Q&A with Carl Morgan – 2010 NJA finalist

Carl Morgan 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.

When did you start playing guitar and why? For example, was there a ‘moment’ when it came to you as a calling or vocation?
I started playing when I was about 9. I had always been fascinated by electric guitar so I was happy when my parents bought me my first electric guitar for Christmas to replace my ukelele. I kind of wanted to play the drums equally as much but im not sure my neighbours would have appreciated it.

Which musicians (jazz or otherwise) have been your greatest influences? What about them stood or stands out for you?
The first jazz music I really listened to was 80?s Miles Davis. My dad had a video recording of Miles’ band with Kenny Garrett etc. that I came across when I was home from school one year. I guess I was really attracted to the harmony and the groove, and I think it was then that I thought to myself “I want to be a Jazz Musician”. From that music I discovered John Scofield who was and still is a huge influence. Some other musicians who have changed my life are Pat Metheny, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Wayne Shorter, Michael Brecker, Bill Stewart, Brian Blade, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, John Coltrane, Jaco Pastorius, Dave Holland just to name a few.

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?
I guess everything in my day to day life has an impact on what I write. If I am going to sit down and write something I have to be feeling creative and open minded, or nothing good will happen. Sometimes I’m in that mode, other times I’m not. Sometimes I will take a visual idea and try and make something of it, but I also like to start with nothing. You also never know when a good idea might randomly pop into your head.

What’s your favourite place to play or practise?

My favourite place to practice is at home in Tilba on the NSW South Coast, it’s a relaxing environment where you can be creative all day long. As for favourite place to play, wherever there is an enthusiastic audience.

What does the Wangaratta festival of jazz represent for you?
The festival gives me a chance to hear some of the best jazz from Australia and around the world. The competition will be fun, I get to meet some of the elite players in the country, play with a great band and hopefully make an impression. I feel privileged to be a part of it. Also, I get to see Kurt Rosenwinkel play.

What are you listening to now?

Adam Rogers – Apparitions, Kurt Rosenwinkel – The Next Step, Janek Gwizdala – Mystery to Me, D’Angelo – Voodoo, Michael Brecker – Pilgrimage.

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