Q&A Scene: Adam Rudegeair

Tell us about your new single/ album/ tour?
[pullquote]Bowie by way of Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew! [/pullquote]Four months ago we released our first Bowie Project Album. It’s a collection of instrumental jazz quintet arrangements of David Bowie tunes. Thankfully it seems to have been embraced by the jazz community and Bowie fans alike. Mike Garson sent me a very nice message saying he liked the playing and arrangements. That was possibly the most validating thing that’s ever happened in my musical career. We launch the album at the Stonnington Jazz Festival to a sold out crowd. Since then we played opening night at the Bowie Is…’ exhibition at ACMI, and done a few more intimate shows at the Paris Cat. When we got offered the shadow electric gig, I had the idea to make it an electric show, so we’re pulling out all the stops! Bowie by way of Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew!

How would you describe your sound in food form and why? 

It’s a bit like a Bento Box, it’s got fried bits that you know probably aren’t good for you, but taste sooo amazing, interspersed with little healthy bits, which are  still great, cause they’re coated in that addictive Japanese mayo.

Which of your songs resonate most strongly and why?

Anyone that knows Bowie’s material can hum the tunes along in their heads, which may surprise jazz sceptics out there who believe this music is by definition, esoteric and impenetrable. I’d say the ballads have struck the strongest chord (yes, ok, pun intended) in audiences, such as ‘Thursday’s Child’, and even ‘As the World Falls Down’, which we have transformed into  bossa nova feel. Though our Bowie interpretations are instrumental, anyone singing along in their heads will instantly access the emotional core of the material, and wil also appreciate the changes (yes, okay, another pun!) we have made to make the material fresh and exciting. You never know what’s just around the corner.

Tell us a quick, on the road, anecdote.

There was that time on the road with Amanda Palmer she INSISTED we go to that strip club in Portland (Oregon)…
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Every gig I try to throw in a bit of New Orleans Piano a la James Booker, Dr John or Harry Connick Jr; Herbie Hancock; John Scofield; Sun Ra; Talking Heads; Kid Creole and the Coconuts; Thelonious Monk; and always and forever,  Prince.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

Steam by Peter Gabriel, and Ship of Fools by World Party.
What’s next for you?
I’d like to record an electric Bowie album next year, to complement the acoustic jazz one we did this year…also a vinyl release with my Minneapolis funk band Lake Minnetonka. I’ve also got two jazz trio records in the back of my mind, one of standards and one of originals…and of course there will eventually be a sequel to my cinematic voodoo swampfunk album ‘Bayou Tapestry’. As you can see, there’s a lot to do!

What’s your scene?

Funk Noir all the way. It’s like David Lynch directing as video clip for Sly and the Family Stone. With key tar.

About Adam Rudegeair

Adam Rudegeair brings a new twist on his latest venture, The Bowie Project to Shadow Electric on Friday 6th November, injecting some 70s jazz-fusion into his experimental Bowie arrangements.

It has been a big year for David Bowie fans in Melbourne, particularly with the immensely popular David Bowie Is Exhibition arriving at ACMI in July. Shortly before it opened, Adam Rudegeair and his jazz quintet had launched The Bowie Project album with a sold-out performance at Stonnington Jazz Festival. After then playing at the opening of the exhibition, Adam came back to ACMI with his quintet to perform The Bowie Project as part of the weekend Bowie symposium.

Since then, the project has continued to grow, selling out nights at The Paris Cat and performing last month as part of Kew Courthouse’s latest season.

Now, The Bowie Project is going electric for one very special night at Shadow Electric. Swapping the horn section for guitar and percussion, The Electric Bowie Project will filter the compositions of David Bowie through the lens of 70s jazz-fusion, such as Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters, Chick Corea Elektric Band, and Miles Davis’ Tribute to Jack Johnson.

The performance will feature bandleader Adam Rudegeair in what will be the first public appearance of his Mark 1 Fender Rhodes 88. Adam is joined by his quintet, including Thom Mitchell on electric and acoustic drums and Stephen Lane on electric bass. Awesome local experimental jazz cats Career Advice, with Lewis Moody at the helm, will open the night.

Adam Rudegeair :
Adam has always been interested in overlapping his jazz roots with the realms of funk, rap and outer space. His major influences include Prince and the Minneapolis sound, New Orleans R+B and funk, stride piano, and Afro-futuristic bands such as Parliament, Sun Ra Arkestra and Janelle Monáe. Adam recently returned from a trip to Minneapolis, New Orleans, and New York, writing and recording original jazz-funk fusion with former Prince band members Dr Fink, Eric Leeds and Sonny Thompson.

Adam is highly sought after across Melbourne to perform as part of jazz, funk and soul bands (and beyond!), including Lake Minnetonka, Henry Manetta, the Ruby Rogers Experience, Chelsea Wilson, and Glasfrosch. He teaches piano at the Australian College of the Arts and runs the jazz piano course at the CAE (Centre for Adult Education). In addition to performing, for the last six years Adam has presented the jazz show Black Wax every Monday on Melbourne’s own PBS 106.7fm.


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