Cameron Jones presents music from Europe with an Australian Accent
T&N154 Feb 23
In September, 2022, I decided to do a film and recording session as a way of refreshing/relaunching the trio post-lockdown and to help promote the OzManouche Festival in Brisbane that we performed at in November.
The recordings turned out very well, and I decided to share them rather than wait until mid-next year when I have enough material to present an album.
I chose the title “Drawn From Memory”, because each tune represents a memory of time and place in first hearing it, during the learning process, or in performing it.
The recording session took place at Church Street Studios in Camperdown, NSW.
It’s a very familiar place for the trio, as we have started hosting the ‘Gypsy Swing Soirée’ once a month in the performance space upstairs, and both Joseph Zarb on rhythm guitar and I have done album projects in the same studio.
Sean Carey did a wonderful job recording the audio, and my old mate Andy Agnew did the filming.
I did the video editing while learning the software simultaneously, which I wholeheartedly don’t recommend you try!
You can find the videos of the performances on my YouTube channel.
The tracks are as follows.
‘Ma Prémier Guitare’, a tune composed by 60’s-70’s French pop star and guitarist, Sasha Distel.
This tune has become a favourite to open our live shows.
I tend to be nervous when beginning concerts, and as a result, we tend to play this tune ‘trés aggressivement’ as I work out the nerves.
Initially, this wasn’t supposed to be included.
I’d recorded this tune previously on The Waterfall Way album and had no intention of putting out another version.
There was a power outage in the studio on the day of the session, which delayed our start and was a huge frustration as we only had a couple of hours to work.
As we were warming up with this tune, Sean had the presence of mind to capture it.
I remember feeling a mixture of stress, nervousness, frustration and relief to be getting going.
The resulting recording was a first take that sounded close to what our live shows are like, so I guess it was all worth it in the end.
‘Torontói Emlék’, or ‘Souvenir of Toronto’ is a Romani waltz from Hungary composed by Sandor Jaroka Jr.
For over five or so years, I was fortunate to travel and study with some of the greatest Sinti and Manouche guitarists in Europe.
One year, on one of my journeys, I was at a Sinti community concert on the grounds of a kind of scout hall/community centre in Eindhoven, in The Netherlands, watching three amazing guitarists perform on a haywagon at dusk.
I still remember their silhouettes as it got dark as they performed.
The tune and the feeling behind it best represent that time for me.
‘Pour Pierre’ was composed by Dorado Schmitt and brought to global attention by the Rosenberg Trio, Bossa Dorado.
It is one of the most popular tunes in the gypsy jazz songbook.
One day while out walking, I thought to myself, “I wonder if Dorado has any other compositions as good as this one?”
This question led me on a lovely little rabbit warren journey and the discovery of this tune.
As with many gypsy jazz tunes, improvisation features highly, and you’re often left wondering what the actual melody is.
My version is an amalgam of three versions.
One where Dorado plays the guitar, another live performance where he’s playing the violin and the third YouTube clip featuring his son, Amati, performing the tune.
Each version was slightly different, and there was quite a bit of decision-making on my part in deciding which direction to take the tune.
To accompany the release on Bandcamp, I asked Newcastle-based musician and artist, Jennifer Hankin, to design an artwork for each track and have each artwork connect in a theme for the E.P. cover.
That way, when you listen to the E.P. on your devices, you will see a different image for each tune.
Jennifer said this about her process of designing the cover: “There is a beautifully distinct Australian twang to Cameron’s Jazz language, and I wanted that to come through in this illustration.
“I matched each track with a native Australian bird set on a classic gum tree.”
You can purchase Drawn From Memory on Bandcamp or stream on all available platforms.
Upcoming Cameron Jones Trio Performances:
Feb 25th Gypsy Swing Soirée – at Church Street Studios Camperdown featuring violinist Phoebe Haseldon
March 25th Gypsy Swing Soirée –featuring Emma and Thomas Hamilton