Elissa Rodger is heading back to Ballarat, her hometown to sing some jazz, Sunday June 23rd 2019. Performing at Ballarat’s newest artful venue the Stables event space at the Pub with Two Names or PWTN. Elissa will be joined by Matt Hoyne (guitar), Scott Meley (bass) and Aaron Mc Cullough (drums).

JAZZ Series Q Elissa we believe you were raised on Jazz in Ballarat. What music and musicians did this include?

Elissa Rodger A I was raised on all kinds of music during my childhood, but especially early vocal jazz. My mother was a big Doris Day fan and that had a big impact on me. My parents always took our family to live shows, musicals, cabaret shows, ballet pretty much everything Ballarat had to offer and all of that had a massive impact on me!

JAZZ Series Q Do you have a fond memory of this time?

Elissa Rodger A I have two that jump out to me. I remember one Sunday my parents took the family out for lunch at a cafe that had free live jazz, I believe I was about 9 or 10. This was probably the first time I seen a live jazz quartet and I distinctly remember thinking that they were the coolest people I’ve ever seen in my life! I wish I knew the name of the restaurant or the band so I could let them know their impact on me!

The second is when we went to see ‘Oliver’ that was showing in Her Maj, probably around the same time as the previous story and I instantly fell in love with the magic of the theatre. The orchestra warming up and then when the curtain rises and you see the set for the first time, It was so amazing to me as a child!

JAZZ Series Q Has Ballarat played a big part in your musical journey?

Elissa Rodger A I know for certain that I wouldn’t be where I am today with all the opportunities Ballarat provided me with. There are so many performance outlets in Ballarat and an endless amount of people who are going out of their way to help you grow and learn and offer your performance opportunities. I don’t think you would get that in a big city.

JAZZ Series Q What’s your favourite thing about Ballarat?

Elissa Rodger A Although Ballarat has a pretty steadily growing population it still has a huge sense of community. Everyone I’ve know worked with in Ballarat have so much time and energy to give one another. There’s a sense that if one person succeeds then everyone succeeds! No tall poppy syndrome!

JAZZ Series Q Tell us about your fellow musicians. How long have you been performing together?

Elissa Rodger A I have been incredibly lucky to play with the guys in my band. Matt Hoyne (Guitar) has been there from almost day one of the band forming and he really is my right-hand-man to bounce ideas off and I really respect his opinion and trust his judgement. Scott Mealy (Bass) is possibly the nicest, warmest person you will ever meet and it really shows in his playing. And Aaron McCullough (Drums) is a total powerhouse, he (literally) holds the tunes together. I’m constantly pinching myself that these world-class musicians want to play with me!

JAZZ Series Q What’s the best thing about live jazz performances?

Elissa Rodger A Jazz is different to a lot of live performances. It is unexpected and spontaneous. It gives you this incredible sense of connection with the players, because you’re experiencing this one-off improvisation or interpretation which will never be repeated again. Also I love how really good jazz players can communicate with each other with just their instruments.

JAZZ Series Q What live music performance made a lasting impression on you and why?

Elissa Rodger A Oh boy. So many! one in particular was seeing Kurt Elling at the Wangaratta jazz festival when I was in year 11. I had just discovered his music about 6 months prior and was obsessed! I remember just crying through 90% of the gig because it was so good! I went full fan-girl!

JAZZ Series Q Tell us more about what’s in store for the JAZZ series performance at the PWTN (The Pub With Two Names Sunday 23rd June.

Elissa Rodger A It is going to be a really fun gig! The genre ‘Jazz’ can be extremely broad and a little overwhelming, but ours is very accessible. There will be songs that you recognises and modern interpretations of some fantastic classic tunes. It’s a good gig for your aunt or friend who is on the fence about jazz. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and we like having fun when playing!

Spend an afternoon in the heart of Ballarat, The PWTN is located opposite the Ballarat Civic Hall in Mair Street Ballarat. Tickets available from Ballarat Tickets.