HARRY EDWARDS QUARTET
Based in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, Harry Edwards is a guitarist whose core passions are composition and gypsy jazz. He coordinates and performs in numerous jazz ensembles including gypsy jazz band ‘Django’s Tiger,’ original compositions group the ‘Harry Edwards Trio/Quartet,‘ and the double bass and guitar duo ‘Isaac & Harry.’
Harry Edwards graduated with a Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tasmania in 2012 and has since developed a regular practice of performing professionally with various ensembles around Tasmania and mainland Australia.
In June 2014 Harry travelled to the U.S.A. and Europe (France, Netherlands, & Belgium) to study with some of the world’s leading gypsy jazz musicians. This was made possible by the generous support of the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia, the Australian Arts Council (ArtStart Grant), Arts Tasmania (Start-up Artist Grant) and Regional Arts Tasmania (Quick Response Grant).
In the U.S.A, Harry attended the study camp ‘Django In June,’ which involved intensive week-long study with the world’s leading gypsy jazz guitarists, including Sebastien Giniaux and Olivier Kikteff. He then travelled to Paris to undertake two months of private tuition with gypsy jazz guitar virtuoso’s Antoine Boyer, Samy Daussat, Christophe Lartilleux, Romain Vuillemin, Jean-Philippe Watremez and Sebastien Giniaux. He has also received private tuition from Australia’s foremost guitarist in this idiom, Jon Delaney.
Alongside his own projects, he works regularly with jazz singers Anita Cairns and Jane Morris in the ensembles ‘Ani & Harry,’ and the ‘Jane Morris Trio.’ Harry is also available to perform as a solo jazz guitarist, where he showcases both original compositions, and his unaccompanied arrangements of popular jazz standards.
Harry has performed on ABC Radio National on several occasions with his trio, as well as ABC Hobart. In 2010 Harry was invited to perform solo jazz guitar at a tribute concert to Django Reinhardt for the Devonport Jazz Festival. He is a regular performer at Hobart venues and festivals such as MONA, Wrest Point Casino, Dark Mo Fo, Clarence Jazz Festival, and the Taste of Tasmania.
The Harry Edwards Trio/Quartet recently completed a tour of east coast Australia. The highlight of this tour was their performance at the annual ‘OzManouche’ festival at the Brisbane Jazz Club, where they were the support act for international gypsy jazz icon Robin Nolan.
In 2015 Harry launched his debut CD of all-original jazz compositions and, in 2020, his second original album Only The World Remains came out on vinyl LP. This new album combines Harry’s love of gypsy jazz instrumentation with influences from film scores, classical music, and modern jazz.
In addition to being an active performer and composer, Harry operates an online platform for learning gypsy jazz guitar: Studygypsyjazz.com.
“The Harry Edwards Trio blew me away with their fresh and innovative style of gypsy jazz. Harry is a superb Manouche guitarist and his original tunes are very special.” – Robin Nolan, Internationally renowned performer & gypsy jazz educator
The Gypsy Jazz Quiz: Harry Edwards
Q: What are your 3 favourite Gypsy Jazz albums and why?
Django Reinhardt – Retrospective 1934-53
Not an ‘album’ release per se, but a great summary/overview of the work of Django Reinhardt, which includes both his original compositions, and classic standards. I just think this is a well curated compilation of his recordings, probably the best out there (as a 3 CD set; there are certainly more comprehensive compilations, but this one is great).
Sebastien Giniaux – Melodie des Choses
One of my favourite albums ever! I love the mix of standards and original compositions from Seb, and how he varies the instrumentation throughout. The collaborative works with kora player Cherif Soumano are in particular a real treat.
Gonzalo Bergara – Portena Soledad
Fantastic, emotive album, with virtuosic and sensitive playing all round.
Q: What’s the best venue or festival for gypsy jazz in your country?
The annual OzManouche festival! This occurs in late Nov/early Dec and is held at the Brisbane Jazz Club in Queensland. Each year a new international gypsy jazz artist is featured, as well as a number of gypsy jazz acts from around the country. We’ve played there a bunch, it’s great. Intimate and passionate.
Q: What’s your best tip for someone wanting to learn to play gypsy jazz?
Start with rhythm guitar and spend at least a year or two on that (find a jam or two to go two, and accompany others for a while).
Feeling solid with your rhythm playing is the key to then begin confidently exploring the lead guitar side of gypsy jazz. I also run an online gypsy jazz school with courses, PDF’s, and backing tracks.
Q: Who are your top 3 favourite gypsy jazz ‘legends’?
Django Reinhardt, Antoine Boyer & Sebastien Giniaux
Q: Sum up your music in one sentence
Emotive original compositions that blend gypsy jazz with influences from film scores, modern jazz and classical music.