Kamasi Washington, a bona fide jazz superstar, is coming back to Australia. Here’s the man with his dectet, delivering ‘The Message’.
“Our approach to music making is very open. Whatever the members bring to the group is welcome. We each lead diverse music lives outside of the band and when we come together the things we’ve been doing individually find voice in the overall sound. This is intuitive and encouraged and it means that the sound of the group is changing in ways that keep things interesting. We always sound like the Necks, but we also sound different from tour to tour – in ways that we can’t predict.”
” I believe that is one of the primary purposes of music: To offer a portal for release and escape, and hopefully healing, even if only for a few seconds. What better way than by celebrating music from around the world and through the ages, whose message is struggle for unification and equality?”
– What makes a torch song?
– Truth. The lyric is poetic truth, and the music frames the words and creates the mood.
“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.”