ARIA award winning and APRA nominated artist/composer, producer, label owner and session bassist (electric bass guitar and acoustic upright bass), Michael has decades of national and international touring experience. From original projects such as The Java Quartet and Karma County to providing bass for artists such as indigenous legend Jimmy Little and international festival chanteuse Camille O'Sullivan, Michael remains a part of the contemporary music industry as an artist, musician, arts worker, educator and researcher.
Well-known in Sydney as one of 'the' piano player to watch, he joined the Java Quartet with Mike Quigley in 1995. With 8th grade classical piano [AMEB] under his belt even before he hit the jazz scene, Greg brings a wealth of musicality with him every time he sits at the piano. Whether it be solo at Sydney's leading hotels, as a sideman for some of Sydney's best players, such as Paul McNamara, Craig Scott and Steve Hunter, or fronting his own ensembles, Greg always astonishes both player and audience with the potency of his vision.
After studying jazz at Sydney’s Conservatorium Of Music, Mike Quigley co-founded the Contemporary Music Studies (CMS) school in Sydney’s northern suburbs, where he directed student ensembles from 1994 to 2003. During this time Mike performed and recorded with various jazz and indie rock projects before joining metal band Tourettes in 2000. With Tourettes Mike recorded 3 albums and toured Australia, Canada, California and Europe. Tourettes disbanded in 2008, and in 2010 Mike founded an experimental post-rock/choral project named Palaces, releasing a self-titled CD in 2014. In 2018 Mike joined Japanese doom metal vocalist Yukito Okazaki in Enough to Escape, touring Australia and Japan in 2019. Mike earned a Graduate Diploma from the Australian Institute of Music (AIM) in 2019 where he focused on sample-based composition, and completed his Masters at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts (AMPA) in 2021 in the field of jazz performance.
Matthew Ottignon is a gun sax player/multi-instrumentalist with indisputable musical genes originally from Auckland, New Zealand, and now based in Sydney, Australia. With an enviably busy diary including a mix of performance, composition and education, Matthew is one of Australia’s hardest working musicians. He creates sounds that spring from everywhere he’s been and everything he’s seen... music that’s undoubtedly earning him a place among the key constituents of the contemporary scene.
With a keen ear and an expansive range of musical experiences, Matthew’s original compositions for his own band, Mister Ott, comprise an amalgamation of melodies from many lands, in particular Ethiopian music, aligned with the free-form improvisation and syncopation for which African-pedigreed jazz is renowned. Mister Ott has three releases, the most recent being ‘In The Flow’ 2021.
'When a brilliant Antipodean jazz musician ventures into a related genre – in this case funk – it’s something to look forward to. This high energy album features superb compositions and writing for the horns, and it’s here that Ottignon truly shines, as only a jazz musician could write such hip, convincing lines" The Weekend Australian ****
"The genres influencing Mister Ott, notably funk, dub and Afrobeat, are significantly defined by specific cities where they developed – often exact districts within them. Beyond the retro aesthetic of its presentation (especially the elegant vinyl release), this album avoids literal homage, ultimately representing one of the world’s most underrated hubs of musical creativity: Sydney’s west side" Sydney Morning Herald ****
Matthew Ottignon’s most recent project, ‘Tread Lightly’, was applauded in 2021 as a powerful contribution featuring his own mastery of the tenor saxophone and world class musicians, Stu Hunter on piano, Cam Undy on bass and Miles Thomas on drums.
The Sydney Morning Herald wrote of Matt: “It all comes down to sound. You hear a life force fermenting in Matt Ottignon's tenor saxophone that can rear up like a tsunami or melt like chocolate. Not merely a matter of commanding the keys and mouthpiece, the sound's grip results from the need to speak through the instrument — to engage, communicate and touch.” (John Shand, SMH, ****1/2)
Among a host of industry stalwarts, Matthew has appeared on stage with international legends from Lou Reed and Brian Wilson to Steve Cropper and Donald Duck Dunn. He’s played with and/or appeared on the recordings of (among others), Ngaiire, Tim Minchin, Blue King Brown, Portishead, The Herd, Jimmy & Mahalia Barnes, Katie Noonan, Marcia Hines, Aria winners Monsieur Camembert, Guy Sebastian, Mike Nock, Jackie Orszazcky, Bernie McGann, Cameron Undy and multi-award winning trumpeter/composer Phil Slater. For a number of years, Matthew has also performed as character Mister Saxophone, in ‘Lah-Lah’ a wildly successful kids TV show bringing music to young ears.
Bandleader and bassist Michael Galeazzi formed the Java Quartet in 1994. Using the modal jazz styling of Miles Davis and John Coltrane as a starting point in the mid 1990s', the group has defined its own ambience through eight albums, focusing upon ensemble improvisation to manifest their sound. At once driving, trance-like and reflective, The Java Quartet establishes their own corner of sonic territory.
The Java Quartet's first release Slumber For Nordic Wonder (a tribute to the musical chanteuse Bjork), garnered the group local acclaim as an improvising ensemble devoted to creating beautiful music. The ensuing album Glow launched an international profile with the group being invited to perform at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland) in 1997. The group’s global presence flourished with the albums Glow, Passages and Dark Garden being included in the pivotal publications The Penguin Guide To Jazz on CD and Cadence Magazine (New York).
"The Java Quartet is well schooled in the Jazz tradition and has built on those concepts in presenting music with dash and a contemporary flair… These Aussies seem to have something brewing". Frank Rubolino, Cadence Magazine, New York
On the local front they have played at every major jazz venue and festival in the country including; the Manly Jazz Festival, Darling Harbour Jazz Festival, Wangaratta Jazz Festival - the home of the National Jazz Awards, Thredbo Jazz Festival, Bellingen Jazz Festival, Queensland Music Festival, Darwin Festival, The Basement in Sydney, Bennetts Lane in Melbourne, The Governor Hindmarsh in Adelaide etc. The Java Quartet has been recorded in concert several times by the national broadcaster (ABC radio) and are critically recognised as at the forefront of the contemporary Australian music scene. The Sydney Morning Herald’s John Shand reviewed the album Dark Garden as “Album Of the Week” above all releases in any genre. The track “Shadow Dancing” was nominated for an APRA for “Most Performed Jazz Work” by the national performing rights association. Kenny Weir of The Sun Herald Sun (Melbourne) succinctly evaluated the group’s appeal when reviewing the next album Deep Blue Sea:
“Mostly, though, the Java Quartet inhabits its own space, unlike that of any other aggregation, in Australia or anywhere else - supremely melodic, full of taut, yet limpid, grooves and packed with soul”. – Kenny Weir
2010 found the group extending its musical palette with Rejavanation, a collection of remixes and new material incorporating the meditative aesthetics of contemporary dj/dance culture and Hindustani ragas. Started as a part of Michael Galeazzi’s postgraduate research at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the group has invited guests of note (including virtuosos Bobby Singh on Tabla, Adrian McNeil on sarod, lap top performer Jonathan Palmer and Hip Hop producer Morganics) to explore notions of hybridity through contemporary hypnotic landscapes.
“It was an intriguing jazz for a modern ear, and a mix of styles for a modern world. Great stuff. And very much enjoyed by performers and audience”. – Eric Pozza, Canberra Jazz.
Together was released in 2014. Recorded in the round at Studio A at Macquarie University (in the old film and television school large TV studio) it takes the next step beyond Rejavanation. Once again including guests Bobby Singh and Morganics, this album returns to the acoustic (and organic) nature of the group, blending exotic grooves and spoken word into the jazz harmonic world that is The Java Quartet.
"Several of Galeazzi's new compositions are among his best, playing to the band's strength of collectively creating journey-like narratives". - John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald.
2022 sees the release of the Java Quartet's eighth album. Before Now After is a meditation upon time, a sonic homage to the evolutionary arc. Just as the coastline is shaped by tidal forces shifting the delicate balance of ocean and sand, The Java Quartet have sculpted a long form tryptic work from a singular cove.