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Australian jazz legends celebrate Sydney and look to a COVID-free future.
ABC Jazz is excited to announce a new recording of ‘My City of Sydney’ by celebrated vocalist Gregg Arthur, performing with John Morrison’s Swing City Big Band.
Tommy Leonetti’s 1969 song was broadcast well into the 1980s by Channel 7 prior to the station closing down every night, and it is sure to bring old memories flooding back for generations of Australians.
This swinging new version was recorded to celebrate the city coming back to life after COVID-19. Supported by the City of Sydney’s Creative Fellowships Fund, the song has a whole new meaning after this most strange and unusual year.
“There are lines in the song that have poignant new meaning because of COVID,” says Gregg Arthur. “My city of Sydney, I miss the warmth of you, I miss the heart of your people.”
The recording sessions also provided a lifeline for the members of John Morrison’s Swing City Big Band, many of whom have not been able to perform live since the city’s concert halls were shut down in March. “Some of the guys literally hadn’t worked in 6 months, so I was very proud to bring everyone together,” says Arthur.
In an incredible connection to Leonetti’s original, this recording features the legendary Billy Burton on trumpet, at 87 years of age. Burton was on the original recording back in 1969, and was the band leader on Leonetti’s late-night Sydney TV variety show, ‘The Tommy Leonetti Show’, which ran from 1969 to 1970.
“Having Billy in the trumpet section was wonderful,” says Arthur. “It had real resonance for the history of this great song that fifty years later, Billy is still playing brilliantly.”
Gregg Arthur is an Australian singer and songwriter, critically acclaimed by both the press and his peers. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Gregg travels all over the world performing the music he loves, keeping the flame alive for the classic standards he has been singing all his life. His training and education are firmly based in the tradition of jazz vocals and the Great American Songbook, using his considerable abilities to interpret what he calls the “new standards”, pop and smooth jazz classics. Studying music in Sydney, Gregg honed his vocal skills with famed singing coach Don Graden, studied acting to enhance his singing performances at The Actors Studio and took lessons with legendary acting teacher Hayes Gordon, also recording and performing with the great Australian arranger and conductor, Maestro Tommy Tycho.
In the United States Gregg has worked with iconic musicians including the late Vincent Falcone, former pianist and conductor for Frank Sinatra, and the “Brush Master” Clayton Cameron, drummer for Tony Bennett and Sammy Davis Jr.
In 2016 Gregg recorded in the iconic Studio A at Capitol Records in Los Angeles, California – the same studio where legends of the music industry including The Beach Boys, Carole King, Frank Sinatra and Nat “King” Cole recorded so many iconic albums over the last 50 years.
“I love the way you sing. You have a fan in the way you phrase... it’s perfect” – Tony Bennett
“...the finest male jazz singer Australia has produced since Vince Jones” – Eric Myers,
The Weekend Australian
“Some people got it, and some people don’t. Gregg Arthur is one of the ones who does. It’s the devilish art of being a jazz singer.” – John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald
“In my opinion, he is the ultimate crooner” – Maestro Tommy Tycho AM MBE
“As the former pianist/conductor for Frank Sinatra, I want to say that having worked with Gregg Arthur, I believe that he has all the necessary talent and vocal acuity to follow in the footsteps of Mr. Sinatra, and effectively disseminate the great music which Mr. Sinatra loved so much” – Vincent Falcone, Frank Sinatraʼs pianist and conductor