LIAM BURROWS SWINGS BACK INTO TOWN FOR THE BROADBEACH JAZZ FESTIVAL
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.