“We’ve made a conscious decision to compose freely in this band, not feeling restricted by genre, just bringing whatever we feel like to the table. You can hear influences of Jazz, 20th Century Classical music, North India Classical music, South American music. With the instrumentation of the music and the mixed influences, you could very much describe it as a contemporary jazz band.”
“I didn’t set out to have a band with two basses. It was funny that it didn’t occur to me until a while in, that I’d run the Andrea Keller Quartet for 13 years as a bass-less ensemble and now my next major ongoing adventure as a bandleader involves an ensemble with two bass players!”
“If we didn’t sound and swing like The Count Basie Orchestra has since 1935 and continues to do to this very day in 2018, then I would feel the term ‘ghost band’ would be warranted, but this orchestra has not lost one beat since Basie passed in 1984. In many respects, it may even be stronger.”
– Which song reminds you of your most important rite of passage?
Ingrid James: One of the many rites of passage was Spain – both Chick Coreas and Al Jarreaus version. In my twenties, I hopped up on stage with a jazz band in West Berlin and sang it cold with them. That was a brave moment for me.’ Spain ‘wasnt just a normal standard at the time.
“I didn’t want to do a tribute show, it’s not really my style”, Kimba Griffith says. “I wanted to mix really recognisable tunes with the power of jazz improvisation, which includes the idea of reinvention. When you’re a teenager, that’s what you do, you reinvent yourself.”
“I’m singing to whoever is listening. If you’ve gotten up off the couch and have come to see some music, I am (dare I say the word) grateful, so I will sing for you. I write for myself and I find that quite cathartic, but I sing for whoever needs a song on that day, at that moment.”
Kim Myhr: “For me, when I approach the piece and the composition it is important that the audience doesn’t have a feeling that the musicians are just reading through a big score, but they are actually really present and making music. The score is just a score but the music happens in the room and in the space.”
“I grew up thinking of jazz as dance music, just like the music you hear on the radio,” says Donald Harrison Jr. “This element was never taught in school or discussed by any of my music peers so that alone made me realize I had a different thought process then even the cats from New Orleans like the Marsalis brothers and my partner at the time, Terence Blanchard. They are all great players, but including a dance feeling did not seem to be high on their priority list in the early ’80s.”
“I am presenting this music with a great amount of respect, because the thing that I realized is that there are really magnificent composers who only write for the church and are thus not really known – particularly Doris Akers is a very strong composer in different styles and few people in Australia has heard of her,” says Barney McAll
“To me, Theseus and Minotaur is a story about masculinity and a story about a cycle of fear and anger and rejection that fathers pass on to their sons that perpetuates bad things in society, like sexual abuse and violence. I see the Minotaur as a classic example of a child who wasn’t given the tools to be a good person in life regardless of the fact that he had the head of a bull.”