JazzColumbus.com Interview Series: Josh Hindmarsh

Next in our series of interviews with some of Central Ohio’s finest jazz musicians is guitarist Josh Hindmarsh. Originally from New Zealand, Hindmarsh is an internationally accomplished musician and educator who has been featured on albums and shared the stage with jazz and blues giants like Ronnie Cuber, Roy Hargrove, Joey DeFrancesco, Bobby Floyd, Gene Walker, and Mike Clark. Hindmarsh recently moved to Columbus for the second time – In his first stint in 2009-10, he established himself in the local scene, performing with talent like Floyd and Pete Mills. After six years in New York City, he has returned to Columbus and is now active again in the area as a performer and jazz educator, which he has documented at his informative website. Hindmarsh has two local appearances this week, including a feature at Tuesday’s Jam Session at Park Street Tavern and leading a new group Saturday at Maria’s Lounge in Reynoldsburg, which he details below. Hindmarsh was kind enough to answer our questions – keep reading for insights into his musical background and career:

When and why did you start playing music and jazz?

Josh Hindmarsh (JH): In New Zealand on my father’s farm, a friend came for the holidays and brought his electric guitar…I was hooked…after begging my father for one, my dad skipped a mortgage payment and bought me an electric guitar and amp, I still hear his words clearly in my head: “Josh…this better not be a phase!”…I’m still playing Dad!

Who are some of your main influences in your playing/performing?

JH: My big 3 – Wes Montgomery, George Benson and Pat Martino, and of course all the other jazz greats on all instruments! Getting to hear live music influences me always, and hearing it live is a big part of the assimilation process.

What is your fondest musical memory?

JH: My first jazz club gig, when at 18 I won a college scholarship of cash and bought my archtop guitar, and also did a concert with the lecturers…I remember it clearly because it was the first time I experienced the musical interaction fully. During my solo I left a space between musical phrases and “Pow!,” I heard the drums answer me…I did it again and “Ba Doom Bup!” This was the moment when I truly understood group interplay in jazz, and it is something I have always strived for ever since.

What are you listening to today? What’s on your playlist?

JH: I have been listening to a lot of early Wes Montgomery of course, and Pat Martino and George Benson. There always seems to be finer details that reveal themselves upon each listening!

What inspires you about the Columbus Jazz scene?

JH: The Midwest swing feel – relaxed and grooving…the community spirit and the generosity of the great jazz figures here…Bobby Floyd, Pete Mills, Tony Monaco, Reggie Jackson,Tom Carroll and many more…all these guys are helping the younger musicians with the jam session mentoring situation, which is a vital learning process for anyone interested in mastering the jazz idiom.

How would you describe the jazz scene in Australia and New Zealand? What do you think are the main similarities or differences between jazz Down Under and jazz in Columbus?

JH: The jazz scene in New Zealand and Australia is very unique, with a lot of emphasis on originality. While living there, I found that while I enjoyed composing and being creative, I also gravitated towards the feeling of swing. Hearing recordings of Wes Montgomery, who lived in Columbus when he was 12, as well George Benson and Pat Martino started me on a search which led me here to Columbus and the Midwest. On my gigs you are going to hear a mix of the Midwest swing feel with some “Down Under” flavor! Hopefully it will make people tap their feet and enjoy themselves.

What are you working on currently? Any new projects, exciting shows or releases?

JH:I’m performing with my new group, the Josh Hindmarsh Soul Jazz Syndicate, which features Bobby Floyd protege Dominic Baer on organ and part-time New York resident Kyle Rowland on drums, as well as some special guests on horns and percussion. It’s an exciting project performing tunes by Grant Green, George Benson and Jimmy Smith in the soul jazz genre. We are going to be at Maria’s Lounge in Reynoldsburg on Saturday, August 20th at 9pm. It’s a great place for music and they have music every night. Come out and support the local Columbus talent. I’m writing some material for an upcoming CD, and practicing lots…and I have a great educational component to my website – www.joshhindmarsh.com. If you are a guitarist interested in jazz, then I highly recommend it!

Where can local audiences see you play in the near future?

JH: I’m playing at Park Street Tavern on Tuesday, August 16th at 8:30pm as a guest at the weekly Jam Session. Come out and see what great jazz Columbus has to offer!

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