Jimmy Bazil Project
I had the pleasure of chatting with Joram Nathan from Jimmy Bazil Project (JBP). Jimmy Bazil Project is local in New South Wales, Australia, and I traveled overseas on my wide world of web to get a little insight on JBPs progressive blues style and soulful sound. Joram Nathan was kind enough endure my intense questioning about the beginnings of Jimmy Bazil Project and the formation of this dynamic trio.
Q: I was really drawn to your group when I first heard it because your alternative interpretation of blues music, and given that I live in the Ozarks of Missouri it struck a chord. Naturally, the lyrics kept me tuned in. There’s a soulful longing expressed through your music and that could create a vast expanse of listeners who can either relate or empathize. The song “Ultimatums” is one of my favorites.
What inspired Jimmy Bazil Project to hone in on progressive blues?
JN: I found the blues through Stevie Ray Vaughn. Specifically it was his version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing.” It was after that that I started experimenting with the sounds I wanted. I didn’t want to play straight 12 bar blues all the time so I made the unconscious decision to use more augmented sounding progressions. It was more about writing for myself than anyone else. A form of therapy, I guess. I entertained the idea of getting together a power trio in the vein of Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and SRV & Double Trouble. Nothing really came of that idea till later.
The whole progressive blues style developed on its own. We have an eclectic range as far as our song writing is concerned. Ken, Dom and I all had different backgrounds in music. All drawing from what we already knew, while at the same time, learning a different style from the ground up. It was in no means a bad thing. Without stone set rules and structures to bind you in a particular way, you have free range over what you can do artistically. Now that Dom has left us and Feheely (Our current Bassist Chris Feheely) has joined, he is bringing a new range stylistically to the music.
The thing is, while what we do is rooted in the blues, the songs would not all fall into that genre. We felt that Progressive Blues was the best way to cover everything we do. The songs have always started as a basic guitar progression or riff, then lyrics that I’ve been playing around with. The boys have responded to these structural skeletons and we’ve built from there. That being said we’re standing on the shoulders of giants. We go away and listen to everything. I have a playlist that is about six hours of Buddy Guy, BB King, Albert King, Stevie Ray. Clapton (With and Without Cream), Robert Johnson, Albert Collins, the majority of the blues greats.
We do however, have other artists from outside the blues circle that influence us heavily. For instance one of my all time favourite records is “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” by The Red Hot Chili Peppers. We all love Dave Matthews Band, there is so much out there. Why not draw from everything?
Q: I am also curious as to what really brought the group together. What keeps the group so in sync? What gives you energy to play on??
JN: As far as what keeps us together goes. Sheer force of will? Just kidding. It’s without a doubt the love of music. If you love doing something in particular, why do anything else? Nothing will satisfy you the way working at your passion will. What helps is the fact that I am fortunate enough to work with two of my best friends. Common ground seems to be the glue which holds us together. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and we take on the load that appropriately suits us. It makes it really easy to work together and continue to get onstage and do our thing.
Q: Lastly, if I could get a little insight on your song “Ultimatums” that would be fabulous. What were the events that sparked this song?
JN: We find what we like musically and bend it to our needs. I have tried to keep lyrical content as honest as possible; everything was from a very blunt perspective. Most of the songs are small embellishments of true stories and experiences.
“Ultimatums” is no different. A relationship turned sour and I wasn’t happy. She put it to me that if I wasn’t going bow to her will, then we would be over. I’d been given an ultimatum like that in a prior relationship, it lead to a long year of perpetual torment for me. Since then I had stood firmly on how I feel about that kind of manipulation. It wasn’t for a while until I wrote that song, I had a real SRV boogie thing going on and it seemed to need some lyrics that weren’t at all subtle. I used the argument as a basis, and my distaste for the whole situation as fuel. It was a good vent and it’s super fun to play.
Thank you Joram and Jimmy Bazil Project.
“It’s the music that brings us together!”