Archive: July, 2012

Lorraine Gordon 2010

A really fun one today.

When the owner of New York’s legendary Village Vanguard died, his wife Lorraine Gordon knew all about jazz, but she knew next to nothing about running the business her husband left behind. This piece originally aired on MSNBC’s Your Business in 2010, and Gordon is at her funniest. THe interview ends with her yelling at the camera crew and interviewer to get the hell out of her office. Fantastic.

Click here to watch Lorraine Gordon 2010

Miles: A Frank Appraisal

Last week Downbeat posted a classic Miles Davis interview with Nat Hentoff from 1955 called “Miles: A Trumpeter In The Midst Of A Big Comeback Makes A Very Frank Appraisal Of Today’s Jazz Scene.” Miles discusses West Coast Jazz, Charlie Parker, and a host of other topics with his usual candor. On Dave Brubeck:

“Well, Dave made one record I liked—‘Don’t Worry ’bout Me.’ Do I think he swings? He doesn’t know how. Desmond doesn’t swing, either, though I think he’d play different with another rhythm section.”

Miles never disappoints.

Click here to read Miles: A Frank Appraisal

Pat Metheny On Piano Jazz

More Piano Jazz interviews for this week!

Guitarist Pat Metheny is one of the most critically acclaimed jazz musicians of the past 35 years. A tireless sonic explorer whose style incorporates elements of progressive jazz, fusion, Latin, post-bop and New Age music, Metheny has an astonishing 17 Grammy awards and three gold albums. This year, Metheny released Orchestrion, a “solo” album on which Metheny uses his guitar to control an entire mechanical ensemble of orchestral instruments. Metheny has also worked alongside jazz greats such as Herbie Hancock,Charlie Haden, Ornette Coleman, Roy Haynesand Joshua Redman.

On this 2006 Piano Jazz session with Marian McPartland, the Pat Metheny Trio, which includes star bassist Christian McBride and drummer Antonio Sanchez, drops by for a set of Metheny originals and a few Ornette Coleman tunes.

The set list:

  • “Bright Size Life” (Metheny)
  • “So May It Secretly Begin” (Metheny)
  • “Ambiance” (McPartland)
  • “Go Get It” (Metheny)
  • “Question-Answer” (Metheny)
  • “Police People” (Coleman)
  • “Turn Around” (Coleman)

Click here to listen to Pat Metheny on Piano Jazz

Kenny Werner On Piano Jazz

NPR Piano Jazz week continues with this 2007 hour long interview with the always fascinating Kenny Werner. From NPR:

Pianist, composer and author Kenny Werner is known for his 1996 book Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within, which has become a university textbook for improvising musicians and other artists. His album of original compositions, No Beginning No End — a meditation on loss, death and renewal — was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 2010. On this episode of Piano Jazz, originally broadcast in 2007, Werner joins host Marian McPartland for a set of tunes by Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, Steve Swallow and more.

“I like Kenny’s touch. It’s very delicate,” McPartland says. “That first Steve Swallow tune, ‘Falling Grace,’ is so pretty, and nobody ever plays it much. I was glad to hear it. And playing ‘In a Sentimental Mood’ and ‘Waltz for Debbie’ together was a lot of fun. I thought those tunes came off quite well.”

The set list of songs played during the hour long show include Falling Grace, Peace, Very Early, In the Days of Our Love, In a Sentimental Mood, I Had a King, Free Piece, and Waltz for Debbie.

Click here to listen to Kenny Werner on Piano Jazz

Randy Brecker On Piano Jazz

My week of posting interviews from NPR’s Piano Jazz show continues with a 2011 interview with the great trumpeter Randy Brecker and guest host and modern great Bill Charlap. From the site:

On this Piano Jazz session , Brecker discusses growing up in the musical proving ground of Philadelphia, and the influence that his father, an amateur pianist and songwriter, had on him and his brother, the late tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker. Randy Brecker began playing on the Philadelphia club scene while still in his teens. After moving to New York in 1966, he worked with groups ranging from Clark Terry’s Big Band to Blood Sweat and Tears

Brecker talks about the years he spent with the jazz-rock band Dreams, before striking out with his brother Michael to create their own, Grammy-winning band, The Brecker Brothers. “Some Skunk Funk” was one of their most successful tunes, and Brecker and company create a straight ahead rendition of the piece for Piano Jazz.

Composition also plays an important role for Brecker, though not in the academic sense. As he tells guest host Bill Charlap, “Some of the music is somewhat unusual harmonically because basically I was (writing) it by ear.” The band continues with “Moontide,” a modally-flavored original featuring blistering horn lines over a hypnotic rhythm pattern. To end the session, Charlap joins the band for an expansive exploration of the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein favorite, “All the Things You Are.”

Click here to listen to Randy Brecker On Piano Jazz

Keith Jarrett On Piano Jazz

This week at TNYDP I’ll be listing some of the great episodes from NPR’s Piano Jazz.

Host Marian McPartland tried for years to line-up elusive pianist Keith Jarrett for a Piano Jazz session. Following his stellar performance at Carnegie Hall in 2005, McPartland confronted the elusive performer and convinced him to put in an appearance on her show. The Allentown, Pa., native graciously invited McPartland and a small crew to his home studio, a converted barn next to his 18th-century farmhouse. The intimate setting and the chemistry between the two made for an exhilarating session.

Jarrett plays totally in the moment — he sits down at the piano with no musical pre-conceptions.

“Usually if I have an idea it locks me in its little room and keeps me there unless I get rid of it before I put my hands on a keyboard,” Jarrett says.

Appropriately, he begins the session with a lyrical, improvised piece reminiscent of jazz great Bill Evans and classical composer Aaron Copland. It’s a complete musical idea of which McPartland says, “Lovely chords!”

Click here to listen to Keith Jarrett on Piano Jazz

Jack Reilly: Making the Most of the Gift of Life

In this 2008 interview with Ralph A. Miriello at the great allaboutjazz.com, the brilliant and criminally under-appreciated pianist talks about his composing, playing, teaching, and of course, Bill Evans.

Click here to read Jack Reilly: Making the Most of the Gift of Life

Benny Golson 1992

This is a great 1992 interview 0f living legend Benny Golson by Bob Bernotas posted on Mel Martin’s website and originally from Windplayer magazine. From the intro:

Benny Golson is a serious man who doesn’t take himself too seriously. A born storyteller, he possesses a philosophical bent and a self-deflating sense of humor. Sitting in his comfortable, carefully furnished Upper West Side apartment, he discussed his accomplishments with a combination of rightful pride and genuine modesty.

Click here to read Benny Golson 1992

Jimmy Cobb interview – Royal Blue

In this 2001 interview, the legendary drummer talks about his early beginnings, his albums and the “Kind of Blue 50th Anniversary Tour” featuring Jimmy Cobb’s So What Band.

Breakfast with Bill Evans

Originally published in The Aquarian Weekly, this 1979 interview with Bill Evans at AllAboutJazz covers  Evans’ thoughts about his work with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian, how his playing has developed, and lots of his patented insight into the art of improvisation.

Click here to read Breakfast with Bill Evans