This week we interviewed Acoustic Dixie Six, a happy jazz band from Finland! Check out their artist profile HERE
How did you end up making music together and how did you end up being an acoustic Jazz group?
– It’s a long story In the end of the 1990’s many of the founding members had moved to Helsinki from elsewhere. We had played actively during our studies and wanted to form a new band playing old music. Since some of us had kept in touch it was natural to start with a small band consisting of only four members. Then we started to look for additional members to form a traditional setup and the rest is history. The actual members has stayed together for quite some time now.
How would you describe your music?
– Traditional Dixieland jazz. Mainly really old stuff played by Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton etc. spiced with some more modern rhythmical tunes that we just happen to like. Sometimes we take a Finnish tune and convert it into traditional Dixieland style.
Tell us little about your creative process?
– We listen a lot also during rehearsals and otherwise also. We listen to a tune, check for suitable keys depending on should it have a vocal part or not and just play it through. Often we have some kind of scores with melody and chords already. Then we develop our own arrangement of the tune which can usually take some time. We discuss the ideas we get and try out different options. This usually includes lots of laughter since some options are crazier than the others. Then we make notes in the scores and eventually something comes out of the process. Often our trombonist, Bengt-Ove, writes down the final version of the arrangements. He has also made lots of arrangements completely on his own and they are really good ones. Anyway this is folk music based on traditions and has to be played much by ear so its necessary to use a trial and error approach. You have to listen to others and then to play it yourself and to documentate and to do it all over again many times.
What is the best thing about being an acoustic band?
– We don’t need a road crew 😀 Of course we have to use amplifiers, microphones and all that stuff to some extent nowadays because the stages and the concert halls are getting bigger. But we still like very much to play acoustically when it is possible. It´s very practical.
The most memorable show you performed?
– We have played a few times at the International Dixieland festival in Dresden Germany. That has been awesome due to the quantity as well as the quality of the audience. For some reason it feels great to play there. It´s a real Dixieland town in the end of May every year. Our 15 year anniversary concert that we gave in Kauniainen in 2014 was also fantastic! Almost 400 fans of traditional jazz in the audience made it a great party.
If you could choose, which artist would you like to see live? Dead or alive.
– Hmmm, there are many but it would probably be Louis Armstrong and his band if we have to choose one. Talking about Armstrong we have to tell you that we met the last clarinet player who played in Armstrong’s band when we visited the international Dixieland festival in Salgotarjan in Hungary in 2005. His name was Joe Muranyi and we stayed at the same hotel. A real gentleman who listened to one of our gigs and also encouraged us to keep on swinging. He also told us about how it was to play with Armstrong and he even compared him to Mozart! He gave us feedback after our gig: “Well You have a professional band. It works. I especially liked the Minor drag which is not played very often nowadays. You just have to keep on working..” That was one of the moments that all of us do remember. Unfortunately Joe passed away in 2012. RIP!
Tell us about your regular hang out? Have you ever had a gig there?
– When we go out in order to listen to music it’s usually to the Storyville jazz club in Helsinki which is often selected as one of the top ten jazz clubs in the world. Fortunately we play there regularly.
Future projects we should know about?
– We will play at the Storyville jazz club in Helsinki Saturday the 3rd of December 2016. Be sure to be there! Be sure also to like us and follow us on Facebook and we will let you know what’s coming up!
Thanks guys! See you again next week for a new artist interview!