After an amazing run of livestream featuring the likes of Helena Debono, Rosie Frater-Taylor, Roella Oloro, Karen Shiraishi and Asha Parkinson we’re finally ready to host real live audiences for the very first time this year via the sounds of the Emma Rawicz Quartet! Read our latest interview with the up and coming saxophonist below.
Emma! How have you been?
It’s been a bit overwhelming what with the rollercoaster that the last year has been, but I’m feeling really excited for everything to get back to something a bit more like normality. The promise of the return of live gigs has made me feel like I can put my creative energy towards something, which has been really rewarding.
Ronnie Scott’s. 1st June. Live. In front of real people. Excited??
I’m incredibly excited to get back to performing live! Playing music, especially my own, in front of a real live audience is my absolute favourite feeling in the world and I can’t quite describe how much I’ve missed that. I can’t wait!
Tell us about the Emma Rawicz Quintet. What can people expect from the evening?
I am blessed with a wonderfully talented and supportive band who really understand the sounds and colours I want to get out of my music. It includes the incredible Ant Law on guitar, Hugo Piper on electric bass, Scottie Thompson on keys and Finn Genockey on drums. We’re playing a really wide-ranging set of my original tunes, styles ranging from folk inspired Afro-Cuban grooves to some funk inspired numbers too! All of these tunes will be featured on my debut album which I’ll be recording later in June with the same band.
Amazing news! Are there any central themes in this particular project?
For me, an album is a snapshot of an artist’s sound and development at one point in time, so with this album I’m putting together a body of my writing that most accurately represents who I am and where I’m at as an artist at this current moment in my career. For me, one of the most important factors when it comes to making music is how it affects those that hear it, and I feel that one of the biggest things in music that gives it life for the listener is the groove. I think the originals I’ve written for this album are a culmination of the genres and sounds that influence me, including funk, folk, Brazilian music and more, whilst staying rooted within the jazz tradition.
On top of all that, something that massively affects the way I make music is the fact that I have Synaesthesia – meaning I see colours when I hear music, so I love to contextualise music in a really abstract way at points. I think this probably changes the way I write music, so I love to try to share that with my audience.
Besides being part of our Jazz Exchange ensemble, you have also been playing with the Jazz Orchestra recently. How have you found working with the different bands?
I think the two groups require vastly different skill sets: for instance, playing in a big band requires you to be a strong reader, be able to form part of a section and be aware of your role in the large ensemble as a whole – all things I’ve been really glad to have the opportunity to refine. On the other hand, the Jazz Exchange requires creative thought outside of the box, the ability to compromise and collaborate, as well as making snap decisions when playing a wide variety of styles of music. All of these skills are and will be so valuable to me and I think I’m a more well-rounded musician having had the opportunity to take part in both ensembles.
Like most inventive music, your sound seems to mix different elements from a variety of genres. Apart from jazz, what have you been drawing inspiration from?
I love to play and listen to a huge variety of music, namely Brazilian music, folk music, funk and soul and more! Recently I’ve been particularly into the music of Baden Powell and the Buena Vista Social Club.
Desert island discs, you know the drill: eight tracks, a book, and a luxury. What would you take to a desert island?
Book: I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith. Luxury item: my pet cat!
Thanks to Emma for taking the time to chat with us. To stay updated you can check out her website here. Tickets for her NYJO Presents show are extremely limited, so make sure you book yours ASAP!