Archive: November, 2013

John Scofield All About Jazz podcast 2013

johnScofieldHappy Thanksgiving, all! While you spend the day giving thanks for what you have (and eat too much and watch American football), check out this podcast interview with guitarist John Scofield from All About Jazz.

Just after sitting in with the Allman Brothers Band at the Beacon Theater in New York City last year, the iconic jazz guitarist spoke with AAJ about his musical roots in rock and blues. In the interview he gives take on Duane Allman, Mike Bloomfield, Sly and the Family Stone, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, John Mayer, Jimmy Herring and plenty more.

Click here to listen to John Scofield All About Jazz podcast 2013

—Peter Blasevick

George Cables: The Pianist’s Dedication to the Group

georgeCablesAnyone who is serious about jazz will tell you that George Cables belongs in the pantheon of the greatest jazz pianists. Everyone, that is, except George Cables. Exceptional in every way, he is yet a team player. He sees himself as part of the rhythm section, and has always emphasized the group over the soloist. He has worked extensively since the late 1960s with many of the legends, including Art Blakey, Art Pepper, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, and Dexter Gordon, to name a few.

In this October 2013 interview with All About Jazz, Cables discusses many of the greats he played with, including here where he talks about playing with Dexter Gordon:

“It was just fun, because he wanted to be leader and also just wanted to play. He was very creative and arranged our choruses. We had a quartet that really developed, withRufus Reid on bass and Eddie Gladden on drums. Dexter had a few specific things he wanted, and he would tell you that, but he would also just roll with the band. We became an incredible group because we were really tight. Dexter finally felt he had his own group that had his own voice. The rhythm section really worked well together. 

“I remember that one day he gave me a piano solo on a ballad, and the band suddenly stopped playing! I had no accompaniment, and I just started playing my solo piano, and I wasn’t used to doing that, but I kept finding things to play and really stretchin’ it out and being fairly free, and playing rubato, and out of tempo. And Dexter encouraged me for taking that risk, and I’m grateful for that because he helped me find out what I can do playing solo.”

Click here to read George Cables: The Pianist’s Dedication to the Group

—Peter Blasevick

Courtney Pine: ‘Carrying my instrument home each day made me feel better about myself’

courtneyPineA quick Q&A with saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, crossover artist, and all around cool dude Courtney Pine from The Guardian’s This Much I Know feature. Pine, 49, discusses standing up to the ‘jazz police’, playing saxophone on the moon, and being saved by the Pet Shop Boys. From the piece by Megan Conner:

The Pet Shop Boys saved my life. It was 1989, I’d lost my record deal, and they gave me a show at Wembley. I’m indebted to Neil [Tennant] and Chris [Lowe] for their love of jazz music.

People think you’re older when you play jazz. That’s fine by me. I’ve always wanted to be older, as I’ve wanted to know what I’ll sound like at 50, 60, 70.

My house is full of computers. My wife laughed when I said we’d have computers in every room one day. I’m a technology obsessive.

Click here to read Courtney Pine: ‘Carrying my instrument home each day made me feel better about myself’

The Jazz Session #88: Ellis Marsalis

ellisMarsalisToday, a cool 2009 interview with pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis from The Jazz Session, a member-supported online interview show focusing on in-depth conversations with jazz musicians authored by Jason Crane.

In this interview, the patriarch of the Marsalis family talks about how his time in the Marines helped build his piano chops; how he got his gig with trumpeter Al Hirt; and what makes New Orleans “fertile ground” for a jazz musician.

Click here to listen to The Jazz Session #88: Ellis Marsalis

—Peter Blasevick

For Alvin Batiste’s 81st Birth Anniversary, A WKCR Interview From 1987

308825587_332a9a1922_oHere is a great interview with master clarinetist and educator Alvin Batiste conducted by Ted Panken for WKCR radio in 1987. Batiste discusses New Orleans and his formative years in great detail as well as other jazz greats such as the Marsalis family and Ornette Coleman. From the interview:

Q: Tell me about how you first entered into music.  Was it always a part of your life?

AB: Well, I can remember very vividly one Easter Sunday, I think I was about five years old, and my mother had gotten me one of these little white suits that kids at that time were wearing in Louisiana, whether you were Catholic or Protestant.  And a parade passed by my house.  I was living in a section of town called Holly Grove.  And parades didn’t pass that often, so I followed the parade, and I was with the parade all day — if you can imagine a five-year-old kid.  They fed me… And they had canals during that time that took care of the sewage and stuff, and so when the water would go in the canal there would be an algae.  And I slipped down and messed up my little pants.  But I got back home at about nine o’clock and got a good one!  But I think that’s when I was bit.

Click here to read For Alvin Batiste’s 81st Birth Anniversary, A WKCR Interview From 1987

Two-part 1973 Freddie Hubbard interview

freddieHubbardHere are two 1973 interviews by Les Tomkins with jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard from the UK National Jazz Archive. Hubbard discusses Bix Beiderbecke, his early days in NYC, playing with Quincy Jones, and plenty else. Here Freddie talks about the business side of jazz:

There was a period in New York where it was kinda free. I mean, you got a bunch of great guys together in the studio and you just played. And the man who made the record made all the money. So it got to the point, everybody said: “We deserve more money.” Well, all record people are very money–conscious. They like the music, but it always ends up into a capital gain thing. Which is good, but in the meantime the artist doesn’t realise his gains.

See, people take you for granted—the fact that you’re out there and you’re more interested in creating something righteous that you believe in. Nowadays. it’s a thing of: “If I’m going to create this, then I should be rewarded.” You’ve got musicians now who are more business–minded.

Click here to read Interview One: You Have to Change With the Times 

Click here to read Interview Two: Melody is as Important as Ever

—Peter Blasevick

Robert Glasper’s Black Radio 2 playlist

robertGlasperThe hard-to-pigeonhole keyboardist Robert Glasper sat down recently with Hilary Hughes for Esquire Magazine to discuss his new record Black Radio 2. Glasper walks readers through the tracks on the record and discusses all the guest artists, from Common to Lalah Hathaway to Snoop Dogg. He also picks songs from the artists for a cool playlist linked from the interview page. From the interview, Glasper on Norah Jones:

“Norah and I went to jazz camp together in high school! She went to the performance arts high school in Dallas, and I went to the one in Houston. Her high school had Erykah Badu; my high school had Beyoncé. (Laughs) The next time I saw her after jazz camp was in 2001: I was a senior in college in New York, and she was in a practice room at my college, practicing the piano. I was like, ‘What are you doing here!’ and she was like, ‘My friend let me in! I’m working on a demo!’ The very next time I saw her, she was winning eight Grammys.

Click here to read Robert Glasper’s Black Radio 2 playlist

—Peter Blasevick

Harold Danko – an interview

Photo by Julia Radschiner

Photo by Julia Radschiner

Pianist and teacher Mark Polishook (check out his great teaching website here) recently had a chance to sit down with another great pianist and teacher, Harold Danko. Mark writes that Harold “is of the last generation of fabulous jazz players who came up through famous “name” big bands. For Harold, it was Woody Herman and the Thundering Herd, the Thad Jones and Mel Lewis Orchestra, and the Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band.”  The long discussion covers everything from Harold’s early days to performing to influences to teaching at Eastman. From the interview:

MP: What was it like to be a long-term member of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra?

HD: The vibe of the Thad and Mel Band was extraordinary. Thad, Mel, Pepper Adams, Jerry Dodgion, and Gregory Herbert were real jazz heavyweights. Also, Larry Schneider was a new tenor guy starting to make his mark in those days.

Pepper Adams had so much instant fire and control. Jerry Dodgion is a fantastic player and one of the sweetest and most well loved musicians in the world. Gregory had it all. His sound was beautiful. His control of the horn and passion were amazing. He was a great musician and friend. Later on Rich Perry and Dick Oatts came on the band, and I really connected with their playing.

They’re all great personalities. I am honored to feel like I somehow belonged in the club.

Click here to read Harold Danko – an interview

—Peter Blasevick