Q&A with Nashua Lee – 2007 NJA finalist

Nashua Lee 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 approx 9 or 10 years old. Both my parents are musicians so there were many amazing musical moments for me growing up both with the music they played and listened to and there fellow band mates.

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

Parents – First musical view, luckily they had good taste. introduced me to Miles Davis and Wes Montgomery.

Kiss – I used to dress up in Kiss costumes and play the drums when I was 5 – occasionally comes out when I least expect it. I loved there stage craft. Anyone who wears big metal boots and face paint wins.

Angus Young – Used to try and copy all his licks. Still love AC/DC

Jimi Hendrix – My dad took me to a friends house and showed me the cover where Jimi is setting the guitar alight, that blew me away. I love his playing a real innovator. also amazing poetry in his lyrics.

Steve Vai – When I was around 14 years old “Passion,Grace and Warfare” took my head clean off. I had never heard someone tear the guitar apart like that.

Joe Satriani – Really opened my ears to interesting rock solo’s.

Stevie Ray Vaughn – So much spirit and intensity in his playing. I cried the day he died, I think I was around 16.

Diamond Darrell – The pantera album ” Mouth for War” really got me as a youngster. some of the most brutal metal guitar riffs and solo’s to date.

Miles Davis – My first introduction to jazz. A true artist and innovator.

Wes Montgomery – He still gets me today, such a unique player. Incredibly melodic and fluid.

John Mclaughlin – Both Shakti and Mahavishnu Orchestra changed me forever. His playing is so creative and fluid. A complete master of Odd metres.

Jim Hall – incredible comping and lyrical playing.

Tal Farlow – Bop Lines and chord playing

Lenny Breau – Harmonics and line playing

Allan Holdsworth – Harmonic concept, compositions and fluidity with line playing.

Bill Frisell – Originality and melodic textures a guitar genius.

Mike Stern – Line playing

John Scofield – Unique voice, Phrasing and feel.

Kurt Rosenwinkel – Everything

Ben Monder – Chordal playing,Right hand and compostion.

Charlie Parker – Whole concept simply incredilble.

Also great Australian artists – Greg Sheehan, Scott Tinkler, Will Guthrie, Steve Mag, James Muller, David Addes, Jim Kelly, Julien Wilson, Geoff Hughes, Eugene Ball, Elliot Dalgliesh, 12 tone family, Ren walters, Peter Petrucci, James Sherlock

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?
Usually something Im working on or involved with. Yes all art forms and life in general feed in to the creative process.

What’s your favourite place to play or practise?
Anywhere that allows a clear space for musical communication and free flowing expression.

What does the Wangaratta festival of jazz represent for you?
A chance to see amazing music

What are you listening to now?
Joe henderson, Charlie parker, Wayne Krantz, Beatles, Wayne Shorter and Eddie Bo

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