Aura – At Melbourne Jazz Fest

By James Gaunt.

After last year’s festival was cancelled, this December crowds will be returning to the Melbourne Jazz Festival. To celebrate, we’re looking at some of the programs highlights, including Aura.

Made up of Flora Carbo (Alto Saxophone), Audrey Powne (Trumpet), Tamara Murphy (Double Bass), and Kyrie Anderson (Drums), Aura released their debut self-titled album in February this year.

Ahead of their appearance at the Melbourne Jazz Festival, I caught up with Flora and Kyrie to talk about their ensemble.

How did Aura come together, did you all meet in Melbourne?

Flora: Well, no, I’d met Kyrie before, and I knew Audrey and had met Helen once, and then we all went to this jazz workshop in Banff, Canada. It was just this weird thing where we were coming from the same place and finding this connection with each other that felt really magical.

How long had you been playing together then before you recorded your album?

Kyrie: A week! We recorded it in Banff, and the amazing thing about this course is you get to play live gigs and record. So we put our names down to use the studio for an hour or two, and crammed in a 30 minute rehearsal, and just kind of winged this album. Then when we listened back to it, we were like, this sounds great. It was magical. Everything about it was cool.

Because the album has its base in improvisation, how far does an Aura live show stray from the recorded album?

Flora: I feel like this has been the strangest time to start a project like this because we made the album near the end of 2019 and then Kyrie was in Adelaide, Helen was in Europe, and we couldn’t all be in the same room until we had a gig. So that lends itself to a lot of freshness and there’s things that change and things we forget.

Kyrie: Luckily those tunes lend themselves to doing fresh collaborative ideas right on the spot.

Will you all be back together for the Jazz Festival?

Flora: Helen is unable to play this gig with us so Tamara Murphy is going to be filling in, which is super exciting but it’s also a little bit sad that Helen can’t be there. 

Kyrie: Yeah, it’s just been all up in the air. We had no idea who was actually going to make this gig, which is crazy.

Flora: I think that’s where we thrive though. Just a little bit of chaos. Rock up, remember who we are, and then we go for it. It’s good.

Can we expect another Aura album?

Flora: I mean, because we haven’t been able to be in the same space that often, it’s sort of just one of those little dreams that we’ve got at the moment.

Kyrie: Yeah, even though we’re all so busy in different projects, Aura is such a high priority for us. We just love playing together so much, so we really hope so.

How about more Aura live shows, have you got anything planned for South Australia or elsewhere? 

Kyrie: We have two South Australian gigs actually, so Aura’s coming to play in early January at the Wheatsheaf Hotel. Then in March I’m heading a show for the Fringe Festival in Adelaide and I’m bringing Aura over to do that which will be really cool.

Aura perform Thursday 2 December, at Melbourne Recital Centre as part of the Melbourne Jazz Festival.

Their self-titled album is available to purchase on Bandcamp.