With 20 recordings, numerous awards and overseas festival performances to his name, Joe Chindamo reflects, “In Australia, I’ve come to that point where I need something else.” And so we find ourselves spoiled for choice this month, with his performances ranging from a new adaption of Bach’s 'Goldberg Variations' with violinist Zoe Black, to playing a series of gigs in a jazz trio.
Chindamo insists that the musical direction he has taken since partnering with Black is not of the “classical meets jazz’” ilk. “It’s not just a rearrangement,” he says. “When I take a Chopin prelude, I only keep the original melody and I rewrite the whole thing from the ground up.”
For their performance of last year’s album, Reimaginings, in Melbourne’s Recital Centre, the duo are premiering a violin work Chindamo composed, to be played alongside 'Goldberg Variations'. Every pianist gets to that juncture where they want to perform the Bach composition, Chindamo says, but Glenn Gould played them so brilliantly that in order to justify attempting them, Chindamo had to approach them as a composer. He chose not to emulate Bach’s style but rather to compose something contemporary while fitting with the original – and the concert will include a sample of the variations and reworking of the music of composers such as Puccini.
Over April, Chindamo also has three Thursday night residencies at Bennetts Lane with bassist Philip Rex and drummer Danny Fischer. “It’s a bit of a powerhouse trio,” he says, adding that the long-running, much-loved club is a great place to return to your roots.
“It’s almost like inviting people into a nighttime workshop,” he says appreciatively. “You can do things you can’t do if you only have an hour on stage at a festival.”