The Jazz Connection
It seems much of Australia--and the world--is falling under the influence of etypejazz.
All members of the popular quintet--Beth Lyon, Katrina Ryan, Ritsuko, Damien Eldridge and Mike Haynes--boast University of Adelaide music degrees and met during their studies.
Beth and Ritsuko formed the band while they were students in 1994, along with three other then-students. Damien and Mike joined later, with Katrina replacing long-time singer Lisa Michelle in July 2004.
With their seventh album Under The Influence just released and a loyal following locally and interstate, it could be easy to forget how tough the early days were for etypejazz.
"It was a lot of hard work when we first started," Beth says. "We were young and didn't know much about the business of running a band--we just had to learn as we went along.
"I spent thousands of hours pounding the streets, handing out demo tapes to anyone who'd listen and who might give us a gig.
"We just wanted to play--we were doing a performance degree, not a teaching degree, and we wanted to perform."
Fast forward 10 years, and the band has twice been voted Australia's best live jazz act (2002 and 2003), and sold tens of thousands of its independently recorded and produced albums.
"There is a real sense of connection within the band--we genuinely respect each other's abilities and enjoy listening to each other play," Katrina says.
"So I think audiences pick up on that connection between us, but we also aim to make sure we connect as a group with the audience and give them as much entertainment as we can."
Mike says the group's time at University has played no small part in its current success. "I think one of the best things about the jazz course at Adelaide is the networking that you can do," he says.
"You're surrounded by like-minded people who all want to play the best music they can--for us, this networking turned out to be this fantastic opportunity to become etypejazz." ■
Story Ben Osborne