Alexander Nettelbeck: ‘Jazz is always new in live performance’

Few pianists can combine lyricism with a sense of groove the way that Alexander Nettelbeck does – which partly explains the seemingly effortless way that he can shift from ‘straight’ jazz to classical to reggae to R’n’B to every genre and sub-genre, really. This versatility is perfectly displayed in his discography – his latest trio album, Here Today is a must-have for anyone interested in compact arrangements, percussive piano sound and creative interplay – as well as in his frequent performances with his trio or his ‘New Impromptu’ Quartet. So it makes perfect sense that the pianist and composer features in the program of the 2019 Melbourne International Jazz Festival.
What are you going to present at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival?
We’ll be playing in quartet mode. The group will be playing a selection of arrangements of music by some great jazz and latin composers along with some of the band’s original pieces.
What would you say to people to invite them?
Come along to hear this great quartet in a fantastic venue, The Lido Jazz Room!
Why is it important for the local jazz scene to be represented in an event focusing on international artists, such as MIJF?
The festival has become an important fixture on the international scene and there are groups performing from all over the world. This festival is a wonderful opportunity for locally based artists and bands to be heard and build their audiences at home and abroad also.
How would you describe your music to someone not familiar with it?
The band has a percussive and groovy sound. Driving bass lines and melodic rhythmic interplay characterize the group’s sound.
How does it fit in within the Australian Jazz ecosystem?
As well playing in some of the great events around the scene, the band members all perform in a range of musical styles including jazz, dance music and classical forms locally and overseas.
How has your journey in music been so far?
Having the chance to meet and work with some great musicians and artists along the way is challenging, inspiring and always interesting.
What is the main thing that you have learned about yourself in the process?
Rehearsal and recording are enjoyable and need to be prioritised, to be as much a part of creating a show as the show itself.
As an educator, what is the first thing you try to teach young musicians?
One thing would be to go hear other groups performing in a range of styles. Another would be to organise a jam session and to play in ensembles, large or small.
Who are your heroes?
So many to mention… Bartolomeo Cristofori for inventing the piano!
What does jazz mean to you?
Jazz is diverse and always new in live performance. It began in North America and began to travel out to the rest of world soon after.
The meaning and sound of the music is changing each time it is performed and can be heard and experienced differently by each listener.
Which tune best describes your current state of mind?
Pavane Opus 50 by Gabriel Faure arranged by Treya Quartet.

Alexander Nettelbeck Quartet (featuringguitarist Steve Rando, bassist Conrad Henderson, and drummer Andy Horneman) will perform at the Lido Jazz Room on Saturday 1st June, as part of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival