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The Jac: Anomaly

Alto saxophonist Jake Baxendale plays in the excellent octet The Jac out of Wellington and their previous album Nerve of last year won acclaim everywhere, including at Elsewhere.

A young ensemble playing original music (with their ears on the distant and recent jazz past), they launch their second album The Green Hour (on Rattle Jazz) in the Auckland Jazz Festival at CJC this Thursday, October 22.

Given how much we here at Elsewhere enjoy what they do we felt it timely to flick our Famous Elsewhere Jazz Questionnaire at Baxendale who has written three of the seven pieces on the new album, including the tour-de-force that is the 15 minute Magellan. . .

The first piece of music, jazz or otherwise, which really affected you was . . ?

The Rite of Spring. Probably less because of the music and more because of the accompanying animation in Disney’s Fantasia movie (it featured a lot of dinosaurs)

When did you first realise this jazz thing was for you?

When I was 15 or so my mum woke me up to make me listen to a program on John Coltrane that my grandad had heard about… I didn’t want to be awake at all! But they played Blue Train and A Love Supreme and I was hooked

What one piece of music would you play to a 15-year old into rock music to show them, 'This is jazz, and this is how it works'?

Luz de Liz from Guillermo Klein and Los Guachos’ album ‘Live in Barcelona’. It’s heavy, rocky and loud, but there’s a real depth in the writing, dynamics, dense harmony, a burning trumpet solo and lots of horns – textures that they might not have heard before!

Time travel allows you go back to experience great jazz. You would go to . . ?

I’d probably go to The Five Spot to watch Coltrane playing with Monk

Which period of Miles Davis' career do you most relate to, and why: the acoustic Fifties; his orchestrated albums with Gil Evans; the acoustic bands, the fusion of the late Sixties; street funk of the Seventies or the Tutu album and beyond in the Eighties . . .

As a writer, the Gil Evans stuff, but as a performer definitely the second quintet.

effortAny interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home?

Not really. When I get broke, which is often, I sell everything I don’t use!

The best book on the jazz life you have read is . . .

Kenny Werner’s “Effortless Mastery”. It’s not really a bio as such but it does deal with some ways to live “the jazz life” that I think a lot of people can relate to, wherever they’re at with the music.

If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . . (And you would play?)

Brad Meldhau, I’d probably just watch

The three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .

I wouldn’t insist that anybody watch those…

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

I’ve just bought Reiner Baas’ albums “Mostly Improvised Indie Music” and “More Socially Relevant Jazz Music”.

One jazz standard you wished you had written . . .

It’s a tie between Crepuscule with Nellie by Monk and Peace by Ornette Coleman

The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .

The Blue Train cover is pretty solid – it was in the kitchen where I was last staying though, that stare might get to me in the bedroom…

The_Green_Hour_55d505d609da7Three non-jazz albums for a desert island would be . . ?

The Onus of Sand by Little Bushman and Happy Ending by the Phoenix Foundation are two I can think of… I’d like to be reminded of home!

Your dream band of musicians (living or dead) would be . . ?

I’d like to see a Brad Meldhau/J.S Bach duo

And finally, is there a track on your most recent album you would love people to hear. And, if so, why that one?

‘Anomaly’ by [Jac pianist] Dan Millward -- the world needs to hear more from that guy


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