Q&A with Karl Dunnicliff – 2008 NJA Finalist

Karl Dunnicliff, bass, New South Wales

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

In high school I played the trombone in the school big band. It was really boring so I decided to try electric bass. It looked a lot more interesting playing bass up the back in the rhythm section than 3rd trombone. I then started double bass a few years later.

Which musicians (jazz or otherwise) have been your greatest influences? What about them stood or stands out for you?
My first musical influences were bands such as AC/DC and Pink Floyd. I then really got into Oscar Peterson and Ray Brown because of their amazing groove. More recently I have been influenced by great Australian musicians such as Bobby Gebert and Steve Elphick.

What’s your favourite place to play or practise?

My favourite place to play is at the Unity Hall Hotel in Balmain sitting in with the Unity Hall Band. But I like playing anywhere where the audience is actually listening.

What does the Wangaratta festival of jazz represent for you?

A chance to hear all the musicians I love all in one town at one time.

What are you listening to now?

The Meters, Dave Holland, Chris Potter, Donny Hathaway and anything with Dennis Irwin.

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