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News and Reviews


Baecastuff plays

"Mutiny Music"

A modern music show based on the story, music and culture that developed as a direct consequence of the Mutiny on the Bounty and the clash of Tahitian and English cultures which developed into the language and song of the of the Pitcairn and Norfolk islanders.

Introduction and Excepts


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The studio album is recorded, mixed and mastered. Launch date to be anounced soon.

Check out a few of the tracks on the player below.

"The players are amonst the finest improvisers alive yet the piece itself was the star" John Shand Sydney Morning Herald
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The Musicians

Baecastuff is based in Sydney, Australia and is led by Rick Robertson, a descendant of the Bounty Mutineers and who’s family reside on Norfolk Island. He is the principal composer, providing the framework for this wonderful band of improvisers to weave their magic.

Rick Robertson - Saxophones

Matt McMahon – Piano,

Phil Slater – Trumpet,

Alexander Heweton – Bass,

Simon Barker – Drums,

Aykho Akhrif - Percussion



The story

In 1789, the very famous Mutiny on the Bounty occurred. Fletcher Christian tossed the volatile Captain Bligh into a long boat with a sextant, food and few of his crew, turned the Bounty around and went in search of somewhere to hide. They returned to Tahiti, stocked the Bounty with livestock and provisions and then departed secretly in the night with Tahitian “wives”, most likely unaware of their departure, and 5 Tahitian men.  Christian and his crew spent the next 12 months criss-crossing the Pacific until the wrongly charted Pitcairn Island was found and became their home.  Pitcairn was the perfect hiding place, with fertile soil and an abundance of timber and water, and completely isolated from the rest of the world.
Nine Europeans and Eighteen Polynesians made up the small community. Land and wives were divided up amongst the 9 Europeans and the 6 Polynesian men had to share the 3 remaining women. This was not ideal but the community made do for a couple of years until Williams’ wife died and he abducted the wife of one of the Polynesian men.  Things went horribly wrong and within ten years all the men on the island apart from John Adams had perished, most of them violently. Adams had a sign from God and took it upon himself to lead the remaining women and children in a pious existence.  When the community was finally discovered after a dozen years the descriptions suggest a harmonious almost perfect existence. All the islanders spoke both English and Tahitian.
New blood arrived not long after with visitors wanting to stay on and join the community. George Hunn Nobbs, who claimed he was the illegitimate son of Lord Hastings but who certainly had been a pirate, mercenary and opportunist, was educated and had some idea of religious protocol. He became the teacher, religious leader, and married Fletcher Christian’s Granddaughter.
In the 1850’s the community had grown to almost 200 and the tiny island was increasingly unable to support them. They asked Queen Victoria for help and she offered them Norfolk Island. Norfolk Island had been a penal colony that had recently been disbanded and the island deserted. In 1856 the entire community of Pitcairn embarked on the journey to their new home 3700 miles away.  Everything about their new home astonished the Pitcairners who were confronted with massive stone buildings, cattle, exotic fruits and flowers, furniture and of course the reminders of convict punishment.
With help from the strong leadership of Nobbs, the community settled into their new home well. A few families returned to Pitcairn unable to deal with their homesickness and their families remain there today.

The Music:
John Adams, the last remaining Englishman, taught his small flock, comprised of 9 Tahitian women and 20 children to sing. They would sing Psalms using melodies remembered by Adams.  Traditional Tahitian music and dance also prevailed. Visitors to the island were entertained by a percussion group, led by Arthur Quintal, and  3 female dancers.  Religious music was composed as well and performed in 4 part harmony.  These hymns were transcribed and remain in use on Norfolk and Pitcairn today.
The language, which is a mix of Tahitian and English, is spoken in a very musical way. Recordings of spoken word have been transcribed and used as melodies for use in the show.
Mutiny Music endeavours to describe this colourful story using the music and language unique to this tiny island paradise.

Baecastuff has been performing at Art and Jazz Festivals and is always looking for opportunities to perform this glorious work.



Baecastuff has released 3 albums of original music.


Out of this World



Baecastuff: Out of This World - Baecastuff 

Album Review
Joe Zawinul's enigmatic remark "We always solo and we never solo" from the liner notes for the first Weather Report album could just as easily have been a reference to Baecastuff. More groove- and riff-oriented than the early Weather Report, the Australian sextet does share that band's emphasis on the collective, rather than the individual player. The music shifts from section to section, themes dissolving and reshaping themselves through the process of group improvisation. Key to this third album from Baecastuff (named after a tobacco bush indigenous to Australia's Norfolk Island) are the classic, analog sounds of Matt McMahon's Fender Rhodes electric piano, appropriately tweaked to produce fuzz-wahed, synthesizer-like, sputtering, short-circuiting sounds in the tradition of Fender Rhodes masters Zawinul and George Duke. The Baecastuff sound is further defined through the fluid, integrated performances of drummer Simon Barker and percussionist Aykho Ahkrif, the pair working together to achieve a true synergy and unity of purpose. On both electric and acoustic bass, Alex Hewetson pulls huge sounds from his instrument, notably his sub-sonic, throbbing electric bass intro to "Rocky Point," by saxophonist Rick Robertson. For his part, Roberston frequently assumes the role of tone colorist, briefly stating themes before recasting them in new permutations that blend with the overall, collective approach. The collaboration is completed by trumpeter Phillip Slater, who paints with a fresh conception from a palette of squelched tones and rubbery phrasing that reveals elements of later period Miles Davis and Don Cherry. With its roots in the best elements of jazz-fusion and deftly incorporating influences from the avant-garde, Baecastuff creates accessible music that has integrity and an audible sense of joy in realizing the collective potential inherent in six individual musical spirits.

John Clare
Sydney Morning Herald
"A very interesting Australian disc and a significant leap beyond their first effort, which was good enough. This one finds a real identity in that area where jazz seeks to engage with other modern forms.There was a time when popular music had to get with jazz because jazz was the energy of the times. All the great popular composers were influenced and they influenced jazz in turn. Jazz continues to develop, in a kind of underground where it cannot help but interact -not only with rock, but with other undergrounds.The first track here is based on an Aboriginal melody and is voiced in long, unison harmony tones on trumpet and soprano saxophone. These sound almost electronic, and the bumping, dancing, popping and oddly detached rhythm accompaniment subtly suggests techno music.In fact, nothing here is exactly like any other kind of music, but strong affinities are established. Unison trumpet and soprano carry most of the tunes -a wonderfully bright, polished sound which becomes haunting and plangent at times. Some of these melodies are like the kind of jazz the mutant band played in the original Star Wars movie.Others are long-toned repeating shapes, rather like Miles Davis's version of Nefertiti. A piece by bassist Alex Hewetson sounds initially like courtly Renaissance music. It develops martial and pagan overtones and ends with one of the few points of hard, blasting, congested energy on the disc.A11-out jazz solos are deployed sparingly, too, but when either trumpeter Phil Slater or saxophonist Rick Robertson lets rip the energy fairly blazes. Likewise, the rhythm team of drummer Simon Barker and percussionist Aykho Ahkrif are sparing with the full barrage, which, when it comes, is all the more effective. Matt McMahon is effectively minimal throughout on electric and grand piano.

Baecastuff is something else."

One Hand Clapping



'another top-line Rufus offering. This disc...exploits some of the territory opened by the electric Miles Davis, bringing some distinctive new touches to bear. It is certainly jazz in spirit, but open to developments in funk and techno...everything is done here to make the whole production sound interesting, inviting and urgently or dreamily funky. Exciting solos are the cream on top' John Clare SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

'Baecastuff integrate electric and acoustic jazz feels into a seamless whole...It is music that is both thoughtful and rhythmically dynamic. It is vastly original, yet also impressively easy to log into. A most remarkable effort and one bound to get international musical palates salivating' Craig Pearce DRUM MEDIA'They typify the new wave of Sydney musos who are becoming more committed to the funkier kind of music played by jazz musicians, that is attracting much younger audiences. The numbers are tight and well-executed, their musical twists and turns take the listener on an interesting journey - a journey far removed from the mainstream' Jill Morris JAZZ ACTION

'It's a kind of DIG-meets-Bitches Brew, with a whole lot of other stuff in the mix too...Slater's work is especially worth your attention' Adrian Jackson RHYTHMS

Big Swell




'this Australian group get a lot more out of jazz, funk and rock and their various crossing points than many a more renowned band' PENGUIN JAZZ GUIDE'this band of local groove merchants...When the grooves are supposed to cook they really do' Shand SMH

'The variety and quality of the tracks are superb...It's real jazz and at the same time a truly enjoyable album for a wide audience' TIME OFF

'one of Sydney's most energetic and imaginative jazz and fusion projects...You couldn't ask for a more satisfying mix of the poignant, the complex and the downright funky' Cal Clugston REVOLVER







Darling Harbour Jazz Festival



“Take note, they cook” Sydney Morning Herald

"this Australian band gets a lot more out of jazz, funk, rock and their various crossing-points than many a more renowned band." Penguin guide to Jazz on CD. (UK)

"Like no other" John Shand SMH

Baecastuff combines the creative energy of six of Australia's most creative and talented musicians.

Saxophonist Rick Robertson, well known for his work with multi award winning and internationally acclaimed band Directions in Groove (Mercury/Verve), leads the ensemble.

Phil Slater who recently won the 2002 Music Council of Australia Freedman Foundation Jazz Fellowship also works with Mike Nock and The Australian Art Orchestra plays trumpet and live sampler.

Pianist Matt McMahon, possibly the finest jazz pianist in Australia, won the Wangaratta National Jazz Piano Competition and is a regular with Vince Jones and Band of Five Names.

Alex Hewetson, bass, has a huge list of performance and recording credits to his name including d.i.g, Don Burrows, Vince Jones, Dale Barlow and Savage Garden.

Simon Barker's dynamic and melodic drumming currently drives the Vince Jones band, and he has recently returned from Korea and Vietnam where he studied traditional drumming with the local masters.

The percussion chair is filled by Aykho Akhriff who is of Spanish-Moroccan origin. An acknowledged master of his art, Aykho brings an exotic energy to the music.

Baecastuff was formed in 1996 by Robertson after he and Slater returned from a European Tour with d.i.g which included appearances at the Montreux and North Sea Jazz festivals. The concept was to create an ensemble to present original compositions with influences from 70’s Miles Davis, Dave Holland, Ornette Coleman and Jan Garbarek, and to combine that with modern rhythms such as Jungle and Drum’n’bass. The band has now developed a unique sound that one reviewer described as " jazz in spirit but open to developments in funk and electronic music such as drum'n'bass."

Live credits include Jazz Festivals around Australia including Darling Harbour, Sydney Opera House, Brisbane Heat, St Kilda Festival and the New Caledonia Jazz Fest. Numerous appearances in local Sydney venues such as the Basement and Venue 505 have strengthened the ensemble.

Baecastuff have released three CDs, Big Swell, ‘97 and One Hand Clapping, ’99, both on the Rufus Record label distributed by Universal Out Of This World, on the NAXOS label, was released internationally in January 2001.

The debut CD Big Swell received excellent reviews and was nominated for an Aria Award. The second CD, One Hand Clapping has also received great reviews. The new album Out Of This World shows the maturity and unique ensemble this band has developed over the sixteen years it has been together.






Rick Robertson Entertainment