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 …
So as the night progressed and fog was falling outside, the audience was invited on a journey from swing tunes full of upbeat rhythm to torch songs aiming to touch everyone’s hearts and souls.
” 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”.
The shortlist for this year’s Australian Jazz “BELL” Awards has been officially announced. This year’s crop has been extraordinary, with many great albums submitted in the competition. The amount of talent in this list is overwhelming, and it is bound to make the work of the judges very hard
“I came to better understand Coltrane; he often sounds like a preacher. I aspire to have this effect on people, than just show off my chops”.
AJN: Some think that a tribute to Vince Jones is long overdue and that the jazz community should gather and honour your contribution. What are your thoughts on that?
VJ: Give me a few more years to write some more songs before any tributes.
“Adding a guitar to the Vampires distinct chord-less sound world is of course new, however we feel that Lionel’s contribution will help inspire and spur us onto new musical territory. Nick and I have also composed music with Lionel in mind, and so the music will accommodate and make way for his unique style of playing.”