“It’s my aim to transport each audience to a bar in Montmatre, or a scene in a Truffaut movie for a short while!”
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Hearing something you have written be brought to life by a group of exceptional performers is about the best experience you can have. It’s that joy that leads you to forget all the difficulties, which then enables you to start the process over again!
Denson and James sign five of the album’s twelve songs, all works of exemplary craftmanship that deserve a place in the Australian Jazz canon (if there is such a thing). My personal favourites are the upbeat ‘Wild December Wind’ and the introspective ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ (I’m a sucker for 3/4 tunes); both perfect vehicles for Ingrid James to showcase her ability to convey real, almost tangible, emotions. You can feel her voice embracing and caressing you.
– Which song reminds you of your most important rite of passage?
Ingrid James: One of the many rites of passage was Spain – both Chick Coreas and Al Jarreaus version. In my twenties, I hopped up on stage with a jazz band in West Berlin and sang it cold with them. That was a brave moment for me.’ Spain ‘wasnt just a normal standard at the time.
Upon first entering Bird’s Basement, I was immediately conscious of the crystalline sound of the piano, each unamplified note lingering in the space, untrammelled by its neighbours. The audience, in darkness, appeared hushed, as if intensely focused on the music: lyrical, melodic and restrained. As I was drawn into this music, I was conscious of its fragile delicacy, as Mark Isaacs mined the upper register, unafraid of summoning sheer beauty from his instrument.
“The guys in the band did such a great job of writing music to really bring Lionel Loueke into the group so he’s a fifth member as opposed to just a guest. I would have loved to be present in the studio just to watch the magic happen!”
I heard something of Miles’ ‘Big Fun’the first time I played I Hold the Lion’s Paw’s ‘Abstract Playgrounds’.There, in the opening track ‘(outtakes from the)’ is that same soupy mix, the same muddy rhythms, as if primeval matter, inchoate, is ever-so-slowly coalescing into form. There is an urgency and drama inherent in that opener, as it carefully leads the listener in: what directions this music will take is a wide-open question.
“Work hard, stay focused. Connect with other positive, creative artists who are also good human beings. Give more back than you take. Stay true to yourself. Don’t waste your time with useless BS. Dont be silent if something doesn’t feel right.”
“It’s an endless competition; you’re always competing for gigs, and competing to play in different bands or going for the same awards; and there are always people out there trying to judge you; it’s a fact of life and a fact of the music scene. People are going to be judging you and the best way to go is to be yourself. I can’t do more than that.”
“I want singers to dig deep into their potential, to strive to be the greatest musicians they can be, to sing with integrity, unapologetically into the world”