Solomon Young: ‘Being a multi-instrumentalist is really fun!’

One of the things the Adelaide Jazz Festival does well is introduce the new generation of musicians to the community. The second edition of the festival is now in progress and features many great up-and-coming jazz and improvised music artists. Multi-instrumentalist Solomon Young is one of them, and he is definitely one to watch.

Solomon Young on the bass | Photo: Isabel Armstrong

What would you say to invite people to your Adelaide Jazz Festival performance?

We will be presenting a night of entertaining funky original music that everyone can enjoy. Featuring mostly original music, but also a handful of originals by Jack Willsmore and Jack Barton, this wonderful night of music will engage the senses and feature a variety of jazz tunes for you to enjoy.

You are making a name for yourself as a multi-instrumentalist; why did you choose the vibraphone for this performance?

My main cause for choosing the vibraphone is that it’s an instrument that I feel I can express my creativity with so freely, and I really feel like I have a voice when playing it. This will be my first real chance to showcase my original works on vibraphone to the public, so for me, that is very exciting.

Introduce your band: how did you choose them?

Jack Willsmore – guitar

One who is crucial to almost all my creative works to date, Jack Willsmore is a talented guitarist who never fails to emulate exhilarating new musical ideas constantly. His sound is so important to my music and he never fails to blow me away with everything he plays.

Tasha Stevens – bass

She is a household name within Adelaide’s jazz music scene, with good reason. Tasha Stevens is well known for her incredible musicianship and professionalism on the double and electric bass. She is integral to the group’s unity and keeps a solid foundation to the core of the band while expressing her melodic and rhythmic creativity.

Jack Barton – drums

Jack Barton is a joy for anyone who has him in their band! He’s full of contagious energy and creative ideas, and his musical prowess and expertise drive the group. His wide palette of sounds and dynamic playing give depth to the sound of the group, playing with experience far beyond his years.

How has your journey in music been so far?

The highlights of my musical journey so far have been the privilege of playing a variety of music with so many beautiful and talented people! Adelaide is a special place full of creatives that I’m honoured to work alongside. Performing with bands such as Autumn District, Fuja, and the 6ft Pelicans has contributed greatly to my growth as a musician, and has been a lot of fun.

What is your greatest aspiration?

My aspiration is honestly to continue playing the music I love with the people I love and to get the opportunity to play with other musicians abroad I would love to travel the world and perform in other cities such as Melbourne, Sydney, London, LA, New York and more.

I would also love to have the privilege of supporting artists around me to achieve their dreams, such as singers with their original works, especially those making songs suited to the modern industry but also showing deep roots of jazz and R’n’B influence.

What does it mean to be a multi-instrumentalist?

Being a multi-instrumentalist is really fun! I try my best to approach the instruments with the unique approach that the instrument requires, which really helps deepen my understanding of every other instrument I play. But with every instrument in mind, all of my music comes back to the piano and how it influences my choices in music, it truly is such an important instrument to play.

If you had to quit one instrument, which one would you choose?

I would probably hate to give any of them up, but I would love to get heaps better at the guitar and drums, cause I don’t play heaps of them but they are such awesome instruments!

Who are your heroes?

Alfa Mist has been one of my biggest inspirations for my original music. His compositions have such character and are full of such great harmonic and melodic ideas. To capture even a bit of the emotional personality of his music would be incredible for me.

On the vibraphone, huge inspiration has come from Joel Ross and Mike Mainieri. I love Mainieri’s fascinating, virtuosic playing and am inspired by Ross’ free and open approach to his creative works.

Pat Metheny, Hiatus Kayote, Ezra Collective, Yussef Dayes, Nate Smith, Snarky Puppy, Vulfpeck, Cory Wong, 30/70, and Nubiyan Twist are also great musical inspirations, just to name a few.

If you could work with any musician in the world, who would that be?

I would love to work with some of the jazz-inspired singer-songwriters I really look up to and love listening to, such as Tom Misch, CHERISE, Jorja Smith, and Sam Wills.

How did you get into jazz?

My dad was really the reason I got into jazz; he inspired me to play music and he would always show me artists such as Pat Metheny and George Benson, who I developed a huge love for. He taught me so many things in music and developed such a strong foundation in my playing, theory, and musicality.

Which tune best describes your current state of mind?

 ‘Watch Me Dance’ by Tom Misch definitely suits my current state of mind.

Also, the recently released non-jazz song ‘Espresso’ by Sabrina Carpenter, haha! 

The Solomon Young Quartet plays at the Grace Emily Hotel on Sunday 28 April. Get your tickets here.