JAZZMAN JAMIE RETUNS

Eastern Reporter - - Lifestyle - Jazz mu­si­cian Jamie Oehlers will be per­form­ing at Brook­field Place on May 31. Sara Fitz­patrick

Pic­ture: Mar­cus Whisson THE free­dom of ex­pres­sion at the heart of jazz be­guiled a young Jamie Oehlers into the genre.

Now one of Australia’s lead­ing mu­si­cians, he con­tin­ues to revel in the joys of non­con­for­mity ev­ery time he picks up the sax­o­phone.

“With jazz you can im­pro­vise; it’s not the same ev­ery time,” Oehlers ex­plained.

“You can make it your own and make it feel dif­fer­ent ev­ery time you play.”

Oehlers doesn’t re­call what led him to the sax­o­phone at the age of 12.

His mother says his fas­ci­na­tion started when he was just five.

“I got drawn into it and just hap­pened to be go­ing to a high school that had a lot of great young jazz mu­si­cians at­tend- ing and they in­spired me to re­ally want to get bet­ter at it,” Oehlers said.

“And a lot of those peo­ple are pro­fes­sional jazz mu­si­cians now.”

The in­stru­men­tal­ist re­cently re­turned from New York where he recorded his lat­est al­bum (out in Septem­ber) with fa­mous US jazz artists drum­mer Eric Har­land and bassist Reuben Rogers.

Af­ter per­form­ing at the Perth In­ter­na­tional Jazz Fes­ti­val (PIJF) this month, Oehlers will re­turn to the Big Ap­ple to mix and mas­ter the re­lease.

“I have a deep fond­ness for New York – it’s the home of mod­ern jazz.

“All the cut­ting play­ers are living there and work­ing hard there, inspiring there,” he said.

“I’ve been vis­it­ing since I was 17. It has changed a lot but re­mains city.”

Oehlers shared his thoughts on the Perth jazz scene. “Since The Elling­ton Jazz Club opened (2009) it has def­i­nitely flour­ished, but Perth has al­ways had a re­ally cre­ative scene,” he said.

“I grew up here and be­fore I moved away I re­mem­ber think­ing that every­body else in Syd­ney, Mel­bourne and New York etc were all go­ing to be amaz­ing so I’d bet­ter work re­ally hard and en­sure that when I got out there I was on top of my game.

“And then I went away and dis­cov­ered that it’s a big spec­trum out there in all the cities. There are great play­ers but not every­body is great.”

Oehlers per­forms in the Jazz Quar­ter sec­tion of the PIJF at Brook­field Place, Perth on May 31.

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