Wednesday, 28 August 2013 14:28

Elixir: Top Five Pop Sax Solos

1. ‘Just The Way You Are’ — Billy Joel. Phil Woods beautiful alto sax solo is GOLD! Love, love, love it — incredibly lyrical and interesting.

2. ‘Smooth Operator’ — Sade.
Sade's voice is so sexy it is crazyyyyyyyyy. Also sexy saxophone... so a double wham thank you ma'am moment.

3. ‘Careless Whisper’ — George Michael.
Alto saxophone of Steve Gregory. I wonder how many babies were conceived to his tasty solo? I can't think of this solo without thinking of that ridiculous film clip — ‘80s magic.

4. ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ — INXS. Alto saxophone of Kirk Pengilly. This song is just perfect pop — what a killer band.

5. ‘Who Can It Be Now’ — Men At Work. Greg Ham made the sax cool for me... love this band and really love his playing. And while I am at it, it was a very sad and unjust day when Larrikin Music managed to sue Greg and Colin Hay — very sad. RIP Greg.

Elixir headline the Noosa Jazz Festival August 29 until September 1.

Published in Jazz/ Fusion
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 14:41

Gregg Arthur: The Real Deal

He refers to jazz giant Vincent Falcone as Vinnie and names Sinatra albums at the drop of a hat. Gregg Arthur is the real deal.

Gregg Arthur grew up on a diet of classic jazz. On a property in rural NSW he devoured his Father’s extensive vinyl collection and continues to collect records today.

“I've always loved the genre since I was a kid and I’ve been listening to Stan Getz and Miles Davis, Chet Baker and of course Frank Sinatra and Nat Cole all my life. So I've always been in love with it, it's pretty much in my blood.”

Although he covers The Great American Songbook, Gregg is known for and praised by many in the industry for making the songs his own and indivdualising the renditions.

“I've got my own way of doing it and even though you might think ‘well, that song’s been done a lot’ it's a real pleasure to be able to interpret it; as I said before it's an artform. You get to interpret it in a new way, a fresh way, and it's like the song is fresh, like it was written last week.”

Set to play the Noosa Jazz Festival next weekend, he’s teamed up with the relatively unknown Casper Tromp, a Dutch musician, and his band The Casper Tromp Quintet.

“I heard Casper playing one night and I thought he sounded different to anybody else I've heard. It's a really refreshing style of playing that he has, there was a real chemistry because I've toured the world a lot and I like being able to present something a little refreshing and a little different.”

Gregg Arthur plays the Noosa Jazz Festival Aug 29-Sep 21.

Published in Jazz/ Fusion
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 15:02

The Idea Of North: Glee For A Cappella

It’s hard to explain exactly what you’ll experience when ARIA award winning a cappella quartet The Idea Of North perform at this year’s Noosa Jazz Festival, but an experience it’s guaranteed to be.

“There’s one thing to sing in a group and there’s another thing to sing in an a cappella group where we face the challenge of covering for the musicians that aren’t there,” the quartet’s soprano Sally Cameron says.

The quartet that James Morrison refers to as ‘the best contemporary a cappella group in the country’ are known for their distinct sound and style which crosses the genres of jazz, folk, gospel, pop, classical and comedy – performed entirely without instruments but with a little bit of vocal percussion thrown in for good measure.

“This brings benefits and difficulties, as sometimes we emulate musician’s sounds, our bass singer being a vocal percussionist who provides a bass line and rhythm. Then there are times we don’t do any percussive sounds at all and it’s just the straight four voices, which requires impeccable tuning and an excellent sense of time.”

Although their studio records have been hugely successful, Sally believes the real magic happens when the four voices take to the stage and confront a live audience.

“People tell us it’s quite different seeing us live and hearing our music on our albums as we do quite a lot of comedy numbers, and the banter we have between each other is a very big part of the show, which of course you don’t get in the recording.”

The story of The Idea Of North started in 1993 when the four original members, students from the Canberra School of Music (ANU) befriended each other and started jamming for friends and family, the requests for songs growing exponentially over the years.

“There came a time when their soprano was going to move to Sydney so they decided to record the music that they had learned together as a kind of keepsake and it turned out to be the first of 10 albums that TIOF have made,” Sally explains.

In 1998 the friends transformed their hobby into a full time gig, proving a good move as their audiences grew and a new era of international invitations, festivals and chart success was ushered in.

“We won the ARIA for ‘Best Jazz Album’ in 2010 for our seventh album ‘Feels Like Spring’ which definitely had to be a highlight which none of us really saw coming. It was really, really special to be recognised in that way because we work really hard to get good results.”

‘Feels Like Spring’ was a collaboration with their longtime friend and mentor James Morrison, who the quartet consider to be their honorary fifth member.

“He’s actually been there since quite early on in the group’s formation, so he’s definitely been a big part of the evolution of TIOF, having played on three of our albums. We’ve performed live together and guested on his albums. He’s such a great mentor who we go to regularly for advice because he knows so much about the world of entertainment and about music.”

The group’s tenth studio album, ‘Smile’, will be released this month, allowing a small window for fans to familiarise themselves with the new repertoire before TIOF perform in Noosa for the Jazz Festival.

“We usually write our set list on the day, but we will be doing a range of some of our newer tunes, some of our fresh stuff and some tunes that have been with us for almost all of our 20 years. We’ve done Noosa Jazz Festival before so we know what to expect. The locals love their jazz and it attracts jazz lovers from all over Australia, so we will try to keep everyone’s interest level up throughout the show.”

According to Sally, the business of a cappella is booming, with interest in the style starting from a younger age then witnessed ten years ago.

“To be honest I think this is probably partly because of music reality shows and shows like ‘Glee’ which are really helpful for young kids getting into it and people seeing it as a legitimate career. There are so many more groups now and we are really happy to be a part of educating the next generation of a cappella singers in Australia.”

The Idea Of North Perform at The Noosa Jazz Festival August 31. ‘Smile’ will be released August 16.

Published in Jazz/ Fusion
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 00:00

Noosa Jazz Festival Tickets

The first round of artists have been confirmed to perform at the 22nd 2013 Noosa Jazz Festival.

They include: The Idea Of North, Monica Trapaga, James Valentine, Gregg Arthur & Casper Tromp Quinet (pic), Rebecca Mendoza & The Joe Ruberto Trio, Feml Belling & The Joe Ruberto Trio, The Bearded Gypsy Band, The Ingrid James Quartet, The Matt Baker Trio (feat. Ingrid James), The Ant Aggs Trio and The Simontologists.

With more major names still to be announced, the 2013 Noosa Jazz Festival will be held August 29 until September 1.

To win one of five double festival season tickets (valued at $95 each) This competition has closed.
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