Brisbane-based guitarist Bruce Woodward, known best for his beautiful, melodic, jazz work, will be performing at the Jazz Music Institute (JMI) at one of the institute's favourite events, JMI Live, later this month.
Alongside trio members, Aaron Jansz on drums and Helen Russell on double bass, the performance is sure to enthral crowds. After performing jazz for quite sometime, what continues to make the genre so rewarding to play live?
I really enjoy listening to the people I play with and doing my best to contribute to a group sound. I love that the music can be different every time and that often (but not always) taking chances can be rewarded. What can the audience expect to hear at your JMI Live performance?
We're a really interactive trio, so performances will feature lots of subtle communication between the players. We tend to play music that I've written and interpretations of some standard songs. You must be a busy man, maintaining a regular performance schedule alongside of university lecturing. Do you prefer to stay busy?
I don't enjoy being busy. Given a choice, I'd sit around playing guitar all day. But being busy seems to be part of generating opportunities and doing a bunch of different projects, so it's not all bad. It's nice to have work. You're currently lecturing music students at USQ; what would be the best piece of advice you could give to aspiring jazz musicians or any musician?
After all the 'learn to play your instrument' stuff, I think it can be as basic as trying to be a good person. The young musicians I know are really creative and proactive in the way they approach their music making and respond to the changes in the music industry. Image © Facebook
What initially inspired you to return to university to impart your own wisdom to a new generation of musicians?
Teaching can be a part of having a sustainable career in the arts and I'm lucky that I enjoy trying to work with young musicians to develop their musicianship. What is currently inspiring your music writing?
I tend to write pretty slowly and edit fairly quickly, so I feel fortunate to have songs of mine that actually get played. I tend to write fairly straightforward-sounding music. But there's always a little wrinkle in the compositional design somewhere; something small and unexpected. You're undoubtedly a well-educated musical performer, especially in jazz. But do you still find yourself learning things as you go along?
Sure. The ongoing opportunity to learn and grow is a big part of the appeal of music to me. That's the great part of playing and listening to others; someone always has a different perspective on the same musical material. That's one of the great parts of playing with Helen and Aaron in this trio. What would you say to someone who's never seen live jazz to encourage them to come along to a venue like the JMI?
Places like JMI are great to play at because of the sense of the community; people are there to experience the music. As well as being a great room for listening, it's also a really open and friendly space in the set breaks. After this performance, what will the rest of 2017 hold for you?
I'm working on some fun projects this year, both my own music and in collaboration with others. I'm excited about working towards a bunch of gigs later in the year with James Sherlock, a great guitar player from Melbourne. Bruce Woodward Trio play JMI Live (Brisbane) on 20 April.