Image Credits: Daniel Barnett © LKV Luca Vantusso
July 31, 2018
Through his eyes
On the eve of the release of his new album Through Her Eyes, we interviewed Dan Barnett, Australian trombonist, singer and band leader.
> Ivano Rossato
What project are you currently working on?
I am currently working on two projects. The first is a small group project of a CD I recorded for my late mother with some of hers and my favourite musicians and friends and we play some of her favourite songs from the American songbook. The profits from the CD will go towards the research of macular degeneration. My mother suffered from this and the treatments were very expensive, so I thought if I could help in some way I would, and it is also an extremely cathartic process to go through. CD to be called “Through her eyes” will be launched at the Manly Jazz festival in Sydney in September. The second is mixing a live album I’ve just recorded with my big band at our Spiritual Home, The Unity Hall Hotel in Sydney’s Balmain. They have had Jazz in the pub for 44 years and we have had a monthly residency for the last 12 years. We are putting the profits towards taking the band to Cuba next January to play at the Havana Jazz Festival and possibly record with some Cuban musicians.
How do you change your approach to conducting a big band compared to a quartet?
Well, in a 4tet you can let many things happen organically by letting the musicians interact. I will often take the lead in this situation but all the while letting my musicians express themselves the way they know best. In a big band it’s more difficult, as you have arrangements that are set, but within that I will delegate solos and I have to make sure I get the tempos correct and can work to bring out the dynamics in the music, although my band has been together so long we play really dynamically naturally.
Which “non-Jazz” artists of the past have influenced you the most?
The list of non-Jazz artists goes on forever and includes people like Bob Marley, Rico Rodriguez, Don Drummomd, Fred Wesley, Jackie Orzacksky, James Brown, Parliament/Funkadelic, Stevie Wonder, The Neville Brothers, Sam Cooke, The Meters, Prince, John Mayer, Al Green, Donny Hathaway of today’s artists. I listen to many styles of music. Like Louis Armstrong said “there are only two types of music: good and bad”.
Talking about both musicians and audience, what is your opinion about the Australian jazz scene, compared to other continents?
Well, Australia is a sporting culture, so the arts find it hard to get a look in but, having said that, the audiences that do come to gigs in Australia are incredibly enthusiastic and know what they like. The musicians in Australia are some of the best I’ve played with and heard anywhere in the world. Playing in Europe and Brazil I’ve found that the audiences are so excited to know everything about you and your music, and I have made some great friendships in these countries.
What is your opinion about the new streaming and distribution services offered by Internet to professional musicians?
Streaming and distribution is a 2 edged sword. Everyone wants his music to be heard, but the streaming services don’t really make it worthwhile to upload your music but if you don’t no one will hear it. These days I release a CD and will wait up to 2 years before putting it on any streaming or distribution service. It makes people in my fan base hungrier to buy the CD. I think the biggest challenge going forward is to make it a more even playing field, where the musicians get rewarded for their work while the streaming services still get their corporate profits.
What are your musical plans for the future?
Future plan is just to keep playing and singing great music with great people and, maybe, spending more time writing a few things I can bring to big band and smaller bands. I also plan to record with my organ band in the near future and travel, of course, lots of travel and meeting people. In fact, I am currently in Athens in Greece, and will be doing a few shows in Singapore on the way back to Australia.
Reservados todos los derechos – All rights reserved – 版權所有 – 版权所有; An espresso with… Dan Barnett copyright Jazzespresso 2018.
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