New Zealand's ablest gat-man Joel Haines has finally released his debut solo release 'Seniah LeoJ' The Haines name has long association with Jazz, through the work of Joel, brother Nathan (Reeds and Flute) and Father Kevin (Double Bass) So is Joel's new record Jazz?
"No," claims Joel, "although improvisation is what I use and something I learned from Jazz' and he concedes, 'there are some Jazz forms on there [the album]."
"But I don't like to use the terms Jazz, because I believe Jazz has been misinterpreted, people don't know what it is." Certainly the album has more of a moody, soundtrack feel than one of Jazz in the 1960 Blue Note paradigm; does this mean that Joel goes along with Wynton Marselis's views on 'the Golden Era of Jazz' that must be preserved (not diluted)?
Haines laughs, "It's funny you say that," he responds, "one night me and my band were playing down at Manifesto, and Wynton and his band came down to check us out."
Members of Wynton's band commented that they preferred the Haines brand of Jazz to the old-school Duke Ellington Jazz that they were in to town to play.
"They told me our stuff reminded them of their bands at home: having fun, playing what we want to play."
The 'Seniah LeoJ' album contains material up to 6 months old, mostly recorded in a two week period, "the recording part of the process is no big deal, because I play every day."
Haines's perfectionist streak saw him recording everything on the album, the only sound that's not a guitar is a 'shaker' [percussion instrument] on one track. "The orchestral sounds on the record are created by bowing the guitar 'Jimmy Page' style" says Joel, laughing. The longest part of the creation process was the mixing "because I'm pretty anal about it" taking 2-3 months mixing in Joel's home studio.
Whilst the recording was painstaking it seems naming was unimportant, "We picked names out of a hat," Joel revealed, "the only song that had a name the whole way through was Charmaine's song", referring to the lady in his life.
What does the mp3 format, and mp3.net.nz in particular, mean to Joel Haines? "I'm right into it," said Joel, "It means you can DIY it. It makes it all practical, with a world-wide audience and this site gives you the option to sell your own material."
"I finished my record ['Seniah LeoJ'] two weeks ago and just selling it through my own contacts I've made more money than Nathan [Haines] made off [his first album] 'Shift Left'"; referring to the high break-evens built into standard record company contracts, with promotion costs removed.
Recently Joel has been involved with the new Human Instinct album of which he says, 'it's great to be involved with people like Maurice Greer who were making music way back when.'
Asked the obligatory 'is there something in the Haines genes that makes you guys so good?' question, Joel smiles, acknowledging that he's part of a NZ musical dynasty (as close as we've got to one).
"Respect is due to my Father really," referring to Kevin Haines, "he's the only person to have taught me. He taught me the sounds of jazz."
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