Nyilipidgi Paul Grabowsky, Wilfred Brothers & Monash Art Ensemble ABC Jazz The best way to listen to this music is in a live performance, but opportunities for that are quite limited. I was fortunate to experience the work at the recent Wangaratta Jazz Festival — where it received a standing ovation — and my opinion of it rose considerably. Pianist/ composer Paul Grabowsky began working with ceremonial musicians from Ngukurr, on the Roper River in South East Arnhem Land, in 2004. Nyilipidgi represents an apex of achievement where aspects of contemporary jazz are incorporated into Australian traditional music and vice versa. Contributions come from brothers Daniel Ngukurr Boy Wilfred — vocals and clapsticks (Bilma) and David Yipininy Wilfred on didjeridu (Yidaki) — whose traditional vocals, in song and story, with music are united in quite brilliant ways with jazz orchestrations and solos from members of the Monash Art Ensemble. In The First Dance clapsticks and chanting transmute via a violin and percussion passage into big-band staccato chords and a soft conversation that fades to a conclusion. Grabowsky has overcome the challenge of this achievement without sacrificing aspects of either genre. The cover notes are useful in explaining: “Nyilipidgi does not attempt a superficial integration of differing traditions ... that relegates music to the mere representation of style.” What Grabowsky has achieved is an original jazz symphony of monumental proportions using words, dances and songs (manikay) of the Wagilak clan, amalgamated with jazz in a moving, original landmark.