The oldest jazz and blues club in Australia, The Basement closed its doors in March. The shutdown sparked debate about the dying live music scene in Sydney. Mr Dadon is now examining possible CBD locations for the club. And he is appealing to the public and others to suggest a suitable venue.
“I was saddened to see The Basement close its doors. It was a loss to the cultural health of the city and Australia,” said Mr Dadon said. “I hope that with the help of those who are committed to retain and reinvigorate Sydney’s music scene we will find an ideal new location of The Basement.”
A leading jazz guitarist himself (he goes by the stage name Albare), Mr Dadon has long demonstrated his vision and passion for live music. He rescued the Melbourne International Jazz Festival when the City of Melbourne cut its funding in 2000 – taking the project to the state government, proposed transforming the festival into a major festival with appropriate funding. Under his leadership the Festival grew from 5,000 visitors in 2001 to more than 200,000 by the time he stepped down in 2009.
In 2002 Mr Dadon established the annual Australian Jazz Bell Awards (named after Australian legend and patron of the event the late Graeme Bell AO) to celebrate excellence in Australian jazz scene. Today ‘the Bells’ are the most prestigious awards in the Australian jazz calendar.
Mr Dadon opened Bird’s Basement below his Jazz Corner Hotel in Melbourne’s CBD in March 2016, and committed himself to make it one of the world’s most renowned. Today, the club, a sister venue of Manhattan’s Birdland, regularly features world class musicians and is recognised internationally as Australia’s premier jazz venue.
As Albare, he often performed at the Sydney Basement. He has recorded 11 albums. With his long time pianist companion Phil Turcio, their band, Urbanity, and their album Urban Soul, this year enjoyed Billboard chart and critical success in the United States. Urban Soul is distributed in Australia by MGM.
Mr Dadon is determined to make The Basement a must stopover for tourists and a regular experience for Sydney and regional jazz enthusiasts. “I would love to provide Sydneysiders with a wonderful 21st century experience, similar to what we created in Melbourne at Bird’s Basement,” he said. “In the meantime we will be looking at broadcasting all our shows live from Melbourne in our soon to be launched app.”
Mr. Dadon is a recipient of an Order of Australia for his services to the arts and business, and was recently awarded ‘the Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite’ by French President Macron.
Image: Albert Dadon