In this interview, Vince Jones reflects on his transition from a trumpet player to a jazz singer, his top 3 albums of all time, and his favourite spot in Adelaide.
How did your love of jazz music come to fruition and what were your earliest musical influences?
My father and mother were jazz lovers, so the music in our house was jazz or classical. My dad told me he took me to see Louis Armstrong as a young boy sitting on his shoulders in Glasgow. My love for jazz improvisation has flourished as I’ve gotten older.
You started your jazz music career as a trumpet player – how did you find your singing voice?
I started out playing trombone and then the cornet in the brass band At 10 years old. My dad loved trumpet and he taught me to read music. My mum was a singer, she could sing any song ever written, she had extraordinary natural music ability, my dad and her had a duet where they both played together. I saw them playing at parties, it was then I knew I wanted to be singer.
You’ve performed around the world through Europe and the US, what is your favourite place, stage or venue to perform at and why?
The band and I played at Montreux three years in a row, so Montreux would have to be my favourite gig. It was a wonderful feeling playing alongside the world’s great musicians and being introduced by Quincy Jones.
What are the most memorable moments of your career?
I love to play original music, and the band has become well known for its original songs. In Europe we were becoming successful for our original songs. When I was in Los Angeles, and I heard our music on the radio and I felt so proud.
What are your top 3 albums of all time?
There are so many great albums it’s hard to pick from them. I think John Coltrane’s Blue Train, Miles Davis' Kind of Blue and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messenger's On the Ginza - but if you ask me tomorrow, I’d pick three different albums.
When you’re not creating, writing, and performing music, what do you enjoy doing most?
I have a garden, it’s about half an acre and I love being in it. It’s a food forest - I can almost live from it - with peaches and plums in summer, and citrus in winter.
Kate Ceberano has said you inspired her to pursue her music career, who have you been inspired by throughout your career?
I’m driven by a desire to sing and play beautiful music, it’s more that the music inspires me than any individual. I’m glad I inspired Kate she is a beautiful singer and a beautiful person.
Come In Spinner won the hearts of thousands of Australian households, selling over half a million copies in the decade of its release and making history as the highest-selling Australian jazz album of all time. Why do you think it was so successful and resonated with Australian audiences?
I think the songs and the arrangements on that album are timeless and the listeners can’t resist them. I had no idea the record would do so well, I think the music coupled with the screenplay was a winning combination.
Tell us about the show coming to Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Come In Spinner The Concert with Vince Jones and Nina Ferro, what can audiences expect?
We have a 19-piece orchestra which sounds extraordinary. I love singing with a big band. Nina Ferro is an exceptional singer, she will breathe fresh life into the songs. With some new arrangements written and conducted by Steve Newcombe the music has become more alive, the audience will love the sound of this orchestra.
What is your favourite song from the album and why?
I love ‘I Get Along without you very well’ written by Hoagy Carmichael. He is one of my favourite songwriters.
How do you think Jazz and Cabaret genres work together?
I think that Orchestras and Divas and Crooners are the original source of what we call cabaret. It brings to mind Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis Jr. and Sarah Vaughan and ELLA and Judy and Liza Minnelli. In the Come in Spinner show the audience will get a taste of a beautiful orchestra and Nina and I will be singing our hearts out.
Where are your favourite places to visit in Adelaide and what are you looking forward to most about being here for Adelaide Cabaret Festival?
The Adelaide Market is my favourite spot, I love the organic fresh produce. That’s where you’ll see me each morning.