James Muller

James Muller

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Like a lot of 12 year olds, Muller was initially impressed by rock's pantheon of guitar players, and for a while was especially drawn by heavy metal. By 15, James had discovered jazz and fusion, and for him there was no looking back.

By the time of his move to Sydney, Muller had already cut an independent album of jazz "No You Don't" and having joined Andrew Gander's Trio, was soon sitting in with some of the biggest names in Australian jazz, from Vince Jones to Dale Barlow to Jim Kelly. The next step was setting up his own trio with a couple of like-minded players and bassist Adam Armstrong and drummer Craig Naughton proved the ideal rhythm section.

The thing that stands out about Muller's playing, which you can hear on his lasted CD "All Out" is his unorthodox - for jazz - approach. The guitar's tone, for a start, has a "dirty" edginess to it that's closer to rock, while his improvisations see him stepping out beyond the usual modes and melodic riffs to surprise the listener with the odd "out note".

"It's just a modern thing and I guess very fusionistic too. Out notes, or wrong notes, are used to create a sort of colour, and I like that sound now and then - just to try and make things a bit more interesting. I guess my aim is to get the free sound of jazz with some of the harmony used more often in fusion," said James.

Along with six James Muller originals, his latest CD, "All Out" features a cut each from the two guest horn players on the album, Tim Hopkins and Andrew Robson, as well as an electic reading of the Romberg/Hammerstein classic, "Softly As In A Morning Sunrise".

As Jim McLeod suggests quite rightly in his liner notes to "All Out", "Rarely does a musician arrive on the jazz scene with such an impact as James Muller." With "All Out" Muller has quite definitely "arrived".

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