The Vampires

The Vampires – Risk Taking Improvisation

Sydney based world-roots jazz quartet The Vampires are back touring the country and stopping by Cairns for a special night of risk taking improvisation at The Tanks Arts Centre on Friday 23rd March.

With a sound that combines influences from all corners of the world, The Vampires sophisticated compositions and uncanny sense of dialogue will no doubt impress even the novice jazz ear. Their long list of accolades including ARIA nominations, The Freedom Fellowship, AIR Awards, and being shortlisted for the prestigious Australian Music Prize is a testament to their respect amongst the Australian Music Community.

Speaking to Alex Boneham before the opening show of the tour, the bassist has a strong connection with Cairns and was excited to be bringing The Vampire to The Tanks this Friday evening.

“My family is from Cairns, and I spent a lot of my holidays up in Cairns as a kid. My dad currently lives in Kewarra Beach and my aunt is in Trinity, so I’m looking forward to them turning out to the gig. I’ve played Tanks once before a few years ago; it’s an incredible venue and the way it’s all set out is really beautiful.”

Having being based in LA since 2014, Boneham spent two years studying at the prestigious Monk Institute and performed around the world with  Monk Institue Artistic Director, the legendary Herbie Hancook.

“ I was lucky to have a lot to do with Herbie, he’s a really incredible guy. One of the most incredible part about it was we got to perform a lot with him over the years. We played all around the world including France for International Jazz Day, a tour of Morocco with Dee Dee Bridgewater and the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl with Wayne Shorter in 2015. I was wedged right between Herbie and Wayne, two absolute legends with 17000 people watching us. It was an amazing experience. We also played The Whitehouse for International Jazz Day, which was hosted by Barrack and Michelle Obama.”

Having their most recent album ‘The Vampires meet Lionel Loueke’ shortlisted for the Australian Music Prize (won by Sampa The Great), the band was in uncharted territory as the only jazz act listed amongst other more contemporary nominations.

“I believe it was the first instrumental album to be included on the list, so it’s a really great honour for the band. To be among the list of nominees such as Paul Kelly is something we never really expected. The album itself I think really speaks to the niche audience The Vampires have.  It’s a sound that crosses genres, although it is informed by Jazz it isn’t purely in that world.”

Having released 5 albums  since their formation in 2005, Boneham hinted that a new record was on the horizon for The Vampires at the end of the tour.

“We are looking to do some recording at the end of the tour before I had back to LA. So there will be something new coming out in the near future. There’s so much music to be made so we are always looking to the next thing”.

The Vampires perform at The Tanks Arts Centre as part of Jazz Up North on Friday 23rd March. Doors open 6.30pm. Show starts 7.30pm. Tickets from Ticketlink.

Mitch Sullivan

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