Archive: June, 2013

1960s Dexter Gordon Audio Interviews

More Dex this week! Here are 17 beautiful minutes of Dexter Gordon telling his life story. The audio comes from some rare outtakes and extras from Dexter Gordon – Complete Blue Note Sixties Sessions

—Peter Blasevick

Dexter Gordon: The Chuck Berg Interview

Dexter_Gordon1A final Dexter Gordon interview for the week. As he explains in the following interview with Chuck Berg which appeared in the February 10, 1977 issue of Downbeat magazine, a variety of factors came together in the early 1960s which influenced him to leave the USA for Europe where Dexter ultimately took up residence in Copenhagen. From the interview, posted on at the JazzProfiles blog, Dex talks about being in New York City after many years away:

It’s great to be back. Of course I’ve been going out to the West Coast for years, which has been very nice. But I had forgotten how fantastic and exciting New York is. There’s no place like this in the world. This is it, you know. It’s always been that way. This time, for me, it’s been overwhelming because from the minute we got off the plane everything has been fantastic, unbelievable. I really wasn’t prepared for this kind of a reaction, ‘the return of the conquering hero’ and all that.”

Click here to read Dexter Gordon: The Chuck Berg Interview 

—Peter Blasevick

Dexter Gordon: Transcontinental Tenorist

Dexter GordonDexter_Gordon1 interviews this week! Here is a 1972 Downbeat interview with the great tenor conducted by Jenny Armstrong right after he won the 1971 Downbeat Critic’s Poll. From the interview, Dexter talks about polls and awards:

JA: In what way can it be of importance to you?

DG: Well, first of all, recognition—to have a little recognition, that is very nice, you dig. It is good for the ego, for the psyche. A recognition of what I’ve been trying to do for years—it’s certainly not just a spot opinion; I mean, it’s something that obviously has been building up for years. Of course, it is also very good for publicity, and it is the kind of recognition that maybe will help financially, also.

JA: Do you think that these polls mirror the reality of what is happening in the music world?

DG: You know, there are two kinds of polls. There’s the critics poll, and then there’s another poll where the readers write in. But one would say that the first is the, of course, more critical poll, because it’s supposed to be music critics who are voting. But it doesn’t necessarily reflect your popularity or name value.

JA: Do you think that critics are able to judge who’s best?

DG: Well, it’s an individual thing, but we must assume that if they are music critics, then they must know something about music. They spend a lot of time listening—they must know something about music in order to be able to write half way intelligently about it. So you have to assume that they do know something about it.

Click here to read Dexter Gordon: Transcontinental Tenorist

—Peter Blasevick


Wallace Roney: In the Realm of Anti-Gravity


Here is a cool long-form interview with trumpeter Wallace Roney posted last week at AllAboutJazz conducted by R.J.Deluke. Lots about Miles, Joe Henderson, Cedar Walton, his current band, etc. Good stuff.

Much is made of trumpeter Wallace Roney coming from the Miles Davis school, a mentor-protégé situation that blossomed in the 1980s that Roney is very proud of. But that wouldn’t be telling the whole story of the Philadelphia native who, in his prime years, has become one of the world’s finest trumpet players, and a musician whose quest for innovation is everlasting…

Click here to read Wallace Roney: In the Realm of Anti-Gravity  

Two part Coleman Hawkins audio interview

Here are two audio interviews with the great tenor Coleman Hawkins I found on YouTube. There are no notes stating when the interview is from or who the interviewer is—if anyone has any info, please let me know, and if I come across other info I’ll update. Hawkins speaks about being born at sea, playing dances when he was young, and not finishing a gig at Jimmy’s Chicken Shack until three in the afternoon.

—Peter Blasevick

Chick Corea: Further Explorations of Bill Evans

chickCoreaHere is a cool 2000 Chick Corea interview with Marius Nordal from Downbeat. The interview was conducted just as the pianist was about to commemorate the 20th anniversary of jazz piano hero Bill Evans‘ death with a major two-week engagement called “Further Explorations” at New York’s Blue Note. Corea covers a number of Bill Evans related talk, and also manages to cover other topics as well. From the interview:

Nordal: Bill Evans generally had a gentle, lyrical approach to the piano – you’re often more dynamic, energetic and rhythmic. Did he influence your compositions or concept of touch and sound on the piano when you were developing musically? 

Corea: It was Bill’s sound that I loved as soon as I heard it. He knew how to touch the piano gently and elicit such a beautiful and recognizable tone from the instrument. Up to that time, most jazz pianists were accustomed to playing inferior instruments: old, out of tune, out of regulation and generally beat up. That was the “club piano.” But Bill was aware of the fine sound that a well-prepared grand could deliver. It’s odd that Art Tatum is the only pianist I know of before Bill that also had that feather-light touch – even though he probably spent his early years playing on really bad instruments.

Bill’s harmonic sense and approach to the standards certainly made a big impression on me. I was more encouraged to produce a beautiful sound on the piano.

Click here to read Chick Corea: Further Explorations of Bill Evans  

—Peter Blasevick


For Kenny Barron’s 70th Birthday, A 2005 DownBeat Feature and WKCR Interviews From 1991 and 2004


To mark the Kenny Barron‘s just passed birthday (June 9th), Ted Panken posted a pair of interviews they did on WKCR — a Musician’s Show in 1991 and an appearance promoting a week in a club in 2004—and the first of two interviews Panken conducted with the great pianist for a DownBeat profile. From the interviews:

“Each bandleader I worked with had a different style,” Barron says. “For example, Dizzy’s band was very tight and precise. I learned to keep stuff in reserve, not play everything you know all the time. Yusef [Lateef] was looser, the music was freer; you could play out, as far as you wanted to go. Ron [Carter] likes hills and valleys; I learnedto use dynamics. Stan [Getz] and I shared a love for lyricism. We fed each other. He was one person who could play a ballad and really make you cry.”

Click here to read For Kenny Barron’s 70th Birthday, A 2005 DownBeat Feature and WKCR Interviews From 1991 and 2004

Chick Corea: Five Decades of Music In a One-Hour Interview

It’s the great Chick CoreachickCorea‘s birthday today! In this 2010 interview with Russ Davis at the Chamber Music America 2010 conference in New York, Chick discusses everything from who gave him that lasting nickname “Chick” to how he and Herbie Hancock learned to avoid stepping on each other’s toes while playing in a duo setting to how he got “roped into” projects as diverse as doing Mozart duets with vocalist Bobby McFerrin and playing live on the Grammy Awards show with rock band The Foo Fighters and so much more.

—Peter Blasevick

Mulgrew Miller, R.I.P. (1955-2013) — A Downbeat Article and Several Interviews

mulgrewMillerWe are all saddened by the passing of the pianist Mulgrew Miller. He was a great artist and was as generous and kind as a man could be the couple of occasions I had to speak with him during my travels at William Paterson University where he headed up the Jazz Studies program.

Here is a tribute by Ted Panken, a collection of interviews from 1988, 1994, and 2005. From the piece, Miller discusses the music of James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Al Green:

“It still hits me where I live,” he says. “It’s black music. That’s my roots. When I go home, they all know me as the church organist from years ago, so it’s nothing for me walk up to the organ and fit right in. I once discussed my early involvement in music with Abdullah Ibrahim, and he described what I went through as a community-based experience. Before I became or wanted to become a jazz player, I played in church, in school plays, for dances and for cocktail parties. I was already improvising, and always on some level it was emotional or soul or whatever you want to call it. I was finding out how to connect with people through music.”

Click here to read Mulgrew Miller, R.I.P. (1955-2013) — A Downbeat Article and Several Interviews