Archive: August, 2014

Intl Jazz Day 2014: Wayne Shorter—Philosophy of Life Through Jazz

On April 30 of this year, the world celebrated International Jazz Day with a day of music, talks, workshops and an All-Star Global Concert from Osaka, Japan. Included in the festivities were jazz greats such as  Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Roy Hargrove,  Marcus Miller, Esperanza Spalding, T.S.Monk, Kenny Garrett, Courtney Pine, and so many others. I am going to post some of the video interviews over the next week or so.

Here is a fantastic hour-long talk with Mika Shino, the legendary Wayne Shorter in which he discusses what has inspired and continues to inspire his body of work, including philosophy, art, literature, science, physics, and an hours worth of other topics.

—Peter Blasevick

2006 Mike Stern Interview With Jazz Guitar Life

mikeSternToday a very candid interview with guitarist Mike Stern. In 2006 he spoke with Lyle Robinson from JazzGuitarLife.com about his life and music, and in depth about his previous substance abuse:

JGL: I can imagine. Actually, using the cat metaphor and the whole nine lives thing, you’ve been very lucky in that you have had at least two lives so far given the personal issues you faced in the ‘80’s.

MS: Yeah man! It’s true…lol…at least I’m up to two. I don’t know if I have nine in me but I definitely have two…lol…and I’m certainly grateful that I have been able to do this. Do my own music and play with my own band. It’s definitely been with a lot of effort and I’m so grateful that I am able to do it ‘cause there are so many people who deserve to do it and who can’t do it for one reason or another. And it’s something that I’ll never take for granted. It’s been an honor to be able to play in different cities, different countries and with different people and to even play gigs and have people come to those gigs. And to be able to do my own records is an honor, without sounding too corny about it, it really is, and I don’t take it lightly at all and I am very grateful for it. You were mentioning the two lives kind of thing…that’s something I’m definitely grateful for, that I was able to get sober ‘cause that wasn’t a slam-dunk either you know. I was really deep in the other shit and getting high in every way possible and deep into as you can imagine without going into detail but it was all day long with everything out there and I got really strung out…and for years. It took me years to learn how to play music sober. I had never really done it since I was about 13 years old…I had never really experienced played music sober. I had always had a few drinks in me or I would smoke some pot or I’d get into some deeper shit. So for about twenty years I was always high. Miles used to say…well, someone in the band asked “where’s Mike?” And someone replied “he’s probably getting high someplace.” And Miles said (in a hoarse whisper) “Mike don’t get high, Mike stays high”…lol…he knew what was going on, and I was really crazy in those days so I’m really grateful to be alive.

Click here to read 2006 Mike Stern Interview With Jazz Guitar Life

—Peter Blasevick

Pat Metheny in Jazz Improv Magazine 2004

patMethenyToday is Pat Metheny‘s 60th birthday! In this long 2004 interview in Jazz Improv magazine, the guitar great talks at length about touring, practice routines, finding his own sounds, and much more. From the interview:

JI: In the 1970s and prior, artists would be booked to play at a place in town for three or four days at a time. Now, nobody’s booking anybody in a club for that length of time. Venues want artists to come in for one night, bring all their fans and then, “you’re outta there!” They want to get the next group in to bring all their fans.

PM: It’s true. A lot of what you’re saying is true, however I feel I must add, it really wasn’t that great back then either. I’ve always feel it’s important to remind people of that. It was rough then too. Back then when I started my band, our fee for the band was usually around $200-$250 for the whole band. I could pay $25, $30, $40 a guy after I paid for the hotel and the gas money and the commission and yet I knew, and it was important to me as a bandleader, to play every place we could possibly play and to get guys that were willing to do that. That was hard to do then and it’s hard to do now. I still really, really, really believe that anybody that’s got something really powerful and important to say as a musician, as a jazz musician or otherwise, if they want to go out and play hundreds of nights a year, they can and will develop an audience. It’s just that it requires a commitment that very few people are willing or are in the position to be able to do. Part of it for me, was at that time, I was in my early 20’s as were the guys I was playing with. At that age, they’re like, “Sure, let’s go out and play 300 gigs! Yeah, we’re going to make $20 a night? Fine. We’re going to have fun!” Also, at the time we started, we were on a mission from god musically. We really had a point that we wanted to make. I think that could be done now too. I really do, and in fact, the only group that I’ve seen that has sort of modeled their thing on something somewhat like on our thing and have had success, has been Medeski, Martin and Wood. They also went out and played every place they could possibly play relentlessly…

Click here to read Pat Metheny in Jazz Improv Magazine 2004

—Peter Blasevick

Allan Holdsworth: Harnessing momentum

allanHoldsworthAllan Holdsworth is one of the most creative, innovative, singular guitarists who has ever lived. He’s influenced legions of guitarists in jazz, rock and roll, and fusion and continued to release great music for more than four decades. Here is a great talk form 2008 with Innerviews’ Anil Prasad in which he discusses his never-ending musical quest. From the interview:

How do you go about capturing ideas during your writing process?

Ten years ago, I used to record things when I improvised. I’d put on the recorder and start playing and if I found something interesting, I’d go back and listen and think “Oh yeah, I can work with that.” Sometimes, I’ve gone the way of not recording anything at all. It can sometimes be about how I feel at that point in time, and I just scribble the music down and keep going back to it until I can put it into shape. Sometimes things come really fast and some things take months.  Take “Sphere of Innocence” from Wardenclyffe Tower. I wrote the whole tune in a couple of hours but there was a modulation in the middle of it that resolved in a way I wasn’t happy about. Ninety-nine percent of the piece was done in less than a day and it took months to finish the other one percent.

Click here to read Allan Holdsworth: Harnessing momentum

—Peter Blasevick

Chris Potter on The Jazz Session in 2010

chrisPotterI love this quote about saxophonist Chris Potter from Kenny Wheeler:

“Chris was in my composition class at the New School [for Jazz and Contemporary Music, NYC] for about a year. When he called me for a private lesson, I had no idea how he played. We started with a bebop tune; but he went further out on the second thing we played, and on the third tune he was playing in the language of my contemporaries, guys who grew up following all of Miles’ bands and aspiring to the kind of spiritual strivings that defined Coltrane’s music. By the fourth tune, I wanted to take a lesson from Chris.” (from Chris Potter at JazzProfiles)

Anyway, in this great interview from Jason Crane’s JazzSession, recorded before Potter’s performance with Dave Holland at the 2009 Tanglewood Jazz Festival, Potter talks about how a middle-class kid in Columbia, SC, ended up liking Chicago blues; why he looks first to please himself with the music he makes; and how rhythm breaks down barriers with an audience.

Click here to read Chris Potter on The Jazz Session in 2010

—Peter Blasevick