April is Jazz Appreciation Month

16 Apr 2020

Meet Nick Quigley, the very talented CEO of Jazz Music Institute in Bowen Hills.

Jazz hands at the ready, Brisbane!

In anticipation of April being Jazz Appreciation Month, we sat down with the friendly CEO of Jazz Music Institute (JMI), Nick Quigley, to talk music, King St, and all that jazz.

Tell us about your background, professionally and personally!

I’m a bass player and administrator born-and-bred in Brisbane, and was raised in a musical family. I started playing trumpet at the age of 8 and took up playing bass at the age of 15. My mother was also a really accomplished administrator, and was the personal secretary to two different Australian Prime Ministers, so I’ve always been interested in administration and being behind the scenes, making things run.

JMI is our family business that started when I was 10 years old, so I would spend my school holidays helping out as a “receptionist” as a child! I started working for JMI in a formal capacity back in 2010 when we became a private Higher Education Provider and took over from my father as CEO of the organisation in 2015. Two of my three siblings also work at JMI, and the three of us form the management of the school, so it’s got a really nice community vibe about the place.

Why do you love jazz?

I don’t know what I’d do without it, to be honest! I love that jazz is equally about self-expression and collaboration at the same time. To me, it provides a vehicle for both self and collective expression like no other art form. You can go to another country where they don’t speak a word of English, and still have a musical conversation with people that you couldn’t even speak to otherwise. You can really connect on a deep level with those people.

There’s a great quote from legendary jazz drummer, Art Blakey, who said, “Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life”. I think that sums it up.

Jazz Appreciation Month is officially here! How is JMI helping people experience concerts in a different way this month?

JMI will be continuing to present our weekly concerts on Thursday nights from our venue, JMI Live, which will be live streamed to our YouTube channel and Facebook account. So, the music certainly won’t stop and we’ll have an opportunity to hear some of the finest jazz from some of Brisbane and Australia’s finest jazz musicians directly to everyone’s homes!

You can subscribe to our YouTube channel here, or go to our Facebook page to access live streamed events. We hope to offer some more live streamed events in the coming months as well, so stay connected to us on our socials for more information on that.

What would you say is the most underrated instrument when it comes to playing jazz?

I’m a double bass player, so my biased opinion would be the bass!

But in saying that, I think the hardest instrument to master in jazz, is the drums. As a drummer, you become the “director” of the ensemble and the level of coordination and touch required to be a good jazz drummer is probably underrated.

What do you wish more people knew about the Jazz Music Institute?

JMI is the only organisation in Australia that has direct links and collaborations with Jazz at Lincoln Center, which is the largest jazz organisation in the world led by the legendary Wynton Marsalis.

We offer a range of jazz courses for anyone and everyone interested in jazz, whether you’re a complete novice or an experienced player, and from casual classes and lessons to a fully accredited Bachelor degree that’s considered as the best tertiary course in Australia for quality of entire educational experience. We have the highest rating for student satisfaction out of all universities and private Higher Education providers in Australia.

What's your favourite thing about King St?

I really love how vibrant the precinct has become in such a short space of time. It’s a lovely area to hang out and has a great range of bars, restaurants, and cafes for everyone to enjoy. It just has a good vibe about it.