Kinderjazz – Artist Interview
Written by Matt Zin on September 30, 2020
KJ: Thanks! It’s a real pleasure to be here.
What an interesting band name, I am looking forward to hearing how you came up with it but first, can you tell our listeners where you are from?
KJ: We live in Sydney, Australia.
Ok, on with our interview. Wow, you are a unique band, I am loving it. Let’s see, where do I begin? How about with the band name. I am guessing you came up with the name Kinderjazz because you make music for children. Please, fill us all in on the details.
KJ: Yes, I wanted a name that simply stated what we’re about. Kinder is the universal word for children and jazz is jazz. No explanation needed.
I see you have seven learning CD’s out there for purchase? What is a “learning cd?” Could you tell us all about these cd’s?
KJ: Our music is real music as opposed to ‘kid’s’ music. It’s written in a way that will engage children but the music has complex harmonies, rhythms, melodies and a huge variety of lyrics and instruments. Children learn through their emotions, not their intellect. Music only goes through our emotions, therefore KINDERJAZZ music can be absorbed by anyone regardless of their age, ability, disability, race, creed or gender. While most children’s music keeps to simpler key signatures like G or F or C Major, we write in all twelve keys as we believe in giving children exposure to all the colours of music. We would never limit children’s books to just blue or pink and tell parents that they shouldn’t be exposing their children to blue or red or green or purple! There’s a freedom to a Big Band sound. The variety of instruments and genres of KINDERJAZZ give children freedom…. Freedom to grow their tastes in a healthy, organic environment.
We live in a visual world where we have access to screens and the world at a touch of a button. Children are taught to outsource their brains to Google when each and every child’s brain could make Google look like a toy. KINDERJAZZ offers children an auditory foundation. The first part of the brain to be fully functional in utero is the auditory system. The eyes don’t work until seven and a half months later. Children are multi-sensory and shouldn’t just be using a screen to learn. They need to feel, taste, smell, hear as well as see. KINDERJAZZ in concert gives them a multi-sensory experience when most of their other senses are switched off in a visual world. The front line sound of horns literally hits you in the face. It’s almost impossible not to be moved. Kid’s get it immediately!
What is behind your inspiration in playing jazz? Why not rock or country?
KJ: Jazz encompasses both rock and country. KINDERJAZZ uses many different genres, not just swing. We play everything from blues to bebop, Latin, Waltzes, pop, rock, country, classical, opera in an ever increasing list. We want children to be exposed to a huge variety of music so they can choose for themselves which genres they like. Jazz also provides fresh improvisations which nurture a small child’s curiosity and gratifies their imagination in the process. Jazz has a rich heritage and encompasses a more global audience. It’s a living thing always mixing with different types of music as it grows. Children absolutely love it because of the beat.
KJ: Your performances are different than most of the artists I interview, you gear them towards children, this must be loads of fun. Which songs do you perform on stage that really get the kids going crazy?
Playing to children is the most amazing thing ever. You have their absolute undivided attention. We were at the Opera House once when 4 or 5 toddlers stood in front of the brass section with their eyes closed and their hands in front of their faces feeling the music. It was really special. With adults you’re competing with cell phones and chatter and really short attention spans. KINDERJAZZ allows children to be in the moment. They learn so much by just being. Once our singer’s feather flew into the air from her boa just as our trombonist started his solo and he stood and kept this feather in the air while soloing. It brought the house down. He didn’t have to name the instrument, he didn’t have to say a word about how it fit into the orchestra. Children learned all about it because they were engaged in his play. By listening they learned the range of the trombone. By watching they learned what it looked like and felt like. You wouldn’t believe how many children in that audience wanted to play the trombone after that one time!
There are so many favourite songs and many children know the words. It’s great when we hear the adults singing their hearts out as well. Cinderella is one that’s requested over and over and it just happens to be a rock beat.
Have you or would you consider a television show deal if the opportunity came along? How would you make this different then all the other children’s shows today?
KJ: We would love to. Television would give us so much scope to get to a wider audience and also expose children to some really great musicians. I’d love it to be a drama where children could follow a story unfolding, using music in a dynamic way. We would be live and acoustic. So many children’s shows use backing tapes and the music is often sequenced. We are the real thing. Every note comes from the heart and soul of an incredibly talented musician. Multiply that by twelve and it’s heaven.
What are Kinderjazz workshops?
KJ: We work with individual schools and communities so it’s anywhere we’re invited. We tailor our workshops to the age group and the type of school. As a real live band, we can pretty much do anything musically.
What are KJAllStars?
KJ: The KJALLSTARS is the KINDERJAZZ band playing to a grown up audience. This came about when adults started asking to play standards they loved. Tunes from Hollywood like ‘Cheek to Cheek’, ‘Embraceable You’ and ‘ In the Mood’. We then started getting bookings for Christmas Parties and other corporate events because it makes such a difference to have a real band playing where you can dance and talk to each other instead of having to compete with huge video screens and extra loud music.
Do you write all your songs? Could you take us through the stages on how you come up writing songs for children? Which song is your all-time favourite?
KJ: David Llewellyn is the composer and lyricist for KINDERJAZZ. While our children we young I’d have to say he was living with his research but now it’s other people’s children. KINDERJAZZ has always been child focused. The songs just get downloaded into his head and he can’t sleep until he writes them down. They fall from the sky and he seems to catch them.
It’s absolutely impossible to choose. It’s like choosing between your children! We once asked the band to nominate their favourite songs for a top ten list and we couldn’t even agree on that. Each album seems to be the next favourite. I love all of them. I really do.
How would you describe your band in ten words or less?
KJ: Glenn Miller meets Sesame Street.
Well we have asked you a ton of questions but I would like to know what other projects are in the near future for Kinderjazz?
KJ: We’re collaborating with a special needs children’s choir to perform a song written for us by an Australian composer in Aboriginal language for the 200th birthday of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney. We will record this and give it to every primary (elementary) school in the country. We are also organising to come to the United States late 2017. There’s a new album that’s written waiting to be recorded and I think touring internationally will be a focus, now that we’re old enough to leave home.
We would love for you to tell our listeners where they can find your music? If you have any special shout-outs, please feel free to do them now.
KJ: Please check us out on :-
And also on Amazon and YouTube.