Frock has created a unique place on the fertile Australian musical landscape. A band that continues to defy categorisation despite jazz, world, pop and funk influences, Frock thrives on two strong ingredients that give it such a bold Australian flavour: a deep level of commitment to the concept of Ensemble in performance, and a distinctive compositional voice that explores the many facets of Frock’s unique instrumentation.
The band’s identity is reinforced by a telepathic rapport, honed over sixteen years of regular performances, tours and sessions. Frock’s collaboration has been further fuelled by the members’ love of good food, and this aesthetic, sensual thread runs through everything the ensemble does. Their sheer love of sound is concentrated through a dynamic and diverse line-up: Craig Beard - Vibraphone, Anthony Schulz - Accordion/Piano, Adam Starr - Guitar, Dave Beck - Drums/Percussion and Simon Starr - Double Bass, as well as wordless vocals. This instrumental amalgam creates multiple sonic worlds and an orchestral blend that continues to surprise and amaze audiences world-wide – Frock certainly transcends the perceptual boundaries of what is commonly expected of a contemporary quintet.
Since 1997, Frock has recorded 6 albums of original music (very well represented in the upcoming Australian Jazz Real Book) and a bestselling album for the ABC in tribute to iconic songwriters Nick Cave, Neil Finn and Don Walker. Multiple tours to Europe, Asia and throughout Australia have further codified their sound and refined their renowned ability to create a rapport with audiences everywhere: it is in the live arena that Frock truly excels.
With such a depth of material, understanding and technique, Frock performances are a thrilling emotional conversation between old friends, full of loving gestures, provocative remarks and quickness of wit.
Frock’s sound is to be savoured; it has found favour around the world wherever and whenever they have performed. Their remarkable legacy is still unfolding, their plans firmly focused on growth and innovation. New pieces are always being composed, with performances constantly designed and presented to frame them. As Frock moves forward, they continue to glow, enrapturing audiences who are fascinated by the ensemble’s constant journeys into the unknown.
The Jazz Studies program is based on the African American jazz idiom as a language for learning but embraces a wide selection of musical styles which includes jazz, world music, Brazilian, Indian, free, electronic, popular, Latin and blues to name but a few styles.
The philosophy of the course is to offer a strong technical and musical foundation that allows the student to develop a personal 'voice' which is a result of their broad musical education and an awareness of their social and cultural being. Academically, there is a focus to learn research skills in performance, musicology and ethnomusicology, which can equate to further study in the postgraduate area.
Within the music undergraduate degree, students are also offered classes in jazz arranging/composition, ear training, improvisation materials, theory, instrument specific workshops, keyboard skills, Indian rhythms, Brazilian music (Choro-Samba), composition, performance workshop, stage band, world music ensemble and small ensembles.