Interview With Jessie Gordon

Jessie Gordon is the lead singer of Perth outfit The Darling Buds of May, as well as a regular in the Perth scene. She is in several shows during Perth’s FRINGEWORLD. The Australia Times Theatre caught up with her to get an insight into her Fringe experience.

The Australia Times Theatre (TATT): How did The Darling Buds of May come about?

Jessie Gordon (JG): We used to play together when we were very young in a youth orchestra called the Kalamunda Youth Swing Band. I think Leah and Dom and Mark had a few gigs as a three piece and then at some point they thought getting a singer might be a good idea… That was over 10 years ago!

TATT: What is it about jazz music and the golden age of swing that you love?

JG: It’s one of the earliest forms of widely available commercial music, one of the first genres of pop music. It had and still has such a wide appeal because it was dance music and there are so many reasons I love it! It swings. It has beautifully complex chords. It has melodies that are rich and lush. It’s danceable and listenable and loveable! 

TATT: De Parel Spiegeltent is a great venue for you, where do you usually play when Fringe isn’t on?

JG: I do a pretty regular duo gig at Swallow Bar, I’m at the Ellington every now and then, and the rest of the time I’m singing in my lounge room irritating my neighbours. 

TATT: How do you find that Fringe audiences respond to your work? It’s so toe-tapping I can hardly imagine it would be a still crowd!

JG: It really depends on the time of day and the heat! Sometimes people are happy to sit and listen and be mellow but appreciative. Sometimes you can see they want to get up and dance and they are really animated and loud. The loud audiences are the greatest to play for because their energy just feeds into everything you do on stage. 

TATT: Everyone in the ensemble is so talented, how much fun do you all have together?

JG: Unquantifiable. It’s a pretty rewarding life. It’s like a family, so we fight ALL THE TIME, but we are also pretty fiercely loving and supportive of each other.

TATT: You’re in several shows, and with regards to Dirty Blues, is this a first outing of you singing the blues at Fringe World?

JG: It is! I’ve sung a few blues songs in other shows, but this is my first whole blues show and I’m really excited for it. It’s a totally different style of singing and I’ve been working on it for a few years and I hope it’s as enjoyable for people to hear and it is satisfying for me to sing!

TATT: Apart from your shows, what would you recommend seeing during Fringe?

JG: See anything with Frisky and Mannish or Captain Frodo. Also check out what Gelo Company are putting on by way of comedians! My good friend Bart Freebairn is coming over from Melbourne and he is *hilarious*. His shows are Feb 19-21.

TATT: What’s next for The Darling Buds of May?

JG: We’re looking at recording another CD this year, and we have a few gigs coming up (Ellington, April 29th for anyone who wants to come along!), but I think mostly we’ll be recuperating post fringe and discovering what sleep feels like again.

The Darling Buds of May: The Swing Revue
Sat 13 Feb, Sun 14, Mon 15, Tues 16, and Wed 17 Feb @ 6pm
De Parel Spiegeltent, Urban Orchard, Perth Cultural Centre

The Swing Revue showcases Perth jazz sextet The Darling Buds of May with some of Perth’s greatest jazz musicians! This year’s Swing Revue features Jessie Gordon, Libby Hammer, Ali Bodycoat, Ricki Malet and the syncopated three part harmony of the Cottontail Trio.

‘Simply, The Swing Revue is fantastic… The show collectively charmed its audience with its off-beat asides, silly banter and a warmth that showed their obvious closeness – from insulting one another onstage, to the spontaneous group photo taken mid-song, The Swing Revue seemed like a group of friends enjoying a night out.’ Great About Perth

Jessie Gordon in Dirty Blues: The Sinning Edition
Wed 17, Thurs 18, Fri 19, Sat 20 and Sun 21 Feb @ 10pm
De Parel Spiegeltent, Urban Orchard, Perth Cultural Centre

The blues has always been about trouble. And there are many different kinds of trouble. Some kinds make you want to weep and moan, some kinds make you want to howl at the moon, but most kinds begin or end in sinning. Join Jessie Gordon’s Dirty Blues band in a soul-full, heart-heavy, lust-inducing musical journey of trouble, sin and joy. “Singer Jessie Gordon is superb, her vocals are flawless, she encapsulates the style of the time and delivers each song with charisma and charm” – Out in Perth, Jan 2015

The Cottontail Trio – The Golden Era of Swing
Thurs 18, Fri 19, Sat 20 and to Sun 21 Feb 2016
De Parel Spiegeltent, Urban Orchard, Perth Cultural Centre

Cottontail Trio are three dazzling Perth women with a deep abiding love for Andrews Sisters style three-part harmony. With vintage hair and dance moves to match, Jessie, Amy and Alissa will take you on a journey through popular harmony music from the Golden Era of Swing, backed by their six-piece band The Supper Club.

“…the Cottontail Trio’s harmonies shone like a nearby stellar formation. The band – The Supper Club – made up of the horns: clarinet, trumpet and saxophone, and rhythm section: upright bass, acoustic guitar and drums – were world class. Each and every new song was as slick as the previous one.” – The Music, 2014