“The Uptown success story really is the success story of the Melbourne jazz and improvised music scene itself. The original motivation to open a jazz club, after moving back here from New York City, was because of the incredibly high level of playing that I knew Melbourne (and Australia) always had. Also, to try to catch that particular sound that is unique to us here, which I don’t think the New Yorkers quite get.”
“For me singing is catharsis. I really believe a vocalist’s one and only job is to be a great storyteller, that’s more important than hitting the right notes, more important than being able to read or write music. So when I’m on stage, I’m just 100% immersed in the song”.
“When I’m performing, I feel like I’m smiling from the inside. I feel a sense of bringing people together and there is nothing more wonderful in human nature than feeling connected and feeling you a contributing to that connection.”
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”.
I love guitar, it has the ability to convey an incredibly rich range of textures and sounds, and has a history of amazing players. However, when I choose collaborators, it is often based on the individual: Lionel Loueke and Kurt Rosenwinkel are both unique voices on their instruments, and aesthetically, I felt they were a great match for the respective projects I was working with.
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!”