toot­ing their own horns

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - Front Page - by KYLIE WIL­SON

IT’S not ev­ery day com­mu­nity mu­si­cians get the chance to show off their chops along­side a high pro­file rock band – but that is ex­actly what is hap­pen­ing dur­ing this year’s Wan­garatta Fes­ti­val of Jazz and Blues.

An en­sem­ble of sax and brass per­form­ers of all walks of life from the lo­cal com­mu­nity have been steadily re­hears­ing to form the Horns of Death, which will play with Spi­der­bait at the blue mar­quee dur­ing next month’s fes­ti­val.

Many of the com­mu­nity mem­bers, such as Emma Jones, have an en­dur­ing pas­sion for mu­sic.

Hold­ing her in­tri­cately dec­o­rated, 22 year old alto sax­o­phone, Emma ex­plained she first got into mu­sic be­cause of her fa­ther’s love of play­ing gui­tar, and said the jazz fes­ti­val also contributed to her love of mu­sic.

Her in­ter­est con­tin­ued through the friends she made and the in­flu­ence of her teach­ers, in­clud­ing Jenny O’Brien.

“Wang has a long and proud tra­di­tion of ex­cel­lent mu­sic teach­ers – we punch well above our weight, and have done for a long time,” Emma re­marked.

“To me, this gig em­bod­ies what Wang Jazz is about – a com­mu­nity of peo­ple who love to play mu­sic, of vary­ing back­grounds and abil­i­ties, all com­ing to­gether to make some­thing unique, au­then­tic, and fun.

“Can you imag­ine the enor­mous wall of sound that 50 horns will make when we’re all go­ing for it?”

“To me Wang Jazz Fes­ti­val has cre­ated its own ex­tra­or­di­nary com­mu­nity from com­bin­ing what’s best about Wang and what’s best about Aus­tralian Jazz and Blues, hap­pen­ing here and in­ter­na­tion­ally.”

Jaz­zaratta mem­ber Ben Thomas, who has been play­ing the trum­pet for 24 years, says the per­for­mance will be a big thrill.

“I grew up lis­ten­ing to [Spi­der­bait’s] songs.

“Their al­bum Ivy and the Big Ap­ples made a last­ing im­pres­sion on me.

“Adam is to be highly com­mended for fa­cil­i­tat­ing such an event... it will be re­mem­bered by the Horns of Death play­ers for many years.

“It’s es­pe­cially a valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence for the younger play­ers, who have em­braced the op­por­tu­nity.”

Ben has been im­mersed in trum­pet play­ing from a young age, stem­ming from his fa­ther who first in­tro­duced him to the in­stru­ment, and has per­formed with not only Jaz­zaratta, but also bands The Brass Ra­zoos and Sweet Buzz.

He said he loves per­form­ing.

“I love the mo­ments where you for­get about ev­ery­thing else and just fo­cus on the mu­sic, work­ing to­gether as a group to make some­thing re­ally good,” he said.

Mu­sic also plays a ma­jor role in the life of fel­low Jaz­zaratta mem­ber Cal­lum Mor­ri­son, who has played bass trom­bone since his high school days in Alexan­dra and has also played in the Be­nalla Rose City Town Band.

“It does not mat­ter how tired you are, you just can’t help but feel bet­ter and it is great spend­ing time with other mu­si­cians,” he said.

Adam Sim­mons, one of the group of co-artis­tic di­rec­tors of the Wan­garatta Fes­ti­val of Jazz and Blues, who is co­or­di­nat­ing the per­for­mance, has long had a con­nec­tion to Spi­der­bait.

He played in the orig­i­nal Horns of Death en­sem­ble and has worked on var­i­ous projects with each mem­ber of the band.

“We were young, had mu­tual friends and they needed a fill-in player for a few shows,” Adam said.

“I liked their down-to-earth at­ti­tude and I don’t feel that’s changed at all, even if we are all older and hope­fully a lit­tle wiser.”

A mu­si­cian pro­fi­cient in play­ing a range of sax­o­phones and other wind/ brass in­stru­ments, Adam said the re­hearsals with lo­cal mem­bers of the en­sem­ble (com­mu­nity work­shops have been funded by Re­gional Arts Vic­to­ria) are go­ing well.

“There is a good buzz amongst the group and I’m ex­cited by how the the sound is get­ting big­ger and bolder each re­hearsal,” he said, adding that the band it­self is also look­ing for­ward to the per­for­mance.

“Wan­garatta Fes­ti­val of Jazz and Blues has al­ways pro­vided scope for artists to try things and Spi­der­bait have never re­ally toed the line, so it’s ac­tu­ally a great match.”

He said he loved be­ing in­volved with live per­for­mance.

“There is some­thing spe­cial about ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some­thing to­gether, whether as a per­former or lis­tener.

“But part of it is that in live per­for­mance there is al­ways the chance things might not go as planned and in that space is where the ex­cite­ment comes from.”

Spi­der­bait will be per­form­ing with the Horns of Death at the Mer­riwa Park Blues Mar­quee dur­ing the Wan­garatta Fes­ti­val of Jazz, with the per­for­mance tak­ing place on Sun­day, Novem­ber 5 from 7.15-8pm.

More in­for­ma­tion on the fes­ti­val can be found at wan­garat­ta­jazz.com.

PHOTO: Emma Hil­lier

BRASSY: Ben Thomas and Emma Jones are look­ing for­ward to mak­ing their mark on the Wan­garatta Fes­ti­val of Jazz and Blues as part of a com­mu­nity en­sem­ble back­ing high pro­file band Spi­der­bait, known as Horns of Death.

ROCK ON: Adam Sim­mons re­hears­ing with mem­bers of Spi­der­bait.

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