Sunday, April 10, 2016

Our latest Interview with Kinderjazz

Kinderjazz is a 12 piece fully acoustic swing orchestra, featuring some of the best musicians in Australia. They have opened Manly Jazz Festival in 1998, and since then, have performed at the Sydney Opera House, Daring Harbour, the Teddy Bear’s Picnic at Parramatta Stadium, to more than 10,000 families, Carols in the Domain 2000 on Channel 7, Stadium Australia and many major venues around Australia.

Whether you're looking for ways to stimulate a developing young mind, you'd like to introduce children to the pleasures of music, or you just want your kids to have FUN, you'll find Kinderjazz’s collection of blues, latin, ragtime, jazz, and swing music is perfect for girls and boys under the age of 12.

So lets get this interview started!

What´s the name of your band (solo project/act/etc)? 

Who are the members? What is everyone's role? 
George Washingmachine - Male Vocal
Jessica O'Donoghue - Female Vocal
Vanessa Patterson - Alto Sax
Glenn Henrich - Alto Sax
Jason Morphett - Tenor Sax
Al Davey - Lead Trumpet
Mike Kenny - 2nd Trumpet
Mark Barnsley - Trombone
Kevin Hunt - Piano
David Groves - Double Bass
Martin Highland - Drums
Aykho Akhrif - Congas

Where are you from?
We're from Sydney Australia.

In what year did the band form?

How old were you when you first got into the music scene? What got you started in music?
We've been musicians since we were children.  I think it was early experiences when our parentÕs took us to jazz festivals and symphony concerts.

Are you touring?
We are working on a tour of the USA but have not finalised the details as yet.

Where was your first gig? 
Our first gig was a local school hall.   We didn't even have a name for the band but the gig went so well, the audience was yelling for more.

Where was the latest gig?
The Sydney Opera House

What are some of your good and bad traits as an artist?
The greatest thing about KINDERJAZZ is the quality of the music.   There are so many great things because it's unique.  A one of a kind worldwide.   The fact that we play to children is such a bonus also.  The worst thing is that I'm a control freak with all the details that need to go into keeping it together but that is also the reason it's latest almost 20 years!

What genre is your music?
Our music is Jazz but it really represents the 20th century.   We've got songs in so many genres that go with jazz like country, rap, opera, bebop, swing, classical, pop ballads, trad, world music.   You name it, we've got a song in that genre.   I think the only thing we haven't done is electro as we keep everything acoustic.

Why did you pick that particular style? Or what about that style called to you?
Yes.   I picked jazz for it's fresh improvisations and rich harmonies.  It's complex music because I know growing brains hate to be bored!

Have you released any albums or singles?
We have seven albums to date.  The list is as follows:-
Kinderjazz (1997)
Latino Bambino (1998)
Swing Right Through This Town (1999)
Tu-Baba-Luma (2001)
Gazooba (2004)
The One For Me (2007)
Teddy Bear's Picnic (2015)

You can check them out on  and iTunes

Do you have any clips on YouTube?

How old are the members of the band?
We range from 20's to 60's.  The great thing about music is that is has no age barrier what so ever.

Tell me your biggest influences and which artists have inspired you to preform.
All the jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Herbie Hancock, James Morrison are a just a few but Sesame Street is the stand out as far as inspiration is concerned.

What was your best gig you've played?
There are so many bests but the one that we relive constantly is the one at the Hakoah Club on Bondi Beach.   Jess's boa lost a feather in the air just as the trombonist was about to start his solo and he kept the feather in the air throughout his whole solo.  That's inspired so many kids to learn the trombone!

What places will you be playing in in the near future? Where would like to perform in the future?
We are old enough to leave home so I'd like to do some international tours.  Our fans are all over the world in America, Europe, Asia and we want to start getting to them somehow.

Which band is the best that you've seen live? What made their show so good? 
I saw the Rolling Stones live and the energy in the mosh pit right near the stage was electrifying.   Also knowing all the world to their songs helped.   I don't think I've ever danced so much in my life!   It just transported me to a different place.  A happy place.

What has been your most promising gig so far?
It would have to be selling out 30 shows at the Sydney Opera House.  It doesn't get better than that.

How big was the biggest crowed you preformed for?
This is shocking I know, but we've performed to 1 billion on New Year's Eve in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney - live as well as via television.

If you could go anywhere in the world to preform, where would you go and why?
I think it would have to be Sesame Street.   It's the reason we exist and we would love to collaborate.   It's a dream I hope comes true very soon.

How do you typically get psyched up for a gig?
We don't need to .  Being a Big Band, we absolutely love playing together and when we see each other, its a moment of happiness.  You add that energy to a children's audience and it's magic.   They feed off the music and we feed off their energy.

Who is your current favorite artists today
Joey Alexander is a 12 year old jazz pianist and he's just won not one but two Grammy's for his music.  I think that's pretty special.

Do you record in a studio?
We recorded our last album in James Morrison's Studio.  James is one of the best trumpet players in the world and will be performing for the President in the White House for International Jazz Day.  It was a real honor and you can hear the quality on our album.

These days free music downloading has become the norm. It's a constant struggle for artists to make money from music sales. How do you feel about this?
Artists feel powerless to do anything about it.  It is disrespect and a worker is worth their wages.   Fixing the problem is complex though and I think it starts with education.  While music is considered a frill, the first to be cut at any budget constraint, musicians will always be disrespected.   Artists work on their music for a good 25 years and never stop learning and practicing.  No other industry does this much work.   Their devotion to their craft often goes beyond reason.  They are on the outer and sacrifice so much to continue their careers.  I think they need to be supported a lot more.   A start would be to have music as a core subject in all schools , up there with math and English.

Is your music available for free download anywhere?
I'm sure there is.  You only need to google 'kinderjazz' to find it.

Besides your own music, what genres and bands do you listen to?
Everything from Elton John to the Berlin Philharmonic playing Beethoven!

Who in your life is your biggest motivator?
My children.

Are you a part of any other musical projects?
I founded the Year 12 Music Festival in 2014 where final year music students get to perform to an audience before their exams.   It was a huge success.   IÕm also starting a Sydney Special Needs ChildrenÕs Choir next month and weÕll be collaborating with KINDERJAZZ for the Royal Botanic GardenÕs 200th birthday by singing a song written in an indigenous Aboriginal language specially commissioned for the occasion.

Have you been in any other bands before this one?
No.  KINDERJAZZ is it but having said that, every member of the band has their own band and tours internationally so you could say KINDERJAZZ is a super band as they only come together to play to children.

Do you have a job other than your music career?
I teach piano and currently research music and the brain.

How often do you rehearse?
Every time we play.  There's usually a run through.  I only call a rehearsal is there is new material which is usually once a year.

Where do you typically rehearse?
At a local school hall

Do you have any webpages?
Twitter:  @kinderjazz

Considering the major changes in todays music industry in the digital world
and the rise in home studios/DIY independent artists.
What do you think is the future of the music industry?  Is this good or bad in your view?

Music is a living thing and it will always be around.   It's part of being human and even though we'll have digital access to it and things become virtual, the real thing will never die out.  People didn't stop going to Italy just because their local area opened a pizzeria.

How would you describe your sound in one sentence?
Glenn Miller meets Sesame Street

What is your favorite instrument?
The piano of course!

Any pearls of wisdom for all other bands out there with less experience than you?
Never give up!

What advice would you give less experienced band, that you wish someone had given you?
If something's not working, make a decision and get rid of it.  Change is opportunity.  Always.

Thanks so much for doing our interview. Readers go check these guys out, comment their videos, follow their social media!

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