Graham Jesse

When was the last time you mentioned Bach, Telemann, Don Burrows and Chick Corea in the same breath? Odds on it’s never. But for veteran Australian performer, arranger, producer and composer Graham Jesse, they are all facets of the inspiration for Chromatic Flight, his new project for piano and flute. Interpreted and performed by the masterful Virginia Taylor (flute) and Simon Tedeschi (piano), the album is made up of two neatly defined halves. The first is a series of six programmatic vignettes, each embodying its title exactly as promised. Flutter features a flutter-tongue flute motif, Waves ebbs and flows in a graceful triple time, and the title track is indeed a flurry of semitones. Here is where the baroque and classical influences reside most securely, and yet the harmony is always more progressive than those composers ever dreamed of. The second half consists of two flute suites: one Latin, the other jazzy. Both are delightfully jaunty, but never cocky – sounding strangely effortless despite their energetic syncopation. If Chromatic Flight has an overarching flaw, it is that it’s over too soon: a deeper dive into those image-laden motifs and rambling jazz melodies would have been more than welcome.


(The Age)

Blow – Graham Jesse & Adrian Cunningham:

“Blow is a collaborative effort from two extremely talented musicians, Graham Jesse and Adrian Cunningham. The album features both artists displaying their multi-instrumental capabilities backed by a tight ensemble featuring some of Sydney’s finest jazz musicians in Matt McMahon, Brendan Clarke and Hamish Stuart. Graham plays tenor, soprano and flute, while Adrian sticks with tenor and clarinet for this outing. An eclectic collection of audience-friendly original compositions by both leaders make up the majority of this album. The playing is tasteful and engaging and all of the songs are accessible and listenable. This is definitely not an album to frighten casual jazz listeners.

One of the bonus pleasures of this recording is listening to Graham’s flute playing throughout. I enjoyed his gorgeous sound and the fluency of his soling every time he played. Credit should be given to the recording engineer who did a great job of capturing the warmth and depth of Graham’s tone.

Congratulations to all involved in this album – great playing, interesting compositions and well recorded. A worthy addition to the Australian jazz library”.

~ Matt Christensen

Bladerunner concert Sydney Opera House:

“The saxophone solos performed by Graham Jesse were spine tingling”

– Nicholas Langley

In The Flow – Graham Jesse:

“Played with sparkling excellence, this is beautifully rounded music you will want to hear over and over”

– Shane Nichols

Pyldriver – The Sydney All Star Big Band under the direction of Ralph Pyl:

“What with the writing, the playing and the recording you can learn more about big band technique from this CD than from any book or teacher. One last word, and I have to tell you this – the intro and background figures to Pitt Street, by saxist Graham Jesse will knock your socks off. While listening to this one I kept bursting out laughing with sheer delight”

–    Ron Simmonds