Jazz guitarist and composer ALBARE – aka Albert Dadon – is well known in Australia’s jazz scene as a former artistic director of the Melbourne Jazz Festival and chairman of the Australian Jazz Awards. But he is first and foremost a jazz musician of the highest calibre. Albare has brought his latest project to Australia, including performances at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. Vulture magazine commented on his performance at the Melbourne Recital Centre as part the Melbourne International Jazz Festival.
Albare will be at the Byron Community Centre with an international collaboration of the kind rarely heard locally.
Does having been an artistic director of the Melbourne Jazz Festival and chairman of the Australian Jazz Awards make you more self-conscious or at the least aware of how high the bar must be set for you when presenting your own work?
The work for the Melbourne Jazz and Bell awards is a philanthropic one where I give back to the community. I’m fortunate that my own music is international with the latest release thru Enja records present in 40 countries… I’ve just returned from a European tour and am about to begin a new one in Japan and the USA. Having said that, Australia is my home and the way we go here is important to me.
What instigated your passion for jazz?
Jazz is a wide terminology for a form of creative music that is virtually unlimited. Ours is inspired by Mediterranean sounds. I like deep grooves and sticky melodies… It’s a language that we can easily communicate to the public. It is the communication with my fellow musicians that makes it very rewarding for us and for those who listen to us.
What do you think is the essence of great jazz?
What about bad jazz? (Is there such a thing?)
Of course there is… it’s up to you to find your own definition. Likes and dislikes are nearly always personal choices. My own is this: what’s not communicated through the heart isn’t worth listening to. You know when it’s not from the heart.
Jazz is a musical form that thrives on collaboration – what are the collaborations that have been the most amazing for you?
Indeed. Two of the musicians I present in the show in Byron are Evripides Evripidou, with whom I have collaborated for 20 years, and Phil Turcio, who started with me 22 years ago when he was 18. The current collaboration with Hendrik Meurkens, the virtuoso harmonica player, is an inspiring one. My previous album was a collaboration with Joe Chindamo on accordion, etc… The list is long and fruitful.
What happens when you are playing… in your head I mean… where do you go?
I’m completely present… I just listen to the rhythm section and let go. All the thinking is done when I practise, compose, rehearse… On stage it’s too late for thinking, your subconscious guides you.
What do you bring to the table as a composer and guitarist?
Each one of us has a diverse background and the sum of our experiences and choices in life makes us who we are… The main thing is to keep a sense of humour and let the heart talk.
Do you ever go back to a live improvisation and use that as the core for a composition?
Are you kidding? How do you know all this? Yes, that’s often how it happens.
How responsive are you to your surroundings when you play?
I’m privileged to only be playing to audiences that want to listen. So the conditions are quite good and conducive to creativity.
Tell me a little about the band?
We are travelling with Hendrik Meurkens as I said earlier, a virtuoso harmonica player. I chose Hendrik because he has a similar sense of melody to mine; the chromatic harp is my favourite instrument after the guitar. The guy’s awesome, he is German born, grew up in Brazil and lives now in New York. Evripides Evripidou from Cyprus is a truly inspiring force in our band; he is Mr Groove, there’s not another bass player like him. Phil Turcio on piano, you think you don’t know him but you do. Everyone knows Phil without knowing they know him… Phil wrote the song of the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympics – remember the little girl?… Tony Floyd on drums, he is also a member of the Black Sorrows.
What should we expect for your Byron show?
Wherever we go we get the same great reaction, whether in Melbourne, Sydney, Paris or Amsterdam. Byron Bay, we will let you in on something magical and wonderful!
Byron Community Centre
Tickets $45 / $39 conc
Ph 02 6685 6807