Q&A with Marc Hannaford – 2006 NJA Finalist

When did you start playing piano and why? For example, was there a ‘moment’ when it came to you as a calling or vocation?

I started when I was nine so I could impress my friends with renditions of ‘The Entertainer’. I think I was really drawn into it when I read how dedicated Thelonious Monk was in being himself through his music.

Which musicians (jazz or otherwise) have been your greatest influences? What about them stood or stands out for you?

Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, Scott Tinkler, Eugene Ball, Steve Magnusson, Julien Wilson, Andrew Hill, Mark Simmonds, Allan Browne, Paul MacNamara, Jamie Oehlers, Ronny Ferella, Geoff Hughes, Miroslav Bukovsky, Cecil Taylor, Elliot Dalgleish, John Coltrane, John Rodgers, Steve Coleman, Ken Edie, Earl Hines, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Nichols, Elmo Hope, Muhal Richard Abrahms, Jason Moran, Anton Webern, Olivier Messiaen, Igor Stravinsky etc. etc. etc. I’m sure I’ve left heeps out…

The thing I love about all of these artists is their dedication to music and the willingness push themselves to become the best they can/could be-regardless of how much or little recognition they get for it.

When composing or arranging, where do you get your inspiration? For example, do you ever find that other art forms (painting, writing etc.) feed into your own creative process?

Visual Arts, mathematics, films, literature, quantum physics, dreams, my friends, people on the street, these all feed my creative process.

Inspiration is in no way a prescribed condition of the creative act, but rather a manifestation that is chronologically secondary” – Igor Stravinsky

What does the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz represent for you?

Probably the most fun weekend of the year.

What are you listening to now?

Madlib-Songs from a Film, Jason Moran-Artist in Residence, Messiaen-Quartet for the End of Time, John Coltrane-Sun Ship, Tim Berne/Craig Taborn/Tom Rainey-Feign, DJ Shadow-The Private Press.

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