George Garzone and Jamie Oehlers in conversation

George Garzone is appearing at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival with The Fringe in June 2012. Jamie Oehlers is also appearing at the festival with his trio.

See the Links page for appearances by Jamie and George at MIJF >

Jamie Oehlers and George Garzone 'in conversation' | Photo: supplied

George Garzone is known world-wide as one of the tenor saxophone’s finest educators and players. He currently teaches at Berklee in Massachusetts, USA,  tours regularly (including regular visits to Australia since 2007) and has recently released an educational DVD focusing on his famous triadic chromatic concept and a more recent offering In the Funk Zone.

Jamie Oehlers is an award winning tenor saxophonist, currently coordinator of Jazz Studies at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). Jamie tours and teaches internationally. Originally George Garzone and Jamie Oehlers were teacher and student, but somewhere along the way they have become musical collaborators with hopefully many more conversations and shared songs in front of them.


January 2012. New York City. Tenor saxophonist Jamie Oehlers is here on one of his annual visits, all the way from Western Australia. George Garzone, based in Boston, is also here – as he often is. They’ll play together a couple of times on this trip, and they’ve also agreed to let me capture them in conversation. I loan them a recorder. Garzone has access to a space he can use and they have some backup questions if they run out of things to say. Of course, they don’t run out of things to say. I ask them not to get too technical. I don’t want to hear about reeds and mouthpieces. I want to hear how they both got into music, what inspires them, what keeps them going, what they listen to and why they teach. When I get the recorder back, there’s an hour and a half of conversation, interspersed with the sounds of the city. They’ve been in a quiet room, but outside, the sirens, horns and rumbles speak unmistakably of New York.

During the hour and a half they were recording, their conversation moved around. There was a narrative thread, but it took a winding road. The conversation was characterised by a sense of friendship, shared jokes and a deep love of music. The transcript was 41 pages long. Single spacing. What we’ve done here is bring out the themes, provide some context and edited out some of the normal hesitations and repetitions that naturally occur in speech, but can interfere with the flow for a reader. We also removed some (but not all) of the swearing.

They started by talking about New York and what it means to both of them.

Use these links to move around the interview from subject to subject
– just like George and Jamie did!

Introduction | New York keeps you honest | Garzone’s ex-student network | ‘I never really wanted to teach’ | Getting an education | Australian impressions | Energy vs technicality | Teaching | Garzone’s triadic chromatic concept | The Fringe | Garzone surprised by his journey | Melody | What music are you listening to? | Finding an individual voice | Wayne Shorter and ‘Footprints’A career as a jazz musician | What does music mean to George Garzone? | Young people today | Australia again | Links