HOLLI SCOTT & THE RUSH HOUR CIRCUS Little flecks of magic

Perth jazz artist Holli Scott has just celebrated the launch of her debut album DUST with a sold out show at the Ellington Jazz Club over the weekend, and now she is set to take the new music to where she grew up in the south-west for the annual Jazz by the Bay festival, running across multiple venues from Friday, May 31 to Monday, June 3. Scott will be performing both as a trio at Rustico’s Euro Jazz Club in Margaret River on Saturday, June 1 and with her full band The Rush Hour Circus at Lions Park, Dunsborough on Sunday, June, 2.  BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with Scott to find out how the album was inspired by “little flecks of magic” in everyday life as well as her jazz heroes and what she’s looking forward to most about playing Jazz by the Bay.

Congratulations on releasing your debut album DUST last week, how was the launch show?​​​

Thank you! The album launch sold out and went really well. It’s always a pleasure to play at The Ellington, especially with Jamie Oehlers, Daniel Susnjar, Karl Florisson and Ben Matthews by my side, bringing my music to life.

I’ve noticed the lyrics and vocals are really central to your music. Was there any particular theme or message you felt tied the album together and why the name DUST?

​The lyrics are incredibly important to both the group’s sound and the way the compositions are shaped as a whole. There’s definitely a sense of melancholy through all of the album. Most songs focus on little flecks of magic or strong emotion found in ordinary everyday life; seeing your Mum cry for the first time, revisiting an old family home, seeing a father’s painting of his daughter that captures her perfectly.

And how did you get into writing and playing original music growing up? Were there any particular artists or even people in your own life that inspired you and made you want to get into it?

​I’ve been full on into music since I can remember. I played clarinet and saxophone all through school, which gave me a strong theory background. Billie Holiday and Nina Simone are probably the most prominent influences in terms of vocalists. Their uniqueness in their own industry definitely inspired me to get into jazz. As for writing music generally, growing up, I was lucky enough to see lots of awesome Australian female composers and vocalists succeeding at what they did like Megan Washington, Sarah Blasko and Kate Miller-Heidke, which made it feel more within my grasp as a career. Women are pretty seriously outnumbered in the music industry, so this was incredibly valuable and I’m not sure I’d be where I am without that example to follow.

You’ve played at Jazz by the Bay a couple of times already, what do you enjoy most about the festival and the south-west as a whole? ​

Being from the South West myself, the most special thing about Jazz by the Bay for me is being able to perform my music in my hometown amongst family and friends I don’t get to see enough anymore. I think the South West region provides a beautiful backdrop for the festival too.

You’re playing one show as a trio and one with your band full band Holli Scott & the Rush Hour Circus​. What can expect from these shows and how will they be different? ​

Our trio gig at Rustico’s will be more in the vein of traditional jazz – back to my roots with lots of swinging jazz standards and familiar ballads with a few original tunes thrown in. The gig at Lions Park with the Rush Hour Circus will be made up entirely of my own original music and arrangements from our brand new album DUST.

What other acts you are looking forward to checking out at Jazz by the Bay and why?

I’d love to check out Chris McNulty and Allira Wilson with Freddie Grigson – both Perth gems!

And what’s up next for yourself and the Rush our Circus in 2019 and beyond? Are there any more shows coming up or more new music in the works?

​New music is always in the works! After Jazz by the Bay, we’ve got a couple of shows coming up in July for the King Street Corner Pocket Festival – a great new vibrant jazz festival in Perth’s CBD.

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