joshua kyle wins jazz work of the year at 2019 apra/amcos awards
After winning a 2019 APRA/AMCOS Award in the Jazz Work of The Year category, we sat down with AIM Melbourne Program Leader and creative vocalist Joshua Kyle to talk about his winning submission 'Trombone Song Cycle', plus his experiences being a musician and an educator.
Tell us about your career so far, what have been the biggest highlights and learning curves?
My career has been an incredibly varied one with lots of different experiences, in different musical contexts. After graduating I moved to the UK and started working with bassist/producer Geoff Gascoyne (Jamie Callum) and this was a really exciting time - the European jazz scene is vibrant, supportive and inclusive of young new ideas. I made and released my first record “Possibilities” on Jazzizt records in the UK debuting at the London International Jazz Festival. Moving back to Australia a few years later and establishing myself here I’ve release 3 further albums with some of Australia’s greats, Sam Keevers, Stephen Magnussan, James Greening etc. Recently I’ve been working with cross disciplinary arts companies Chamber Made & Rawcus, a company of performers with and without disability presenting “Song For A Weary Throat” at the Melbourne International Arts Festival. Don’t forget the thousands of jazz gigs, BV gigs and a whole host of one off gigs and recording projects. This is the best part for me, variety. The biggest learning to come out of all of this, is to trust your instincts and keep moving forward, you have to lead from the front!
You recently won the APRA/AMCOS 2019 Art Music Award in the category Jazz Work of the Year for your project Trombone Song Cycle – what was this experience like?
This was a really wonderful, and unexpected surprise. To just be nominated was great but to have the work recognized by colleagues and people I look up to was a real thrill. This project is something I’ve been working on for some time and one that I’m immensely proud of. The other nominees are exceptional musicians and are creating work of the highest calibre.
Can you tell us about the music?
Trombone Song Cycle is a collection of obscure love songs that was written with specific trombonists in mind, showcasing there incredibly unique voice, masterful improvising and individual approach to playing the instrument. The quartet is made up of Jordan Murray, James Macaulay, James Greening and Adrian Sherriff, In performance Josh Kyle (v) and Andrew Murray conducting. Trombone Song Cycle is an hour-long program that shifts and moves through set composition and freely improvised sections.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere, the Melbourne music scene is so vibrant and expansive that its really had not to be inspired. Learning how to listen to yourself and trust your ideas really helps that. Teaching and discussing music all day long is also a really great way to keep things fresh and interesting – there is so much to learn and discover, it’s just about finding the time to capture it all.
What is your role at AIM and what does a day at AIM look like for you?
I’m one of the Program Leaders in Melbourne and I look after the Speaclisation and Industry portfolios. A typical day for me would include a few one on one voice lessons, running a vocal masterclass or ensemble and catching up with teachers and students to see how they are tracking and giving some advice where possible. In between these moments I’m always looking for new ways to further develop the experience for our students. We just had a really great end of Study Period performance season with seven different events showcasing the various disciplines we offer here at AIM, these are the things that I love to organise and provide the platform for our students to celebrate their hard work.
What do you love most about working with students?
Challenging them and pushing them to find something new or different. It really is amazing to watch students start their studies with a set idea of how things work, then become flooded with new and interesting ideas and experiences. This process totally transforms them and builds them into multi-faceted, 3 dimensional musicians who understand process and technique, who look for creativity and take on challenges head first. This is what I love about working with students.
What is your top tip for someone starting out in the industry?
Have an opinion, understand why you like or dislike something, be able to articulate that, dig deeper, ask more questions – be curious! Try something!
Creative vocalist Josh Kyle’s varied approach to music-making has seen him involved
with many different musical experiences and settings. He has released four albums under
his own name “Possibilities” (2010) “Songs of Friends” (2014), “I Hear, Here I” (2018) and
finally “Trombone Song Cycle” (2018) music for four trombones and voice, with
compositions by Kyle and arrangements by Andrew Murray.
Over the past four years Josh has worked extensively with cross disciplinary art/theatre
makers Chamber Made Opera, and RAWCUS a company of performers with and without
disability. “Permission to Speak” (Chamber Made Opera) premiered at Arts House in
November, 2016 and showcased at APAM Brisbane in 2018. “Song for A Weary Throat”
(Rawcus) had its premier season at Theatre Works, St Kilda in Nov 2017 and 2018
Melbourne International Arts festival, Arts Centre Melbourne.
Josh is a long-time member of Gian Slater’s improvising vocal ensemble Invenio who
Andrew Murray’s ATM15 featuring on recordings “Standards and Sudden Death” & “New
He was a finalist in the James Morrison Generations in Jazz Vocal Scholarship as well
as The National Jazz Awards, Voice. In 2014, he was nominated for a Bell Award in
the Best Vocal Album category. He was a participant in the 2015 Banff International
Workshops in Improvised and Creative Music and The Australian Art Orchestra’s 2016
Creative Intensive. Josh has presented various projects at the Melbourne, London,
Stonnington, Perth and Wangaratta Festivals of Jazz as well as various clubs and
theatres around the world.