Welcome to episode number one of the "Australian Jazz and Groove Podcast".
This Podcast is meant to shed light on the fantastic composers we have here in Australia and in particular in the Jazz and Groove vein.
In this episode we will hear form Ade Ishs, composer and pianist from Melbourne about his release "Stories Under the Sky," a collaboration he carried out with drummer and composer Chelsea Allen.
We will also hear tracks from Sophie Min Mark Peric and Elly Hoyt from her 2019 release "The Composers Voice."
Australian Jazz & Groove Podcast
Episode 1: Ade Ishs
Welcome to the Australian Jazz and Grove Podcast. My name is David Galea and you are listening to the first episode of this podcast. A podcast that I hope will assist highlight Australian jazz composers and musicians as well as shed some light into what makes them tick. In this podcast we will be featuring jazz and groove based music from traditional jazz and groove through to more modern sounds. So if you would like to have your work included in the Australian Jazz and Groove Podcast then please send through an email to [email protected]
In this podcast we will be featuring the work of Melbourne based pianist and composer Ade Ishs and in particular his 2017 work entitled: “Stories Under The Sky” which was a collaboration with composer and drummer Chelsea Allen. We’ll be talking to Ade to ask him a few questions about how this project came together and what he enjoys about collaborating with other composers and in particular what that process was like on this recording. We will also hear from Brisbane bassist and composer Mark Peric with a track from his award winning album “The Sound Of Light” and then a track from London based but Australian born singer and composer Elly Hoyt from her 2019 release “The Composers Voice - Celebrating Australian Woman Composers”
So let's kick off with a recording from Brisbane pianist and composer Sophie Min and a track of hers featured on an album entitled “From All Sides” from Brisbane based trio “Nimble”. This track entitled “Thanks for the Hands” features Min on piano, Lachlan Hawkins on drums, myself on bass as well as guest vocalist Kristin Berardi. So here is the Nimble trio and “Thanks for the Hands”.
The Nimble Trio and a track by Sophie Min called “Thanks for the Hands” also featuring as we mentioned earlier Kristin Berardi on vocals. Well now we’d like to introduce our guest artist for today, that is, pianist and composer Ade Ishs residing in Melbourne which is currently under lockdown and today were going to focus on an album he release with drummer and composer Chelsea Allen as a collaboration and its entitled “Stories Under The Sky”. So to introduce us to that album let's have a listen to a track off it. It's entitled “Blue Sky”.
Well now its a great pleasure to invite our very first guest on the Australian jazz and groove podcast that’s Ade Ishs:
AI: Ahh thank you Dave. Thanks for having me.
DG: Yeah no problem Ade, great to have you on the show and as we mentioned earlier were talking today about “Stories Under The Sky” that you and Chelsea Allen collaborated on. Could you tell us a little bit about how you did that, how you got the music together to produce the recording?
AI: Well for that album its mostly my compositions there but there were a couple of tracks that you know we co-wrote. One of them was actually released earlier to the public, I think the year before that, the final take but yeah I guess the process is quite similar for those for the couple of collaborative compositions, it , well, began with her coming up with a little bit of the head and the A section and I did the B section.
DG: Yeah, okay
AI: And with the other one moving forward she did the A section and I went overboard and all the B section, c section and to the end and its like Oh
DG: Yeah, so did this happen within the studio or did it happen sort of overtime in rehearsal or just you guys getting together?
AI: No we all sat down together and there was already something written so nothing was actually even recorded so I just, you know, sight read mentally and then played to well I guess fill in the blanks.
DG: So on the album you’ve got some fantastic musicians so did you write the music with them in mind or did you write the music and then select who you were going to have on the album then? And did you want to run through who you’ve got on the album as well?
AI: Oh yeah, alright, ok apart from myself we have already mentioned Chelsea Allen on the drums and percussion and voice and then we have Paul Bonnington on acoustic and electric basses and also Ee Shan Pang on trumpet, frugal horn and then we have special guest the illustrious Lachlan Davidson on saxophone and clarinet. It actually started with I think it was around 2015 not long after the band, the quartet, released our first album. I had this itching feeling that I wanted to add something into the line up and my gut feeling just said I have the feeling that you know saxophones, well the reed interments, would be something interesting as some extra texture for the music. So at the time we had Ben… and then he also went on to play so many gigs with us.
DG: Sorry, what does he play? What’s his instrument? Sorry Im a Brisbane guy in Melbourne
AI: Oh yeah, so Ben plays you know all sorts of saxophones and clarinet as well and flute so all the reeds and the wind instruments. So yeah really interesting. I enjoyed every moment doing that but due to his other commitments that I honour our last gig together with him as a quintet was 2016 Wangaratta Jazz and Blues Festival. Then we resorted back to the quartet line up but I still wanted to have him in the recording. But due to scheduling and stuff we couldn’t really get him so Lachlan Davidson was kind of in a way last minute addition.
DG: Yeah he sounds great, its not like you lost anything there.
AI: Yeah its beautiful, he’s really great. Actually I have to credit him to adding some ideas into the orchestration with his instruments. So I gave him a chart and he expanded on that on the spot in the studio. Some of the tracks, I really had them in mind. Some where I guess mostly I had in mind some of them I had actually something completely different. For example there’s a track there called “Fragments of Youth” I actually had in mind a trio to do that initially but it didn’t pan out also work in the middle actually it was for an abandoned project somewhere else.
DG: That seems to happen with tunes, doesn’t it? Where we think they are going to be on one recording and they end up on another and they get rehashed or things like that?
AI: Yeah, but because I never really got too attached with the ideas. In the studio it ended up with lots of modifications or last minute changes that weren’t written on the chart or even planned and you know I’ve been very luck to have worked with Allan Neuendorf. He is a great recording engineer and producer so he’s had lots of great ideas. So its always that extra hidden member of my band for my recordings.
DG: The silent member
AI: The silent member, yes
DG: Very good, so we just listened to that track “Blue Sky” and one thing that struck me was the balance that you’ve come up with the composition and improvisation. Is that a deliberate thing when you write, particularly for this project, that you sort of wanted to its not just like your jamming but there’s a definite focus within the composition of how you want it to go to incorporate those two elements of improvisation and is that a deliberate thing or is it just something that you naturally do when you compose?
AI: It's kind of both. When I was little I studied both classical and jazz actually probably I should say mostly classical and it seemed to me as something that really deliberate and its funny actually a couple of years ago I was going on holiday and my father asked me “We’ve got some stuff probably you could help us to sort out the things, which ones you want to throw, which ones you want to keep?” And I found this music sheet book and I found it was actually something from when I was little and I learned composition. And all those details I had I was actually a bit surprised that for example things like shifting time signatures. As a little boy I already had that in mind. I was like “Oh so I’ve always been like this”. I guess I’ve always had this kind of attraction to complex forms like rhapsodies and not strictly AABA or straight ahead jazz. Which you know during that time the years leading to that album I was in this kind of head space I felt like this kind of straight ahead jazz it could get old really quickly like head, solo, solo, solo, head out and then doing that stuff like “Oh give me a break” so I liked to do something, that still improvisation sections in the music but its also something really deliberate and written out the orchestration. Even like a melody that doesn’t quite fit in with the format of the head but something derived from there or something bridges from one structure to another one.
DG: So growing up how old where you when you came to Australia from Indonesia? And how much does your childhood back in Indonesia affect your composing today?
AI: I came to Australia 18 years ago and then as to the influence of my cultural background Indonesia I think, yeah, I believe there must be lots of influence. I have been lucky enough to grow up in a music loving household and I guess if you came to my house when I was little its pretty eclectic. My dad was into big band kind of Frank Sinatra that kind of style and then my mum was into traditional classical West Javanese music and then my oldest brother he introduce me to Gary Burton, Chick Corea all sorts that kind of thing
DG: So a real melting pot. Real melting pot for you growing up
AI: Exactly and not to mention all those kung fu movies that I binge on and all the Japanese anime
DG: Wow that’s cool very cool
AI: So yes all of those I believe contributed to my music or to the set of my musical influences. Also later I say in high school I started meeting people that introduced me to stuff like Yellowjackets, Spyro Gyro. I still remember watching Mike Stern when was in year 12 I think. My mum finally let me go out for a festival in the evening and watch Mike Stern
DG: I think I may have seen that, if he was on the same tour coming through to Australia he might have had Dave Weckl and Jeff Andrews was that the one?
AI: Oh that was 1995
DG: The golden 90’s
AI: Yeah that was the golden 90s. I watched him again in Melbourne. He came with Dave Weckl.
DG: Where going to listen now to another track off “Stories Under The Sky” - “Autumn Walk” is one we're going to listen to now is there anything you could sort of give us a head up on with that track?
AI: Well again this is something you shouldn’t really expect something in the form of head in, solo, solo, solo, head out because its just one continuous well its a rhapsody.
DG: Alright let's have a listen to it and well have another chat.
DG: So that was “Autumn Walk” and one thing I noticed in that track was the dynamic range that you as a band within the studio were able to capture and I know playing with you live particularly that you’re very dynamic in the way that you play as piano player. So how much of a conscious sort of decision do you make when it comes to the dynamics of the music that you write? Again as musicians we seem to naturally fall into the dynamics of a song but is it something that you instruct the other members of the band or is something that’s really strong in your compositional technique?
AI: Well I guess I’m a sucker for dynamics. I remember the author of the “Best Jazz Clubs”, I forget the title of the book, it's a book about Bennett Lane written by David James. So David James once interviewed me and he said “For a pianist you have a wide range of dynamics” and I was surprised by that comment. I thought “wow for me its something major” and my late teacher Peter Ferdinandez he kept banging on about dynamics all the time and say “if there’s no dynamics don’t worry about even playing it” something like that. Its something for me that has if I put on, its enhancing the sonic grammar of the music
DG: Thats a really good expression the sonic grammar. Sorry I interrupted you.
I just feel that its kind of flat, well that’s probably a little bit of a pun. If we have no dynamics its just, I don’t know, for me I feel like constantly being bombarded with the same thing over and over again. I don’t know its just not quite my stuff.
DG: It seemed to be too, in that track, that the use of space, again whether that was deliberate or just the ensemble working together there was a real, I didn’t feel hurried at all listening to that. It felt like there was like “lets embrace the space”. Is that what you remember of the studio or was it again a deliberate thing you would give to the band?
AI: Well I don’t remember mentioning specifically to be really aware about space. But I guess the musicians I work with its also their style, its their natural style. Even when they aren’t playing with me they play that way.
DG: Part of their musical sensibility
AI: Yeah and also personally I’m not really into showing chops in music for me its kind of detracts from the main purpose of music. Im not really into that. The others involved in the recording they are not really into chops, of course not to mention they are good players.
DG: They have chops
AI: Yes, still Lachlan Davidson plays some really crazy choppy stuff its really scary but they really know when to do it when not to do it. So whatever is necessary.
DG: And that’s the thing of playing with sympathetic musicians like that you obviously have on this recording they, there is no ego. Even just myself having performed and played with you the fact that there is no ego on the bandstand on in the studio I feel like it really effects the music.
AI: For me it's about the music its not about, well we were talking about “Autumn Walk” and everyone, you can hear, there was no single amount of piano solo over there and I don’t care. I mean it's not even necessary.
DG: Yeah I get you. So before we wrap it up Ade can you give us an idea of some of the other projects you’re involved in? Admittedly its lockdown and there are no gigs available but are there some other groups that you're working with that you’re getting ready for the time when we do come out of this lockdown period?
AI: Well, being in Melbourne, it's funny, regardless of whether its lockdown or outside the lockdown I just have learned its good to have multiple projects running in parallel pipelines. At the moment I've been super focusing on doing ISO collaborations with my friend John Mcgill and then also have my trio recording that all the tracking is done but I still need to do post production and then I’m currently doing a project with Lachlan Davidson, Darryn Farrugia, Kate Newman and Jack Pantazis another album. And then of course playing with you.
DG: Yeah that’s been fun
AI: Another list, this is probably almost ready by my emotion band.
So it's just a backlog of stuff that probably just need to revisit in lockdown one by one.
DG: Very good, excellent, well we’ll take it out with a song from the album called “Sound of Morning” and we appreciate having you on the very first episode of Australian jazz and Groove podcast. Thanks Ade Ishs and where can we get your music from if we want to buy it from you? Where is the best place to go?
AI: Well I guess for I don’t know what the best means for people
DG: Best for you, as an artist, as a composer. Whats the best place for us to buy it for you financially?
AI: Financially? Alright OK in that case I guess through my band camp so its adeishs.bandcamp.com and during this COVID-19 crisis I'm kind of giving away the music, well not quite, I actually let people to donate as much as they like if they can afford it too. But I understand some people are experiencing financial difficulties at the moment so yeah feel free to just download and then if people want to get CDs or DVDS they are reduced heavily. Yes I would recommend getting it from my bandcamp. So again adeishs.bandcamp.com
DG: Excellent well thank so much again as we said for being on our first episode and stay safe love to your family
AI: Thank you love to yours too
DG: Thank you very much and we’ll listen to now “Sound of Morning”
So that was that was the “Sound of Morning” from Ade Ishs and Chelsea Allens collaboration called Stories Under the Sky”
So now we’ve come to our second last track on the very first episode of Australian Jazz and Groove podcast and to a very fine bassist living in Brisbane that of Mark Peric and many people in the Brisbane scene know Mark’s such a killer electric bass player and its definitely shown on this next track of his that we’re going to listen to which has the title “The Sound Of Light” which incidentally Mark won a 2019 Q Music award for in the category of funk, soul and RNB. Very unheard of for an instrumental track. So sit back and enjoy Mark Peric’s “The Sound Of Light”
Wow that was the “Sound Of Light” by Mark Peric, Brisbane bass player and truely showing off his fantastic bass chops there on that track. Well now wed like to move to our very last track for the first episode of the Australian Jazz and Groove Podcast and its a track entitled “Engines On” by fine vocalist Elly Hoyt who now currently resides in London originally from her in Australia. And she released the “Composers Voice” back in 2019. “The Composers Voice” presents composition from fine Australian jazz female composers like Andrea Keller, Gian Slater, Georgia Webber, Louise Denson, Sonya Horbelt, Shannon Barnett, Tamara Murphy and Elly herself contributes to tracks from the album and for this recording Elly has not held back in assembling such a killer group of musicians to perform this music. We have Andrea Keller on piano, saxophonist Julian Wilson, trombonist James Macauley, bassist Sam Anning and drummer James Mclean. And as we listen to this track “Engines On” you’ll hear that fine band in action. So lets listen now to “Engines On” composed by Gian Slater and recorded by Elly Hoyt for “The Composers Voice”
Elly Hoyt and a composition by Gian Slater called “Engines On” from Elly’s 2019 release “The Composers Voice” and well hopefully be talking to Elly very soon on the podcast for a more in-depth look at this recording. How she was able to get such a fine group of musicians together and how the music came together to produce such a stunning album. But that it folks, our very first episode of the Australian Jazz and Groove podcast is complete. And I hope that you’ve enjoyed listening to it as much as I’ve enjoyed presenting the music. A big thank you to Ade Ishs also for stopping by and having a chat about his release, 2017 release, “Stories Under The Sky”. But if you’d like to support these artists the best way would be to purchase their music so please go to their bandcamp page. Just search and google the artist name with band camp and you’ll be sure to find their page and you can buy their music and support them in the best possible way. Now as we said earlier if you’d like to have your music showcased on the podcast please get in touch at [email protected] and also keep in touch at our facebook page. That is Australian Jazz and Groove podcast at facebook.com
But for now thanks for listening and I hope we can reconnect on the next episode of the Australian Jazz and Groove Podcast.
Bye for now.