Archive: October, 2012

Bobby Watson and the Jazz Messengers

This week I will be listing some interviews from the very cool site, a really cool online Jazz journal with interviews, reviews, and a lot more.

IRockJazz caught altoist Bobby Watson on his 2011 visit to Chicago, and he discussed how he got his big break with the Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in NY:

— Peter Blasevick

Wynton Marsalis and Ali Jackson at the Detroit Jazz Festival

This week I will be listing some interviews from the very cool site, A great online Jazz journal with interviews, reviews, and a lot more.

IRockJazz had the opportunity to interview Wynton Marsalis back stage at the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival, and we continued the discussion we began with Ali Jackson about coming up in the Jazz scene as a young musician, and the dedication needed to succeed, along with interesting insights into the Jazz family, including Chicago’s own, Von Freeman and his impact on the music. Wynton also talks some trash about playing hoops! Funny.

— Peter Blasevick

Esperanza Spalding – Music for Everyone’s Palate

This week I will be listing some interviews from the very cool site, A great online Jazz journal with interviews, reviews, and a lot more.

IRockJazz caught up with talented Esperanza Spalding at The Little Black Pearl before her performance at the 2011 Pearl Fest benefit concert. Esperanza addresses the issue that if people had the chance to be exposed to new and different music, they would come to appreciate other genres, such as jazz.

— Peter Blasevick

Terence Blanchard gives advice to young musicians and shares his thoughts on jazz

This week I will be listing some interviews from the very cool site, A great online Jazz journal with interviews, reviews, and a lot more.

IRockJazz caught Terence Blanchard on a 2012 visit to Chicago. In this interview, the great trumpeter discusses his early influences, his advice to young musicians, and his thoughts on jazz.

— Peter Blasevick

The Peripatetic Benny Golson

This week I’ll be linking to some classic Downbeat interviews. In this 1966 interview with legendary tenor man Benny Golson, Valerie Wilmer asks him about working in Europe, composing, and host of other topics. Here, Golson is very honest about one meeting with the great Clifford Brown:

“When I walked in, everything was very informal. Sonny Rollins and Clifford were leaning against the bandstand, and the music I brought was up on the bar. I was sitting on the bar facing them. The first tune was called ‘Step Lightly,’ and they began to play through the melody. Sonny took the first chorus and played it very well, and then Clifford started to play. His horn was pointing straight at me, about two feet away from my face, and the sound was coming straight at me. And then I got the strangest feeling. I got chill bumps all over my body, and I felt a sort of involuntary nervous reaction. He was playing so much on the horn that I felt like somebody was holding me on the stool. It really frightened me. I got scared, and then when he finished, I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to let him know how much he had impressed me, but it was a little embarrassing for a man to come on like this to another man, you know: ‘You made my heart beat fast’ and so on, so I didn’t say that.

“Instead I said, ‘Clifford, boy, you sure did play.’ And then he said something classic. He said, ‘Oh, I’ll get it the next time.’”

Click here to read The Peripatetic Benny Golson

— Peter Blasevick

Rich + Tormé = Wild Repartee

This week I’ll be linking to some classic Downbeat interviews. Here is a long and funny 1978 interview with drummer and bandleader Buddy Rich conducted by singer and composer/arranger Mel Tormé. From the piece, here are the two discussing the connection between drumming and tap dancing:

Tormé: Chick Webb, Ray Baduc, Gene Krupa, Ray McKinley—all those guys—were superior drummers in their own ways, but none of them were very daring. They didn’t incorporate bass drum and snare drum as alternate sounds. You’re the first guy that ever did that, I think. Do you feel that your tap dancing talents are the reason that you’re able to communicate between bass drum and snare drum, and tom toms and the rest of them, better than other drummers?

Rich: Tap dancing in the true sense is rhythmical dancing, right? I hate to say that you have to be born with it, but you don’t learn how to be a jazz tap dancer. Baby Laurence was the daddy of jazz tap dancers. The Conners brothers, Bunny Briggs, Buck and Bubbles, Bill Robinson—I would bet that if that they wanted to and picked up a pair of sticks, they could have been outstanding drummers. It’s that kind of feeling, that time thing.

Click here to read Rich & Tormé = Wild Repartee

— Peter Blasevick

Tony Williams: Still The Rhythm Magician

This week I’ll be linking to some classic Downbeat interviews. Here is a very interesting 1989 talk with drummer Tony Williams. In this excerpt from the interview, Williams talks about first hearing Miles wanted him for his new quintet:

“I guess Id been in New York about four or five months, working with Jackie; we were playing different things around New York and Brooklyn. We played a concert at some hall in midtown Manhattan, and Miles came in with Philly Joe Jones and thats where he heard me. I think Jackie had been talking to Miles and maybe he had mentioned that he had a new band and said, Come hear the band. A month later, I got a call from Grachan Moncur, the trombone player; his girlfriend at the time was the secretary for Miles lawyer, and they were looking for me. And so, I pick up the phone and Grachan says, Did Miles call you today? Hes lookin for you. And I said, Yeah, sure. Right. Give me a break. He responded, No, really. Hang up the phone. Hes trying to get in touch with you. Hes in California, man. So we get off the phone and Miles ends up calling from California, and he wanted to know could we get together when he got back—hed be back in a couple of weeks. And, I was more than happy, because at the time, Miles was my biggest influence musically. I was just in love with his music, his bands.”

Click here to read Tony Williams: Still The Rhythm Magician

— Peter Blasevick

Charles Mingus: A Thinking Musician

This week I’ll be linking to some classic Downbeat interviews. Here is a very interesting 1951 talk with outspoken bassist and bandleader Charles Mingus. Even this early he had so much to say! From the interview, his take Jazz as art:

“True jazz is an art, and as with all the arts, is the individuals means of expressing his deepest and innermost feelings and emotions. What will live on past the arrested development of boogie-woogie, Dixieland, and bop remains to be seen. It may take 500 years for the average American audience to advance sufficiently out of the mental turmoil and anxiety of the atomic age to be able to concentrate more on the art of music and to understand and appreciate a musicians individual interpretation of a melody rather than only the composers.

At that point in the growth of jazz, it will no longer be necessary for a musician to jump up and down on a drum or to dance on the bandstand to receive recognition of his talent.”

Click here to read Charles Mingus: A Thinking Musician

— Peter Blasevick

J.J. Johnson: Jazz Will Survive

This week I’ll be linking to some classic Downbeat interviews. Here is a cool 1970 talk with Trombone great J.J. Johnson. From the interview, his take on avant garde musicians coming to save jazz in the 1960s:

“Several years ago,” J.J. explained, “there appeared on the scene a number of musicians who looked upon themselves as the saviors of jazz. These players went around shooting off about ‘way out this’ and ‘avant garde that,’ but in the end they didn’t fool anyone but themselves.

“Once the public had a chance to really tune in, to see what they were all about, it didn’t take them long to tune out. That’s when the live jazz gates and record sales began to fall off. The public had caught on. As it turned out, instead of helping jazz, those so-called saviors nearly killed the music.

“That’s what I’ve always admired about jazz listeners,” J.J. said. “They can’t be fooled. They’re broad-minded enough to want to hear innovation. At the same time, they’re too hip to be taken in by false prophets. Not only do jazz people love their music, but they know it too.”

Click here to read J.J. Johnson: Jazz Will Survive

— Peter Blasevick

Two George Shearing Interviews: 1984 and 1985

This week I’ll be linking to a series of interviews from the Canadian Jazz Archive Online, a project of JAZZ FM.91, Canada’s premier jazz radio station.

Here are two 1970s talks with British-born pianist George Shearing. In the first, Shearing discusses whether he was difficult to please musically as a young man, his quintet sound, and the influence of classical music on his work. In the second he covers the heights of his career, the accordion, and his unique sound. On the accordion!!:

“Well, it was portable and I used to take it to the pub and change and play certain parts on the accordion, you know. I think the thing that made me put the accordion down was when I realized that a true gentleman is a man who knows how to play the accordion and doesn’t.”

Click here to listen to George Shearing 1984

Click here to listen to George Shearing 1985

— Peter Blasevick