Denson and James sign five of the album’s twelve songs, all works of exemplary craftmanship that deserve a place in the Australian Jazz canon (if there is such a thing). My personal favourites are the upbeat ‘Wild December Wind’ and the introspective ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ (I’m a sucker for 3/4 tunes); both perfect vehicles for Ingrid James to showcase her ability to convey real, almost tangible, emotions. You can feel her voice embracing and caressing you.
On ‘Any Last Requests’, Mark Lockett’s trio span well-loved standards, as well as hardcore jazz tunes – all with the variety, dexterity and telepathy that only a group forged in the NYC fire can. Each of the three brings everything necessary for three to become one, in aspiration and in execution.
I just keep doing things I love and playing with musicians I love and my voice shapes itself; if you are an artist, it is part of who you are, I think you are always aware of it.
The Bowie Project is not a tribute – it’s a thesis; it’s a product of research and analysis. Rudegeair dived deep in the Bowie universe, took the songs, stripped them down to the bare essentials, analysed their components and took each element and presented it under new light.
“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.”
“We’ve made a conscious decision to compose freely in this band, not feeling restricted by genre, just bringing whatever we feel like to the table. You can hear influences of Jazz, 20th Century Classical music, North India Classical music, South American music. With the instrumentation of the music and the mixed influences, you could very much describe it as a contemporary jazz band.”
“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.”
Steve Barry’s recent writing has evolved a highly individual and idiosyncratic language that colours the logic of his melodic line. Harmonically he has become even more adventurous, and rhythmically he plays with time and the stretching of time in truly eye and ear-opening ways.
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.
“This is all me finding my own voice and sharing my music and my stories in the world. My leading single is a tribute to the old-school jazz and soul sounds I grew up and fell in love with, but with a little contemporary twist”