Archive: September, 2013

Sun Ra Interview: Helsinki, 1971

Sun Ra was a bad man. Not much else to say. Check out this 10 minute long video interview with the man from 1971:

—Peter Blasevick

Andre Previn with Martin Perlich 9/21/1990


Andre Previn often isn’t thought of as a “jazz” player due to due to his success in the classical and film worlds, but he is one heck of a piano player! Here is a great 1990 radio interview from Martin Perlich. From the intro:

I was fortunate to be invited to occasional breakfasts at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills with then Music Director of the LA Philharmonic André Previn. Raised on the Hollywood sound stages, Previn was an accomplished composer as well as extraordinary jazz pianist. Telarc had just released his second jazz CD—a trio with Mundel Lowe and Ray Brown—and Previn compared the art of improvisation to standard “straight” classical playing.

Click here to listen to Andre Previn with Martin Perlich 9/21/1990

—Peter Blasevick

Smithsonian Oral Histories: Barry Harris 2010

barryHarrisToday another fascinating piece from the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program. Established by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in 1992, the Program documents more than one hundred senior jazz musicians, performers, relatives, and business associates.  The interviews average six hours in length and cover a wide range of topics including early years, initial involvement in music, generally, and jazz specifically, as well as experiences in the jazz music world, including relationships to musicians. There are usually (but not always) both written transcripts and audio; the transcriptions are complete, the audio are shorter clips from the interviews.

Here is the great pianist Barry Harris in 2010. The full transcript is 36 pages, and in the three audio clips Barry speaks about his ability to write music spontaneously, his view on why Jazz should be as valued as classical, and his experience listening to Charlie Parker. From the interview conducted by Aaron Graves:

See the drag about Nat King Cole was everybody fell in love with the singers. See, all over the world they fell in love with the singers. They didn’t fall in love with the piano playing, which was brilliant. He was a brilliant pianist, you know. So you heard less of the piano playing, and more of the singing, even though we enjoyed the singing, you know, don’t think we didn’t. But it would have been nice to hear the piano a little more – keep going, you know. So we had a lot to listen to, you know, you had all them good musicians to listen to.

Click here to listen to and read Smithsonian Oral Histories: Barry Harris 2010

—Peter Blasevick

Danilo Perez Interview Live At The 2013 Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

Jazz bassist Jonah Jonathan interviews pianist, composer, educator, Danilo Perez who had just finished performing with the Wayne Shorter Quartet along with Brian Blade and John Pattituci at the 2013 Montreal Jazz Festival. Perez discusses the 80th birthday celebration of Shorter among other topics.

—Peter Blasevick

Smithsonian Oral Histories: Roy Haynes 1994

royHaynesGetting back to posting some of these great Smithsonian oral histories today. Here is a 1994 interview with drummer and living legend Roy Haynes. As with all of these histories, they cover the subject’s entire life in depth up through the interview. The 79 page .PDF contains the entire interview, while the seven audio clips cover John Coltrane, how Haynes avoided being drafted to the Army, the culture of Harlem and New York City, playing at the Apollo Theater, what Lester Young calls a job, being misunderstood as a drummer, and the fact that Roy Haynes wants Sonny Rollins to call him back! From the interview, conducted by Anthony Brown:

Brown: Back in those days, what was distinctive about these different drummers’ styles, like Art Blakey or Kenny Clarke or Papa Jo? What was it particularly that was so captivating for you?

Haynes: Papa Jo – he wasn’t known as Papa Jo then, but he was Papa Jo, whether he realized it or I realized it. He had such a happy feeling. Whatever he played, if it was just one beat, it knocked me out, the way he did it. I wasn’t into necessarily all that rudimental brrrrrrrrrr – all of that. This guy was flashy, and the way he said what he said, that was it. 

How I met Kenny Clarke: he was introduced by one of the deejays at the same Sunday session – one of the Sunday sessions at the Ken Club. He was the last one to be introduced to the audience, Kenny Clarke. The deejay said, “If you want to know anything about this guy, ask Jo Jones.” When he said that, I had to love him automatically.

Click here to listen to and read Smithsonian Oral Histories: Roy Haynes 1994

—Peter Blasevick

Tony Bennett at the 2000 North Sea Jazz Festival

Interview with the great singer Tony Bennett at the 2000 North Sea Jazz Festival by NTR/Radio 6 reporter Co de Kloet. The legend discusses the art of intimate singing, fellow performers Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby, and how his style of singing is a bridge between the jazz and pop worlds.

—Peter Blasevick

Wayne Shorter with Tavis Smiley 2013

Here’s another interview with Wayne Shorter for this extended 80th birthday celebration, this a brand new one with Tavis Smiley from this past week. The legend talks about his career, Herbie Hancock’s 80th birthday tribute to him, and his soon to be released new project.

—Peter Blasevick