It’s been a fair while now since at twelve years old I first picked up my Dad’s old excruciatingly hard to play acoustic guitar from his hippy days. It’s been an adventure ever since. As a fairly shy teenager I found an expression in music which I didn’t have elsewhere. I’ve grown but that ability to express myself without words has remained extremely precious and essential to my existence. From my grunge bands back in the day, to the hip hop and funk groups and then on to jazz and world music, I’ve loved every minute of it!
3 albums later and with many to come, I’m still at it. By now you’ve hopefully listened to a track from each of those albums and heard elements of my musical life so far. I’d love to say a few words about these, they all hold a place in my heart and have their own little stories.
As you might know, I’m an Australian guitarist who’s been living in Paris for the last 9 years or so (can’t complain!). The earliest track goes back to just before I moved over. It’s ‘Summer Nights’ and it’s from my first album ‘Waves’, recorded when I was 21 years old in 2005, in Sydney. On it feature a bunch of very talented musos from both Sydney and my hometown of Canberra including legendary bassist Eric Ajaye (Freddie Hubbard, Taj Mahal, Bennie Maupin) and distinguished trumpeter Miroslav Bukovsky (leader of the iconic Australian jazz group Wanderlust). The compositions’ arrangements range from quartet to eleven piece band. ‘Waves’ is very much influenced by the Australian lifestyle, it was a point in my life where I fully appreciated the beauty of our various landscapes and coasts and spent a lot of time out in the open or in the sea. The track ‘Summer Nights’ itself was inspired by a hot Australian night when the heat hits you like a ton of brick as we might say back in oz.
But keen for an adventure I moved to Paris just after recording ‘Waves’ and I’ve been here since! ‘Around’ is my second album, recorded here in 2010. The album includes a stellar lineup with Guillaume Perret (who is quickly becoming a jazz superstar with his amazing group the Guillaume Perret Electric Epic) on the saxophone, Yoann Serra on the drums, Juan-Sebastien Jimenez on the double bass and myself on guitar. I composed the title track, Around, shortly after coming back to Paris from a 3 month stint in Kolkata, India, where I was studying Hindustani classical music. My study over there was but a mere drop in the ocean that is Indian classical music but it definitely influenced, in a subtle fashion, the way in which I play and write. You can hear that influence among others on the title track ‘Around’, a composition based on cyclical motion. One of the ragas (sort of Indian scale/melody) I was studying in Kolkata clearly inspired my writing on this tune as well as did Indian rhythms. But that’s not all you can hear, there are also some North African rhythms as well as some subtle funk elements, etc …
‘Place to Be’ is my freshly released third album! It came out in 2014 with the great French indie label Gaya Music Production. It was a lot of hard, yet enjoyable work and I’m very proud of it. The album continues in the musical direction I’ve been developing which consists in mixing and fusing many musical languages. On it multiple influences encounter in a subtle way, from modern jazz and post rock, to African and Latin Grooves, to Indian and Balkan inflections… As I go on as a musician, I’d like to deepen this idea of non genre specific music. So finally the ‘place to be’ for me is everywhere and anywhere. The title track was inspired by my wonderful and funky new home in a part of the 19th arrondissement of Paris, which is itself a rather vibrant melting pot. The album was recorded with the awesome Irving Acao (tenor saxophone), Christophe Wallemme (bass), Antoine Banville (drums), very special guest Stéphane Guillaume (soprano and tenor saxophone) and myself (guitar). I’m honoured to have recorded and to perform with these guys, they’re some of the best on the French jazz/world scene. And the press’ reception of the album has been amazing too so I’m super happy 🙂
It’s been a fun musical adventure so far and I look forward to that going on for a long time ahead! I’d love for you to listen to the last part of that adventure, the new album ‘Place to Be’, you can do so by clicking here.
Thank YOU for being a listener and for making it all matter. That’s why I love what I do.