Q&A with Gerard Masters – 2006 NJA Finalist

Gerard Masters is from Sydney

Miriam Zolin: When did you start playing piano and why? For example, was there a ‘moment’ when it came to you as a calling or vocation?

Gerard Masters: I started playing when I was 7 years old, My dad plays piano, and he thought it was the right time for me to start too

MZ: Which musicians (jazz or otherwise) have been your greatest influences? What about them stood or stands out for you?

GM: In the jazz world, Mike Nock, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, because they play the piano so beautifully.

Other people and groups that inspire because of the truth and soul they have in their music are Jimi Hendrix, Neil Finn, Wesley Carr, Ray Charles, The Beatles

MZ: When composing or arranging, where do you get your inspiration? For example, do you ever find that other art forms (painting, writing etc.) feed into your own creative process?

GM: I am very lucky to work as a sideman in some really hip bands, so what I’m getting up to with these groups often influences my own writing. Some people I have been playing with recently are Jonathan Zwartz,James Morrison, Guy Sebastian, Wesley Carr, the Falls, Virna Sanzone, Cameron Undy

I am also influenced by some of the great groups coming out of the Jazzgroove scene, for instance, the Matt Keegan Trio, Carl Dewhurst Quartet, Baz, James Muller, Sean Wayland. But definitely nothing from Melbourne ’cause that is all pretty lame

MZ: What does the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz represent for you?

GM: A chance to carve all those other piano players and leave them in a pile of drool screaming for mercy

MZ: What are you listening to now?

GM: The sweet sound of silence after coming home from two long gigs!

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