“I started singing ‘You Gotta Have Freedom’ with my first jazz band and when I went to London in 1986 I was actually invited by Pharoah Sanders to sing it with him at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz club. It was an incredible experience and an exciting improvisational one, too. I was so inspired by my first sojourn away from home that I started my own original jazz-funk band, YOYO, after returning to Melbourne in 1989.”
“I think a lot about balancing opposing elements in my pieces: planning/spontaneity, complexity/simplicity, density/openness, intellect/emotion. Music has a lot of scope for self-expression (emotions) and experimentation with ideas (intellect). This might be especially true of creative jazz. I think the dilemma over how much weight to give these potentially competing tendencies is an interesting aspect of writing and playing music. For me the ideal is both: music involving sophisticated ideas and a high level of craft that moves me.”
A wonderful selection of local and interstate Jazz artists are bringing their unique flair and original vibe to The Memo St Kilda Jazz Summit including some of Melbourne’s finest jazz exponents covering styles from 1920s to the sounds of today.
But of course, this is a band overflowing with imaginative musicians. Jenny Eriksson’s electric viola da gamba is the anchor around which the good ship Elysian Fields sails. She was clearly enjoying herself onstage, relaxed and on fire.
“I don’t wait to be asked to join a band that plays a style that I am interested in – I just put one together myself. It’s extremely hard work keeping it all going but very rewarding at the same time.”
Elly Hoyt has harnessed the power and beauty of music, not simply for its own sake, but to give voice to those we have heard far too little from.