Interviews

Steve Sedergreen reimagines Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite as a connecting force for diverse musicians

“I’m interested in all sorts of music and looking for brothers and sisters outside the jazz area to work with, using the suite as a connecting force,” says Steve Sedergreen. “We are not going to reproduce the Far East Suite but we’re certainly going to play in the spirit of the Far East Suite.”

Claire Cross: “I love Bjork’s ability to get mileage out of her musical elements”

“For this project I felt like it wouldn’t be fulfilling for the audience or musicians if we just attempted to play Bjork’s music the way she has produced it, especially for a jazz festival! There has to be something fresh, intriguing, experimental or risky involved for it to make sense to me. I guess this is what we will strive towards presenting some amazing music that we all know and love with a new perspective and sound and room for everyone involved to get their individual voices across.”

The Chelsea Wilson guide to the 2018 Stonnington Jazz Festival

“Festivals are great opportunities to create different kind of experiences,” Chelsea Wilson explains. “A lot of jazz venues in town do not have the stages or infrastructure to be able to do something like that, so were very fortunate to have Chapel Off Chapel as a festival hub this year; it has lots of space for the bands to explore.”

One question for Jackie Bornstein, jazz singer and social activist

“The broader aim of the Jazz and Social Justice project is to demonstrate the power of jazz as a force for justice, freedom and creativity. Jazz artists have used their music and profile to spotlight injustices since the Civil Rights era. The program I have put together shares the stories and music of jazz artists from 1930s to the modern day who have taken a stand for social justice issues including racial, religious and marriage equality and environmentalism.”

Gai Bryant: “Cuban music has helped me enormously to cope with loss”

“It’s been an interesting experience as a band, because we’ve been able to interact directly with the dancers and that’s been fantastic. They are part of the band. The most interesting thing for me is the interaction between the front line players and the dancers. Musicians are starting to solo differently and think about their solos, anticipating what the dancers will do; and you can see the dancers anticipating the instrumentalists as well. It’s an interesting process, I think we’re at the beginning of something.”