Archive: September, 2014

Quincy Jones: ‘I told Michael Jackson he was weird’

quincyJonesHere is a fun interview with the great Quincy Jones from Paul Lester at The Guardian. Jones discusses everything from Frank Sinatra to his early days to his biggest influences. He also opines on legalizing drugs, Nazis on cocaine, and recording Thriller. Great stuff. From the interview:

Frank Sinatra called you Q. What did you call him?
Francis, or FS.

Were you nervous of him?
Nervous? Not even close, man! I was living in France, studying with Nadia Boulanger [tutor to Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland]. And I come in one day, they say, “Grace Kelly called, Mr Sinatra wants you to bring your house band” – I had the best house band in the world. So we played with Frank, and he said five words to me: “Good job, kid. Koo-koo.” I never saw anything like him on a stage. He was like a magician, from another planet. He had it down. The most magical thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Frank was bipolar, and one of the greatest friends I’ll ever have. I have his ring on, with his family crest, from Sicily. I’ve never taken it off.

Click here to read Quincy Jones: ‘I told Michael Jackson he was weird’

—Peter Blasevick

Notations from Harold Mabern

haroldMabernPianist Harold Mabern is one of the underrated greats of the late 50s early 60s hard-bop era, playing and recording with the likes of Wes Montgomery, J.J. Johnson, Jackie McLean, and George Coleman. He has also had a prolific career as a leader, and has had a profound impact on many great musicians as an instructor and faculty member at William Paterson University and the Stanford Jazz Workshop. Here is a transcript from a great interview with Deborah Demoss Smith at KMHD radio this past week. From the interview:

Do you agree with the idea that West Coast jazz is different than East Coast?
That’s not happening anymore. The West Coast sound is lighter in texture; the East Coast more grainy. But it’s not like that anymore because the coasts have caught up with each other. I was born in the South, where we had to play the blues, which we hated to play the blues; but now we realize that’s a blessing because everybody can’t play the blues. I’m still writing music and still learning music. Ahmad Jamal said the day you stop learning, you might as well go crawl in a hole. 

Click here to read Notations from Harold Mabern

—Peter Blasevick

Coltrane on Coltrane

johnColtraneToday would have been the great John Coltrane‘s 88th birthday. Besides listening to his indescribable music, here’s a good way to celebrate: a 1960 piece from Downbeat magazine that he wrote in the first person in collaboration with Don DeMicheal. From the interview, Trane on Monk:

Working with Monk brought me close to a musical architect of the highest order. I felt I learned from him in every way—through the senses, theoretically, technically. I would talk to Monk about musical problems, and he would sit at the piano and show me the answers just by playing them. I could watch him play and find out the things I wanted to know. Also, I could see a lot of things that I didn’t know about at all.

Monk was one of the first to show me how to make two or three notes at one time on tenor. (John Glenn, a tenor man in Philly, also showed me how to do this. He can play a triad and move notes inside it—like passing tones!) It’s done by false fingering and adjusting your lip. If everything goes right, you can get triads. Monk just looked at my horn and “felt” the mechanics of what had to be done to get this effect.

I think Monk is one of the true greats of all time. He’s a real musical thinker—there’s not many like him. I feel myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with him. If a guy needs a little spark, a boost, he can just be around Monk, and Monk will give it to him.

Click here to read Coltrane on Coltrane

—Peter Blasevick

Benny Green interviewed at the 2012 Litchfield Jazz Festival

Here is a cool backstage interview with pianist Benny Green at the 2012 Litchfield Jazz Festival. Conducted by bassist and all-around-jazz-interviewer-guy Jonah Jonathan, Green talks a lot about his early years, his influences, and his current projects. Good stuff.

—Peter Blasevick

Cannonball Adderley on American Bandstand in 1967

Cannonball Adderley would have been 86 years old today. I’ve always been a big fan, not only of his great music, but of his positive outlook in every interview of his I’ve read. Here is a short clip of him interviewed by Dick Clark after playing “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” on American Bandstand in 1967:

—Peter Blasevick

Wes Montgomery on “People in Jazz” 1968

Not many interviews with Wes Montgomery around, but here is a little seen one from 1968. Wes speaks with Jim Rockwell on the TV show “People in Jazz”. The quality is poor, but it’s worth it to slog through in order to hear the genius talk about playing! Wes also plays Windy at the end of the video with his brothers Buddy (p) and Monk (b). Enjoy!

—Peter Blasevick

International Jazz Day 2014: Dee Dee Bridgewater: Jazz & Human Rights

Today, one more interview from International Jazz Day 2014. On April 30, 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  Wayne Shorter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Roy Hargrove, Esperanza Spalding, T.S.Monk, Kenny Garrett, Courtney Pine, and so many others. 

This discussion features Associated Press journalist and writer Charles Gans interviewing celebrated vocalist and Broadway actress Dee Dee Bridgewater, who discusses Billie Holiday, the role of jazz in the worldwide struggle for human rights, and a host of other topics in this hour long discussion. She is also wearing a bad pair of cowboy boots.

—Peter Blasevick

Intl Jazz Day 2014: Herbie Hancock & Marcus Miller—Artists for Peace and Cultural Diplomacy

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  Wayne Shorter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Roy Hargrove, Esperanza Spalding, T.S.Monk, Kenny Garrett, Courtney Pine, and so many others. I am posting some of these video interviews over the next week or so.

This hour long panel discussion features UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock and UNESCO Artist for Peace Marcus Miller. The two discuss the concept of ‘artists for peace’; what does this entail, and what potential impact can an artist have in this arena. Fascinating insights from both of these legends.

—Peter Blasevick