COL LOUGHNAN


Testimonial

The GAIA is a unique blend of warmth and brilliance all in one mouthpiece. It plays very evenly throughout the entire range of the horn, from top to bottom.The presentation of these mouthpieces is quite outstanding as well, but they don't just look great, they play great too!Thanks again Theo!

Biography

Col Loughnan is one of Australia's finest reed players, arrangers and jazz educators. He currently teaches Saxophone and woodwinds at The Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where he has been a faculty member of the Jazz department since 1979. He studied in the USA with the legendary master Joe Allard and woodwind virtuoso Victor Morosco, and has performed with artists as varied as: Frank Sinatra, Freddie Hubbard, Sammy Davis Jnr, Natalie Cole, Toshiko Akioshi and Lew Tabakin, Debbie Reynolds, Joachim Kuhn, The Sydney and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, Georgie Fame, Johnny Mathis, Eberhard Weber, Kenny Rogers, The Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Shirley Bassey and many others. He toured and recorded throughout the USA twice with Australian jazz-rock group 'Ayers Rock' between 1974 and '76, and has also toured Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and South East Asia as a soloist or educator. He has worked extensively as an arranger for film and television, as well as being musical director for many TV productions, recordings and international song festivals. His latest album 'Ellen St' was released on the Newmarket Label in 2007. More information about Col Loughnan can be found at: http://www.colloughnan.com
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Inspiration

Why did you choose to become a musician?
I think music chooses us. My parents were not musicians, but they both absolutely loved music, so I was exposed to a wide range of great music constantly playing on our old record player on a daily basis. In addition to that, my next door neighbour was a famous Australian bandleader of the swing period, and a wonderful Trombonist. I used to sit in our backyard when I was a kid and listen to him practicing, I found it fascinating. I started off in various vocal groups, and then later became interested in the Piano, Arranging and Composing, and finally the Saxophone. I caught "The Music Bug" at a very early age, and can't ever remember not being attracted to music.

What is your experience when you feel connected into the music?
It's a little hard to explain exactly, but it's a joyous feeling and when it's happening, everything just seems to flow naturally. The instrument feels like an extension of yourself, just like another arm or leg, the ideas flow out, and you just become absorbed in the music. This type of feeling can happen sometimes when you're playing just by yourself, but it very much depends on the musicians you are playing with if it's in a group situation. I always strive to achieve this feeling when I play, but it doesn't always happen that way.

What is your experience of when you don't feel connected to your music?
It's hard work. The instrument really feels like an instrument, and the whole experience is nothing like the above. This can be when I'm improvising, or Composing/Arranging, although the latter is much more of a thought/conscious process, so it rarely feels that easy to me anyway.

Where does your inspiration comes from? What does it feel like?
Inspiration can come from anywhere. People that are very close to you, nature, fellow musicians, but especially different styles and periods of music you expose yourself to. Constantly studying/listening to great music and musicians really inspires me, and helps me find new fresh ways of putting my own music together, but it's quite often 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration.

What is your experience while improvising? Does it relate to any spirituality you may practice in your life?
Yes,I try to achieve a meditative type of state when I practice my instrument as much as possible. I try and relax, concentrate just on my sound and freeing myself from any unnecessary tension and thinking too much, and then try to transfer that feeling on to the bandstand. It's never quite the same, but practicing that way with my instrument at home, seems to help me cope better in a real live playing situation.

Where does your inspiration while composing come from? What is your experience of that inspiration like?
Composing for me can be in bursts/ periods when I can compose a lot of new material in a very short amount of time, or I can have "writers block" for equally long periods of time. I find arranging other people's music much easier than arranging my own, as it's more of an orchestration and technical type of technique, where as composing one's own music is more of a personal challenge, and something you're very much closer to yourself. Again, when it is all happening it feels quite easy, but it's hard to describe exactly why it doesn't happen that way all the time, again the inspiration can come from anything or anywhere.

Do you have any fun stories of inspirational moments to share?
I was very fortunate to work with the great Freddie Hubbard in a big band I was part of in Sydney some years back. One of our guys had transcribed one of Freddie's tunes from an old album he had recorded and wrote an orchestration for the concert. At the rehearsal he counted off the tune, and all hell broke loose, it was an absolute catastrophe!!...Our guy had written the whole arrangement a HALF STEP TOO HIGH by mistake!...We were nervous enough to begin with working with this incredible jazz giant, and wondered what Freddie's response would be to this, but when he figured out what had happened he just cracked up, and that broke the mood for the whole band and we all fell into a heap, which loosened the whole thing up.. After a while and a short discussion, he wiggled his valves a little, and then said...."Cool, lets start again, I'll play it in your key".. He then went on to play the head and the whole chart absolutely perfectly in the new key [the tune escapes me, but it was quite tricky and mostly in 4ths from memory, which is not that easy for the trumpet in a new key] That was a very inspirational moment for me, and it showed just what a really great musician and artist is capable of doing in a very difficult situation....I later got to hear him play beautifully on my arrangement of Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments," lucky for me, it was in the right key!!!

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