S: There's a very large memory with, it that's that large difference between pop music and jazz. Like the life of a jazz record goes on for years and years. Like Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, that's still one of the greatest selling albums and very popular because it's a great piece of music. A pop record will only last a year. It's the same I've known with some of, the people I work with, like Ian Chaplin, there's a solo of his that I can remember that was done at the City Square one day. And everyone was totally blown out. There's like 500 people there that hadn't even heard jazz before necessarily. And Ian played an incredibly powerful solo, very passionate and I think everyone will always remember that solo. I'll remember it as one of the greatest solos I've ever hear. Like for me the notes are floating around in the air somewhere. It's not recorded. But it's in my mind and in my heart as being an amazing piece of music. So you do hold those things as very strong memories, and inspirations too, those great moments of jazz.
Before we hear about that solo from its source, let's travel down to Nonie's Jazz Cellar, off the mall in Hobart. We're talking to Mike Billette, tube player.
K: So what do you get to show after it, being a jazz musician at the end of the day, where do you get your satisfaction?
M: You get your satisfaction from creating something, something hopefully unique at the moment it's created. As I mentioned before you can play the same tune a hundred times over, but if you can successfully manage to bring to bear some kind of new perspective on that tune, every subsequent time that you play it, I think you're achieving what every jazz musician ought to in my opinion set out to achieve and that is to create something unique and different and meaningful every time you play a particular tune. Obviously the melody of a particular tune is static. It can't be anything but, but the key to playing good jazz is being to improvise around that melody and create an immediate artistic structure that will probably never be created again by anyone else let alone yourself. And that's the unique thing about jazz. It's art for the moment. But that is not to say it's something that can't be remembered by an audience, or remembered on tape, or recording or whatever, but certainly you're trying to create something different every time I think, really.
Now let's hear about that saxophone solo from its source, Ian Chaplin.
K: Tell me about this solo that you played in the City Square, can you describe the context for that?
I: Yeah, it's an unusual one actually because, it was a morning gig, and it's always unusual playing during the day, and I have a bit of a weird feeling in particular because they're always sponsored by Heart Health, It's a great thing that they are sponsored by those people, but you're not allowed to smoke around the stage, and there's a very strict feeling about the gig, so you feel, quite restricted in a lot of ways as to how you would normally behave on the stage, so that in itself is quite unusual, plus the concert atmosphere of it. But I remember being pleasantly that day at the amount of people that had turned out for this gig, and we hadn't really played together. It was the first time Scott had played with us.
And I remember the beginning of that tune, it's like the feature that I normally do. And at the beginning of it the wind blew my music off the stand, and it was like the straw that broke the camel's back if you like, it was this situation that I had to remember the head, and which fortunately I did, and it aroused a certain anger within me that this whole situation was happening. it was cold, there was all these people that you'd never see at a gig, in the City Square on ten o'clock on a Sunday morning or whenever it was, and my music's just blown off the stand and so, yeah, I just let it rip. And it was, I guess, that particular solo at one point became an out of body experience, one of the few that I've had. That was particularly one of them.
And it's amazing when you finish a solo like that, you're not sure which way you're facing, whether you're facing the drummer, whether you're facing the people. And it turned out I think I was facing the left hand corner of the stage, which was absolutely facing Swanston Walk, it was facing nobody. So yeah, that goes down as one of the moments that are gone. Music's like that anyway, when you hear it, when it's over it's gone, in the air, it's finished, can't capture it. It's hard.
K: Is that a limitation that worries you about being a jazz musician, that moment's like that are, there's nothing lingering after it.
I: If I was a retrospective artist, I think that would bother me. But I think that the fact that I've made that choice to be a musician, that in itself is part and parcel of it. You have to expect that a lot of your best performances are going to be experienced only by those present. I want to keep moving, but I'm not averse to what's going on, I mean, I really, like, I'm looking at what's going on now, but at the same time trying to move, but at the same time, trying to move forward, but take from what's already happened, I think that's important.
K: That's an interesting attitude. Well it looks like you're due to move forward onto the stage. I look forward to it.