Q&A with Tim Jago – 2007 NJA finalist

Tim Jago responds to the Jazz Australia Q&A, featuring finalists in the National Jazz Awards.

The National Jazz Awards are performed and announced at the TAC Wangaratta Festival of Jazz which will be held in 2007 from 2-5 November. This year the awards feature guitar.

When did you start playing guitar and why? For example, was there a ‘moment’ when it came to you as a calling or vocation?
I started playing at around age 10. Miming to The Police and Dire Straits using a tennis racket wore thin, so I decided to give it a go for real. My Dad taught me the basics and then I took off on my own.

Which musicians (jazz or otherwise) have been your greatest influences? What about them stood or stands out for you?
There are too many. The ones who have influenced me the greatest are legends Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, Jim Hall, Keith Jarrett, John Scofield. I’d better stop there or the list will go on and on…

Local musicians have had an equal effect in keeping the inspiration up.

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?

At this stage I find that I write music for music’s sake, with no specific imagery or story in mind. There is a feeling however and I try to run with that so that there is cohesion in the overall picture of the tune. Most of the time I write when I have to (for a particular performance or something) so I’ll set myself a pre-conceived idea of what sort of tune I want, then go from there. I think it is easier that way, when you have boundaries in mind… not always though.

What’s your favourite place to play or practice?
My favourite place to play is wherever I can get a gig: beggars can’t be choosers you see. Practice?

What does the Wangaratta festival of jazz represent for you?
I’m not sure yet, this will be my first time. I was actually going to go over anyway to catch the finals and check out the awesome gigs that are scheduled but now I get to play so I’m stoked!

What are you listening to now?
Wayne Krantz stuff always gets a lot of airplay around me, I can’t get enough of it. I’m always returning to ‘Destroy Erase Improve’ and ‘Chaosphere’ by the band, Meshuggah. I still listen to Chris Cheek’s album ‘Vine’ quite a bit. Again, the list goes on and on…

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These annual Q&As with National Jazz Awards finalists are coordinated by Miriam Zolin.