Joe Chindamo is a jazz pianist and an internationally acclaimed composer and arranger, and Zoe is a violinist. In each other they have found not only life partners, but also a unique musical partnership. They have collaborated on ReImaginings, a new CD that is both a collision of musical styles and a testament to their mutual musical respect.
The meeting of these two artists combines a number of musical worlds into a new genre that defies definition. The result is not crossover, but rather the product of two artists creating a musical dialogue with a combined language. What the audience hears is a violinist and a pianist, not a classical violinist and a jazz pianist.
The classical tracks sit comfortably alongside the country classic Jolene and two Chindamo originals (including Zoë, which Joe wrote for his partner).
“Re-Imaginings marks a significant departure from my previous work in that two thirds of the piano parts are completely composed, and as such, the project’s aesthetic has much more in common with classical music than with music of an improvisatory nature,” says Joe.
“However, unlike a strictly classical recording, where the performers are required to perform either established repertoire or works which have been especially commissioned for them, all the music except for Copland’s Nocturne is new in some sense or another.”
“There are seven reworked classical compositions, chosen for their beauty, universality and timelessness. The intention was never to alter these great works for the sake of altering them.”
Joe hasn’t given the classical works a jazz make-over: “When I do improvise, I am cautious not to disrupt the style and spirit of the work on which it is based. But on two occasions on this album, I have kept only the melodies and changed everything else.”
Here Joe refers to Chopin’s Prelude in E minor which takes on the form of a tango and Schumann’s Kinderszenen which is transformed into a mysterious and mournful dialogue between piano and violin.
“I have removed each work from its time capsule, thus allowing its essence to shine through a number of musical transformations,” says Joe.
“I wanted to keep Handel, but not his wig. I wanted Dolly, but not her twang. My aim was to demonstrate that music is music and genre is only packaging.”
Zoë is a valued member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and also plays an integral role in their educational touring program (with ACO 2), whose cause is to bring world-class music to regional Australia and indigenous communities.
As an established performer on the classical stage, Zoë’s usual world is one where musicians are judged by their interpretation of the notes and directions provided by the composer. ??
Recording Re-Imaginings with Joe has given her a sense of freedom in her performance that comes rarely for those that play on the classical stage: “For the first time, I felt at liberty to create a sound that comes purely from within, my very essence in every musical breath.”
Zoë says: “The boundaries between ‘jazz’ and ‘classical’ have never been less apparent than on this recording.”
The album launce will be held at the Melbourne Recital Centre, Salon today, May 9 at 6PM. Tickets are $35, concession $25 (transaction fees may apply). Tickets may be purchased by calling 03 9699 3333 or melbournerecital.com.au.
A man with an international reputation, Joe has performed concerts all over the world. Of particular note, at the Umbria Jazz Festival, The Tokyo Dome and The Lincoln Centre in New York. He also toured with US drummer Billy Cobham for over 10 years. Numerous of his recordings reached number 1 on the modern jazz charts in Japan. His formidable pianism has earned him admiration from amongst the classical elite.
In 2008 Joe was invited to perform 3 concerts in Italy by the classical pianist Michele Campanella, who was curator of a respected piano festival. In the same year, as a result of a recommendation by the formidable Nickolai Demidenko, piano maker Paolo Fazioli invited Joe to perform at his auditorium in Venice, a venue normally reserved for the likes of Angela Hewitt, Nickolai Demidenko and Aldo Ciccolini.
Back in Australia, Joe is routinely invited to perform at all the principal festivals, and a host of other venues ranging from house concerts to jazz clubs to the Sydney Opera House.