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.

Donald Harrison Jr: “I describe our sound as serious fun”

“I grew up thinking of jazz as dance music, just like the music you hear on the radio,” says Donald Harrison Jr. “This element was never taught in school or discussed by any of my music peers so that alone made me realize I had a different thought process then even the cats from New Orleans like the Marsalis brothers and my partner at the time, Terence Blanchard. They are all great players, but including a dance feeling did not seem to be high on their priority list in the early ’80s.”

Barney McAll: “Music is a guide for society”

“I am presenting this music with a great amount of respect, because the thing that I realized is that there are really magnificent composers who only write for the church and are thus not really known – particularly Doris Akers is a very strong composer in different styles and few people in Australia has heard of her,” says Barney McAll

Harry James Angus talks about his soul-jazz-gospel album project on Greek mythology

“To me, Theseus and Minotaur is a story about masculinity and a story about a cycle of fear and anger and rejection that fathers pass on to their sons that perpetuates bad things in society, like sexual abuse and violence. I see the Minotaur as a classic example of a child who wasn’t given the tools to be a good person in life regardless of the fact that he had the head of a bull.”

One question for Brenton Foster, composer of ‘Love As We Know It’

“I sent Christopher some sketches and he sent me some poems reacting to my music and we both worked from that. I don’t know how much experience he has in matching words to music, but I was really impressed when I got his words back. Everything kind of fit together so quickly and naturally, and they allowed me to make some strong musical statements.”

Bianca Gannon is making ‘ombak’

“Most of my training has been classical; I majored in Composition and Twentieth Century Music Analysis. I’ve also dabbled in jazz and applied myself to various forms of gamelan. I’ve come to believe that it’s ok not to relentlessly pursue one musical avenue, it can be a good thing to be a jack of all trades, especially when creating your own music and own opportunities, and that for me the right thing is to pursue a multi-faceted career. “

Steve Sedergreen reimagines Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite as a connecting force for diverse musicians

“I’m interested in all sorts of music and looking for brothers and sisters outside the jazz area to work with, using the suite as a connecting force,” says Steve Sedergreen. “We are not going to reproduce the Far East Suite but we’re certainly going to play in the spirit of the Far East Suite.”

Claire Cross: “I love Bjork’s ability to get mileage out of her musical elements”

“For this project I felt like it wouldn’t be fulfilling for the audience or musicians if we just attempted to play Bjork’s music the way she has produced it, especially for a jazz festival! There has to be something fresh, intriguing, experimental or risky involved for it to make sense to me. I guess this is what we will strive towards presenting some amazing music that we all know and love with a new perspective and sound and room for everyone involved to get their individual voices across.”