Q&A with Tim Wilson – 2009 NJA Finalist

Tim Wilson, from Melbourne

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

I started playing saxophone when I was about 13 after having done a couple of years on the clarinet. As a kid I grew up listening to bands like the Daly/Wilson Bigband and Chicago so I always loved that sound.

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

I had an inspirational saxophone/clarinet teacher called Peter Martin when I was at high school. I still remember the first time I saw one of his gigs – his alto sound just blew me away. He put me onto a broad mix of jazz and commercial recordings from Parker, Cannonball, Coltrane to Brecker. I have always been drawn to players like Cannonball who have fantastic facility on their instrument and also a real sense of fun when they play. I’m also heavily influenced by the guys in some of the projects i am involved with – they basically kick my butt around the stage on gigs and make me more aware of my strengths and weaknesses, and challenge me with new approaches.

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’m largely influenced by recordings that I am checking out at the time, but also by people, places, and experiences.

What’s your favourite place to play or practice?

I love practising outside when i get a chance.

What does Wangaratta Jazz represent for you?

The diverse nature of the performances at the festival make it a really unique event, and it’s a great chance to catch up with fellow musicians in a relaxed, social environment.

What are you listening to now?

Dave Holland Group, Joe Henderson, Cannonball Adderley, Dave Binney, Ellington, Rosario Guiliani.

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