The Hanlon Brothers are actually brothers. Well, two of the band are. Saia Hanlon and Omar Hanlon have a well documented connection to the Gold Coast and Burleigh in particular. It’s where they grew up, it’s where they live and work now. When we met for their photoshoot it was in an alleyway in Burleigh. When we get together to chat Gold Coast music, it’s in a café in Burleigh. Saia teaches drums there. And they’re quick to spruik the connection.
2015-16 has been a big year for the band and for Saia and Omar in particular. They were the first ever musicians named Emerging Artist of the Year at the Gold Coast Music Awards which saw them go on to talks with major labels such as Warner Music and Roc Nation. They scored a coveted spot at Woodford Folk Festival and played to rave reviews. They were the headlining act for the Gold Coast Music Awards in June and this month they’re headlining Broadbeach Jazz Weekend – just up the road from their beloved Burleigh.
Around hectic media commitments, Saia chatted with Blank GC about their upcoming set. It’s impressive for the Gold Coast to even have a jazz festival, let alone one of this standard. Saia is excited, as you’d expect.
“It’s so cool,” he said. “I mean to have such world class acts at a local free festival says it all!”
“For a while, the jazz scene was just hanging in there, but it seems to be growing with the younger generation and we’ll take that,” Saia said.
“We love jazz festivals because unlike other festivals and even our other shows, being under the jazz umbrella, we have the freedom to push creatively and take the show virtually where we want to.”
He said fans can expect some originals, some improv and a few tributes to the artists they love. And improv is something the Hanlon Brothers are fast building a name for. They’ve just released a live album of improv tracks (Live Improv Sessions Vol 1), recorded at the Brisbane Jazz Club last year.
“This album is exciting for us as it’s another line of material we’re heading down,” Saia said.
“Aside from our usual studio albums, it’s a fun process.”
“We start with some chordal arrangements, play a groove and then ask the crowd for some words and voila. A song created from thin air. It’s a journey for the listener because they come on a ride musically and hear the song unfold as they listen.”
So, fellow music lovers look lively. Hanlon Brothers will bring that improv funk to Broadbeach for free next weekend. But their music comes with a serious warning. See them live just once, and you’ll be hooked.
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Hanlon Brothers join Bustamento, Monica Trapaga, Andrew Baxter Band, Brandon Lee, Caxton Street Jazz Band, Maggie Britton and a heap more world-class jazz acts at Broadbeach Jazz Weekend which runs 20 – 21 August. More at broadbeachjazz.com