Nikos Fotakis

I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king. Also a father, a husband, a writer, an editor, a coffee addict, a type 1 diabetic and an expat. Born and raised in Athens. Based in Melbourne. Jazz is my country.

I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king. Also a father, a husband, a writer, an editor, a coffee addict, a type 1 diabetic and an expat. Born and raised in Athens. Based in Melbourne. Jazz is my country.

One question for Jackie Bornstein, jazz singer and social activist

“The broader aim of the Jazz and Social Justice project is to demonstrate the power of jazz as a force for justice, freedom and creativity. Jazz artists have used their music and profile to spotlight injustices since the Civil Rights era. The program I have put together shares the stories and music of jazz artists from 1930s to the modern day who have taken a stand for social justice issues including racial, religious and marriage equality and environmentalism.”

Gai Bryant: “Cuban music has helped me enormously to cope with loss”

“It’s been an interesting experience as a band, because we’ve been able to interact directly with the dancers and that’s been fantastic. They are part of the band. The most interesting thing for me is the interaction between the front line players and the dancers. Musicians are starting to solo differently and think about their solos, anticipating what the dancers will do; and you can see the dancers anticipating the instrumentalists as well. It’s an interesting process, I think we’re at the beginning of something.”

Mike Field – My Songlines

– If your life was to become a movie, which tune would be on the end credits?
– Five Days In Hermosa, by this Canadian jazz musician named Mike Field. It’s another fun tune, and it’s instrumental so it would work really well for end credits. I wrote this tune because every time I’d travel on tour from Canada to New Zealand and Australia, I’d stop through Los Angeles and would play at The Lighthouse Cafe in Hermosa Beach. It’s such an iconic club with so much jazz history, and even though there’s a lot of karaoke and reggae bands playing there these days, there’s still jazz three days a week. Each time I was there, it would take me about five days to rehearse with the band and play the show, so after doing that a bunch of times, it inspired this tune, which I ended up recording on my third album.

Ross McHenry: “The Outsiders is an embrace of my Adelaideness”

“My music sounds like me and it sounds like someone who has not grown up in a major centre like Melbourne, or New York, or London. For a long time I was ashamed of this. But I have begun to realise this is also what makes my music worth listening to; its a part of what makes it unique. Matthew Sheens is also from Adelaide (although he’s been living in NY for many years) and Myele Manzanza comes from Wellington in NZ (which is even smaller and more isolated than Adelaide, where I am from). All three of us are coming from the outside of the centre of the worlds we love, participate in and contribute to. The Outsiders is my reflection on all of this.”