“When I think to myself ‘what do I do’, I say ‘I’m an artist and a lecturer’; when I introduce myself, I say ‘I’m a vocalist, a composer and a teacher’ and then it gets confusing, because I have to explain what I mean and I usually just run away”, she laughs.
‘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.
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.
“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 …
So as the night progressed and fog was falling outside, the audience was invited on a journey from swing tunes full of upbeat rhythm to torch songs aiming to touch everyone’s hearts and souls.
Led by the energetic Henry K, the 17-piece orchestra (featuring brass, string and percussion instruments in a perfect homophony) was augmented by the presence of three amazing singers, alternating on the bandstand: Tamara Kuldin, Julie O’Hara and Frank Benedetto
The music is located somewhere to the north-east of jazz but definitely south-south-west of European art music. The quartet grew out of Daley’s larger ‘Sanctuary’ project, yet retains that ensemble’s unique breadth of vision, and intricate interweaving of composed and improv elements.
“Half of ‘Cloud Appreciation Day’ was written before a friend died suddenly and completed after the event, so there is a bipolar quality to it. Almost every track has a distressing background, but it doesn’t always make the music depressing. In some cases, the reaction was to write more uplifting sounding music”.
“We decided to record this performance because we felt it was a good time to document the work we’ve done so far, and also because the musicians are so good. We’ve been very lucky in Melbourne to have worked with great players; it’s a great privilege to have your music played by such fantastic musicians”.