Festivals

The spirit of Alice Coltrane graces Melbourne

Has Alice Coltrane ever been more relevant? Maybe in the ’70s, when she set up on her own journey, practically inventing the harp as a jazz instrument, while creating her signature modal/spiritual jazz sound. Spiritual jazz is, of course, the sub-genre du jour, at the moment, largely thanks to the unbelievable popularity of Kamasi Washington, who owes much to the Coltranes. But any DJ worth their turntables have been pointing to Alice Coltrane for the past decade or more, discovering the worlds that exist in her intricate weavings and sonic textures.

Jennifer Salisbury: “If I am contemplating the experience of another and I feel deeply about it, I can have a tune pop up”

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.

Hue Blanes: “I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be a world leader”

“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”.

Ross McHenry: how the Shaolin Afronauts made a new soundtrack for Mad Max

Those who saw the Shaolin Afronauts last year shouldn’t expect the sequel to be just a repeat of the original. “We didn’t want to repeat anything that we had used; we wanted this to be a completely new experience for the listener”, says Ross McHenry. “This time, we’ve actually written a lot more new material; we’re working towards a new album so it was a bit of an opportunity to ‘try some new material”.

Jazz by the Bay goes global in 2017

This year’s headliners include Eclectic young Singapore band The Steve McQueens; three musicians from the legendary Buena Vista Social Club orchestra teaming up with popular Perth jazz crooner and musician Adam Hall with the Velvet Playboys; UK-based jazz singer and recording artist Karen Lane with her four-piece band, and festival favourite the vivacious Cathrine Summers.