“I grew up looking up to musicians like Andrea Keller and Sandy Evans, because I could see that they had their own bands, were writing their own music and were totally accepted and respected by the jazz community. I saw that it was possible to have a career in music.”
“I feel lucky to have wandered into the position of doing a job that I enjoy and find rewarding, and to do it for so many years. The highlight has probably been having the chance to work with so many musicians who I hold in such high regard ; to propose or develop projects with them ; and then to see it all come together onstage, to be met with such generous approval by the audience.”
Big Band Swing evolved during 1930s and ’40s wartime – a time of great oppression. It served to lift the spirits of those at that time, troops and civilians alike. Today too, Big Band Swing shouts an anthem call to all who are weary; Weary of war, worry and woe. So, as B# keeps Big Band Swing alive and live, people from ‘Gen Y to Gen Wartime’ smile, embrace and dance to re-feel their aliveness. And in the depths of their being, the ‘boom, boom, boom’ of today’s ‘modern bombs’ are again drowned by the joy of swing, the joy of life.
“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 …
” It’s our intention to make this yearly event a flagship for Queensland Vocal Jazz by providing significant career opportunities, job creation and promotion of jazz artists. We want to celebrate the diversity of the jazz vocal art form which encompasses everything from original works to original reinterpretations of jazz standards – mainstream and contemporary as well as jazz vocal improvisation.”
The idea was to foster a collaborative approach to the music making and invite the other musicians to contribute their compositions and favourite tunes as well, rather than me having complete control over the repertoire (as was the case in the Andrea Keller Quartet). By opening things up like this, there’s diversity to the music that otherwise wouldn’t exist to the same degree.
“The challenge with recording is getting the best representation of our live sound.”
“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”.
“While studying jazz at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, this made me feel quite inadequate, but there was a point when I stopped comparing myself to all the great bebop singers and embraced my own way of making and enjoying music”.