Alto saxophonist Allison Neale will launch her third album “I wished on the Moon” (Trio Records) at the 606 Club this Wednesday 26th November. Sebastian interviewed her by email:
LondonJazz News: You are known as a “West Coast” saxophonist, and although you live in London, you were actually born on the West Coast of the US. What’s the story ?
Allison Neale: Yes I was born in Seattle, Washington but came to the UK when I was very young after my father an aeronautics engineer, left the Boeing Aircraft company.
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LJN: Was music always a big part of your life ?
AN: My father was a huge jazz fan although not a musician himself, and I grew up listening to all his records. He was into many of the players from the West Coast, including Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker and also many great guitarists like Joe Pass and Jim Hall and of course Wes Montgomery. I was lucky enough to hear so many great artists from a young age.
LJN: This is your third album, who joined you on the first two?
AN: I feel very honoured to have recorded with the most wonderful guitarist Dave Cliff who appeared on my first album Melody Express and then again on Blue Concept with trumpeter Gary Kavanagh, who played with the great pianist Barry Harris.
LJN: What influenced the choices of tunes on this album ?
AN: The standard tunes we’re chosen purely because I love improvising on them. I have always felt strongly about playing on the standards as they are the main vehicle of expression for improvisers like myself. The other tunes are compositions written or recorded by Art Pepper with the addition of vibraphone to create a different feel as a unison frontline.
LJN: You did it “as live” with no repairs?
AN: I wanted the album to be a true reflection of how we sound as a band. This was mainly how the great players recorded and I feel it is something you should be able to do as a jazz musician. I wanted to create 50’s feel, so we recorded straight onto tape the old fashioned way. It gives a warmer sound to the whole session.
LJN: Are you honouring the alto players that have influenced you?
AN: Yes it’s a tribute to the great West Coast altoists that have influenced my playing style..Art Pepper mainly and also Lee Konitz, Bud Shank and Paul Desmond.
LJN: Who are the other players and what do they bring?
AN: The band includes Leon Greening on piano, Julian Bury on bass, Steve Brown on drums and Nathaniel Steele on vibraphone. These musicians are dedicated to bebop as an art form and we have been friends and colleagues for so many years. I can’t think of anything better than to play with musicians who really swing and inspire me so much as they all do.
LJN: Where can people hear get to hear you, and where can they get the album?
AN: In the first place at our launch gig for the album at the 606 club this Wednesday, and you can find me on the jazz circuit in London and around the UK. Details can be found on allisonneale.com . The album is on sale from the Trio Records website
Alison is a great subtle player