Arts and Culture

The beating heart of jazz

Story: April Spadina | Photo: Cody Fox

When twelve year old Steve Wright joined his local brass band, little did he know his love of percussion would take him on a global musical journey, spanning over fifty years and multiple continents.

After years playing the music scene in his home town of Maryborough, and working as a metal fabricator, Steve travelled north to Townsville to further his education, studying Archaeology, Anthropology, Modern History and Geography. It was during this time he established himself in Townsville’s vibrant music scene and discovered his passion for jazz, playing with some of Australia’s iconic greats such as Don Burrows and Julie Anthony.

Returning to the Fraser Coast, Steve’s career took an exciting turn, when in 2016 his band embraced the opportunity to travel to Bucharest, Romania to play jazz in the opening gala concert of the international music event EuropaFEST. Three years later they played in the gala concert again.

This year, as a result of his previous experience and obvious passion, Steve was invited to attend EuropaFEST as part of the jury panel for the prestigious Bucharest International Jazz Competition. He also held a full day jazz percussion workshop. Thanks to his RADF funding and his willingness to embrace all opportunities, Steve spent two weeks witnessing some of the most incredible musicians he had ever heard, an experience of a lifetime.

Home on the Fraser Coast, Steve is excited for a rich future for the region. He is currently Vice President of the Hervey Bay Jazz and Blues Club and will officially launch the dynamic TNT Big Band this month. Steve has grand plans and believes there is the capacity for a regional orchestra in the Fraser Coast. By his own admission he is “stubborn and not very diplomatic” but it’s these qualities that have helped carve his way through a career in the music industry he is deeply passionate about.

With the support of local musicians, Steve knows the Fraser Coast has what it takes to become part of the vibrant international music scene he loves so much.


The creation of this story and photography was funded by Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF). RADF is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Fraser Coast Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

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