Tony Gould on the Art of Creative Music
This is a tribute to revered Australian pianist, praised educator and musical thinker Dr Tony Gould, Australia’s first professor of jazz. It comprises an audio CD and bonus one-hour video DVD documentary.
The documentary illustrates Gould’s approach to his collaborations with musicians of his own generation as well as the younger cats Gould plays with and has taught during his long standing career.
The CD presents complete performances of much of the music excerpted in the film. It was recorded at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club and the Melbourne Recital Centre Salon.
Tony Gould is supported by Ben Robertson (bass), Graeme Lyall (alto-sax), Dave Beck (drums), Imogen Manins (cello), Michelle Nicolle (vocal), Robert Burke (tenor-sax), Sam Evans (tabla), Aaron McCullough (drums), Hiroki Hoshino (bass), Ted Vining (drums).
Here is a preview of the documentary (as well as three audio samples below):
Pianist and composer Tony Gould is one of Australia’s most respected musicians. His career has embraced many styles of music, not least jazz and other improvisatory musics in addition to traditional and contemporary classical musics. He gives many concerts each year and for 50 years he has been involved in an extraordinary number of recording projects both as pianist and composer and has been at the forefront of music education in Australia via various tertiary institutions in Melbourne and throughout Australia.
“It’s a well crafted and thought out musical documentary split into chapters interspersing Gould’s live performance footage from 2015 with various interview topics. It’s refreshing to see jazz on DVD performed by some of Melbourne’s best jazz artists and educators, and presented to motivate and inspire music fans and students to get off the couch and explore their own city, the sounds they hear and the jazz and of their surrounds. The music also enchants with it’s varying styles and pace and is a great listen.
One track Gould performs is the van Heusen / Cahn duet The Second Time Around featuring the captivating vocals of Melbourne jazz singer, Michelle Nicole. Nicole re-imagines this song interpretation in her own sensitive way. Gould says: 'All music making is all creative … they (the musicians) are bringing new life to the music on the page'.
Various topics are explored including creativity, improvisation, music making, attitude and intergenerational experience. The latter is something that Gould relishes, saying many of the musicians he works with 'keep me young', while other students inspire keep him to playing and composing. Imogen Manins is one such featured talented cellist Gould admires. She plays with him on the Schindler’s List track.
Gould feels that jazz musicians are starting to spread their own wings, and move into improvisation via exploring films scores such as Schindlers’ List, and he advises future music students about composition and improvisation. 'Forget about genres and idioms, choose the music you love as much as you think other people will. It (Schindler’s List) suits the cello and is a lovely cross over between jazz, and classical.' Van Leeuwen also explores jazz further with Gould as a 'minority art form' and craft, to which he has some wonderful insights. Can jazz musicians can be very self absorbed when they play – do they play for themselves or their audience?
'The jazz players play for themselves, which sounds terribly selfish … Selfishness it’s not...I think that’s the embracing of the people you listen to (if you’re sitting in audience listening to the musician) … come on the journey, it’s the journey, we don’t know what’s going to happen.'
'There’s a wonderful camaraderie, Australian musicians base their playings on “I trust you” we’ll see how it goes … you don’t get told what to do.' Gould also says for many jazz artists who improvise, becoming absorbed 'in the moment' varies greatly from that of the familiar classical music world.
Promotion of improvisational jazz can be tricky. 'It’s a hard music to grasp if you don’t saturate yourself in it,' he says. 'It’s incredibly exciting, but also can be disconcerting for people to come and listen to and they haven’t got anything really to hang onto unless they know the language.'
He speaks highly of those dedicated to their craft and music. Another featured artist on the DVD and CD is 'master' classical Indian tabla musician Sam Evans. Gould says he spent 10 years over in Calcutta, playing Indian music and exploring the genre and sound. He’s one to watch in the future. 'Sam brings something special to improvised music … he’s creating and composing music where the Tabla can be integrated into various music compositions.'
As for Gould’s next jazz music / improvisational project, he gives very little away. One of the pieces on the release is called The First Day of Spring draws on a classical music line with a European melody. 'The beat is obscured, which I love, that’s the essence to my current playing at the moment,' he says.
Thanks to this great DVD release, you can enjoy the featured tracks in full on the accompanying CD. This is definitely one you’ll want to listen to repeatedly.”
— Alison Lee-Tet, 3MBS
- My Funny Valentine Richard Rodgers Lorenz Hart
- Schindler's List John Williams
- The Second Time Around Jimmy Van Heusen Sammy Cahn
- First Day of Spring Tony Gould
- Lover Man Jimmy Davis James Sherman
- Kashmir Remembered Tony Gould
- Shenandoah (Traditional)
- Waiting For Jojo Sam Evans
- Generous Spirits Tony Gould
- It Could Happen to You Jimmy Van Heusen Johnny Burke
- Tony Gould · piano · all except tracks 6, 8 and 5-1
- Imogen Manins · cello · tracks 1, 2 and 9
- Ben Robertson · bass · tracks 1, 2, 5, 7 and 9
- Dave Beck · drums · tracks 1, 2, 5 and 9
- Graeme Lyall · saxophone · tracks 1, 2 and 5
- Michelle Nicole · vocals · track 3
- Robert Burke · saxophone · tracks 4 and 6
- Sam Evans · tabla · tracks 6 and 8
- Aaron McCullough · drums · tracks 6 and 10
- Ted Vining · drums · track 7
- Tim Willis · guitar · track 6
- Hiroki Hoshino · bass · tracks 6 and 10
More prolific than George Gershwin (who died at 38), more popular than Stephen Sondheim and esteemed among musicians of all genres. Collectively, his catalogue of songs reads like a treasury of classics from American musical theater's golden age.