Archive: July, 2013

Freddie Hubbard 2001 Downbeat Interview

freddieHubbardFrom Ted Panken’s great Today is the Question:

In 2001, I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours with the late Freddie Hubbard for a DownBeat profile. It took a bit of negotiating, but Freddie met me at the appointed hour, and spoke at length about his life and times. In this case, I have to depart from the  “raw and uncut” policy I’ve followed for the most part on the blog, and will decline to print the verbatim conversation—it’s a bit too real and profane, and he named names. But I was able to distil from it for print what I thought was a reasonably compelling first-person account, which I offer on the occasion of his 75th birth anniversary.

“Wes Montgomery lived two blocks from me, across the railroad tracks, and to get to the conservatory I had to pass by his house. I’d hear Wes and his brothers rehearsing, and one day I stopped and went in. At the time, everything I knew was reading, and it amazed me how they were making up the music — intricate arrangements, not jam stuff — as they went along. After that, I was at his house every day, and then Wes started inviting me to a Saturday jam session in Speedway City. The Montgomery brothers didn’t care about keys. At home I was practicing in F or B-flat, but at the jam session they’d play in E and A — the funny keys. Practicing in those keys opened me up, made me a little better than most of the cats.”

Click here to read Freddie Hubbard 2001 Downbeat Interview

Art Farmer in 1974 and 1988

artFarmerHere are two interviews with the great trumpeter Art Farmer from the UK National Jazz Archive. The first of the two interviews by Les Tomkins includes tributes from bandmate Ron Simmonds on his memories of Art Famer and his unique solo at Ronnie Scott’s Club in 1974. The second covers traveling and the ClarkeBoland band. From the first interview:

“I’ve always felt that I was one hundred per cent dedicated to playing, but each year that I’m in it I find out that I can do a bit more. I find out that I can and I should, or I should have been. Like, when you first start playing you practise maybe an hour a day, and you figure: “Well, gee, I’m really giving my all to it.” And you find out later that that’s really just a drop in the bucket—and there’s no end to it, no limit. You have to expend your energy as long as you have it to expend, and that’s still not enough.”

Click here to read Art Farmer in 1974 and Art Farmer in 1988

Keith Jarrett: ‘I Want The Imperfections To Remain’

keithJarrettIn this interview with All Things Considered from May 2013, Keith Jarrett discusses an album of six standards called Somewhere recorded live in Lucerne, Switzerland four years ago.

“I tried not to manipulate anything,” Jarrett tells NPR’s Robert Siegel. “I like the raw tapes. I like it just as it’s handed to me the night that it happens. I want the imperfections to remain because, to tell the truth, the way I play in a given space is because of the space. So if we start to change that and I listen to it, then I don’t even like it at all.”

“Players are very protective of their turf,” Jarrett says. “Over and over in the past, I’ve had the experience of knowing we just played the best version; we will not need to do another take. If it’s a band, it’s a band. If what we do when we’re playing together is good enough, even the solos don’t matter that much. What matters is the spirit kept.”

Click here to listen to Keith Jarrett: ‘I Want The Imperfections To Remain’ 

Three 1960s Quincy Jones Interviews

quincyJonesFrom the newly revamped JazzProfessional website (now part of the UK National Jazz Archive), here are three mid-1960s interviews with legendary producer, conductor, arranger, and composer Quincy Jones. Speaking with Les Tompkins in 1963 and 1965, Jones discusses his development and early days of his career. From the first interview:

“Actually, the first record I made was with Art Farmer for Prestige. I wrote an album for him called “Work Of Art”. That was with musicians from the band, and it was a thrilling moment for us—to have Art get a record session. We rehearsed and prepared for it for two months. We had the luxury of time that we can’t afford today. Incidentally, during my stay with Hamp we had a tremendous awakening in Sweden. I imagine anybody that has never left the States has the feeling that the Americans play far better than most European musicians—in jazz, anyway. In many ways this is a fallacy. It was exaggerated. I don’t mean that we felt that we were superior, but we had a feeling that it wasn’t quite up to the same standard that we had in New York.”

Click here to read Three 1960s Quincy Jones Interviews Part One Part Two Part Three

Stanley Clark interview with Martin Perlich

stanleyClarke

This is a very intimate audio interview with the great bassist Stanley Clarke. Conducted at his home around 1979 (the date listed is 1971, but that is certainly inaccurate; they mention Charles Mingus just having died [1979] and Clarke playing with Ron Wood [around the same time]). Recorded in Clarke’s California home, this interview has everything from phones ringing  and level tests to great discussions about jazz and rock and roll.

Click here to listen to Stanley Clarke interview with Martin Perlich

—Peter Blasevick

Joe Alterman: A Young Jazz Man with Big Passion

joeAltermanJoe Alterman is a great young jazz pianist with a truly beautiful musicality to his playing. I just picked up last year’s “Give Me the Simple Life”, and it is fantastic. Here he is in a 2012 interview with TimesSquare.com. From the interview:

(TS): You’ve been recording professionally for a few years now, how does the difference in playing a live show versus recording in a studio affect your process?

(JA): The biggest difference in the studio is that there’s a time constraint. It creates a different kind of focus. When I play a live show, I can play as long as I want. I can solo out. When people listen to a recording, they don’t necessarily want to hear a seven-minute piece like they would in a live show. When I record, I have to say as much as I would say in seven minutes in a live show in three minutes. I also can’t necessarily listen back to a live show like I can a recording (well I can, but it’s different). I don’t want to play stuff that I wouldn’t want to listen to on a record. (chuckles)

Click here to read Joe Alterman: A Young Jazz Man with Big Passion

2011 Ahmad Jamal Interview with Joe Alterman

AhmadJamalMore Ahmad Jamal interviews for the living legend’s birthday week. Here is a cool interview from 2011 from Joe Alterman’s Blog. Jamal covers a ton of topics including Pittsburgh, learning lyrics, and Erroll Garner. HEre he is discussing his repertoire:

Joe Alterman: One of the things that I’ve always loved about your playing is your repertoire. I’m curious how you were originally introduced to the great standards. 

Ahmad Jamal: My aunt, who was an educator in North Carolina, sent me many, many compositions via sheet music, and that’s how I gained the vast repertoire that you hear me indulge in. I was sent those things by her gracious efforts from 10 years old and on. So my Aunt Louise was the one responsible for me acquiring that vast repertoire of standards…It’s a combination of what she did and also working around one of the great cities for musicians, or people who were developing a career in music: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. So working with groups in Pittsburgh, and what she sent me, and the environment under which I grew up in. As you know I…well you don’t know (laughter), but I sold papers to Billy Strayhorn’s family when I was seven years old. So we [Pittsburgh] have Billy Strayhorn and Erroll Garner and Earl Hines and Roy Eldridge, Ray Brown, Art Blakey, and a pianist that you’ve probably never heard of, Dodo Momarosa. He was a great pianist…And Earl Wild, the great exponent of Liszt; a great interpreter of Franz Liszt…And Gene Kelly the tap dancer. The list goes on and on and on…George Benson, who was a much later personality that developed in Pittsburgh. But he’s a Pittsburgh personality, as well as Stanley Turrentine. It goes on and on and on.

Click here to read 2011 Ahmad Jamal Interview with Joe Alterman

1999 interview with Ahmad Jamal

AhmadJamalThe all-time legend that is Ahmad Jamal celebrates his celebrates his 83rd birthday this Tuesday July 2nd, so we will be posting his interviews this week in his honor. In today’s interview, posted at Jazzine.com, Felix Lamouroux interviewed Ahmad Jamal about his work, life and future at the Philharmony of Cologne, Germany in 1999. From the interview:

Do you listen to your own music?
It’s about all I listen to. I don’t listen to a lot of music, I’m very particular about what I listen to. I listen to my own music more now than any other because I’m busy with writing now. I’m in a very productive phase of my life – I’m writing all the time now. I’ve started two compositions since I’ve been in Cologne. I started writing as soon as I got to the hotel – I started hearing some things. So I’m listening a lot to my own thing, cause I’m writing a lot, and when you write you have to listen.

Click here to listen to 1999 interview with Ahmad Jamal