May 18 2017
Brenton Foster continues to establish himself as a unique voice in the Australian original music scene. His compositions feature on several prominent Australian releases, most notably Brenton’s recent record, Two Cities, nominated for Best Jazz Album in the 2016 The Age Music Victoria Awards. We caught up with Brenton ahead of his 6tet's MIJF performance.
How did you get into jazz?
Somehow my parent’s car had Harry Connick Jr’s It Had To Be You on cassette tape playing. We weren’t a “jazz family” at the time (my mother still sometimes claps on one and three) so I’m not sure how Harry ended up in the tape deck. At the same time, my high school jazz band introduced me to Miles, Jaco, and The Meters. Then my teacher got me on to Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans and Brad Mehldau, all of whom helped me appreciate and then love this amazing music.
Who are your biggest influences?
Probably those pianists that I mentioned above - Herbie, Bill and Brad, as well a few non-jazz artists - Billy Joel, Bruce Hornsby, John Mayer. I’m constantly finding new sources of inspiration - local and international artists that all excite something in my creative spirit.
What has been your career highlight thus far?
I’d have to say the whole process of my debut jazz record, Two Cities, released in 2016. I wrote a large part of it while travelling through the USA in 2012 and recorded the trio takes in New York City. After it lay dormant for a few years, I finally finished it, released it, toured it, and was absolutely honoured to have the album nominated for Best Jazz Album in the 2016 The Age Music Victoria Awards.
What’s something we may not know about you?
I have a great memory for phone numbers. Especially landlines. Typically those I will never call again.
Who’s on the top of your playlist at the moment?
I just bought Tamil Rogeon’s new record, 24 Hours In Lapa, which is incredible. Plus Mehldau’s Highway Rider, Richie Beirach’s Hubris, Thundercat’s Drunk, John Mayer’s new record, The Search For Everything.
Who are you most looking forward to checking out at this year’s festival?
There’s so many amazing artists. I’m really looking forward to Tigran Hamasyan at The Jazzlab. His composition and playing is so beautiful, and I’m sure that will be a special gig.
The Brenton Foster 6tet joins forces with The Steve McQueens for an unmissable double bill, which skilfully traverses soulful and sultry to eclectic and eccentric. Tickets on sale now.