Archive: January, 2014

Al DiMeola – Expanding Jazz Guitar

alDimeolaGuitarist Al Di Meola first became famous playing with Chick Corea in the fusion band Return to Forever. He gained international recognition performing as part of the Guitar Trio with John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia.’s Jazz Perspective producer Reese Erlich interviewed Di Meola in 2009 at the Montreal Jazz Festival about his efforts with his World Sinfonia band.

Click here to listen to Al DiMeola – Expanding Jazz Guitar

—Peter Blasevick


Woody Shaw: My approach to jazz

woodyShawI’m going to post some interviews from the UK’s National Jazz Archive this week. If you’ve never visited, take a few minutes and check them out, there is a lot of great info on their site.

Here is a cool interview with trumpeter, flugelhornist, composer and band leader Woody Shaw from 1977. From the interview:

“I have played the flugelhorn at times, but I like the trumpet. The flugelhorn is purely incidental to me; it’s effective and pretty in certain things—but I can get just about the same sound on the trumpet. I have a very well–developed low register, with a very big, dark sound; so I don’t worry about the flugel. But—I’m going to get a flugelhorn ! Now, that instrument fits Art Farmer perfectly; you could have no better choice to play the flugel. It fits his style, his whole musical personality—he’s a very lyrical player. I heard him recently; he sounds beautiful.”

Click here to read Woody Shaw: My approach to jazz

—Peter Blasevick

National Jazz Archive: Two Phil Woods Interviews

philWoodsI’m going to post some interviews from the UK’s National Jazz Archive this week. If you’ve never visited, take a few minutes and check them out, there is a lot of great info on their site.

Here are two interviews with saxophonist Phil Woods conducted by Les Tompkins in 1969 and 1981. In the first, “Breaking Out of The Studio”, Woods talks about his quartet The European Rhythm Machine, running a music camp, and playing across Europe. In “The First English Tour” Woods discusses, well, his first English tour.

“How far you leave the public behind depends on your level of genius, how much you have to say. My own personal way of approaching music is probably linked to a broader based public. It’s just that I’m older than some of the younger musicians; I’ve been playing longer. You know, I don’t aim my things to a particular public, but from twenty years of playing I think my musical base is broader.

We try to incorporate a variety into our sets. Some people will hate the first tune, possibly, and love the second tune.

I love Johnny Hodges; I love Ornette Coleman. That about sums it up, really. I steal whatever’s good from wherever I can find it! If it’s honest, I’m all for it. There’s so much dishonesty within life itself. Creating a formula and adhering to it, that’s always a trap. I’ve often said in joking: “I’d love a hit record”. I’d be scared to death if that ever happened. To have to play that damn thing every night, and grow to hate it. Then your group becomes categorised and before you know it, insidiously your music starts to change and fit this formula that worked. Even among the most dedicated people.”

Click here to read Breaking out in the studio.

Click here to read The first English tour.

—Peter Blasevick

Carli Muñoz On Piano Jazz 2006

carliMunozAnother cool NPR Piano Jazz episode today, this one with the great pianist and organist Carli Muñoz. I’ve visited his restaurant in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico a couple of times and had the chance to watch him play and sit and talk with him on both occasions. A great piano player and a very nice man. Carli discusses everything from his early career to his long stint with the Beach Boys to of course his great jazz club.

Set list for this interview:

  • “Mia” (Muñoz)
  • “We’ll Be Together Again” (Fischer, Laine)
  • “So In Love” (Porter)
  • “Stranger In A Dream” (McPartland)
  • “Now Is The Time” (Parker)
  • “Diaspora” (Muñoz)
  • “Margot” (Jarrett)
  • “A Delicate Balance” (McPartland)
  • “Three Little Steps To Heaven” (Muñoz)

Click here to listen to Carli Muñoz On Piano Jazz 2006

—Peter Blasevick

Eddie Gomez On Piano Jazz

eddieGomezI was listening through some repeats of NPR’s Piano Jazz with the late Marian McPartland recently, and they are just great. There aren’t many forums that allow long-form interview/performances like these, and we’re fortunate that they keep an archive of selected episodes up at the NPR site.

In this episode, bassist Eddie Gomez visits Piano Jazz for a session with his old boss, Marian McPartland. The pair first teamed up in the early 1960s, when McPartland found herself in need of a bassist for a regular trio gig at Strollers in New York. Gomez gained exposure that led to the chance of a lifetime: a spot as bassist in the Bill Evans Trio. On this installment of Piano Jazz from 2007, Gomez and McPartland get together for a set of tunes by Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Cole Porter, Thelonious Monk and more.

“Eddie is such a wonderful bassist,” McPartland says. “I remember hiring him for that gig, and we had a fabulous time catching up on the show. It was a lot of fun playing together again. And he went on to big things with Bill Evans… and now teaching the kids.”

Here is the set list played during the interview:

  • “On Green Dolphin Street” (B. Kaper, N. Washington)
  • “Windows” (C. Corea)
  • “Willow Weep for Me” (A. Ronell)
  • “Easy to Love” (C. Porter)
  • “Turn Out the Stars” (B. Evans)
  • “Free Piece” (M. McPartland, E. Gomez)
  • “Stella by Starlight” (N. Washington, V. Young)
  • “Sometime Ago” (S. Mihanovich)
  • “Straight No Chaser” (T.S. Monk)

Click here to listen to Eddie Gomez On Piano Jazz

For Mike Stern’s 61st Birthday, a 2003 Downbeat Feature

Mike Stern is 61 years old? Yikes.

mikeSternToday a 2003 piece on Stern that Ted Panken wrote for Downbeat. Also included is a link to a 2009 interview Panken did with Stern for From the Downbeat piece, the great guitarist discusses Miles:

“One thing about Miles that always impressed me is that he always played music he wanted to play,” Stern says. “While I was with Miles, he was offered a fortune to play with Ron Carter and Tony Williams in Japan. But he was just interested in what he was doing, and didn  want to be swayed. At the same time, he always had this balance of wanting to reach people. That’s in all his music. Somebody who doesn’t  really know jazz can still get Miles Davis. And balance is always important to me, however I come up with it.”

Click here to read For Mike Stern’s 61st Birthday, a 2003 Downbeat Feature

Wayne Shorter: Portrait Of A Visionary

wayneShorterHappy New Year all! I hope 2013 ended up great for everyone and 2014 promises to be even better!

Here is a great portrait of Wayne Shorter R. J. Deluke put together last week for Along with Shorter himself, Deluke includes parts of talks wiht other musicians like Wallace Roney, John Patitucci, and Jack DeJohnette to get a fuller picture of the legendaey Saxophonist. From the interview:

The meaning of the often-debated word “jazz,” to Shorter, is “I dare you.” He exemplifies it. 

“Don’t play music lessons, Art Blakey would say,” says Shorter, who then effects a dead-on Blakey voice impersonation. “‘I don’t wanna hear that. Tell me a story.’ When I talked with Miles [Davis], we kind of talked like this, like we’re talking now, and Miles would say a couple of times [in perfect Miles raspy voice:] ‘Why don’t you play that.’ In other words: play what you’re thinking. Don’t play music. Play a story.’ What do you play after you play ‘Once upon a time?’ What comes next?”

Click here to read Wayne Shorter: Portrait Of A Visionary

—Peter Blasevick