Mat Jodrell, Australian Jazz Stalwart, Drops an Assured New Album on International Jazz Day

Apr 30, 2019

What is the sound of Australian jazz? You'd be hard pressed to answer that question definitively, but one response can be heard on Insurgent, by trumpeter Mat Jodrell.

The album, out today, features an almost entirely Australian personnel: Sam Anning, a bassist who grew up with Jodrell in Perth, and Ben Vanderwal, a drummer who lives there now. On guitar is James Muller, who’s based in Adelaide. On saxophone is Will Vinson, the only non-Aussie, originally from England.

I've been in Melbourne for the past several days, covering International Jazz Day festivities. I spoke with Jodrell in my hotel room last Friday, as he was preparing to lead an educational workshop. He’s someone you might have heard without knowing it: he spent eight years in New York, working with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Gil Evans Project and bandleaders like Lucas Pino and Miguel Zenón.

We talked about what he learned during his time in New York, why he thought he would never leave, and what brought him back — to Melbourne, where he says an Australian jazz renaissance is underway.