is Contemporary Underground, a mini-series held over four consecutive days at Mary’s Underground (former site of The Basement). Headlining the series is Tina Harrod, backed by the power of a ten-piece band. Harrod, a resident of Scotland Island who rarely performs in Sydney these days, has been compared to the greats Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. She has been cited by the Sydney Morning Herald as being “one of Australia’s two really great soul and R&B singers” alongside Renee Geyer. In a homecoming of sorts, Harrod will take to the venue’s stage again, for the first time since the legendary jazz club closed its doors in 2018.

An association that dates back three decades, as a young singer Harrod would dream of performing at The Basement. Their impressive program would reliably include jazz, soul and funk music from all over the world including giants such as Prince, Ricki Lee Jones, Dizzy Gillespie and Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen.

Since then, Harrod has performed at the venue dozens of times, releasing three of her critically acclaimed albums there in the last 30 years. In total Tina has released some five critically acclaimed albums, demonstrating that she is a true evolutionary artist who never shies away from reinventing herself through a variety of genres, whilst always maintaining her deep soul roots.

She has fond memories of holding a two-year residency with partner and bassist, the late Jackie Orszaczsky, with The Grandmasters in the mid-90s.  Harrod recalls it was a specialist music venue “run by quirky people who really loved music”. 

The team from Mary’s continue the tradition, ensuring the soul of the venue and décor has been maintained, while revamping its stage and sound system for a superior listening experience. “To this day it remains one of the best rooms to experience live music in Sydney” says Hauptmann.  

Also featured as part of the Contemporary Underground series is Ethio-jazz funk outfit Mister Ott’s ‘In the Flow’ Album Launch, blues guitarist Ray Beadle with the master of the Hammond organ, Clayton Doley. As well as a double bill featuring Declan Kelly and Frejya Garbett in the roots-based Melting Mamas and Aloha No and a plethora of up-and-coming support acts in including Zayab Wilson, Yannick Koffi and Bernice Tesara. Contemporary Underground takes place at Mary’s Underground from Wednesday 24 February – Saturday 27 February.

Wednesday 24 February – Melting Mamas + Aloha No & The Ukuladies

The sway of Aloha No’s ukulele and steel pedal guitar captures the soul of Hawaii before the Melting Mamas deliver a medicinal set of reggae, afrobeat and funk to burn a fire in your belly.

Thursday 25 February – Mister Ott ‘In The Flow’ Album Launch with special support Zaynab Wilson                             

Merging mesmerising Eastern sounds, tasty horn melodies, tight and popping jazz and hypnotic grooves that drift on the edge of psychedelica, Sydney awaits Mister Ott’s third release “In the Flow” featuring tripped out dubs, Afro-Cuban drumming + vintage voodoo funk.

Friday 26 February – Tina Harrod with special support by Yannick Koffi Duo

Drawing from the deep well of soul and jazz, the critics have compared Tina Harrod to the great vocalists Nina Simone and Billie Holiday. Backed by a ten-piece band, she creates powerful music reflecting a life fully lived.

Saturday 27 February – Beadle/Doley/Dickeson Trio with special support by Return of the Bern

Evoking the Blues from a bygone era in a breath-taking style all of his own, Ray Beadle meets Master of the Hammond organ, Clayton Doley, and Sydney’s King of Swing Andrew Dickeson in an electrifying combustion of styles to ignite the stage.

What: Contemporary Underground

Who: SIMA’S JazzNOW Summer Program

Where: Mary’s Underground

When: 24th February to 28th of February 2021

To Find Out More and Book Online Click Here