Ruby Rogers

Ruby Rogers

Over the past twelve months, Ruby Rogers has become one of the biggest names in the Melbourne scene. From playing at jam sessions throughout many local pubs she is just one of the acts that is descending upon Castlemaine over the long weekend in June for the Castlemaine Jazz Festival.
“It’s the first year of the festival and it’s really exciting to be playing on the bill. The concept for the festival developed out of taking all the wonderful bands that play at the jam nights to the festival. I’m very excited for the organisers because it’s building up to be a great event. I was talking to Ted the other day, and there is going to be 50 bands and 200 musicians playing,” Rogers said.
Although the majority of the music in Ruby Rogers Experience is jazz, there is also a little bit of exploration into the grooves of the music, and at times it does get a little bit funky. “Jazz is a wonderful genre of music but there is a broad array of sounds being explored. Clunk Orchestra, another one of the bands I am playing with at the festival, put their own spin on jazz standards and at times it gets a little bit rock. People seem to think that jazz is fairly one-dimensional and it really isn’t. There are so many possibilities and anybody that comes to the festival will see that.”
Growing up as a teenager listening to the records of the day was a big influence on the start of Ruby’s singing career, as she relates. “In my twenties, we’d go out and party and have such a good time. We’d come home and put on Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin and then in the morning when the hangover kicked in, we’d listen to Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald. When I left home it was a very musical experience, and after going to many blues jams, I just started singing. It was very healthy listening to all different types of music in those days. I listen to Hendrix now and I can hear a lot of jazz in his playing, I can hear the complexities to the music that I was unaware of previously.”
Giving up the singing for a while, Rogers took up playing the drums and in an absence of singers around eight years ago got back to leading the band. It would be a spectacle if Rogers were to get up behind the kit at the festival; however, that is unlikely to be the case.
With a line-up featuring Dean Constable on drums, Ben Hooper on keys, Ben Stewart on guitar and Avi Ganesan on bass, The Ruby Rogers Experience is looking to be a definite highlight at the upcoming festival. In terms of what you can expect to hear from the setlist, there is a lot of different material from the likes of Koko Taylor, Miles Davis, Reneé Geyer, Marvin Gaye and Sharon Jones to name but just a few. This clearly illustrates Rogers’ belief that there is much diversity in jazz and room to hear things that you wouldn’t usually expect.
The band is looking at writing and recording in the next twelve months, so make sure to keep your eyes on their Facebook page for all the updates.
When&Where: Castlemaine Jazz Festival – June 7 & 8
Written by Tex Miller