Linda May Han Oh: Special guest artist

This week is a huge one for WAYJO as acclaimed bassist and composer Linda May Han Oh arrives from the USA to perform with our Wednesday Night Orchestra on Saturday night at the State Theatre Centre of WA.

Gemma Farrell performing at WAYJO’s Progressions Program in 2023. Photo by Josh Wells

Renowned globally for her exceptional talent, versatility and dedication to music education, Linda’s beginnings were as a WAYJO orchestra member in the years 2000 to 2005 (approximately), performing first on bassoon and then reverting to upright bass. She is now one of the most in-demand international musicians of our time, achieving the extraordinary, including winning a Grammy for her bass performance on Terri Lyne Carrington’s New Standards Vol. 1, as well as being animated as bassist ‘Miho’ in the Pixar film ‘Soul’.

Linda will be performing eight of her own compositions with our Wednesday Night Orchestra (WNO) under the joint musical direction of Gemma Farrell and Bayden Adams, and in the lead up, Gemma gives us some insight on what will be happening behind-the-scenes.

Tell us what goes into prepping the orchestra for a performance like this with a guest artist.
Gemma Farrell: WNO is the most senior of the three WAYJO bands. Most of them are at the early stages of their professional careers, so they understand that a gig with music as complex as this requires a lot of practice and focus, and thinking about your role within your section, acting as a team rather than 18 individuals. They all greatly admire Linda, and some aim to have the kind of career she has had, so they are all looking forward to playing. The music is extremely difficult, so we have been doing a lot of extra rehearsals as a band, and they have no doubt been practising harder individually.

WNO will be playing some tracks off Linda May Han Oh’s latest album ’The Glass Hours’ – which is performed as a quartet. How do the pieces develop and how different are they in a big band format?
A lot of the music has been arranged for big band either by Linda herself or Jim McNeely (USA), who is a huge name in big band jazz. Obviously when you change an arrangement from small group to big band, there are a lot of different musicians you have to find parts for, but they all have to sound like they’re adding to the music. These arrangements have been masterfully put together, and the rich, large ensemble sound really compliments these compositions.

Linda May Han Oh is highly acclaimed worldwide. Tell us what’s interesting about her compositions and the challenges/complexities they entail for other musicians playing her works.
Masterful composers like Linda often write complex time signatures in a way that makes them sound seamless. I remember hearing that the great Maria Schneider sings her melodies and records them before working out the time signatures. Linda has a way of coming up with a beautiful melody, and it’s only when you analyse it and put it on paper that you realise how complex it is. Counting is one of the significant challenges in this gig, and some very technically challenging lines sound beautiful when they are together, but they take a lot of fine motor work on the instruments.

Which composition out of the set list is your favourite and why?
‘The Sirens Are Wailing’. I have performed this composition with the Artemis Orchestra for a few years now so I’m looking forward to performing it with Linda for the first time. The fact that I’ve been performing the chart for a while now means that I am more comfortable with it and can enjoy it more.

How many rehearsals will you be squeezing in this week with Linda? Give us some insight on how they will run.
We are rehearsing Wednesday through Saturday for this gig and will be with Linda from Thursday. I need to discuss the format with Linda and our assistant musical director, Bayden Adams, but we have eight of her compositions to get through as well as an opening number. I’m hoping that once we’ve had the opportunity to run through everything with her, we can work on some of the trickier moments and polish them.

How are you and Bayden working together in this instance?
We are taking four of Linda’s works each.

Anything else you’d like to add about the upcoming performance?
It would be a shame to miss it. Make sure you secure your tickets as soon as possible.

Linda May Han Oh with WAYJO’s Wednesday Night Orchestra
Time: 7:30 – 8:45pm
Date: Saturday 13 July 2024
Venue: Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA

Linda May Han Oh and Fabian Almazan working with WAYJO in 2020

Sarah McKenzie reunites with WAYJO

WAYJO is excited to collaborate with the Perth International Jazz Festival to bring the acclaimed jazz pianist, composer, and singer Sarah McKenzie (USA) back to Perth as part of her Australian tour.

Sarah McKenzie by Karen Hill.

Sarah has recently released her sixth album of Brazilian-inspired jazz titled ‘Without You,’ blending “inventive reworkings of classic songs from (Antonio Carlos) Jobim and others with four of McKenzie’s original compositions” – Jazzwise ★★★★

James Morrison has described her as a “once-in-a-generation talent and music marvel.” Her pronounced lyrical sense of swing has drawn comparisons to Blossom Dearie and Diana Krall.

“I’ve always loved the music of Brazil, Tom Jobim, Elis Regina, and of course Astrud Gilberto,” says Sarah McKenzie. “What I especially love about Jobim is the simplicity and clarity of his melodies, songs that one can remember and sing.”

Sarah will perform over two nights at the Liberty Theatre in the heart of Perth. Tucked away on Barrack Street, the Liberty Theatre opened as Perth’s first art house cinema in 1954. Rarely open to the public, these performances offer a unique opportunity to experience live jazz music in a vintage architectural gem.

On Friday, May 10, Sarah will be joined by renowned Perth-based jazz musicians Kristian Borring (guitar), Nick Abbey (bass), and Pete Evans (drums) for an intimate performance. Then on Saturday, May 11, WAYJO’s 18-piece Monday Night Orchestra bring the big band energy, with bold brass and bass sections to accompany her smooth Brazilian jazz songs and soulful ballads.

This is also a special reunion between Sarah and WAYJO, while she was born in Melbourne, she studied at the WA Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and WAYJO is proud to call her an alum. In fact, the last time she performed with WAYJO was in 2012 with Mike Stewart, before she relocated to America when she was awarded a full scholarship to Berklee School of Music in Boston.

Jazz afficionados and admirers of classic Brazilian tracks such as Jobim’s ‘Corcovado’ (Quiet Nights), ‘Once I Loved,’ and ‘The Girl From Ipanema,’ shouldn’t miss these performances of what Peter Quinn at Jazzwise calls “the most bittersweet gems in the Jobim canon.”

Global Recognition: WAYJO band member and alumni head overseas

WAYJO always enjoys hearing the success stories of our band members, guest artists, and alumni, and so we are thrilled to share news from two former and current band members. 

Our Wednesday Night Orchestra lead alto, Holly Forster, has been accepted to go on exchange to the prestigious Frost School of Music in Miami this year! She’ll be following in the path of many of our great alumni who have studied there including Troy Roberts, Tim Jago, Daniel Susnjar, Jeremy Greig, Matt Smith, and Catherine Noblet. Holly is currently in her 3rd year of a Bachelor of Music studying jazz saxophone at WAAPA and has been a dedicated member of WAYJO since 2018.

Former WAYJO member and current Progressions tutor, bassist Kate Pass, has been awarded a scholarship to complete a Master of Music at The New School’s College of Performing Arts in New York, as part of the Performer-Composer program.

We wish Holly and Kate every success as they go abroad for further jazz education.

Marty Pervan on Mambolicious

We sat down with Musical Director of the St John of God Health Care Tuesday Night Orchestra, Marty Pervan, to find out a little more about the Mambolicious Program.

‘Mambolicious: Jodrell Screams Puente’ features one of Australia’s greatest trumpet players, Mat Jodrell, and pays homage to influential Latin jazz pioneer, Tito Puente. Performing in Margaret River on 30 June at Margaret River HEART, and then in Perth at Milk Bar on 1 July, these concerts are guaranteed to have your feet tapping and hips shaking.

Marty Pervan with the St John of God Health Care Tuesday Night Orchestra by Josh Wells

Why are you excited to collaborate with Mat Jodrell and what are you hoping he’ll bring to the St John of God Tuesday Night Orchestra?

Given that Mat is a WAYJO alumnus, this collaboration is an opportunity to reconnect on both a personal and musical level. The wealth of knowledge and experience that comes with a musician that has lived and worked professionally as a first-call jazz and session trumpet player in places like New York is informative and inspirational for the band members. After leaving Perth, Mat attended the Julliard School of Music, and this also brings a unique set of experiences that bend members who are also tertiary music students will find enlightening. I am confident the anecdotal element of Mat’s communication and engagement with the band will be just as invaluable as his musical contribution.

What are you looking forward to on the regional tour to Margaret River?

There are no amount of rehearsals that can simulate the positive musical effect of a tour. The shared experiences and time spent together allow the musicians to connect in a way that is impossible to imitate. The shows, workshops and rehearsals will all be great musical experiences that will create lifelong memories for the band members (and probably the staff too).

What do you love about Tito Puente’s works?

Tito Puente was my first introduction to Son/montuno (Salsa), Mambo, Guaguanco and Cha Cha – it is something for which I have had a lifelong passion. I enjoy educating the band members about this genre of music and the various musical elements that make it unique. It is consistently exciting to play and listen to. This is always evident in the expressions of awe and joy on the faces of the band as they are performing.

Is there anything else you can tell us about the Mambolicious program?

We will be performing some of Tito Puente’s most popular tunes that most audiences have heard of as well as a selection of other music from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Columbia, and New York.

“I will be immensely surprised if any of the audience isn’t up and dancing early in the performance.”

Other artists that we will be performing the music of include Cubanismo, the Afro-Cuban All Stars, the Buena Vista Social Club, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Poncho Sanchez, Matt Harris, and Mike Tomaro.

Experience Mambolicious: Jodrell Screams Puente
7:30pm, Friday 30 June | Margaret River HEART | TICKETS
7:30pm, Saturday 1 July | Milk Bar, Inglewood | TICKETS

WAYJO's 40th Anniversary Concert & Festival

You’re invited to the jazz party of the year as WAYJO turns 40!

With thousands of events under its belt and a special place in many a WA musician’s hearts and memories, WAYJO is marking the occasion in style – bringing together Perth’s biggest jazz names alongside future stars of the Australian jazz scene for one special weekend at the State Theatre Centre’s Studio Underground and Foyer.

Join us as we celebrate WAYJO’s 40-year history and look towards the future of jazz!

40th Anniversary Concert

The celebrations begin with a Gala performance on Friday evening featuring WAYJO big bands alongside special guest alumni including Perth’s premier jazz vocalist, Libby Hammer, the versatile trombonist Catherine Noblet, the accomplished saxophonist Gemma Farrell, and the elegant vocalist Lucy Iffla.

On the big night, all three bands – MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra, St John of God Health Care Tuesday Night Orchestra, and Wednesday Night Orchestra – will take to the stage to perform commissioned works, band and fan favourites, and classic big band jazz repertoire.

WAYJO’s 40th Anniversary Concert
7:30pm, Friday 26 May
Studio Underground


40th Anniversary Festival

Then on Saturday, take a trip down memory lane and immerse yourself in our mini festival hub of in-conversations, small group jazz ensembles, historic photo displays, alumni appearances, and big band performances.

Be transported through time as all three big bands celebrate the greats playing classic big band jazz, music from the depths of the WAYJO library, and a line-up that traces jazz through to contemporary, translating be-bop to hip-hop.

With guest artists Jamie Oehlers, Libby Hammer, and Zero Emcee, this is an event not to be missed.

WAYJO’s 40th Anniversary Festival
4pm – 10pm, Saturday 27 May
Studio Underground


Trombone Backbone

WAYJO Slides into Subiaco with a Trombone Showcase

The WAYJO St John of God Health Care Tuesday Night Orchestra present a special show featuring one of the big band’s oldest instruments, Saturday 17 September, Subiaco Arts Centre.

The trombone, invented mid 15th century, derives its name comes from the Italian tromba (trumpet) plus the suffix -one (big) – meaning big trumpet. The WAYJO TNO will be joined by three of WA’s finest trombonists, who are also WAYJO alumni. Jeremy Greig, Catherine Noblet and Will Pethick all served in different eras of WAYJO, coming together for one night only to showcase the instrument.

Jeremy Greig on Trombone

Jeremy Greig is a trombonist, diploma of music co-ordinator and lecturer in Jazz at WAAPA. He has a Bachelor of music from Edith Cowan University and a master of Music from University of Miami. He has lived and performed in the USA and performed with the likes of Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Barry Gibb (Bee Gees), Steve Lawrence and Edie Gorme, Don Rickles, Wayne Newton, and Wynton Marsalis.

Catherine Noblet on Trombone

Catherine Noblet is an Australian jazz trombonist from Perth. A WAAPA graduate, she has studied and worked as a freelance musician in Perth and the US. She completed her Master of Music at the University of Illinois, studying with legendary trombonist, Jim Pugh. She now resides in Perth as a freelance musician and a regular member of the Mace Francis Orchestra, Straight Ahead Big Band, Amnesiacs, and The Western Australian Jazz Project.

Will Pethick, Trombone

Will Pethick was a member of WAYJO in 2021 who previously studied at the James Morrison Academy in South Australia. Selected to be a part of the Australian National Youth Jazz Orchestra last year, Will performed with Will Vinson in the 2021 Sydney Con Jazz Festival. Now back in Perth, he performs locally with The Western Australian Jazz Project, Perth Symphony Orchestra and more.

Trombones are the backbone of the big band, providing the harmonic foundation, the brassy punch and the guts of the band. Come along and enjoy this ‘sackbut’ showcase – an instrument Beethoven once described as “The voice of God” – you be the judge!

Guest artists appear thanks to WAYJO’s 2022 Major Programs Partner, Minderoo Foundation.

WAYJO presents The Trombone: Big Band Backbone
St John of God Health Care Tuesday Night Orchestra, plus trombonists Jeremy Greig, Catherine Noblet & Will Pethick
Sat 17 September, 7.30pm
Subiaco Arts Centre, Subiaco

WAYJO also present a 1-hour Act Belong Commit concert-workshop for schools, Fri 16 September, 6.30pm, at Prendiville Catholic College in Ocean Reef – head to for details.

Hashtags: #WAYJO2022 #SubiJazz #Trombone

Photography: B&W WAYJO Trombones (2021) & Jeremy Greig by Josh Wells – Catherine Noblet by Deprimo – Will Pethick by WAAPA

Media Contact:
Justine Thornley, WAYJO Marketing
+61 8 9471 1950

Trombone Backbone Poster

WAYJO Alumni join 2022 Australian National Youth Big Band

The results of the Australian National Jazz Orchestra (ANJO) Youth Big Band auditions have been announced, with two WAYJO alumni joining the ranks for 2022. WAYJO congratulates 23 year old saxophonist Jayden Blockley (WAYJO member 2013-16 & 2021) & 23 year old pianist Jackson Van Ballegooyen (WAYJO member 2014-16).

Jackson Van Ballegooyen & Jayden Blockley
Jackson Van Ballegooyen (left) & Jayden Blockley (right)

Having played music together since primary school, Jayden and Jackson’s musical connection spans over a decade. The pair studied jazz under mentor James Morrison and both performed as artists at Generations In Jazz, the largest Jazz festival in the Southern Hemisphere, performing alongside the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and jazz giants Gordon Goodwin, Joey DeFrancesco and Kurt Elling.

Both members of the duo command virtuosic control of their respective instruments and have a deep connection with the jazz tradition, which ranges from hard swinging jazz, to elegant, romantic ballads. They will perform at the Sydney International Jazz Festival, previously hosting ‘The Jazz Dinner’ at the Perth International Jazz Festival in 2021.

67 applications (VIC 19, NSW 21, QLD 8, WA 9, SA 9, TAS 1) were received from elite young jazz musicians aged 18-25 from all over Australia. Applicants recorded and submitted notated and improvised excerpts for a ‘blindfold’ audition by judges, which included ANJO Youth Big Band Artistic Directors, Nadje Noordhuis (NY), David Theak (NSW) and Mace Francis (WA), plus 2022 guest conductor/composer Vanessa Perica (VIC).

“I was blown away by the outstanding level of musicianship displayed by those who auditioned from across the country. We have some exciting new voices to watch out for. I can’t wait to work with this talented group in June!” - Vanessa Perica, 2022 ANJO Guest Artist.

ANJO participants travel to Sydney in early June for a 5-day project, including rehearsal intensive, sectionals, festival and club performances, and a video/audio recording for future broadcast. ANJO Youth Big Band has added a November season, which will see the band perform at the Perth International Jazz Festival for the first time, with further concerts to be announced.

For more information about ANJO, visit


Hashtag: #WAYJOalumni

Kate Pass Kohesia Ensemble

Let WAYJO Take You on a Sonic Persian Carpet Ride in July

The WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) hits The Rechabite Hall, Saturday 10th July, with exciting newly commissioned works featuring special guests Kate Pass & the Kohesia Ensemble.

Blending jazz & Persian musical influences, Kate Pass has created something new, refreshing & very exciting. Kohesia Ensemble bring elements of the Persian Dastgah musical system in a special night of cross-cultural collaboration & freshly commissioned work simply not to be missed.

Kate Pass – Kohesia & the Far East Suite will explore non-western time structures and microtonal melodies, combining the sounds of Persian flute (ney), percussion (daf), lute (saz) and oud with 18-piece jazz orchestra for a truly unique experience.

WAYJO are proud to have commissioned Kate (WAYJO member 2009/10 & 2014), to now expand her ideas for big band with the Wednesday Night Orchestra (WNO).

I’m really excited to collaborate with Wednesday Night orchestra on this project” says Kate. “Being an alumni WAYJO band member myself, it’s truly an honour to be commissioned to write for the band.

The program will feature several members of Kohesia Ensemble, including Esfandiar Shahmir on ney, Reza Mirzaei on saz, and Mike Zolker on oud.

I think this is the first time this combination of instruments has been joined by a big band, so it’s an incredible opportunity to create something new and unique. It’s also an opportunity for the members of Kohesia ensemble and myself to explore a different tonal palette.

The instruments of Wednesday Night Orchestra provide a wonderful variety of colours and textures, that allow us to re-imagine the Kohesia Ensemble sound, and expand upon our ideas in a way we haven’t done before.”

Tickets for this show are on sale through Humanitix, a registered charity offering 100% of profits from booking fees towards education programs for Young Girls, and scholarships for Indigenous Australians… yet another great reason to see this show.

Kate and the Kohesia Ensemble appear thanks to WAYJO’s 2021 Major Programs Partner, Minderoo Foundation.

WAYJO presents Kate Pass: Kohesia & the Far East Suite
Sat 10 Jul, 7.30pm
WAYJO WNO, with special guests Kate Pass and the Kohesia Ensemble
The Rechabite, Northbridge | Tickets

Hashtags: #WAYJO2021 #RechabiteJazz #KatePassKohesia

Media Contact:
Justine Thornley
WAYJO Marketing
+61 8 9471 1950

Photo of Kohesia Enemble by Josh Wells

Buy Tickets
Kate Pass Kohesia & the Far East Suite

Classic, Contemporary & Commissioned Jazz in June

WAYJO are back with Jazz at The Maj, presenting Basie & Beyond – A Journey Through Jazz Downstairs at The Maj 11-12 June.

Let WAYJO take you on a bold jazz journey from Basie and into the big band beyond! Enjoy classic jazz repertoire, artfully paired with reinvented contemporary standards, presented by the WAYJO MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra (MNO). The second half features the Wednesday Night Orchestra (WNO) premiering exciting new works by WAYJO alumni Alana Macpherson, commissioned by the Minderoo Foundation.

WNO bring to life a set of all new music by the Downbeat award-winning composer and arranger. The music, inspired by the composer’s reflections on Australia, was composed during several lockdowns in Europe throughout 2020. This is a unique opportunity to see Alana Macpherson in action shaping the music that was composed specifically for the orchestra.

Alana is a Perth born is a saxophonist and composer currently based in Graz, Austria. Following the 2019 release of her debut album “All or Nothing At All”, Macpherson won the Downbeat Student Music Award for Large Ensemble Arrangement, as well as the 2018 WAM awards for “Best Brass/Woodwind/Strings Instrumentalist” and “Best Live Jazz Act”. She has toured with Emil Spanyi (Hungary), performed with the Vine Street Horns (Phil Collins), KUG Jazz Orchestra, Graz Composer’s Orchestra, James Morrison Big Band, and the Evan Sherman Big Band, among others. Macpherson has performed her works at the Perth International Jazz Festival, King Street Corner Pocket Jazz Festival, and Jazzwerkstatt Festival (Austria).

There’s something for all contemporary and jazz music fans in this bold big band program simply not to be missed.

Tickets to all Jazz at The Maj shows, including the The Golden Age of Swing in August, are available from

Alana appears thanks to WAYJO’s 2021 Major Programs Partner, Minderoo Foundation.

What people are saying about Alana’s Music;
“Alana is not only is an excellent saxophone player, but she is finding her own unique voice as a composer, arranger and band-leader. She’s a fan of Bob Brookmeyer’s music and you can hear a clear continuation of his concepts in her writing.” – Ed Partyka 2019

Hashtags: #WAYJO2021 #JazzAtTheMaj #BasieAndBeyond

Act Belong Commit Jazz at The Maj for Schools

Students and teachers may also enjoy a special 1-hour school concert-workshop with Alana, Friday 11 June, 3.00pm.
School workshops are great value at just $15 (+bf) per student or teacher/parent – plus you receive 1 complimentary ticket per 9 purchased. School bookings can only be made by calling Perth Theatre Trust group bookings on 6212 9291, or email

Hashtags: #WAYJO2021 #ActBelongCommit #JazzSchool #BasieAndBeyond

Media Contact:
Justine Thornley
WAYJO Marketing
+61 8 9471 1950

Photos by Simon Reithofer, Reithofer Media

Make Mother’s Day with Jazz at The Maj – Oh, Lady Be Good!

The WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) are excited to return to His Majesty’s Theatre for 2021.

Opening a season of three Jazz at The Maj shows for the year, Oh, Lady Be Good makes a songful entrance Downstairs at The Maj 7-8 Mayjust in time for the Mother’s Day weekend.

Take a Quickstep back into a bygone era of style and glamour! Join special guest vocalist Victoria Newton (WAYJO member 1987-89), the WAYJO Tuesday Night Orchestra plus all three of the big band vocalists, for this showcase of beloved big band vocal repertoire.

Victoria has serenaded audiences across the world with her style, technique and humour. Now head of jazz voice at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, she’s worked the London jazz scene, collaborated with Acid-Jazz legend the late Ronny Jordan, and supported Terence Blanchard at the Jazz Café with her quartet.

Enjoy this show at the historic Greenwich Club site – now Downstairs at The Maj – nestled beneath Perth’s iconic His Majesty’s Theatre. Escape the hustle and bustle of the CBD to indulge in the relaxed and revamped Downstairs Bar, with cosy cabaret-style seating, plus fascinating foyer displays from the Museum of Performing Arts Collection.

WAYJO’s last show at The Maj was a sell-out, so best book those tickets soon - and don’t forget to treat Mum too!

You can subscribe & save $10 per adult priced ticket by purchasing all three WAYJO Jazz at The Maj shows in the same transaction; 7-8 May: Oh, Lady Be Good | 11-12 June: Basie & Beyond | 6-7 August: The Golden Age of Swing - head to

Victoria appears thanks to WAYJO’s 2021 Major Programs Partner, Minderoo Foundation.

What people are saying about Victoria;
“A fabulous strong clear voice with a great sense of time and an even greater sense of fun!” - Steve Rubie, 606 Club, London
“Deeply into the music, a real jazz singer” - Brian Blain, Jazz UK
“A jazz singer a cut above the crowd” - John Fordham, The Guardian, UK

Hashtags: #WAYJO2021 #JazzAtTheMaj #OhLadyBeGood

Media Contact:
Justine Thornley
WAYJO Marketing
+61 8 9471 1950


WAYJO presents Oh Lady Be Good, 7-8 May. Tickets