A living legend of the Australian jazz landscape, Vince Jones will be heading north next month for the inaugural Brisbane International Jazz Festival.
Life on the road, performing to strangers — you obviously still get a buzz from it, is there much difference now in how you approach a show?
As far as playing music goes it feels better than when I was younger. I still get a buzz as you say. Five thousand gigs and thirty-eight years on the road; it’s obvious, I’m a birth to death musician.
Do you still get nervous prior to performing?
Yes I do. It’s a more contained nervousness these days. The fear of performing in front of people is overpowered by my love of singing beautiful songs and playing with the band.
The inaugural Brisbane International Jazz Festival... it’s a great addition to Australia’s jazz calendar, right?
Festivals are the best way to promote our music (jazz) to the masses. The music is portrayed in a respectful light in festival excitement mode. There is so much great music and so many great musicians in this country that need to be heard and jazz festivals are the best way to hear them.
Your idea of jazz; can you explain it in one sentence?
The key words are improvisation and interaction and soul. When you mix these elements with a song you will get an explosion of creativity.
Of all the brass instruments, the flugelhorn does standout for its appearance. Why do you enjoy the flugelhorn?
The bright sound of the trumpet doesn’t sit with me as much as the darker, richer sound of the flugelhorn. The flugel is called the horn of flight. I do love the tone of the flugel — it has a sad yet uplifting sound. I started out on the cornet in the brass band and when I was 18 I heard Miles Davis and quickly moved to the trumpet. When anyone hears Miles they get inspired to play or learn the trumpet.
The Vince Jones Band plays the International Jazz Festival at the Brisbane Powerhouse May 31.