Wednesday, 29 May 2013 16:46

The Vampires Tickets

Fusion dynamos The Vampires are jazzing things up in Brisbane next month.

The Sydney ensemble brings together a unique blend of jazz, old-school reggae and South American influences as well as a collection of noteworthy young musicians. The band is set to be part of a premier line-up of bands at the Brisbane International Jazz Festival when they play the Powerhouse Saturday June 1 at 2pm.

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Wednesday, 15 May 2013 13:58

The Vampires: Jazzing Up Brisbane

Fusion dynamos The Vampires are jazzing things up in Brisbane next month.

The Sydney ensemble brings together a unique blend of jazz, old-school reggae and South American influences as well as a collection of noteworthy young musicians, including award-winning saxophonist Jeremy Rose. The band is set to be part of a premier line-up of bands at the upcoming Brisbane International Jazz Festival at the end of May.

“A festival like this provides a platform for creative and original music to be heard. People are expecting to hear something exciting, fresh and new, and it's not often that they have such an opportunity.”

Being introduced to jazz via his parent’s record collection, Rose says his love of the genre was what prompted him to pick up his first saxophone.

“I wanted to learn the saxophone when I was in primary school listening to my parent's jazz recordings. I was always surrounded by music from their record collection … jazz is music that can excite or soothe people. It dares people to think outside the box; it's music with many possibilities and, because of its improvisation, it's music that can only happen in real time. It's music like no other in that respect and it can be an exciting experience.”

At the beginning stages of writing their fourth studio album, Jeremy and the band are still riding a creative high after a stint at the 2011 Banff Workshop in Canada.

“The band took a trip to Canada where we did a three week workshop with many of our favourite and top jazz musicians from New York. We were basically rehearsing every day and working with these musicians as mentors and we developed a lot of the material for our new album.”

The band is hoping to show this new material at the International Jazz Festival, but audiences can also expect to hear their trademark improvisation.

“We have been writing new material for our upcoming recording in August and we are about to head into the studio so we're hoping to have a number of new pieces … I would say that [improvisation] is the most exciting aspect of the performance. We play pieces that we've been exploring over our last three albums but every time we perform them, it's slightly different and we always come to a new meeting point.”

As a band of accomplished young musicians, Rose and his fellow band mates juggle The Vampires with their own individual projects and achievements. Rose himself is currently writing an extended work for a large jazz orchestra, having just finished a commission for a string quartet that aired on the ABC. Trumpet player Nick Garbett is a regular member of Columbian ensemble Watussi as well as Sydney reggae band The Stride. And drummer Alex Masso holds his own having a string of collaborations and tours under his belt, including an album recorded in Norway. While they're all in demand, Rose says their individual projects do not get in the way of The Vampires.

“It can be quite challenging and often frustrating lining up everyone's schedules, however, we all place a priority on particular projects and events and so we always make the time and somehow make it work.”

Rose and his band mates have taken much of their inspiration from their travels around the world. Mixing Caribbean influences with their jazz backgrounds, and now looking to explore Latin rhythms, travelling has kept the inspiration alive with their unique compositions.

“I think travelling broadens your horizons in so many different ways. Often, in Australia, you can feel like you're somewhat separated from the rest of the world. You can access music on the internet but we often don't get to see musicians from around the world performing face to face. Travelling facilitates that experience and leaves you feeling truly inspired.”

Having brilliance and the capacity to travel the world always helps, but The Vampires have faced the same challenges as most musicians trying to establish a career.

“I think, no matter what style of music you play, the path of a musician can face many challenges. I guess jazz music often fights for the spotlight among many different styles across the broad spectrum of music, but I think through dedication, commitment, and if you believe in what you're doing, then you're always going to be supported by people in the industry and that's what our experience has been.”

The Vampires play The Brisbane Powerhouse as part of The International Jazz Festival June 1.

Published in Jazz/ Fusion

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