Bernie McGann and Bundeena

Mythologizing an Austral jazz icon


  • Andrew Robson Macquarie University, Sydney



Austral jazz, Australian jazz, Bernie McGann, jazz, saxophone


This article argues that the Australian saxophonist Bernie McGann was a catalyst in the shift towards the emergence of an Austral jazz scene, and that from 1970 until his death in 2013, McGann became a major creative force within that scene. The article sets out several factors that contributed to McGann's gradual acceptance and eventual rise to iconic status within the Australian jazz scene and the larger Austral community. It questions aspects of the McGann narrative, in particular the suggestion that McGann's distinctive musical language was forged during extended periods of daily practice in the Australian bush during the 1970s and 80s, arguing that this is a simplification of McGann's biography and not an accurate reflection of his complex and sustained creative development.

Author Biography

Andrew Robson, Macquarie University, Sydney

Andrew Robson lectures in music at Macquarie University in Sydney. His research focuses on understanding jazz as a music of local, regional and global significance. His PhD thesis focuses on his own creative work as viewed through the prism of the Australian and New Zealand regional jazz scenes. Andrew is also a professional saxophonist and composer.  


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How to Cite

Robson, A. (2018). Bernie McGann and Bundeena: Mythologizing an Austral jazz icon. Jazz Research Journal, 11(2), 177–201.