Paul GrabowskyInterview with Paul Grabowsky by Joanne Kee

Paul as well as being one of Australia’s most eminent musicians and founder of the Australian Art Orchestra is currently the Artistic Director of the Adelaide Festival.  Here he talks about the up and coming Festival.

JK  What is your musical pick of the Adelaide Festival?

PG: There are several musical highlights: Ennio Morricone, who is a hugely influential composer for a generation of musicians, and not just in film music. Australia’s own Spaghetti Western Orchestra exists because of him, and you only have to think of an album like John Zorn’s ‘The Big Gundown’ or ‘Naked City’ to realize how large his shadow looms.

‘Chiri’ the collaboration between Scott Tinkler, Simon Barker and pansori singer Bae Il-Dong is a favorite, as is Brazilian master Hermeto Pascoal. He is the most respected musician and composer in one of the most musical cultures on the planet. Then there is Eddie Palmieri, the godfather of salsa piano styles, and finally ‘Mass’, a rarely performed work by Leonard Bernstein , featuring the magnificent voice of Jubilant Sykes.

JK:  What was the primary inspiration for the Miles Davis, Prince of Darkness production?

PG: Miles has been such an inspiration to generations of musicians, both within and outside of jazz. In fact, he did a lot to move jazz away from certain paradigms that were starving it of air, and allowing jazz as a concept to remain relevant to people in the 21st century. Our production begins with his large ensemble music of the 40’s and 50’s (Birth of the Cool and  Sketches of Spain), and moves through to a pair of new pieces inspired by him. One is Ontedradecagon by Anthony Pateras, and the other is a psy-trance arrangement of Song X by Phil Rex.

JK:   Any comments on Phil Slater and why you chose him for this piece?

PG: Phil has immersed himself in the Miles oeuvre, and has been strongly influenced by his sonic and spatial concept. His rendition of the solo part in ‘Concierto de Aranjuez’ is totally authentic, uncanny.

JK:  Personally, what do you most look forward to once the Festival is over?

PG: Returning to various musical projects that have been in a holding pattern for a couple of years.

JK:   What musical projects do you have on the go, once you pass on the mantle of Festival Director?

PG: I have my sextet, which is currently playing The Bitter Suite, a collection of pieces I wrote a year ago. I intend to record it, and a solo piano project, this year. I have a new album coming out in April, based on the score I composed for the Fred Schepisi film The Eye of the Storm. It features Branford Marsalis and Julien Wilson, with Frank diSario bass and Niko Schauble drums. I am working on a project with singer Virna Sanzone based on Italian songs of the 60s. The AAO has a raft of projects, including Crossing Roper Bar, which features the Young Wagiluk Group from Ngukurr in Arnhem Land; this has been invited to the London Jazz Festival in November. There’s more……..

Paul is an incredibly  prolific artist, keep your eye out for the huge range of projects that he is working on.

Adelaide Festival runs from 2 to 18 March, 2012

The Prince of Darkness performs on Thursday 15 March

Bookings: or BASS