When Mercer Ellington decided to keep his father’s orchestra alive, after Duke Ellington’s demise, he chose the word ‘Continuum’ for the title of the outfit’s first post-Duke recording. This is the word that constantly comes to mind, when I think of Vincent Gardner and Belinda Munro, who are touring Australia these days.
Sandy Evans was inspired by these images of reality and reflection, so she started composing what turned out to be musical responses to them. “I like to think of harmony in relation to colours”, she says, describing her approach. “Other times it was the structure of the photos that I reacted to. There are certain mirror images, so what I did was take some melodic ideas and reverse them”.
When he takes out his flute to play ‘It ain’t necessarily so’, he turns it into a hard-grooving soul-jazz anthem and when he plays an actual 60s soul-jazz anthem, like ‘Mercy, Mercy, Mercy’, he does it with a free spirit and a post-bop sensitivity.
My creative process ideally begins with an idea that is exciting to me, and often that seed of inspiration is enough to drive the project through to completion, and overcome all the challenges along the way. Georgie and Josh have been my inspiration for the last month or two while writing this music.
The Cookers is a learning experience for me. I will always learn and get my ass kicked by these guys. It might not always be a pleasant experience to get one’s ass kicked but it is an important part of one’s growth as a musician and I’m very lucky to be in this unique situation performing with and learning from some of the best and ones directly tied to when this music was at its apex.
I have always loved horns and a big band sound so I wanted to inject that into the project. I also had to have piano because of the colour it provides. I was looking for a slightly theatric bent as well.
“The Singh & Blanes duet is more about romanticism and flashbacks to a more romantic time, while my own solo work is about my intricate thoughts and emotions; it’s all about me being by myself, in solitude. It’s a bit more personal and reflects my individual take on the world. Then my jazz project is about my compositional ability and my fluency on the piano”.
I told my Dad about it and he was so happy to hear that [Bill Frisell and I] would be working together. I said something like, “Hey Dad, I’m a jazz cat!”
Growing as a performer, she distilled her experiences into songs, culminating to the release of her album Sunny One Day a seamless blend of soul, funk, jazz, rnb and rock sounds that is still her trademark.
Spence and Fujii have been commissioned by the Melbourne International Jazz Festival to present a new Australian/Japan collective – Kira Kira (shine). For this project, Tamura on trumpet and Tony Buck on drums will join them.