Sneha Girap (Editor)

Stephen Magnusson

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Role  Musical Artist
Occupation(s)  Musician, composer
Genres  Jazz
Music director  Jack & Lily
Name  Stephen Magnusson

Stephen Magnusson australianjazzrealbookcomstaticmediacache2f3

Born  February 13, 1969 (age 46) (1969-02-13)
Instruments  Electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Associated acts  Kinfolk,Boundariesand MAGNET
Albums  14 Little Creatures, Hey, Guess What?, No Conditions, No Exceptions, Kaleidoscopic, All the Gravitation of Silence
Similar People  Paul Grabowsky, Barney McAll, Scott Tinkler, Nick Haywood, Bernie McGann

Birth name  Stephen John Magnusson

So it goes stephen magnusson quartet

Stephen John Magnusson (born 13 February 1969) is an Australian guitarist. He is known for his work as an improviser and has worked with the Australian Art Orchestra. and Elixir featuring Katie Noonan. Magnusson was awarded the Melbourne Prize for Music Outstanding Musician Award in 2013.


Choir girl frank di sario and stephen magnusson

Early career

Stephen Magnusson Stephen Magnusson Australian Jazz Real Book

Magnusson began playing musical instruments at age three when he was given a ukulele. At age six he had his first guitar and began performing at the age of ten on an electric guitar that he borrowed from a school teacher. He started to formally study improvisation under Gordon Pendelton at Box Hill TAFE in 1985. In 1986, Magnusson began his formal training at the prestigious Victorian College of the Arts. Here, he worked under the supervision of some of Australia’s finest musicians, Tony Gould, Bob Sedergreen and Paul Grabowsky. He practiced improvisation and composition, joining various bands and exploring many styles, developing an understanding of the mechanics of his instrument and the art of improvisation.

Stephen Magnusson Steve Magnusson Ausjazz Blog

His was influenced as a child by the Beatles whose music he describes as: "a magical experience, because it was so produced, and because of this amazing journey that they’d take you on. Especially from the mid-’60s on, they just explored sound." Magnusson was also influenced by the linear playing of George Benson and Wes Montgomery, but also fascinated by Andy Summers of the Police: "who played these beautiful colours that didn’t sound like pop music at the time… I just loved exploring that principle."


Stephen Magnusson Boundaries Frank Di Sario and Stephen Magnusson YouTube

Magnusson travelled to Europe in the mid-1990s, performing and collaborating with musicians in Switzerland, Germany, Bulgaria and the Netherlands. In 1997 he was appointed to the staff of The Academy of Contemporary Music in Zurich and met his longtime collaborator Sergio Beresovsky. They performed regularly with Björn Meyer a Swedish bassist and were joined soon after by Australian saxophonist Julien Wilson. They formed the group SNAG and recorded a self-titled album which was released in Australia with the title Hey Guess What. Magnusson both played and taught across Europe and performed regularly with SNAG and other ensembles. He was awarded two grants through the Swiss Arts Council POP KREDIT and in 1999 was nominated for the Swiss Fellowship award.

After three years living in Zurich, Magnusson returned to Melbourne in 2000. He entered the National Jazz Awards at the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz performing with his trio, The Stephen Magnusson Trio, featuring Argentinean drummer Sergio Beresovsky and trumpeter Eugene Ball. They tied for first place. The trio subsequently released the CD Healing Songs. in 2001.

Magnusson returned to Europe, touring throughout Germany and Switzerland in 2001. In October, he brought SNAG to Australia for an East Coast tour and again appeared at the Wangarratta Jazz Festival.

Magnusson arrived back in Australia in 2002, where he spent time in the Northern Territory playing music in Aboriginal communities with old friend and collaborator Stephen Teakle. This had a significant impact on both his life and his music. Back in Melbourne, he embarked on a recording that would incorporate these influences compositionally and sonically. It is at this point when his distinctive and unique sound began to emerge. Boundaries was released that year with Bassist Frank Di Sario. These two events were pivotal in the next chapter of Magnusson's career.

Since 2003, Magnusson has continued to compose, perform and improvise with a wide range of ensembles across Australia and overseas, releasing over fifteen recordings of his own, and has collaborated on many more, including: the Australian Art Orchestra; Elixir, featuring Katie Noonan; and the Julien Wilson Trio. As a member of the Katie Noonan trio Elixir, the ensemble won the ARIA for Best Jazz Album in 2011. In addition he has worked with: Charlie Haden, Meshell Ndegeocello, Ricki Lee Jones, Sinead O’Connor, John Cale, Gurrumul Yunupingu, Paul Grabowsky, Vince Jones, Katie Noonan, Lisa Young, Christine Sullivan, Michelle Nicole, Martin Breeze, The Assumptions Trio, Megan Washington, Paul Kelly, Jim Black, Mike Nock, Barney McAll, Enrico Rava, and Arthur Blythe among others.

Magnusson has had three compositions added to The Australian Jazz Real Book In 2013 the Melbourne Prize Trust awarded Stephen the highly regarded Outstanding Musician Award to develop his MAGNET project.

In May 2015, Magnusson appeared at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival with the Stephen Magnusson Quartet, Kinfolk which, along with Magnusson on guitar, included Frank DiSario on double bass, Tim Neal on Hammond organ, and Dave Beck on drums.

Sonic Dreams

"Laterly he has been haunted by the sounds generated by such jazz pioneers as saxophonists Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins and guitarist Django Reinhardt. Magnusson enjoys playing in extremely diverse contexts because it allows him to explore on the huge array of sonic possibilities at his disposal."

I’ve never driven a sports car,’ he says, ‘but I can imagine getting in a Ferrari, and it just asks to be driven a certain way. I think the guitar’s the same. I’ve got 11 guitars in front of me, and I don’t play them all the same. The instruments sort of take me there. It’s just like playing music with friends: you play with different people and the music takes you in certain directions. You’re attracted to sound, and your response to their sound and how we blend sonically. I love that. I think that that’s the thing that I love to keep exploring… But hopefully when I do my thing, even though the context might be varied, it still sounds like me.


  • 2013 Melbourne Prize Trust - Outstanding Musician Award
  • 2013 Australian Jazz Bell Awards Best Contemporary Jazz Album
  • 2011 ARIA Award Best Jazz Album
  • 2000 National Jazz Awards
  • Discography

  • 2013 – Stephen Magnusson & Ren Walter – Listening
  • 2013 – Aquachetta featuring Mirko Guerrini – Jazzhead
  • 2011 – MAGNET – MAGNET
  • 2009 - Stephen Magnusson & Julien Wilson - Kaleidoscopic – Jazzhead
  • 2008 - Stephen Magnusson & Ren Walters – Deflection - Listening
  • 2007 – Stephen Magnusson - Solo - 14 Little Creatures – ABC Jazz
  • 2005 - MAG – MAG - Independent
  • 2003 - Assumptions Trio – departures by assumptions - Newmarket
  • 2003 – Magnusson/Ball/Beresovsky – Healing Songs - Independent
  • 2003 - Stephen Magnusson & Frank Di Sario – Boundaries - Newmarket
  • 2003 – Facelifter - Independent
  • 1998 – SNAG – Heaps – Independent
  • 1998 - SNAG – Hey, Guess What – Independent
  • 1997 – SNAG – SNAG
  • References

    Stephen Magnusson Wikipedia