“It was never my intention to recreate or imitate my dad’s playing, with Zawinul Legacy; in essence there is only one Joe Zawinul, and I let the music do the talking.”
‘Comes Love’ is a snapshot of what you’ll hear at one of my gigs, favourite songs sung with two of my favourite musicians; there was no theme in mind other than sharing some lovely songs in a natural way, and I believe that’s how it sounds.
“I grew up looking up to musicians like Andrea Keller and Sandy Evans, because I could see that they had their own bands, were writing their own music and were totally accepted and respected by the jazz community. I saw that it was possible to have a career in music.”
The line up includes Paul Grabowsky, Barney McAll, Bob Sedergreen, Andrea Keller, Julien Wilson, Sam Anning, Eugene Ball, Tamara Murphy, Phil Noy, Geoff Kluke, Maddison Carter and Margie Lou Dyer.
With influences including American icons such as Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan, alongside less known but no less luminous talents such as Carmen McRae, Roberta Flack, former Supreme turned balladeer Mary Wilson, and New Zealand expat Bridgette Allen, Mama Alto’s sound remains idiosyncratic and unique, partly due to her luscious and gender transcendent voice which has drawn critical acclaim and audience admiration.
Big Band Swing evolved during 1930s and ’40s wartime – a time of great oppression. It served to lift the spirits of those at that time, troops and civilians alike. Today too, Big Band Swing shouts an anthem call to all who are weary; Weary of war, worry and woe. So, as B# keeps Big Band Swing alive and live, people from ‘Gen Y to Gen Wartime’ smile, embrace and dance to re-feel their aliveness. And in the depths of their being, the ‘boom, boom, boom’ of today’s ‘modern bombs’ are again drowned by the joy of swing, the joy of life.
“I was always interested in boogie and ragtime, but didn’t have a teacher for that style, so I taught myself, with great difficulty, later in life.
I regret I didn’t live in Hamburg during the 1970s, when there was the huge explosion of boogie and blues piano players, the best in the world. It would have been clearer and quicker for me if I could have been part of that scene.”
Sydney and New York should consider themselves lucky to share an artist of the caliber of Philip Johnston. The inventive Jazzman divides his time in both cities, playing with the legendary Microscopic Septet, or his own Greasy Chicken Orchestra. His music is a sardonic take on hot jazz through an avant-grade prism, as will discover …
The idea was to foster a collaborative approach to the music making and invite the other musicians to contribute their compositions and favourite tunes as well, rather than me having complete control over the repertoire (as was the case in the Andrea Keller Quartet). By opening things up like this, there’s diversity to the music that otherwise wouldn’t exist to the same degree.
“The internet has made the world really small. ‘Two Cities’ could really be called ‘Three Continents’ (maybe doesn’t have the same ring to it), because it was made all over the world. It was written and recorded in Australia and America, mixed in Australia, mastered in England and manufactured in Germany.”