Billed as ‘Queensland’s First Lady Of Jazz’, Clare Hansson has led her own jazz trio since 1980. Introduced to jazz by her late bass-playing husband, Bernie Hansson, Clare has forged an identity within the jazz scene as a charismatic leader of her trio of piano, bass and drums. Clare is also a skilled accompanist greatly in demand for Festivals and backing top local, interstate and international artists through her ability to play in any style or setting. American singers Jimmy Witherspoon and Ernestine Anderson are just two American stars she has backed, and Australian jazz figures such as Bob Barnard, Don Burrows, John McCarthy, Paul Furniss, Brett Iggulden, Johnny Nicol, Ed Wilson, Su Cruickshank, Barbara Foulds, Sandie White and Wilma Reading have prospered from her talent.
However, trio jazz, swinging, stylish, classy and elegant, is Clare’s chosen niche. The Clare Hansson Trio has enjoyed continuous high-profile status in prestigious Queensland venues throughout twenty-six years. Earlier trio recordings featuring Horsley Dawson on bass and Bob Watson on drums are LIVE AT THE CAXTON and ALL BLUES. The trio has toured extensively for the Queensland Arts Council. A major career highlight was composing her musical suite AZIMUTH, premiered at Queensland Art Gallery in 1990, a brand-new CD which has since been released. Musical partnerships with Brisbane artists have been rich and rewarding, and Clare’s current trio consists of Wayne Harper on bass and vocals, and Geoff Ovenden on drums. Other career highlights include performing in New York during visits to the jazz mecca, and two recordings made with American musicians in a quartet led by saxophonist Neall Strand – MELLOW JAZZ and MORE MELLOW JAZZ.
Clare has been greatly in demand for Jazz Festivals throughout Australia and New Zealand – performing in Queenstown, Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne, Adelaide, Launceston, Geelong, Dubbo, Townsville, Stanthorpe, Warwick, Noosa, and the Gold Coast.
As part of her musical journey, Clare gained a Masters degree in Jazz Studies at the Queensland University of Technology in 1996. She then embarked on a PhD on the professional career of New York jazz pianist, Marian McPartland. Marian McPartland, active in American jazz for six decades, is a pianist, composer, educator, writer, broadcaster, advocate and mentor for all musicians. Clare’s PhD, in the format of a Website, is a groundbreaking approach to jazz studies from her perspective as a performer and as a researcher steeped in jazz knowledge. Clare is the first and only Australian guest to appear on McPartland’s popular radio program Piano Jazz in 1999. This popular guest appearance has been re-broadcast three times since.
In April 2006, Clare successfully completed her PhD, graduating as Dr. Clare Hansson. This milestone in her jazz career was followed by a sell-out concert at Brisbane Jazz Club to celebrate this academic success. At this Graduation Concert, Clare and her fellow musicians raised $5,000 towards the establishment of the Clare Hansson/Brisbane Jazz Club 2007 Young Jazz Recording prize. The first, second and third prizewinners are talented and worthy young ambassadors within the jazz idiom. A major highlight for Clare in the 1990s was performing George Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody In Blue’ with the St, Lucia Orchestra. Whatever the musical occasion, Clare’s love affair with jazz shines through in the vitality of each performance. Every note is touched with her lyric signature, echoing her uncompromising dedication to the craft of jazz.
In 2005 Clare’s solo performance of an entire Bach program for the 4MBS Festival – Bach a la Loussier – received a standing ovation’.