On the Couch with Holly Moore

MIJF-Holly-MooreWho is Holly Moore?
I am a Melbourne based freelance jazz saxophonist, composer and teacher. I grew up in the inner north-west suburbs of Melbourne playing a lot of hockey and music and the music stuck! I was living in New York City for a year and recently returned at the end of 2019, and am now back home playing and teaching in Melbourne.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I’m not sure, I can’t imagine doing anything else! I’d love to do some touring and travel more when it’s a possibility again. I’ve also always been interested working in community based arts projects – so maybe that’d be something a bit different.

Who inspires you and why?
I find the people around me constantly inspiring. I’m grateful to have grown up in a family where we all do completely different things, their passion and dedication to their fields is always motivating and inspiring to me. I feel really lucky to have so many creative friends that are always doing really cool things that push me to think differently and to keep making new music. I also have an endless list of musicians that I find inspiring like Lee Konitz, Tony Malaby and Keith Jarrett, but really the list could just go on and on.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I often think about how I can make a difference being a musician, I think it’s all about building community and engaging with all different kinds of people, which I think is important. As I’m pretty set in the jazz world it’s important to acknowledge that it is an inherently political music, so it’s crucial for me to understand this and use it to propel my music forward. In an ideal world I would ensure everybody has access to education and that governments addressed climate change seriously. As an individual, I think it’s really important to show up – to protest, to vote consciously, to be an advocate and an ally, to reduce waste and focus on sustainability.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
New York City is my favourite place in the world! The energy in the city is like nothing else… and the music too! I can’t wait to go back, hopefully sooner rather than later.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I am all about food and coffee in Melbourne, so I love taking people out to eat. Some of my favourite places are Smith and Deli, Very Good Falafel and Moroccan Soup Bar. I also love taking people out to see music when they are in town to places like the Jazzlab, Rooks Return and the Fitzroy Pinnacle.

What are you currently reading?
I have a couple books on the go – Michelle Obama’s autobiography Becoming and Three Women by Lisa Taddeo.

What are you currently listening to?
I’ve been listening to a bit of a mix – a lot of Kenny Garrett, Jackie McLean, Lizzo and D’Angelo. I’m also a bit of a podcast fiend and always try to stay up to date with episodes of the Daily, the NPR politics podcast and 7am.

Happiness is?
An outdoor pub gig on a sunny afternoon with good friends and a good beer!

What does the future hold for you?
Everything is pretty uncertain right now! I’m going to be in Melbourne for the next few years and will be continuing to work on my music and hopefully record my first album in the near future. I would also love to continue focusing my teaching on developing jazz education programs to high school students in Melbourne.

Holly will debut a new suite of music commissioned as part of the Take Note program on Saturday 25 July at 3.45pm as part of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival’s These Digital Times. For more information, visit: www.melbournejazz.com for details.

Image: Holly Moore (supplied)