Icon

Q&A Listen/Hear Collective by John Hardaker

John Hardaker from Australian Jazz.net had a chat with Mace Francis and Johannes Luebbers about Listen/Hear Collective recently. Read what John had to say in a fabulous article and interview…

Two jazz releases around the beginning of the year that really made me prick up my ears were Mace Francis’ ‘Land Speed Record’ and Alice Humphries’ ELICA. Both were bristling with unique vision and sparkling with ideas. Both contained performances among the best I’d heard in Australian jazz. Both emanated from Perth-based artists.

This month I was sent a quartet of new releases from Perth’s Listen/Hear Collective, the ‘record label – music community – home of creativity’ set up by Mace Francis and Johannes Luebbers.

They were Sweethearts by the Sam Anning Trio (beautifully open and conversational trio work), City Speaks by Callum G’Froerer (impressionistic and sharp music from the trumpeter who leapt out at me from the ECILA album), Wear More Headbands from THE GRID (quirky and tough grooves, jazz power trio) and lastly – the one that really knocked my socks off – Caterpillar Chronicles from the Steve Newcombe Orchestra (some of the most ecstatically original large ensemble material I have come across to date).

Again, the same daring, fun and crackling energy of creation that I had earlier encountered on the Francis and Humphries albums sizzled off each of these releases. Looking through the online catalogue of the Collective I saw an embarrassment of riches in creative music.

And I really fell for their line: ‘The recordings we sell will paint a picture of a scene without a name, without trying to give it one.’

Even though some of the artists are based elsewhere – Newcombe in Brisbane, Perth-born G’Froerer now in Melbourne – there was a definite Perth thing going on. I asked Mace Francis and Johannes Luebbers a handful of questions about the Collective and Perth and music.

Here are their responses:

What has attracted me to the Listen/Hear Collective is your reaching for eclecticism. Do you feel that jazz needs cross-pollination from other genres to survive?

Mace Francis – Definitely. Musicians and composers have access to so many more influences and each generation grows up listening to different styles of music that gets stuck into your subconscious. I certainly didn’t grow up listening to Ellington or Armstrong rather it was commercial radio, then guitar gods like Clapton, Hendrix, then hip hop, then jazz. Jazz is different in every period of history and has relied on cross-pollination to grow and survive since the beginning.

Johannes Luebbers – I agree. In my view, the capacity for jazz to draw on other kinds of music is the thing that most defines it. It grew out of the collision of different styles and has evolved pretty consistently over the past century through the assimilation of other influences. So rather than needing cross-pollination to survive, I would say cross-pollination is core part of it’s identity. I love swing and bebop, but I think the overemphasis on these styles runs the risk of turning jazz into a museum piece, when its essence is really improvisation and spontaneity. You need new inputs to keep these aspects alive.

To read the entire article by John Hardaker and the full interview with Mace and Johannes, head to australianjazz.net.

Category: News

Tagged: