“My Dad’s music was a statement against dictatorship, injustice, intolerance, and against the destruction of democracy. The music remains relevant to our time and current administration. That’s why it continues to be important.”
“Charlie Haden is a significant figure in 20th Century music and has been a huge influence on me throughout my career. The theme of songs of protest that we are presenting at the festival also fits well with Haden’s music we will be performing – LMO music inspired by the Spanish Civil war and the Cuban revolution amongst others, as well as some Australian songs of protest by the likes of Midnight Oil and Archie Roach.”
“Music is a healing force for those of us battered by the harsh realities of inequality and oppression all over the world.”
“The brilliance of Billy Strayhorn’s ‘Lush Life’ has me speechless on so many levels. I can’t describe it – I just have to sing it.”
When Michael Griffin’s lips touch the mouthpiece, he’s transfomed: the awkward teenager gives his place to a jazz master of superb confidence – and his pinstripe suit becomes a perfect fit. It’s uncanny.
“For us jazz is about a willingness to explore new possibilities with only a moment’s notice, whether it be inviting a guest on stage who has no idea what they’re getting themselves into, or intentionally playing something that goes against what would normally be done, say in a piece of music that has become well known. As a more broad ranging metaphor this can be used as an invitation to leave past mentalities behind that were potentially stifling, freeing us to move forward in life.”
“My idea of excellence is something which takes incredible patience and great care. A master craftsman doesn’t get bored of their craft, but rather finds more depth in it over time. I can’t remember where it is from, but I think it’s a Nietzschean aphorism – ‘seriousness is a child at play’, which I think is important too.”
“I was divided into four parts, arranging the music, recording the music, videoing the footage and finally, bringing it all together into a single film. I began the recording and arranging job simultaneously, something I’ve never really done before. I just started recording whatever I thought sounded good, adding whatever instrument I wanted along the way. Eventually, I realised this was going to be best suited to a big band (with a few woodwind doubles) and began notating arrangement and the recording alongside it.”
I don’t know how much distance there is between Carla Bley and Frank Zappa, but Cheryl Durongpisitkul covers it with ease. And, however helpful references and namedropping might be to describe a sound, it is mostly just noise. Because, the loudest, clearest, most assertive voice here, is that of Cheryl Durongpisitkul herself.
Contrary to most modern jazz recordings, that verge towards minimalism and a downtempo, contemplative approach to analyzing and exploring musical ideas, Chris Frangou created an uplifting, visceral rollercoaster of rhythms.”I’ve got a bit of hyper-energetic personality”, he agrees, “and that’s something that came in that record. I like music to invigorate me, to motivate me, to make me run 14,000 km and climb a building from the outside. That’s what I want music to make me feel and I was trying to transfer that energy in the recording.”