Q&A with John Kingma – 2008 NJA Finalist

John Kingma, bass, Victoria

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

Back in High School, I was a blues/ rock guitarist. (weren’t we all?)

One day, when I was 15, the music teacher caught me trying to play a Bb shuffle on the music department’s decrepit old fender squire (electric bass). He ran to his office and returned with a stack of big band bass parts saying, ‘learn these for rehearsal tomorrow night!’

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

The MC guy at the laundry Monday nights – Dedication.

Sam Anning – Such a down to earth guy. He can get around the bass too.

Jessica – a random girl who busks on Bourke Street – such a pure soul.

Allan Browne – Never lost the spirit.

Al Mclean, James McLean, Kieran Hensey – who needs enemies with mates like these.

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 find that dancing is closest to music. Essentially it the same activity expressed through motion of the body, not sound. Painting, literature, sculpture are somewhat detached, as the process can be slowed down and the end product is finite.

However, a beautiful piece of writing can trigger a deep piece of music.

To me, foreign languages are the essence of beauty.

What’s your favourite place to play or practise?

In a large tiled bathroom… where no sound comes in.

I could light a candle and play low notes for hours.

What does the Wangaratta festival of jazz represent for you?

Patriotism towards Australian jazz.

A family reunion with everyone you’ve ever played with.

The beginning of the end of the year…

What are you listening to now?

‘Streams and Waterfalls’ (new age nature CD)

‘Change of the century’ Ornette Coleman

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These annual Q&As with National Jazz Awards finalists are coordinated by Miriam Zolin.