Bassist brings New York to Wellington by Sam Hollis
Bassist Ollie Bomann moved to New York City when he was 19. We can all fabricate an image of the city’s jazz joints – dark, dingy, clouded in ciggy smoke – but what Bomann discovered was musical freedom. It’s that sense of spontaneity and experimentation that he aspires to feed into Wellington’s jazz scene with the Ollie Bomann Quartet.
Upon arriving in NYC, the bassist was struck by the sheer volume of working musicians creating, practising, and thinking about jazz 24-7, desperately searching for whatever was to come next.
“I never imagined how many possible perspectives about jazz there could be,” Bomann says. “Living and performing there exposed me to all sorts of different niches and sub-scenes of the culture.”
Back home, Bomann devours the music of post-bop greats like Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, and Joe Henderson. He calls this era “one of the most significant divergences from the jazz tradition that even today we have still not seen”.
“It is that degree of compositional and improvisational imagery that has motivated both my playing and compositions, regardless of whether I’m playing bass in a funk band or jazz quartet.”
The Ollie Bomann Quartet will strive to capture this spirit when they play Lovebite on the 29th of April, presented by the Wellington Jazz Cooperative. The group comprises Bomann on upright bass, James Guilford-Smith on trumpet, Leonardo Coghini on keys, and Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa on drums. Favouring simple melodies and chords to construct infectious grooves, the quartet will perform original compositions by all members along with cuts by the aforementioned legends. This creates space for variety in tempo, intensity, and style, as well as an experimental approach to improvisation.
“My personal mantra, ‘set your default to discovery’”.