“Performance aspects aside, this album will definitely seek to explore some different compositional structures. ade and I have toyed with – and talked about – the idea of through-composed work and song forms that aren’t of the typical “head-solo-head” structure. Those elements are now coming out in our co-writing, certainly.”
“I recorded ‘Frame of Reference’ in London over two days with the band coming together for the first time at the session. I’d never really worked in that way before, so it certainly brought some new pressures to the whole thing, but also gave the recording a great intensity and focus.”
“It was never my intention to recreate or imitate my dad’s playing, with Zawinul Legacy; in essence there is only one Joe Zawinul, and I let the music do the talking.”
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.
“We decided to record this performance because we felt it was a good time to document the work we’ve done so far, and also because the musicians are so good. We’ve been very lucky in Melbourne to have worked with great players; it’s a great privilege to have your music played by such fantastic musicians”.
JMI has received endorsements from significant jazz figures, including trumpeter Wynton Marsalis who has performed with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins and Sarah Vaughn, and founded one of New York’s finest jazz education facilities Jazz at Lincoln Centre. Marsalis commends JMI for developing “one of the first jazz curriculums that addresses the entire fundamental range of jazz styles… a template that should be followed by schools who are serious about the study and performance of jazz music”.