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Jazz guitar legend plugs in for NMIT

25 Mar 2013

The old saying “It's not what you know but who you know” normally doesn't sit well with a teacher but on this occasion Jack Pantazis is happy to make an exception.

A relationship forged eight years ago has allowed the NMIT music teacher to score something of a coup - he has managed to persuade legendary jazz-fusion guitarist, Mike Stern, to take half a day out of a four-day Australian tour to present an up-close and personal workshop for NMIT students and members of the public.

Pantazis got to know Stern (a four-time Grammy nominee and former guitarist with Blood Sweat and Tears and jazz titan, Miles Davis) in 2000 and 2001 when Stern presented a series of workshops to NMIT music performance students. When Pantazis learnt that Stern was touring Australia this year he made a call to the guitarist's management and it wasn't long before the NMIT gig was in Stern's diary.

Stern, in Australia to tour with jazz quartet, The Yellowjackets, will present a performance-based workshop at NMIT, demonstrating his improvisational approach to ensemble playing. It is anticipated that Stern will perform and speak for around two hours.

“The NMIT Music Program has always been providing its students with the highest quality of music tuition at industry standards,” says Pantazis. “The up and coming workshop with jazz great, Mike Stern, is no exception in delivering to our students a musician who will no doubt inspire them to new heights with his knowledge and vast experience.”

One such student eagerly looking forward to meeting Stern is Timon Sotiropoulos, a 2nd Year NMIT student studying the Advanced Diploma of Music Performance. Timon will attend the Stern workshop at NMIT and, later in the year, will perform a Stern track, '55 Dive', as part of an end of year recital for the Advanced Diploma. “I have decided to perform the Mike Stern track because of the technical aspect of the melody,” said Timon. “I do like his music and I'm keen to see the way he approaches performing. It's something all guitarists should be going to see.”

What: Workshop with acclaimed jazz-fusion guitarist, Mike Stern.
Where: NMIT Fairfield campus, Yarra Bend Road
When: 11 am - 1 pm 23 November
Cost: $20*
Bookings: Jack Pantazis, Tel 9269 8934 or

*The Mike Stern workshop is also being offered (as a free added bonus) to anyone who enrols in the NMIT Preparing for a Music Audition Short Program (10 am - 4 pm, Nov 22 - 23). This program is designed for anyone who wants to thoroughly prepare for a music audition. To register for the NMIT Preparing for a Music Audition Short Program contact Michael Rochford on 9269 1845 or


Stern's career spans three decades. Recordings include more than a dozen recordings including four GRAMMY nominations.
Stern commenced his career as a guitar player with Blood, Sweat & Tears at age 22.
1979 to 1980: recruited by Miles Davis to play in his comeback band of 1981. During his three-year period with Miles, Stern appeared on three recordings with Davis - Man with the Horn, Star People and the live We Want Miles.
In 1985, Stern recorded Neesh, his first recording as a leader, for the Japan-based Trio label.
Stern's 1993 release, Standards (And Other Songs), resulted in him being voted Best Jazz Guitarist of the Year by the readers and critics of Guitar Player magazine.
Followed up with Is What It Is in 1994 and Between the Lines in 1996 ­­- both of which scored GRAMMY nominations.
In 1997, Stern recorded Give And Take. The album included covers of Sonny Rollins' "Oleo", John Coltrane's "Giant Steps", Cole Porter's "I Love You" and Jimi Hendrix's "Who Knows" which helped Stern earn the Orville W. Gibson Award for Best Jazz Guitarist that year.
His Voices (2001) release, his first foray into vocal music, was also another GRAMMY nominee.
After 15 years with Atlantic, Stern shifted to ESC for the 2004 release of These Times.
Stern joined the Heads Up label with the August 2006 release of Who Let the Cats Out?
A collaborative recording, Lifecycle, by the Yellowjackets and Stern was released worldwide on the Heads Up label on May 20, 2008. This was the first Yellowjackets recording in 15 years to feature a guitar player


Interview / Photo Opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.