Today Will Be Another Day

James Macaulay & The Happy Hoppy Orchestra


Purchases are hosted via our official bandcamp page.


‘Today Will be Another Day’ is the second album from Melbourne based trombonist-composer James Macaulay, winner of the 2017 National Jazz Awards for brass, and his Happy Hoppy Orchestra.

With a collection of Macaulay originals that draw from his experiences touring Japan with pianist Aaron Choulai and performing with his trad-jazz group the Lagerphones, the Tokyo recorded album with his “dream project” is a whimsical exploration of diverse jazz styles and moods. Performed by a stellar band of some of his generations’ most creative talents pooled from both Melbourne and Tokyo, the album showcases James in a new light both as performer and composer.

The title of the album refers to the cheerful and colourful advertising of ‘Hoppy Happy’ – an ostensibly beer flavoured, though non-alcoholic brand of soda often used as a mixer for cheap Shochu, a light Japanese spirit. James recorded his dream project in Tokyo

The recording features pianist Aaron Choulai, a great influence on Macaulay over the past number of years both musically and gastronomically. Invited to perform with Choulai’s band, the two have toured Japan a number of times.  "I can't think of a better way to see Japan than by touring with Aaron's quintet” says James. Choulai’s band also features Macaulay’s bandmate Marty Holoubek, alongside Shun Ishiwaka and Akihiro Yoshimoto, who would also record with Macaulay. Aaron’s music has also left an impression on Macaulay’s musical vision: “Aaron’s music is so much fun to play and the band always has this strangely effortless, freewheeling energy about it, which might have reflected all the amazing food and drink we have." 

­­­Macaulay had played with drummer Joe Talia in Melbourne band’s including those with Andrea Keller, Tamara Murphy, as well as Choulai. Talia moved to Tokyo a few years ago, already leaving an indelible mark on the jazz and new music scene there. Bassist Marty Holoubek and trumpeter Ben Harrison are long-time colleagues from the Lagerphones and various other Melbourne based projects. Tenor saxophonist Akihiro Yoshimoto is a veteran in the Tokyo jazz scene, performing regularly in Choulai's quintet as well as a diverse array of Japanese artists.  Brisbane born alto saxophonist Scott McConnachie is a firebrand improvising virtuoso, currently living in Melbourne and performing with many of the stalwarts on the Australian jazz scene including Scott Tinkler, Paul Grabowsky and Barney McAll. The core band was also joined by special guests including the brilliant bass koto player Miyama McQueen-Tokita, and Melbourne vocalists Lisa Salvo, Hannah Cameron and James Gilligan.

The compositions draw from iconic Melbourne influences, the sounds and music of Japan, and the relationships Macaulay has developed there. Inspired by the work of the Allan Browne Quintet, James’ compositions combine lyricism and abstraction in order to produce new ways to organise improvisation within the standard instrumentation of a jazz septet.  Whilst this album celebrates the musical relationships and friendships which fortuitously converged in Tokyo, it is also a homage to Macaulay's mentors in Melbourne, including Eugene Ball, Andrea Keller, Tamara Murphy, Scott Tinkler, and the great Allan Browne.

Released 4 May 2018

James Macaulay (trombone & compositions)
Aaron Choulai (piano)
Joe Talia (drums)
Marty Holoubek (bass)
Ben Harrison (trumpet)
Akihiro Yoshimoto (tenor saxophone)
Scott McConnachie (alto saxophone)
Special guests Miyama McQueen-Tokita (bass koto), Lisa Salvo (vocal), Hannah Cameron (vocal), James Gilligan (vocal)

about the music

Mashigo Jukja – Mashigo Jukja is Korean for 'let's drink then die' - a fairly exuberant way of saying cheers, and appropriate for this swinging opening, which develops into Ornette Coleman-esque freedom.

Prednisolone – the only cover on the album, Prednisolone is a melancholy ballad by Allan Browne and is arranged by way of a tribute to him. 

Chicken Liver – this is a pseudo-tango which provides extended features for Ben Harrison and Scott McConnachie. 

Square Dance – follows on from the polytonal atmosphere of Chicken liver and introduces Miyama McQueen-Tokita on bass koto.

Freedom Jazz Girls – was a late-night joke which no one can remember, from an Aaron Choulai Quintet tour in Nagoya.  The hilarity was probably found in the endlessly amusing misunderstandings that can occur between English and Japanese speakers.   This features the Akihiro Yoshimoto and Marty Holoubek, as well as Joe Talia's superb drumming.   

Tokyo – Tokyo is a gentle chorale which attempts to evoke a quieter, inward-looking mood on a rainy Tokyo morning.

Today Will Be Another Day – the title track is the longest and most ambitious work on the album, which focuses on two duos; one of alto and koto, and one of trumpet and piano.  The title simply comes from an enigmatic T-shirt, spotted at a train station. 

Spring Chorale – this chorale was a collaboration with Melbourne vocalist Lisa Salvo, who wrote the lyrics, and is stripped down to trombone, piano, koto and vocals.  The chorale at the end also features the fabulous voices of Hannah Cameron, James Gilligan and Ben Harrison.