Q&A with Matt Smith – 2010 NJA finalist

Matt Smith responds to the Jazz Australia Q&A, featuring finalists in the National Jazz Awards.

The National Jazz Awards are performed and announced at the TAC Wangaratta Festival of Jazz which will be held in 2007 from 2-5 November. This year the awards feature guitar.

Visit the website for program details.

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

When I was young I was told that my hands were too small to start playing the guitar. So from the age of 5 I took classical piano lessons from an old strict German lady in Wollongong. On the way to the lessons mum would crank Stevie Ray Vaughn tapes and I’d play air guitar in the front seat. I still remember blowing the speakers in the commodore with ‘house is a rockin don’t bother knockin’! I got a guitar for my 8th birthday.

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

I love listening to guys that speak with there own voice, like Bill Frisell, Jim Hall, Keith Jarrett, John scofield, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn…

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?

My inspiration can come from anything. Usually I find inspiration in things I find beautiful.

What’s your favourite place to play or practise?

Sitting in our lounge room over looking the farm in Jiggi.

What does the Wangaratta festival of jazz represent for you?

I couldn’t think of a better weekend! Its my first time at the festival so I feel honoured to have a small part in it.

What are you listening to now?

Right now? Paul Motion- Garden of Eden

Return to the main Q&A page… These annual Q&As with National Jazz Awards finalists are coordinated by Miriam Zolin.