Saturday night at Sydney’s Seymour Centre jazz pianist Mike Nock was awarded with the Australia Council Don Banks Music Award. The annual award is Australia’s top music honour, recognising a senior individual’s outstanding contribution to music in Australia.
Upon receiving the award, Nock expressed how humbling it was, adding , ‘It also brings with it a sense of responsibility to the music community. They’ve shown they have faith in me and I have to step up to the plate.’ This shouldn’t be a problem for the musician, described by Australia Council CEO Tony Grybowski as ‘truly a luminary in his field.’ Grybowski elaborates, ‘ Mike Nock continues to influence his peers, delight audiences and inspire the next generation of jazz musicians.’
This admiration and delight was evident in the Seymour Centre’s Sound Lounge where Nock and his band performed after the official proceedings had finished. He composed the sixty minute suite through a commission from the Sydney Improvised Music Association (SIMA), with support from the Australia Council.
While reluctant to choose a carer highlight, the musician does insist receiving the Don Banks Award is ‘one of a list of highlights, but it’s all been great. I’m glad I’m still able to do all this stuff at my age and still be as keen as I ever was.’ And he appears to have no intention of slowing down any time soon with discussions about recording a CD, ongoing commissions and performances.
Describing himself as a ‘missionary for jazz’, Nock views the music he creates as a means of connecting with people and laments that ’things are never finished – we’ve got to keep looking at things.’ Keep looking he will and we are all grateful for that.