“The show serves for a moment of escapism, where we get to dress up and play a person that would otherwise no longer exist. The interesting twist though, which makes me realise how far we’ve come since the 1940s, is that an all-female band would never have been dreamed of in that era.”
Willie ‘The Lion’ McIntyre had a big stage personality. An accountant by day, he was a roaring entertainer at night, his big cheerful personality, loud singing and bold thumping piano a magnet for audiences.
The Bowie Project is not a tribute – it’s a thesis; it’s a product of research and analysis. Rudegeair dived deep in the Bowie universe, took the songs, stripped them down to the bare essentials, analysed their components and took each element and presented it under new light.
I’ve always thought thatPhillip Johnston’sapproach to jazz has a kind of cartoonish quality to it. His playing is sneaking up on you, surprising you and exploding like a cartoon dynamite. Other times, it’s like these pistols who, when fired, shoot out a flag that unfolds and writes ‘Bang!’
“I think jazz is the perfect vehicle to explore this historical narrative of the convicts’ journey from slavery to freedom – the founding of Australia was an improvisation in itself, the way that England transplanted itself to the farest corners of the known world, in a land that was foreign to the European surroundings.”
“People will always make remarks about how extraordinary it is to see a female drummer, and there’s sometimes that concern in the back of your mind that you’re getting booked based on something other than just your playing. When it comes to the actual music, I think we all have an equal responsibility to ourselves and to our audiences, and that’s to show up and kick ass and just try to make a contribution to the music.”
“I’m a senior player, but I don’t think retrospectively, because for me it’s still like I’m in the middle of what’s going on. Things are still moving forward, I’m thinking of the future all the time – how can my playing improve, how can my ideas become more sophisticated, or how can I express it better.”
Linda May Han Oh may be considered one of the best jazz bassists of her generation, but the idea that she has ‘made it’ in New York, is not something that she espouses easily. “I haven’t been thinking about it in these terms,” she says. “I’m always growing. I’m always setting the bar higher and higher.”
“Well, I do want to keep Refraction as a concept going, even if that means we don’t get to perform together. It may mean I find a new trio over here in the US, or it may mean that we do something conceptually very different, for example creating some sort of recording separately – me in Nashville, Jordan in Melbourne and Brenton in Adelaide. It could work, although the music would likely be very different. It’s something that I would be keen to give a shot.”
Beeche/Magnusson’s seventeen (yes, seventeen) tracks work through the spectrum of possibilities of the alto/guitar combination from the Hot Club joie-swing of ‘The Gift’ and ‘Wings’ through to impressionistic ballads like Beeche’s lovely ‘Golden Blue’ and all points between.