A sneak peak into what inspires this year’s National Jazz awards finalists and where they are heading

JK: What has inspired you to date in your career?
RM: Growing up in Perth I was always inspired by the musicians around me, at first they were all the older more experienced musicians but as I get older there is so much inspiration I’m getting from younger musicians and students too. Perth has always had a very strong albeit small scene with many great players to look up to. Listening to lots of great American players and composers via record/CD was great for initially fuelling my passion of jazz and improvised music but seeing it performed live is what has always driven my passion more than anything else.

JK: Into the future what kind of music do you want to create?
RM: I really enjoy playing music that challenges me. That coupled with the fact that I still find all music very challenging means I’m looking forward to being challenged for the rest of my life. That’s a very broad answer so I guess to be more specific to now, I’m really enjoying trying to fuse styles together. I play in a bunch of bands where we are trying to fuse Rock and Jazz, Persian music and Jazz, Afro-Peruvian and Jazz and I find this a great learning experience as it has forced me to expand my ears and listen to lots of different music. Listening to lots of different music makes me realise that at the end of the day I find there are more similarities than differences between genres.

Bio:Ricki Malet started on trumpet at age 10 and was accepted into the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) at age 15 where he completed his Bachelor of Music in 2003. Over the last 20 years he has performed all over Perth (including a residency with quartet ‘The Fix’ at the Moon Café for 13 years) with various bands covering lots of different styles and has toured extensively, with tours to Europe in 2002 with Original Band Prawns with Horns, New York in 2006 with the West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO), Melbourne in 2006 with the Mace Francis Orchestra (MFO) and in 2007 with Funk outfit The Roast as well as Australian tours with MFO in 2008, 2010, 2011 & 2013. Most recently Ricki has played and recorded with the Australian National Jazz Orchestra at the Sydney Con Jazz Festival and toured with the Daniel Susnjar Afro-Peruvian Jazz Group in early 2017. He has recorded 5 albums with MFO, 2 albums with trad jazz group The Hounds and most recently released an album and an EP with his ‘electric band’ Fat Sparrow in 2015 and 2017. When not performing Ricki teaches at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and works as an MD with the West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO).

This year’s National Jazz Award finalists are Thomas Avgenicos · Josh Bennier · Niran Dasika · Simon Ferenci · James Macaulay · Ricki Malet · Eamon McNelis · Joe O’Connor · Alex Taylor · Patrick Thiele.
Jazz Australia feature story here
Link to Wangaratta Festival of jazz & blues – 3 – 5 November 2017 here