Archive: March, 2013

Lee Konitz on working in the trio format and the importance of a good drummer

Jon Solomon interviewed the great alto man Lee Konitz for the Denver Westword blog last week. Konitz talks about recent gigs, free jazz, Charlie Parker, and more. From the interview:

How important is playing with a good drummer to you?

As with any of the instruments in the rhythm section, it’s vitally important. The drummer, since he’s not using notes so to speak unless he tunes his drums carefully, is probably… Well, I don’t know exactly what I’m trying to say right now. Because of the lack of notes, the rhythm is more important and things like that.

Click here to read Lee Konitz on working in the trio format and the importance of a good drummer

2008 Jazz Police Interview with Randy Brecker

The JazzPolice website is filled with great content, including some interesting interviews. Here’s a 2008 discussion with trumpeter Randy Brecker. In the interview, conduvted by Joe Montague, the Jazz great reflects on a number of topics, including the delicate subject of his late brother Michael:

“It is hard for me to relate to Mike as an iconic figure in jazz, because to me he is still just my brother. It is hard for me to focus on how influential he was, even though I obviously know that he was. Foremost, I think of him as my brother. If I could get past that and look from afar like anyone else, I would say that he has to be one of the most influential jazz musicians, other than John Coltrane, because he had a real vision in mind, and he stuck to his artistic vision. He was one of the few guys, and I think partly because he had a big following, that was able to do musically pretty much whatever he wanted, and people didn’t try to channel him into doing something else. He will occupy a unique position in jazz history, and he certainly was one of the most popular saxophonists ever, but he could back it up, because the music had so much emotional depth,” says Brecker.

Click here to read 2008 Jazz Police Interview with Randy Brecker

Jazz Police Interview With Geoffrey Keezer

A few cool interviews I found on the JazzPolice website this week. Here’s a quick 2005 talk with the great modern-day pianist Geoffrey Keezer. He talks about recordings and some of the people he was playing with at the time, as well as growing up with the support of his parents:

JP. You grew up in a family where music was a major component of daily life. [Father Ron Keezer headed the jazz band program at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.] Looking back now, how did that environment inform your development as a young musician, and how does it impact your work today?

GK. I feel so fortunate and blessed to have had the total support of my parents in whatever I wanted to do. Of course if my parents hadn’t been musicians I might have turned out differently. But as a kid, I thought everybody played music – it just seemed so normal to me!

Click here to read Jazz Police Interview With Geoffrey Keezer

Getting Some Fun Out of Life and Music: Back in St. Paul With David Frishberg

A few cool interviews I found on the JazzPolice website this week.

Today’s interview is with American jazz pianist, vocalist and composer David Frishberg. He’s likely best known for writing funny tunes (and of course the Schoolhouse Rock classic “I’m Just a Bill”), but he is quite the pianist and singer as well. In the piece, Frishberg discusses his early years, leaving Minnesota for New York, songwriting in L.A., and some of his influences. From the piece:

Looking back, David identifies three individuals who most influenced him personally and musically—Al Cohn, Jimmy Rowles, and Dave Karr. He also cites pianists whose style made the biggest impression—Teddy Wilson, Mel Powell, and Nat Cole. “Also I was a big fan of Tatum and others—Errol Garner and the boppers, Al Haig, and Bud Powell.” But it was particularly Jimmy Rowles whom he admired. “I was already in the Twin Cities Big League, but then I heard a Jimmy Rowles record. Something about the way he played and touched the piano changed me. I wanted to play with and learn from him. I listened to him play on the Woody Herman Small Band sides, and on Peggy Lee’s “Black Coffee” on a 10-inch LP from Decca. It showed me how brilliant and elegant an accompanist could be. Rowles had everything.” Of old bandmate Dave Karr, Frishberg says, “Dave Karr is one of the most profound influences on my music—his excellence and musicality. I’ve learned a lot and was inspired by him. He was the most proficient musician I had met at the time.”

Click here to read Getting Some Fun Out of Life and Music: Back in St. Paul With David Frishberg

Three Christian McBride Interviews from the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival

This week I will be linking to some great video interviews from the JazzTimes YouTube page. There is so much more there than I’ll be posting this week, so be sure to check it out!

In this three part interview from the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival, Bassist Christian McBride talks about 1) his big band as well as about his smaller group, Inside Straight; 2) His commitment to jazz and music education and why he is determined to give back to young musicians through appearances at schools and clinics, but also why he thinks it’s important to play different styles of music other than jazz, and 3) his early musical education and development, including his first instrument, his first paid gig and an unusual appearance on daytime TV by Miles Davis. Interview by Lee Mergner.

—Peter Blasevick

Guitarist John Pizzarelli from the 2012 Jazz Cruise

This week I will be linking to some great video interviews from the JazzTimes YouTube page. There is so much more there than I’ll be posting this week, so be sure to check it out!

Today’s interviews are with singer/guitarist/bandleader John Pizzarelli and were conducted aboard the MS Westerdam during the Jazz Cruise 2012. In the three clips, Pizzarelli discusses his early years, including his first instrument, the first jazz album he loved, the first jazz concerts and his very first paying gig; part two covers his favorites from the Great American Songbook and beyond, his bucket list of artists with whom he’d like to play, and the genesis of the radio show he does with his wife, singer Jessica Molaskey; and finally he discusses the talks about performing on the Jazz Cruise. Interviews by Irene Lee.

—Peter Blasevick

2011 interview with Hiromi Uehara from the Newport Jazz Festival

This week I will be linking to some great video interviews from the JazzTimes YouTube page. There is so much more there than I’ll be posting this week, so be sure to check it out!

This interview with noted jazz pianist Hiromi Uehara took place at the 2011 Newport Jazz Festival and was conducted by Lee Mergner.  She talked about playing with her trio (Anthony Jackson and Simon Phillips) and also with Chick Corea, as well as about her own music education. Finally she discussed her personal and professional response to the Tsunami in Japan.

—Peter Blasevick

Three Joe Lovano video interviews from the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival

Hey, this is our 200th post! I hope everyone who visits the site finds it fun and useful; please let me know if there is anything you want to see (or see more of!)

This week I will be linking to some great video interviews from the JazzTimes YouTube page. There is so much more there than I’ll be posting this week, so be sure to check it out!

Today, three clips with tenor great Joe Lovano from the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival. In the first, Lovano talks about playing at the Newport Jazz Festival with various groups and about the festival’s legacy, along with some of his favorite jazz albums that were recorded live at Newport; in the second he discusses creating a band inspired by the music of Wayne Shorter; in the third, he talks about his early musical education and development, including his first instrument, his first paid gig and what he learned from his father, a noted sax player around Cleveland. Interview by Lee Mergner

—Peter Blasevick

Two Esperanza Spalding from the 2011 Newport Jazz Festival

This week I will be linking to some great video interviews from the JazzTimes YouTube page. There is so much more there than I’ll be posting this week, so be sure to check it out!

Today, two interviews from the incredibly talented Esperanza Spalding at the 2011 Newport Jazz Festival. In the first segment, Spalding talks about her jazz and music education, about her teachers and mentors, and about her own experience as a teacher and mentor. In the second, Spalding talks about playing at Newport for the first time, the significance of the festival and the unique environment created by George Wein. Spalding also talks about why jazz and music festivals are important. Interview by Lee Mergner.

 

—Peter Blasevick

Dave Weckl: Rhythm Talk

Today wraps up our week of interviews for the great website AllAboutJazz.com!

When any jazz enthusiasts start talking about drummers, one of the first names that comes to mind is sure to be Dave Weckl. This major innovator of modern jazz drumming has grooved with more players since he started playing in the New York club scene in the early ’80s. His most notable stint started in 1985 when he was asked to be a part of the then-forming Chick Corea’s Elektric Band, which he revived in 2004 after a break of over ten years.

In this 2006 with Stefanee Freedman at a show in Los Angeles, CA with guitarist Mike Stern and bassist Victor Wooten, Weckl discusses his groups, his technique, his recordings, his drums, and plenty else. An interesting bit from the interview:

AAJ: Do you find having more knowledge of the piano helps you with arrangements and writing?

DW: Well, it is necessary or you may sound pretty silly. You have to have some sort of harmonic knowledge to piece all the instruments together. Like anything else, the more influence you have from different things, the more knowledge you have to work with. With drums, it helps to know different cultures of rhythm, so I try to use my background or knowledge of different rhythms to input little things here and there in the music. If you have a better harmonic knowledge from all types of music like classical to rock to blues or whatever, the music will be deeper and fuller.

Click here to read Dave Weckl: Rhythm Talk