Daimon Brunton: ‘The New Sound is the most visceral music we have ever presented’

It’s been a long time between drinks for the Daimon Brunton Quintet – and by ‘drinks’ we mean amazing, electrifying recordings. The New Sound is just that – a collection of sizzling, moving, captivating tunes, performed by a spectacular band, and as such, it has been totally worth the eight year wait. Here’s what the band leader, composer and trumpet player has to say about it.

What would you say to a total stranger to make them buy The New Sound?

This album came around because a complete and utter stranger came up to me after a gig and said: “I have all of your previous albums and they’re great but this… this you have to record!” She urged us to record this album and it was at that point that I thought this highly sophisticated, artistic and virtuosic music might have a wider audience than I had first imagined. Consequently I have played this to 5 year olds, 15 year olds and 65 year olds and they have loved it! I was honestly surprised by the reception it garnered.

How would you describe your music?

The New Sound is unique. Simultaneously there are sophisticated, new compositional techniques that are employed. There is a heavy use of counterpoint and metric modulation that pervades most of the songs on the album.

It is the most exciting and visceral music we have ever presented or recorded.

It has incredibly strong ‘whistle-able’ melodies on top of funky fusion beats that work to attract a new audience to jazz. If you have ever thought, ‘I don’t like jazz’ or ‘I don’t think I’d be into jazz’ I would strongly urge you to listen and reconsider.

Why did it take so long between the previous DBQ album and this one?

After recording Wah Sa in 2012 (which was launched with a national tour that included VIC, NSW, SA, QLD & ACT) I created my pop/funk band ‘Cupcake’ and there was a time when DBQ was on the backburner. However there was a long, hard personal journey between this album and the last. To achieve what I wanted to achieve on this album as a trumpeter required extreme technical proficiency.

I have always practiced obsessively but in 2018 I did 364 days of practice and I practiced 365 days of practice in 2019.

This is beautiful music but it’s also deeply challenging. Technically and musically.

How would you describe the dynamics among the musicians comprising your quintet?

This is a band in every sense of the word, as opposed to five musicians sharing a stage. I have been performing with Adam Donaldson since 2000. He is the finest drummer I have ever played with and as such is a part of all of my projects. Adam Rudegeair joined the band on keyboard in 2013 and immediately brought a creativity and soundscape that was clearly missing. When David Gooey and Lawson Kennard joined we now had players in all chairs who could bring a unique personality and an original virtuosity.

This is the strongest band I have had the honour to lead but more importantly there is a wonderful vibe between everyone in the band.

Rehearsals are full of daggy jokes and laughter .. it really is a pleasure just to hang out with the guys.

If you could invite any artist in the world to sit in with the DBQ, who would you choose?

The music we’re playing is heavily funky, fast and at times frenetic. If I had to bring someone in I would probably choose either Freddie Hubbard or Hiromi Uehara. My musical heroes are – among others – Mozart, John Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, Oscar Peterson and Wynton Marsalis but I feel like Freddie and Hiromi would have a ball playing these tunes!

How has your history with the trumpet been so far?

I started playing piano at age 4 and trumpet at age 10. I picked it up as part of a year 5 program at school and immediately loved that you could pitch bend, growl, and half valve notes and change their character like you really can’t do on a piano. I practiced all the time but probably didn’t ‘love’ it until I was handed a Doc Severinsen and The Tonight Show Band cassette. It is not an overstatement to say that this big band cassette changed my life. I was addicted to listening to it and I wanted to do what I heard on this cassette. I started practicing obsessively. A few years after that, my sister gave me a Wynton Marsalis and Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers CD Live At Bubba’sfor Christmas. This was my first taste of small band combo jazz and I LOVED it! Decades later and nothing has changed really!

How did you find your voice as an artist?

My own unique sound developed over time. Regardless of the brand of trumpet or mouthpiece I can pick my sound a mile away and stylistically I probably use faster phrases and collections of notes -more than most trumpet players. It’s more like a saxophonist playing a trumpet, one could argue.

Which tune best describes your current state of mind?

Everything is a part of a journey. This new album, The New Sound, represents a snapshot of where the band’s musical journey is right now. It is in an exciting place but I sense there is also more excitement to come!