I remember when I was a classical student and envied the jazz musicians. I would attend so many jazz performances, everywhere and anywhere around Queensland. Eventually, I fell in love with the Brisbane jazz scene and the gorgeous people and their music that came with it. I also fell in love with the idea of jazz, and it was like a neighbour's party that I kept peeking over the fences to see what all the noise was about. Soon I went over and asked if I could join, and it's been one of the biggest and best decisions of my life.
In 2014 I was accepted into cross-studies at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University to major in my primary instrument, classical percussion, with my secondary, jazz vibraphone. Now they're both my primary majors and have become a massive influence to my life and career. I learnt so much from the music, and definitely much more from the people within the communities. Everyone has their own stories to how they got into music, and I find it so fascinating how people from so many different backgrounds come to have a similar passion in music. I found it especially fascinating in jazz. There were so many different branches of jazz, and each branch was a different background, a different voice. It was the 'voice' that intrigued me. The improvisations, the compositions - they all told a different story. I loved that, and I thought it was a place I wanted to take part in. I started performing in jazz recitals at first, and then I got asked for exterior gigs. Soon I gained the confidence for public performance, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere and enthusiastic crowds. The more I played, the more I fell in love with it and enjoyed myself so much.
Here are some recordings below from my jazz recitals! Influences from Jamie Cullum, Pat Metheny and Alexey Chizhik. Go check out their music!
This year I was asked to do Green Jam on October 23rd, 2015. It was such an honour and privilege, and for the first time I got to share music I love with my loved ones in the crowd as well as new friendly faces. I had such a good time with my band, and it was my first public performance of my very own ensemble, Anna Kho-tet. The name is a pun off my surname, which was an idea given to me by a jazz vibraphonist and percussionist friend of mine named Andre Bonetti. I love puns and thought that was hilarious, I absolutely had to use it for an ensemble of mine! At Green Jam I was joined by Victoria Sly on vocals, who I've worked with in V&V. We've had such an awesome year doing duet work, and it was an experience and new project that I was super excited for. Finally we got to put our music into a band setting. Matty Cook on bass, a musician among many that I enjoy watching, and absolutely love his vibe, music and arrangements. Andrew Doo on kit, a beast of a player on the kit and also my first time jamming with him.
Thomas The 'A' Train, arrangement by Anna Kho
I always kept hearing Thomas the Tank Engine theme in a jazzy way, and I thought how cool would it be to arrange it with a jazz standard. What better jazz standard than Take the 'A' Train! I wasn't sure if it worked, but I'm super proud of how it turned out. Miss my childhood TV themes! Hoping to do more of the same with others - keen!
How can anyone hear this theme and not think jazz funk. It's just perfect! Matty on slap bass - you could never go wrong with that! Love it!
Cry Me A River, arrangement by Anna Kho
I have been dreaming about this arrangement for a couple of years now, and I never got around to it until now. It's just such a strange arrangement, but it somehow works? I kind of like the whole polyrhythmic feel. Love the pieces, love the mash up!
Black, Gold and Afro Blue, arrangement by Victoria Sly
Sh, but I named it without asking Victoria herself. She told me this idea came to her when she was singing Afro Blue over Black and Gold one day in her car and told me it worked well - and it does! To those who don't know it's a 6/8 jazz standard over a 4/4 jazz, pop tune. We first experimented it together as a duet in V&V and had lots of fun! I couldn't wait to put it with a band, and it sounds equally amazing!
With that stella ending we finished the evening on a high note - literally! Love goes out to my brother, Aaron, for filming all these jazz performances. Of course, the talented Maya Luski who took the gorgeous photos at Green Jam! Thank you so much to all my beautiful friends, families and fellow colleagues for stopping by, listening to my gig and supporting live music. Thank you to all the new faces I met that also enjoyed their evening. I honestly had a blast, and I just can't wait to do more jazz gigs in the future with Anna Kho-tet. There's so much more I want to do, including composition, and I'm going to make it happen! 2015 has been another joyful ride in my journey in jazz. I've played in two big bands, Con Artists and Conservatorium Big Band, I premiered my duet group, V&V, with Victoria Sly and performed at the Queen St Mall, and of course I premiered my arrangements with the Anna Kho-tet! I hope this groove never stops!
If you want to hear more performances by Anna Kho-tet, head to my YouTube channel or soundcloud page!
Laugh, Love, Live Music - jazz for this one!
This blog is a space to share my thoughts, past, present and future moments in my life. Feel free to leave a comment, like the blog or share it! - Anna