Struggle With Glory is the brand new album by Australia’s premiere jazz chameleon Harry James Angus. A re-imagining of the classic tales from Greek mythology set to a sublime reduction of gospel, jazz and soul, Struggle With Glory is another impressive step in an extraordinary musical journey for the Melbourne-born, Mullumbimby-based musician.
Harry James Angus has come far from the fresh-faced, but committed teen taking his first tentative steps on the path to jazz. Finding critical and commercial success on stages and charts across the globe with Australia’s beloved The Cat Empire, the jazz disciple, trumpeter and sublime vocalist has succeeded in branching out with a number of acclaimed projects of his own. Harry James Angus is playing at the Adelaide Festival on March 14 and 15.
Harry James Angus picks his top ten jazz classics for your musical enjoyment.
1 West End Blues – Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five
The most sublime 3 minutes of music.
2 Night and Day – Billie Holliday
A lot of people say they don’t like the sound of her voice. But just listen to this and tell me it doesn’t break your heart. Warmth and sadness.
3 Shake It And Break It – Sidney Bechet and his New Orleans Feetwarmers
This is what the soprano sax was doing in 1940, long before Kenny G.
4 Dry Bones – Fats Waller
Stoned, funny, live, raw, badass and light on the ears – this recording contains so much of what I love about early jazz.
5 Just A Gigolo – Louis Prima
These days you’re most likely to hear this kind of thing at a wedding. I like this song because it reminds me that jazz is for parties.
6 A Night In Tunisia (live) – Charlie Parker
The live version with Dizzy Gillespie…. this is probably around the time that some people started to say ‘jazz is weird.’ Fair enough. I think this is as intense as any hardcore band. Bird’s anger and joy killed him at 34.
7 Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue (live at Newport Jazz Festival 1956) – Duke Ellington Big Band
Accept no other version. Because jazz is a live, spontaneous thing that happens once and then is gone forever. And like a lot of live jazz, this tune doesn’t even really get started until the 3.45 mark… around the time that most pop songs are finishing.
8 Fables of Faubus – Charles Mingus
There are so many good recordings of this song. It’s angry, chaotic, and funny. Google what it’s about for a great history lesson. I think Mingus has been the biggest influence on modern Australian jazz composition.
9 A Love Supreme – John Coltrane
I’ve always been interested in the spiritual and transcendental aspects of music. You find a lot of that in live improvised performance. I don’t know how many people have Astral travelled farther than John Coltrane. A deeply religious man, this was his prayer.
10 Rock ‘n’ Roll Graveyard – Jazz Party
And then… nothing good happened until Melbourne’s Jazz Party came along.
Be sure to catch Harry James Angus at The Palais, Adelaide Riverbank, Elder Park on Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 March at 8pm. Ticket information at the Adelaide Festival website.