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.
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.
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!”
“I’m not a big fan of the word fusion, because it feel binary to me, and I’m trying to achieve a sound that is multifaceted and fluid. And I think this sound reflects our world today, one which is increasingly more complex and interdependent”.
“I wanted to surround myself with musicians that made me want to play. I would have been happy just to sit back listen to them play together in that setting. Apart from how easy I find it to make music with them, they all have strong personal voices and I wanted them to put their own mark on my tunes, which they did”.
This year’s headliners include Eclectic young Singapore band The Steve McQueens; three musicians from the legendary Buena Vista Social Club orchestra teaming up with popular Perth jazz crooner and musician Adam Hall with the Velvet Playboys; UK-based jazz singer and recording artist Karen Lane with her four-piece band, and festival favourite the vivacious Cathrine Summers.
“My role, my job, is to make the best music I can possibly make. Be the best me, create the art I am supposed to put out into the world. I hope this will serve as a positive example for younger female musicians, because right now they don’t have very many examples to follow. I also hope this serves as an example to my male counterparts and younger male musicians of what a successful female musician can look like.”
The Twentieth Century Dog is big on rhythm too – with two drummers and a percussionist, as well as having a bass-player as leader, it is inevitable that there will be grooves of all flavours, and rhythm games running through the music like pulsing veins. Funk, Afro-beat, jazz: all booty-shaking but mind-bending at the same time.
“We’re seeing more women artists in jazz, but perhaps not at the rate we’re expecting. I think one of the biggest challenges is to encourage young players to pursue music at a tertiary level and beyond.”
“Due to [JMI’s] small size, every student is known by each and every faculty member and receives continuous personal mentorship – which is not possible at a large institution. The JMI classroom and performance space ‘incubator’ reminds me of my days on Woody Herman’s band, traveling every day on the bus, surrounded by great, more experienced musicians, seriously listening, discussing and playing music night and day. JMI is that kind of growth environment and it shows in the competency of your graduates” – John Riley, Internationally acclaimed drummer, publisher, educator, lecturer at Manhattan School of Music (NY).