COOL Cat

LIAM BUR­ROWS SWINGS BACK INTO TOWN FOR THE BROADBEACH JAZZ FES­TI­VAL

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

FOR jazz vo­cal­ist Liam Bur­rows, it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing! The lit­tle guy with the big voice re­turns to the Gold Coast for the three­day Broadbeach Jazz Fes­ti­val for the third year in a row.

Hav­ing played tick­eted all-star con­certs in Jupiters Theatre at the 2011 and 2012 fes­ti­vals, Bur­rows, 19, is look­ing for­ward to per­form­ing a free show out­doors in Surf Pa­rade this year.

‘‘Ev­ery­one re­ally gets into the vibe and has a great time. I think it’s a re­ally hip fes­ti­val,’’ he says.

‘‘There are so many dif­fer­ent places where you can lis­ten to great jazz and the au­di­ences are al­ways very friendly.

‘‘I love watch­ing peo­ple dance in the street, too. It’s very cool.’’

Bur­rows vis­its with his six-piece band – ‘‘an awe­some bunch of mu­sos and heaps of fun’’ – and looks for­ward to see­ing and maybe belt­ing out a tune with fel­low artists in­clud­ing Ge­orge Wash­ing­ma­chine.

‘‘I re­ally dig his mu­sic and he’s a great en­ter­tainer,’’ Bur­rows says.

‘‘I’d love to jump on stage with Ge­orge and have some fun.

‘‘Some of the best jazz comes out of im­pro­vis­ing with other mu­sos and it’s al­ways a cool ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘What makes jazz re­ally hip is the freedom that comes with singing jazz and the flex­i­bil­ity of what you can do in a per­for­mance.’’

Bur­rows can’t re­mem­ber a time when he didn’t sing.

‘‘At first it was school choirs and mu­si­cals, then my par­ents fi­nally let me take singing lessons when I was 12 years old,’’ he says.

How­ever, it was his in­stru­men­tal mu­sic train­ing that in­tro­duced him to the won­der­ful world of jazz.

‘‘The first in­stru­ment I stud­ied was clas­si­cal pi­ano and then I took up trum­pet as well. That’s when I first heard jazz played by my trum­pet teacher,’’ he says.

‘‘My singing teacher in­tro­duced me to the amaz­ing melodies of jazz as a 12-year-old. I was hooked af­ter my first les­son when I heard Fly Me to the Moon. From then on, I couldn’t get enough of this won­der­ful mu­sic. I lis­tened to Frank Si­na­tra, Mel Torme, Nat King Cole and all the jazz greats.’’

While phras­ing is cru­cial, Bur­rows says jazz must also swing.

‘‘Not ev­ery­one can ‘swing’ and with­out that, it just doesn’t work.

‘‘To me jazz comes nat­u­rally – it’s just what I do. I ac­tu­ally think that as a lot of it is im­pro­vised, it takes a great deal of tal­ent to be a jazz mu­si­cian.

‘‘The es­sen­tials are be­ing able to get into the groove and ‘swing’.’’

Bur­rows has been work­ing on new ma­te­rial, col­lab­o­rat­ing with Grae­ham Goble from Lit­tle River Band (‘‘an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence’’), but isn’t ready to un­wrap it yet.

‘‘We are not up to re­leas­ing it just yet. It’s also re­ally more suited to a full-size orches­tra, which is the way it was recorded,’’ he says.

Bur­rows has been per­form­ing pro­fes­sion­ally since he was 17, at Aus­tralian fes­ti­vals and over­seas, with a swag of mas­ter­ful mu­si­cians.

‘‘I am al­ways the youngest guy in the room but the great thing about jazz is that in my band I can have some of the older guys along with some younger mu­si­cians. There is al­ways a great vibe when that hap­pens,’’ he says.

‘‘Jazz is a mu­si­cal style that crosses gen­er­a­tions and there are lots of young jazz mu­sos out there.’’

While he hopes to re­lease his new ma­te­rial soon, Bur­rows knows there’s no need to hurry.

‘‘Th­ese things take time. For­tu­nately, I am still only 19, so hope­fully I still have many years ahead of me in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try.’’

The Broadbeach Jazz Fes­ti­val runs from to­mor­row un­til Sun­day. Liam Bur­rows plays the Surf Pa­rade Stage on Satur­day at 4pm. For de­tails, visit broad­beach­jazz.com

Jazz vo­cal­ist and old mu­si­cal soul Liam Bur­rows.

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