Jazz double-bassist Ben Robertson graduated with distinction from the Improvisation stream of the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia 1987 where he was awarded both the Gwen Nesbitt scholarship and the Mensa award for musical excellence. There he developed a reputation for musical excellence and melodic inventiveness leading to many and varied professional opportunities as a performer.
Ben has extensive experience in a wide variety of musical settings, with recording studio credits of over 60 jazz and commercial CD releases. He is regularly featured in Australian film scores, along with television appearances and touring commitments with local and international artists. He is a harmonic and listening musician; a great asset to any ensemble both as an improvising soloist and arranger.
Ben’s performance highlight’s include: Tours of Italy, Norway, Denmark and Finland with the Jo Chindamo Trio; Australia wide tours with Danish saxophonist Hans Ulrik; Jens Winter and Dale Barlow National Tour; National tour with Barbara Cook; Guest appearances with the West Australian and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras and James Morrison; Performances with UK jazz diva Claire Martin; Collaboration with Don Harpers ‘Illawarra’ project; Australian concerts with US Jazz Vocalist Mark Murphy, Lee Konitz.
Ben’s composition; Long Stream was recently selected as a finalist for the international Double Bassist magazine competition One minute Wonders. The work received its International Premiere in Wells, Scotland, October 2007. His composition Open Land for Double Bass and Piano, received the ‘Highly Commended’ award in the International BIBF competition UK, 2009. In 2008 he received skills and arts development funding for study in Chennai India with renown carnatic Violinist V.S. Narasimhan.
In 2010 Ben is a guest soloist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in Don Bank’s Nexus and is maintaining a busy performing and recording schedule. He is also writing the moon prayer series, a suite for double bass and piano.
Award highlights include: Co-composer/arranger and performer in 2007 Bells award winning Album ‘Grace’ best jazz vocal album 2007- Lisa Young Quartet; APRA finalist nomination for most performed jazz work of 2007 Jones/Gould/Robertson Meditations on Love; ARIA Award nominee for Best Jazz Album, Jo Chindamo Trio, Anyone Who Had A Heart, 1999.
Ben has performed in diverse situations with artists such as James Morrison, Tony Gould Graeme Lyall, Don Burrows, Dale Barlow, Vince Jones, and visiting artists Mark Murphy, Rudolf Josel, Ertha Kitt, American broadway diva Barbara Cook, UK diva Claire Martin, Dane Hans Ulrik. Most recently he has documented work on CD with the group FGHR, the Lisa Young Quartet, Matt Kirsch, Tim Stevens trio, the Fiona Burnett trio, Tim Wilson trio, and vocalist Alison Wedding.
Praise for Ben Robertson:
- …offers sure lines and a rounded tone… his dexterity takes the music on interesting journeys…” ABC 24 Hours
- …Ben Robertson’s elegant bass is the crucial element here. It climbs about, but always refers to the tonal and rhythmic centre in the right places…” Sydney Morning Herald