At the heart of Australia’s scene is a multi generational community of curious and ambitious artists.

Across the substantial geography of the Australian continent and islands (6 states, 3 internal territories, and 7 external territories) there are individual scenes and pockets of activity, that have produced artists who have had an impact internationally, these include Linda May Hahn Oh (double bass, voice), James Morrison (trumpet), Paul Grabowsky (piano), The Necks (piano trio), The Australian Art Orchestra, Sandy Evans (saxophone), Kristen Beradi (voice) Mike Nock (piano), Laurence Pike (drums), Scott Tinkler (trumpet), Simon Barker (drums) Jo Lawry (voice) and Barney McAll (piano).

Despite significant disadvantage stemming from European colonisation, First Nations Australians are a powerful cultural force.  See William Barton (didgeridoo, voice, guitar, piano), Dr Lou Bennett AM (voice, language warrior), Vika & Linda Bull (vocals), Emma Donovan (voice), Jesse Lloyd (voice), among others. And there are many respectful and meaningful collaborations between First Nations artists and non-Indigenous Australians that have resulted in important and unique projects, see collaboration with Yolŋu songmen from from Ngukurr in Arnhem Land, Daniel and David Wilfred and The Australian Art Orchestra, or with Paul Grabowsky, or with Peter Knight (Hand to Earth).  

Immigration has been a defining feature of Australia’s development. The musical impact has resulted in unique and sometimes unexpected cross cultural collaborations.

Australians have maintained a presence at Jazzahead for nearly a decade, under the direction of the Australian Music Centre and Sounds Australia, a government funded music export initiative.

University level education plays a critical role in nurturing Australian artists with degree courses offered in all capital cities.

There are a relatively small number of commercial players in the scene and these are mostly concentrated around live music venues.

Government support for festivals, presenters, broadcasters and labels has been critical in the development of that supporting infrastructure.

Guide compiled by EJN member Australian Music Centre