What was it like growing up in a musical household?
“Not that I have much to compare it with, but I have certainly been surrounded by music in some form or another since before I was born. Having parents rooted in the classical world meant that I was listening to most of the standard repertoire for the violin and cello from a very young age, and began playing the piano aged 5 and the French horn aged 7. Also my step-father Matthew Barley was already beginning to experiment by bridging gaps between classical music, jazz, improvisation and Indian music and he would often share his projects with me and allow me to see what he was up to, which was a huge inspiration. However it wasn’t until I was 20 that I began playing the double bass, at which point I had long since left home.”
Tell us about the band that you’re bringing to The Verdict in Brighton on 30th March.
“The band I am bringing is my own group that I write all the music for. The group has existed in various forms for almost 5 years now, with the current 6-piece line-up for just over 2 years. We all met either at university or music college, and all of us were on a London jazz course, and as well as playing in my band all the other members have their own groups that they run (which some of us play in also) and we are all part of a collaborative big band called the Patchwork Jazz Orchestra. I have recorded two albums with my band and right now we still perform most of the music from both of them, as well as some more recent compositions.”
How would you describe your music?
“Most reviews I have received for either of my albums have commented on the broad variety of my music (whether a good or bad thing), and so it is quite hard to describe my music as there are so many different styles and influences there. A set played by my band would contain elements of classical music, swing, eccentric modern Jazz and music inspired by Eastern Europe, the Middle-East and South America – so quite a lot. But one thing I can guarantee is that we always have fun playing whatever the music is.”
Do you have plans for another album?
“Not yet, since I put a lot of energy into my first two albums that were pretty much back to back (I began organising Cross-Platform Interchange shortly after the New Ansonia tour ended) and so I am enjoying a period of just performing, organising projects with other groups (in particular my recordings for the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists’ scheme) and writing. However my band does already have around half an album’s worth of music that we perform already in addition to the older songs, and I could imagine recording a third album at some point next year.”
Misha Mullov-Abbado performs at The Verdict, Brighton on Friday 30th March as part of New Generation Jazz.
For more on Misha: https://mishamullovabbado.com
[Q&A conducted by Charlie Anderson. Photo by Aga Tomaszek]