Michael Falzon and Bobby Fox star in Painted From Memory at The City Recital Hall Angel Place in Sydney on 24 September. The show takes its name from the Bacharach and Costello album of the same name and is a unique reimagining of this classic album along with other classic hits. Many jazz musicians have sought inspiration from Bacharach’s compositions; musicians such as Stan Getz, Cal Tjader and Wes Montgomery. Bobby Fox also performs widely around Australia, his latest shows celebrating a new beginning for 60’s mod jazz fusion.
Bobby agreed to write a guest post for us, on the subject of mod jazz
Mod Jazz was loved by many people the world over as it encapsulated so many sounds of the 60s. But there was a specific branch of people that stood fast not just to the music but to the way of life it preached at the time. They were simply called ‘Mods’. The refused to accept the ever growing hippy movement and stood clean cut and sharp. Their suits were always (to quote the 1979 classic mod movie ‘Quadrophenia’) ‘3 buttons, side vents, 16inch bottoms’ with whatever brand of loafer was your preference. Bass Weejuns are mine.
The ‘Mods’ were a subculture of young people in the 50’s and 60’s who obsessed with clothes, motor scooters and music. Namely modern jazz. They were strongly against the ‘Rocker’ way of life and music.
I see ‘Mod Jazz’ as this wonderful umbrella of 60’s sounds incorporating styles like 60’s pop, swing, northern soul, jazz, Latin and is the birthplace of some of our pop music today. Just think of artists like Duffy, Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson and local talent like Daniel Merriwether. You can hear that wall of sound from such a rich (yet short) era. Its so timelessly cool. You are instantly transported back to that time yet the music never feels dated. Its hip. Its boss. It defines old school in my book.
Playing the true ‘mod jazz’
Some artists/bands to play true Mod Jazz are;
The Merits, Floyd White, Timmy Thomas, The Swingin Tomatoes, Joe Swifts Internationals, The Afro Blues Quintet Plus One, Jess Davis, Tobi Lark
The Dave Hamilton Set, Bobby Donaldson
Well-known artists who influenced or took inspiration from mod jazz include;
Elvis Prestley, Dean Martin, Chet Baker, Frankie Valli and The 4 Seasons, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Burt Bacharach, The Coasters, Earl Grant, Oscar Brown Jnr, Hector Rivera … just to name a few.
Improve your life with mod jazz
Mod jazz improves modern life by simply playing it. Loud and often!
It is for everyone. It helps to simplify an art form that – to the untrained ear – can be very complicated. Yet it allows the skilled musician to play without having to ‘dumb it down’ for people without a bachelors in jazz. Its inspiring to songwriter, the musician, the producers and to the purchasers. And most importantly… It’s a big ol’ bag of fun.
Get some friends over.. Get your cocktail shaker out, roll up your carpet and do what we’re on this earth to do. Enjoy ourselves.
Find out more about Painted from Memory