Archive: November, 2012

Max Roach: A Shot of Life

I’m posting some fantastic interviews with great Jazz drummers this week. Here is a great five-part video interview with the man who pretty much invented be-bop drumming, Max Roach. In the interviews, conducted in Chicago by Jomo Cheatham in May of 1993, Roach talks about the Chicago Jazz scene, public schools, Rap music, Jazz and European Classical music, and his autobiography which was just released at the time of this interview. Fascinating stuff, and Roach is as cool an gracious as ever.

Note: it appears there should be six parts to this series (number 5 is missing). Any info, let me know and I will add it.

— Peter Blasevick

Elvin Jones: Drumming Icon is Still Cooking

Great interviews with great Jazz drummers this week. Today is a nice long 2004 interview with the legendary Elvin Jones from From the interview, here is the master talking about his love of Jazz music:

“I always thought that great music is a challenge,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any music greater or a lot more exciting than jazz music, because it’s pure. You hear things that nobody’s ever played before and you hear things that are almost impossible for anyone to duplicate. It’s being done and you hear music that is so beautiful; it makes you weep; it’s more than anything any classical composers have written can be. It compares equally with some of the best that’s ever been done.”

Click here to read Elvin Jones: Drumming Icon is Still Cooking

Interview with Billy Cobham from Mike Dolbear

More from some of the great Jazz drummers this week. Check out this cool interview with trailblazing drummer and percussionist Billy Cobham from Here Billy talks about Louis Bellson:

Q: I believe that the late great Louis Bellson was one of your tutors. What impact did he have on you as a drummer in terms of technique, attitude, expression and ideas?

A: It’s sad losing him but it was inevitable but what Louis Bellson gave me was latitude. He opened my eyes to many percussion possibilities like multiple bass drum presentation with two bass drums or more. I remember in 1978, he said to me “Well, you know what you got – well, that’s a good thing – now how are you going to use it in other ways?”. He said to come on out back; he had this ranch style home, and he said “Have you ever thought of playing more than two bass drums?” I said “I can’t play one bass drum!”.

Click here to read Interview with Billy Cobham from Mike Dolbear

Art Blakey on Powerhouse Radio 1977

Drummer week at TNYDP! Today, a cool radio interview with the great drummer and bandleader Art Blakey from the Atlantic City radio station WUSS (yup). From the page:

A true legend, and an unwavering evangelist for the traditional elements of jazz, Art Blakey talks from his soul about his magnificent career. King from Powerhouse Radio was lucky enough to chat with Art Blakey while Art was still performing. Art passed away in 1990 at the age of 71.

Click here to listen to Art Blakey on Powerhouse Radio 1977

Q&A: George Duke 2012

More from my week of interviews from Today’s post is a recent talk with the versatile George Duke in which he answers a few questions about his influences and the like. From the interview, Duke talks about the first recording he ever bought:

“The first record I purchased was “Hard Times” by David “Fathead” Newman produced by Ray Charles. David was the most soulful sax player I had ever heard, and the songs were a kind of cross between jazz and what they called soul music at the time, but in an instrumental context.”

Click here to read Q&A: George Duke 2012

Conversations with Christian McBride: Hank Jones

Any nine minutes you can spend listening to Hank Jones—playing, talking, whatever—is nine minutes well spent. Here is a quick audio interview from that Hank Jones did with Christian McBride for his Conversations with Christian. Hank is fantastic talking about George Shearing, cars being towed at gigs, and lots more.

— Peter Blasevick

Q&A: Eliot Zigmund 2011

In this 2011 interview from, the great drummer Eliot Zigmund shares his recollections of the great Bill Evans album You Must Believe in Spring. From the interview, Zigmund talks about his approach to playing with Evans:

“ I was very influenced by the music that was going on around me particularly Tony Williams and Jack DeJohnette.  There was basically a revolution in drumming going on at that point. I really liked the way Jack had played with Bill.  He was very abstract, used colors a lot.  So I was thinking that way musically at that time and tried to bring a lot of color and expressiveness.  I was just trying to give Bill and Eddie what I thought worked in that context.”

Click here to read Q&A: Eliot Zigmund 2011

Brad Mehldau – The Art of Solo Piano

More from my week of interviews from Today’s post is a cool 2011 talk with piano great Brad Mehldau in which he discusses in depth his approach to solo piano playing. From the interview, Bran talks about balancing his Jazz and Classical influences:

“I draw on a lot of classical music, pop and rock music, music from Brazil, and other stuff. I listen to it for pleasure and enjoyment, and then a lot of it filters out in my playing. With classical music, there’s a written canon there – you can study those scores. There’s a good three centuries of stuff to check out – it’s endless. Ultimately I think of myself as an improvising jazz musician at the end of the day, and one of my talents I guess is assimilating all of that written stuff and making it part of what I do.”

Click here to read Brad Mehldau – The Art of Solo Piano

Q&A: Jean-Luc Ponty

This week I’ll be posting interviews from the jazz website pioneers Today’s interview is a quick 2010 Q&A session with virtuoso Jazz violinist and composer Jean-Luc Ponty in which he talks about first discovering Jazz, his creative influences, and why he doesn’t like to categorize his music. From the interview:

“I was studying classical violin at the Conservatory in Paris in 1958 and one of the students had two jazz albums which I borrowed. None of the students played jazz but a few liked to listen to it. One album was by the Modern Jazz Quartet and the other was Chet Baker with strings. I still remember. It was a smooth introduction to jazz for classical musicians and it worked like a magic spell on me.”

Click here to read Q&A: Jean-Luc Ponty

Trombone Shorty on Tavis Smiley 2010

Keeping with this week’s string of interviews from talk show host Tavis Smiley’s archive here is a cool 201o talk with the very hip trombonist and trumpeter Trombone Shorty. The New Orleans native talks a little bit about wanting to be both a Jazz musician and an entertainer like Louis Armstrong:

“Well, I mean, just being in New Orleans, you’ve got people from Louis Armstrong that was an entertainer and I try to follow that. You know, just follow that plan hard and I just get bored by myself when I’m up there playing all this. So I just wanted to become an entertainer all around, singing, dancing, whatever, getting the crowd involved. You know, it’s just that thing. It’s just part of the city and what we do and taking that from Louis Armstrong.”

— Peter Blasevick