Talkin' Jazz

Talkin’ Jazz is a community for young jazz musicians to meet, learn and play.



Helen was born in Toowoomba, Queensland – the youngest of an intensely musical family. Helen was steeped in jazz and classical music, participating in vocal groups and studying classical piano from age 6.

Helen began gigging as a bassist at 17 when her mother Peg, a talented jazz pianist, found herself in need of a new bass player- the departing bass player provided one lesson on the electric bass and then it was off to the gig on Saturday night!

After relocating to Brisbane in the late 80s, Helen switched to acoustic bass, since her interest in jazz had turned into a profession as she became a sought-after bassist for local jazz bands.

Helen has been a constant on the Brisbane jazz scene since the late 80s, performing with both the old guard and the-up-and-comers.

Late in 1990, Helen joined Bebopera (Leah Cotterell – vocals, Tony Hobbs – saxophones, Steve Russell – piano, and Ken Edie – drums) – at that time, the most successful and innovative of Brisbane’s jazz scene. Helen has also performed and recorded with the Louise Denson Group, Ingrid James, Leigh Carriage, The Brand New Sweeties and Josh Hatcher.

Helen has tutored in jazz bass and small ensembles at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music (Griffith University) and has also taught bass,  Aural Skills and Musicianship at the Queensland University of Technology and the Jazz Music Institute. These many years of teaching experience have culminated in the development of the musicianship/ear-training via a cappella singing method – ‘A Cappella Ear Training.’

As of 2015, Helen is a Lecturer (Contemporary Music – Instrumental) at the University of Southern Queensland.

Talkin’ Jazz is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.