Paul Gunn brings decades of music history with his music. The tones and compositions he creates are something unique, a peek into the past. His vocals are instantly recognizable, and the songs he has are like walking into a fair. Melodic extravaganza. This is his latest single, The Octopus.
How did this genre of lounge jazz find you? Who are your big inspirations for you to choose this?
Is it lounge Jazz? This is a dance beat; Soca from the Latin Caribbean played by David Rohoman from Guyana on drums. What genre is my music? Er…. dunno. My inspiration comes from a whole life of diverse listening and the accumulation of unconscious experience and desires (and frustrations). Much to my bemusement I have been compared to Zappa, Bowie, Rick Wakeman, and Andrew Lloyd-Webber (just chuck in Benny Hill and The Wombles and you’ve got the full house!).
Is it salsa, is it swing-even Paul Gunn doesn’t know sometimes. It is a tip of the hat to the Rat Pack, a class of music that many people would have never experienced. As the percussion takes charge, the instrumentals bounce with a peppy energy. This is the kind of sound that transcends genres, maybe a musicians’ chemistry got this song together. Paul Gunn steals the show instantly with his vocals, a baritone that precedes the kind of arrangement that is about to come together. The alchemy between these instrument players is something of a talking point in a song like this.
Harnessing the tentacles
Through The Octopus, what are the fragments of time you’re putting together? What decades of music?
I have always liked the popular culture of the 60s, there seems to have been a freshness and innocence which has been lost. It was also a time of social mobility, unlike now.
In the time between I Beg to Differ and The Octopus, what were your endeavours in music like?
Thank you for mentioning ‘I Beg To Differ’, I’m very proud of that song! My endeavours in music were painful like everyone else’s at that time. Covid arrived together with political stupidity. Live music , which is my life, was closed down. I struggle on, I refuse to compromise.
Whether it becomes the soft piano accompaniment in the background, or the percussion or sax taking charge, it is a scintillating experience. Paul is a passionate advocate for live music, there is a soul and feel to it that can never be compromised. The Octopus shows just that, resolve and expressing joy and emotion through music.
Is this a teaser for something bigger? Are we thinking an album, maybe?
Maybe we are thinking an album! I hope to find the resources to release a new album on vinyl to flog to millionaires at my gigs. I’m just two steps away from total success; all I need to do is find some gigs and then find some millionaires.
Does it strike you as an epiphany, that a certain instrument should take away the solo in a certain section?
I just looked up Epiphany. It means various things including “A sudden insight or intuitive understanding” . That is totally it – so a good choice of word by you! The Saxophone is played by Josephine Davies (UK Parliamentary Jazz Awards Instrumentalist of The Year 2019).
She beautifully and intuitively improvises in reply to my vocal line, weaving new melody and grace into the piece. Given that improvisation of this sort is instant, you could say indeed she shows her skill for sudden insight and intuitive understanding. It is a privilege to play with great musicians such as this.
His 2018 single I Beg to Differ now sounds like a receded Dave Brubeck reimagination. It has been close to 5 years since then, and Paul has a lot of perspective and inspiration. You’ll definitely hear it if your intention is to truly experience this sound.
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Self professed metalhead, moderately well read. If the music has soul, it's whole to me. The fact that my bio could have ended on a rhyme and doesn't should tell you a lot about my personality.