If you haven’t yet been to a Jazz Party show yet, the simple fact is you’ve been missing out. An ensemble of Melbourne’s hottest musos simply dripping in ‘tude, they’re a one-of-a-kind cohort in Australia who wreck every room they strut into.
With a huge six week residency at the Evelyn in their back pockets and a performance at Bendigo Autumn Music festival just over the horizon, we caught up with Jazz Party’s leading lady Loretta Miller for the latest.
After a well-earned break from live shows, Jazz Party are back and hitting the scene hard as ever. We caught up with their dynamite frontwoman to find out all about it.
HAPPY: Hey there, how are things? What are you up to at the moment?
LORETTA: Good! I’m in bed, willing myself to be ready for tonight’s gig at Belleville for Melbourne Music Week which will be amazing, but I’m pretty exhausted after last weekend’s Mullumbimby festival which was MAGIC.
HAPPY: You also knocked off a pretty huge residency at the Evelyn. How did the shows go?
LORETTA: INSANE! We’ve had a pretty large mid year break so I was afraid people may have lost their appetites for our thing and moved on, but as always the Monday night residencies never fail to amaze me. I often say that doing one Jazz Party Monday night is like doing five regular gigs because of the energy I expend, but that’s why I love them so much. I feed off the energy of the crowd so if they’re bringing it, I bring it harder and then we all have a better time haha.
We actually did six weeks this residency which is the biggest we’ve done and we were interstate every other weekend doing festival shows, so it was sort of like a comeback tour after our writing break.
HAPPY: Must have been super fun working on your live show on that kind of schedule. Did things get a little wild by the final week?
LORETTA: Yes, again always, the residencies build to a fever pitch and by the last one you can’t fit people through the doors. Folks spread the word to their friends as the month goes along, it’s something to not miss out on, but you always have that fresh energy of someone who’s never seen us before. Because it’s a free show people can walk past and hear it pumping on a Monday night, they naturally get curious.
We have guests singers and players showing up and the band are just getting tighter and more intuitive every week, improvising more but in a way that’s really locked in. It’s rare to see a band that way. They’re hot.
HAPPY: Do you think there’s a bit of a hole right now in Melbourne (or Australia) for the kind of live, jazzy rock you play?
LORETTA: Definitely. I mean I wouldn’t say rock as a descriptor of what we do but rock ‘n’ roll/rebellious attitude is definitely there, it’s there in the style and in all band members hahaha. People are scared of labels, rightly so, we definitely get shrugged off as a party band or put in a weird jazz box.
Our music is, at its core, a mixture of traditional New Orleans style jazz and RnB with elements of soul, gospel, calypso, jump blues, country, rock ‘n’ roll etc. However we don’t only listen to those styles, so naturally our music and our writing is influenced by anything we enjoy, which could be very current, very contemporary as well as old and obscure.
On top of that we bring an attitude and energy to our performance and music that is different to the way most people view or have previously experienced those particular styles. I think because all our music is original, it is certainly speaking to people now and reaching younger and older audiences in ways they might not have expected. For example we have lots of people tell us they thought they hated jazz (which is sad) but I’m happy to open their eyes.
HAPPY: It’s going on a year now since you released Monday Night, are you working on any bigger releases again?
LORETTA: Yes we are, we’ve been previewing some new songs at our residency and they’re going down very well, we’re back in the studio soon to try and make magic and who knows what will happen. We don’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves but I love albums and would hope that’s what we’re heading towards.
HAPPY: A while back (October 2016!) we premiered your debut clip, Rock N’ Roll Graveyard. Did you ever manage to have a party that good again?
LORETTA: Hahaha god I hope not, it took me two weeks to clean up and recover from that! We had to move out after. No, every JP gig is up there! So much fun and madness always.
HAPPY: You’re playing Bendigo Autumn Music Festival next year with a pretty strong Victorian contingent of artists. Anyone in particular you’re keen to see?
LORETTA: Yes I’m so exited ! I’ve been playing with Jazz Party and any other band that will have me at Mullumbimby music festival for the last few years and BAM is the sister festival of that and Bellow winter music, they’re truly great festivals with diverse amazing lineups.
I’m very keen to see Thando, Kurt Vile, Hannah Cameron and Vika & Linda who are always wonderful, Ruby Jones is one of my ABSOLUTE favourite bands in Melbourne right now! So moody and dramatic LOVE. I’ll be singing with multiple bands myself at the festival, The Dusty Millers (is myself, my Aunty and Mum) 45 Packin’ Mama is my mother Tracey Miller’s show which just debuted at Mullumbimby music festival to two standing ovations, and Harry James Angus and his Struggle With Glory show is simply divine.
HAPPY: Anything else coming up in Jazz Party land?
LORETTA: We’re taking part in a secret compilation of local artists but I can’t say much more about that, I think it will be really special though. And we’re going to play our last show for the Year at the Kastoria Music Club which is an intimate gorgeous little social club in Coburg with loads of personality and then we’ll be in Tasmania for New Years Eve playing the Taste Of Tasmania Festival… that’s plenty to get through for me for now! I expect 2019 will be a pretty big year for us though.
HAPPY: Thanks for the chat!
LORETTA: No worries thanks!
Catch Jazz Party alongside Kurt Vile, Mojo Juju, The Go-Betweens and heaps more at Bendigo Autumn Music 2019:
Thursday, April 25 – Sunday 28th, 2019 | Bendigo, VIC | Tickets