“While we are both very different players, I think we both are similar in the fact the we like to approach improvisation with honesty and aim to be ourselves at all times. We are also both drawn to the same kind of repertoire and inspired by similar artists.”
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“How I’ve evolved as an artist is parallel to how my life has evolved: new experiences, new friends, moving countries; I think that all changes the way I play in some way”
Angela Davis: “It has always been a dream of mine to record with strings – some of my favourite albums are ventures in jazz with strings; Art Pepper’s Winter Moon, Lee Konitz Strings for Holiday and Paul Desmond’s Desmond Blue. To me there’s something profoundly beautiful about the timbre of the alto saxophone blending with a string section.”
A cohort of inspired, inspiring women took to the stage, one by one sending out a War Cry, singing songs of Nina Simone and Abbey Lincoln and Sharon Jones – along with their own originals, all songs that describe what it means to struggle, to fight back, to do your bit to create social change, one note at a time, one verse at a time.
“When you are finding it a struggle as a woman in the jazz scene, try talking to other women about it. Look to history, to the female composers and performers who continued to pursue their dreams and rose to the top of their field despite the many difficulties they faced.”
“I did not expect the music that came out of me to be political, to be conscious jazz. I thought I would write a beautiful lovely AABA jazz standard that could swing.I didn’t realise that I was so angry or desperate.I didn’t realise I was so opinionated.”
“This project deals with subjects that were big issues in America from the ’30s to the ’70s and the female singers at that time raised their voices, trying to change things with their singing. If some people may have been thinking that these issues were solved nowadays, Donald Drumpf’ s America and the #metoo movement show that it’s not the case. So by covering these songs, we raise our voices too, and keep on trying to open consciousnesses with music, which is our only weapon.”
One thing I’ve learned, while I was doing my homework, was that Australia’s first jazz band – literaly trading as ‘Australia’s First Jazz Band’ was formed in Sydney in 1918 by Belle Sylvia. So this year, we’re not only celebrating the centennial of Australian jazz, but also 100 years of female leadership in Australian Jazz. Not a bad legacy for a scene.
The shortlist for this year’s Australian Jazz “BELL” Awards has been officially announced. This year’s crop has been extraordinary, with many great albums submitted in the competition. The amount of talent in this list is overwhelming, and it is bound to make the work of the judges very hard
“Musically, I like the idea of keeping music borderless and open to all kinds of influences. It really excites me when I hear new music that is difficult to categorise into a specific box.”