Jamie Oehlers – my songlines

Does Jamie Oehlers need an introduction? Doesn’t everybody who visits this website already know that he is one of Australia’s top saxophonists, a jazz powerhouse, a master of improvised music and an avid musical explorer? Isn’t his ‘Soul Trane’ project one of the hottest jazz acts in the scene, being a perfect opportunity for him to both celebrate the genius of John Coltrane and showcase his own imaginative, uncompromising approach to music?

So many questions. And no, Jamie Oehlers will not answer them here. Instead, he shares some of the music that shaped his world.


What was the first album or single that you ever acquired?

I actually can’t remember, but it wouldn’t have been jazz… it took me until the age of about 11 to get into it.

What was the most recent album or track that you purchased?

In Common – Walter Smith and Matthew Stevens.

Walter is probably my favourite young player in the scene right now and there is some really nice writing on this album.

Which album should be on everyone’s collection?

Trying to not say Kind of Blue… second in line would be Crescent John Coltrane.

Which song reminds you of the best concert you’ve ever attended?

‘Juju’ – Wayne Shorter.

I saw Wayne’s new quartet when they first started touring the Footprints Live! album and it was the best thing I’ve ever heard. They played that reimagined version of ‘Juju’ and it blew my mind.

Which song reminds you of your favourite journey?

‘Detour Ahead’ – the Vince Jones version.

That song is incredible and I think Vince sings one of the best renditions of it. It reminds me of my favourite journey, because my favourite kind of journey is the one where you end up in a place you weren’t intending.

Which song reminds you of your most important rite of passage?

‘You’ve Changed’. No explanation needed.

Which tune best describes your relationship to your loved ones?

‘Peace’ – Horace Silver

Which song best encapsulates your idea of jazz?

‘The Circle with a Hole in the Middle’ – Ornette Coleman.

Stretching, searching, expressive, not caring about what other people think of it.

If your life was to become a movie…

…which song would be heard on the closing credits?

Ne Me Quitte Pas (If you go away) – Charles Lloyd

…which would be on the action scenes?

‘Personal Mountains’, from Sleeper – Keith Jarrett

…which would be on the love scene?

‘Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love’ – Charles Mingus

Which song do you wish you had written yourself?

Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’.

I’d never have to apply for a grant again.

Which song do you wish had been written about you?

‘You do Something to me’.

Which song best describes your current state of mind?

‘I Should Care’.

I’ve hit that point in the year where the only thing I want to do it play saxophone, surf, or chill with my family. If it doesn’t involve one of those things, you may get a blank stare from me!

Jamie Oehlers is presenting his John Coltrane tribute, ‘Soul Trane’ at the Paris Cat Jazz Club on Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 December.