About Wild Silk Strings Project
The Wild Silk Strings Project is a 9-piece ensemble consisting of jazz rhythm section and vocals, trumpet, saxophone and string trio. This cross-genre project grew out of the long-standing musical collaboration between vocalist Ingrid James and Louise, which began with the recording of their 2007 CD, Portrait. The immediate impetus was a 2014 commission from the Brisbane International Jazz Festival for Louise to write a new 3-movement work. Ironically, this work was for drum-less quartet rather than medium-sized jazz chamber ensemble, but it sparked the desire to explore different musical settings for Louise and Ingrid’s music.
A New Researcher Grant from Griffith University allowed Louise to develop the core repertoire for the group and facilitate performances in 2015/16. The repertoire has been drawn from a number of sources. Half the material is Denson and Denson/James originals, ranging from a jazz waltz to tango, bolero and samba. The other half is drawn from classical and popular music (Erik Satie’s “Gnossienne No.1”, Carole King’s “It’s Too Late”, Supertramp’s “The Logical Song”). The arrangements exploit the wide range of timbres and textures available in such a sizable group, and leave room for personal expression in the form of solos. They incorporate changing meters, different time feels, altered melodic phrasing and re-harmonization to give these classic songs a new character and meaning.
WSSP has appeared at the Brisbane International Jazz Festival, the Noosa Jazz Festival, and at a number of venues around Brisbane. In Nov. 2016, Louise and Ingrid were honored to perform the WSSP repertoire in the Wimbledon International Music Festival. The only jazz group on the program and the only Australian artists, they found themselves on stage in the company of a group of highly polished London based professionals and performed to a full house.
A project grant from Arts Queensland and a further grant from the Queensland Conservatorium supported a CD length recording of WSSP in December 2017. The group was pleased to be able to collaborate with drummer/percussionist Todd Harrison, a much sought after player from Baltimore, USA, whose vast knowledge of the rhythms of Central and South American music added depth and excitement to the tracks. The CD will be launched in April 2018.