CLOSED FOR THE HOLIDAYS -
You may have heard the phrase musician’s musician! You know the type … they’re such established
players in the scene that everyone wants them on their sessions. Australian bass player, songwriter,
arranger, and performer Wayne Jones fits the term perfectly. He has played with so many of Australia’s
leading artists over such a long period of time. However, It took until 2006 for Jones to show his true
colours with the release of his first solo album ‘Forgotten Melody’. Luckily for music lovers we only had
to wait until 2009 for the follow up ‘Saturday Street’, further cementing Jones’ reputation as a world-class
instrumentalist and tunesmith. Since Jones presented us with Saturday Street, he sold his much loved
vintage car, packed his bags and traversed the world spreading the word on his music, resulting in club
gigs in Tokyo, performances on the foreshore in Florida, chart topping tracks in the Canary Islands and
has achieved airplay from radio stations at all points of the global compass.
Now in 2011, Jones unleashes his finest work yet, the six track recording ‘Closed For The Holidays’.
The folks at iTunes define it as it an EP, in vinyl-speak, you’d call it an album. Call the format whatever
you want, the music is yet another classy collection of high-quality smooth/contemporary jazz grooves
featuring Jones’ signature sound.
Closed For The Holidays includes an incredible array of international musicians supporting Wayne on the recording including sought-after US trumpet player Rick
Braun, Mike MacArthur on sax, Fallon J Williams III on drums and percussion, Dave Carter (Keys), Ron Peers (guitar), and Paulo Vargas (percussion). While Jones has
accumulated many miles of travel with his music career, his world journey is far from over, in fact it’s only just beginning. Yet with Closed For The Holidays you can’t help
but feel he’s arrived anyway!
Closed For the Holidays is ideal ammunition for Jones to take his music to the world with confidence and that’s what he intends to do. The future looks bright with
stand-alone gigs, festivals and promotional activity planned in territories where Jones has already established a name for himself. “It’s a great progression,” Jones says
of the new album. “The last two were good and I think I have learned things while over in the States and I feel I have progressed in my writing and playing. Having the
involvement of Mike on sax and Rick Braun on trumpet … I love the players that usually play with me but I was after a different flavour this time. I really have a great
feeling about this one. I feel I have arrived.” By Greg Phillips, editor Australian Musician magazine.
TRACK BY TRACK
Closed For the Holidays
The album opens in the most positive way possible. Closed For the Holidays has
such a feel-good vibe about it. The infectious groove will seep into your psyche and
inhabit your soul before you know it. Try to wipe the smile off your face … just try!
In-demand American trumpet player Rick Braun supplies the most sublime solo on
this one, further enhancing the joy of this musical daydream.
Wayne on Closed For The Holidays: “I was renting a house in Burwood, a suburb
of Melbourne and wrote quite a few of the tracks there including Closed For The
Holidays. I start mainly with melodies first. I jot down ideas and come back to them
… develop them … but yeah, that was obviously a happy day. I wanted to make a
nice bright melody with that one. Generally my formula is melody, then I take a solo
and another instrument takes a solo. On this one I had Rick Braun take a trumpet
solo. I was very lucky to have him on my recording because he’s one of the top
trumpet players in America in his field. He tracked it without having the sax part on
it. I sent him the files and he left spaces for the sax. A nice fun track, a great groove
and simple old fashioned bass lines.”
Jones gets his ‘phunk’ on for this one. The bass and drums lock in tight, the
brass section stabs boldy in the spaces, while Ron Peers’ syncopated rhythm
guitar shimmers in the background. Meanwhile Jones’ funky bass lines float
commandingly above it all.
Wayne on Feeling Playful: “It is what it is, a nice playful feel. Fallon J Williams III, the
drummer came and played after the fact. I wrote everything with drum programming.
For all the guides I played keyboards, bass solos, melodies then went into the studio
with that, so he played to me for that. I used a great editing program to get that
clarity and tightness. A lot of people use samples and programmed stuff in the jazz
field, but it’s not like a live musician. I use live musicians and try to get the tightness
of machines out of them.”
It was written in Barcelona, it’s called Barcelona and it sounds Barcelona. The
smooth Mediterranean vibe conjures images of sunsets on a beach, lounging back
with a long cool drink and not a care in the world. The brass, keys, guitar, percussion
and Jones’ bass simply melt together into a warm casual groove. It kinda makes you
lazy just listening to it!
Wayne on Barcelona: “Yep, I wrote that in Spain! I was loving it. I was listening to
a lot of internet jazz radio and being there in that climate, listening to QFM in the
Canary Islands, it’s music which suits that environment. I was in a flat overlooking he
ocean with a winery behind me. It inspired me to write that melody and I just finished
it off here.”
Children Who Lose Their Way
The vibe is very much lights down with a special friend but within the title lies a
deeper agenda. The music ponders, reflects and emits pure emotion.
Wayne on Children Who Lose Their Way: “This one is very special to me. When
something or someone gives you strong emotional feelings, it comes out in your
music. People can perceive it how they like, but it’s about going off track. I had a
lot going on in my life at the time and to be truthful i don’t know how I got the album
done with everything going on around me.”
Perfect Mistakes features the most musically spacious backing track on the album,
allowing both the sax and Jones’ bass solos to shine through with added clarity.
The groove gently sways in a light funk, fusion breeze. The end of day, kick off your
shoes vibe is the perfect soundtrack for those rare times you find the time to do
Wayne on Perfect Mistakes: “I borrowed a friend’s keyboard. I mistakenly hit this
melody and thought hang on… that’s perfect! It’s just a nice little flighty thing and
just was nice to leave the space for everything to come through. I didn’t do it on
purpose, it’s just the way it came out. I’m very much interactive with instruments and
musicians. You have to listen and interact in a musical conversation and that track
is a perfect example of that.”
Strawberry On a String
Strawberry on a String closes the album same way it begins, with a musical smile
on its face. Jones obviously subscribes to the Duke Ellington adage, ‘It don’t mean
a thing if it ain’t got that swing, as Strawberry swings, sways, shuffles and sashays
it’s way out the album’s exit door.
Wayne on Strawberry on a String: “That came out of a Skype conversation with
Mike the sax player. He had this lamp behind him coming down from the roof, a big
long cord and the lamp looked like a strawberry. It caught my eye and I said it looks
like a strawberry on a string! He picked up on the phrase and I thought, I gotta write
a song with that title. That one grooves quite a bit. At that stage I didn’t have a triplet
type shuffle on the album and I wrote the groove and just soloed straight over the
top of it.”