Archive: October, 2014

Jimmy Smith Documentary (Jazz Organ) – 1965

Here is a great 90 minute long West German documentary film made about Jimmy Smith and his trio. As you can imagine, there are great performances, but also tons of backstage footage and discussions. One interesting exchange happens backstage when Smith and his interviewer discuss if the Beatles are clever musicians or just a gimmick as Smith notes. Great stuff.

—Peter Blasevick

Nat Adderley: A Player’s Player

natAdderleyHere is an interview with the great cornetist/trumpeter Nat Adderley recently posted at the AllAboutJazz webiste. The interview was conducted by Joan Gannij in 1996 and originally appeared in Downbeat Magazine. Adderley covers some interesting topics including racism, East Coast vs. West Coast jazz, the jazz scenes in Europe vs. the USA, and much more. A great read!

JG: How would you compare performing in Europe with the States: 

NA: Around the world, the audiences are larger than ever. We get to play our music more now than at the end of the 50s when we were creating the style. In those days we would leave New York to go on a cross country tour from coast to coast, playing week-long gigs in clubs in PhiladelphiaClevelandDetroitKansas CitySan FranciscoLos Angeles, then back again via PortlandSeattle and Tacoma. Today, you can’t do that. In fact, I haven’t been to Detroit or Cleveland in twenty years. Why? Cause there’s no place to play, there’s no market, no promoters. In fact, I rarely go to Chicago anymore. When I added up over the last five years, the city I played in the most was Zurich, even though I have a regular one-week contract to play in New York every year at Sweet Basil.

Click here to read Nat Adderley: A Player’s Player

—Peter Blasevick

Seymour Nurse Interviews George Duke

Here is a great four part interview with the late George Duke from Seymour Nurse from The Bottom End.

Part one covers the original London (UK) Jazz-Fusion Dance Movement, and how his music influenced this culture at clubs like, “The Horseshoe” and “Electric Ballroom.” Part two covers Duke’s  timeless masterpiece, “A Brazilian Love Affair”, Milton Nascimento and the late, great, Cannonball Adderley. In part three, George gives his thoughts on his female vocalists, Sheila E, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and the exquisite, “Muir Woods Suite”. Finally, part four begins with blaring sires and goes on to cover Duke’s current work.

—Peter Blasevick

Burt Bacharach On Piano Jazz

burtBacharachBurt Bacharach has written more than 600 songs and more than 70 Top 40 hits. In 1957, Bacharach met fellow songwriter Hal David, and the two began a collaboration that would result in some of the most memorable songs of their day, many of which have an adventurous and jazz-inspired sense of harmony and rhythm, cleverly disguised as simple pop songs!

In this NPR Piano Jazz session from 2005, Bacharach discusses his early years, his collaborations, and performs some of his most famous numbers, such as “What the World Needs Now Is Love” and “Close to You.” 

SET LIST

  • “Alfie” (Bacharach, David)
  • “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” (Bacharach, David)
  • “This Guy’s In Love With You” (Bacharach, David)
  • “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” (Bacharach, David)
  • “What The World Needs Now Is Love” (Bacharach, David)
  • “Portrait Of Burt Bacharach” (McPartland)
  • “The Windows Of The World” (Bacharach, David)
  • “Close To You” (Bacharach, David)

Click here to listen to Burt Bacharach On Piano Jazz

—Peter Blasevick

T.S.Monk: My Father Thelonious Monk

tSMonkThe great Thelonious Monk would have been 97 years young today, and to celebrate one of the great geniuses of American music, a little something different: a 2013 irockjazz.com interview from with Monk’s son, T. S. Monk, in which the younger musician speaks at length about growing up with an American legend for a father. From the interview with Paul Pennington:

theloniousMonk

On recognizing his father’s genius

TSM: I kind of concluded that after a while. Of course, he was clearly different than everyone else’s dad. He was a lot more intense it seemed. From every indication I got from the people around him he was a lot more intelligent than everybody else too [laughs]. So I knew something was going on. Adults sometimes don’t know what they’re saying to kids, so if you have people saying to you, ‘Do you know who you your father is’? That’s a crazy question for a six year old, you know. I mean what do you mean ‘Do I know who my father is’? He’s my daddy. So that was very confusing. Of course, they were referring to his musical accomplishments. But I didn’t know anything about that. All I knew is that my father played the piano. Most of my friend’s fathers drove buses and were mailmen and did things like that. So I knew he had something going on. But in terms of trying to convey the magnitude of his genius to a ten year old it’s a silly thing to even try to do.

Click here to read T.S.Monk: My Father Thelonious Monk

—Peter Blasevick

Two 1979 Ahmad Jamal Interviews with Les Tompkins

AhmadJamalHere are two interviews by Les Tomkins with the great pianist Ahmad Jamal, both interviews conducted in 1979. Jamal talks a lot about commercial success, or the lack thereof for jazz musicians. Interesting stuff. He also discusses his time with Chess and different musical projects of his. From the interview:

Every day we hear Wolfgang Mozart’s great works, but no one knows where the man was buried; his funeral was attended by a gravedigger and a dog. So why shouldn’t it be that a musician enjoys something during his life? Why does it have to be a Mozart thing all the time? It’s ridiculous. Mozart was commercial, huh? Or I should say: he wasn’t thought to be commercial enough at the time, but now he’s commercial. But the things he was writing then are the same things you hear now. The success is no good to him now.

In the case of Franz Liszt, of course, he was a very great technician, and he also enjoyed the financial reward for it at the time. It’s unfortunate when it doesn’t happen like that to every hard–working musician. In the case of George he’s not only artistically sound, but he’s receiving the fruits of his labour. It’s important that there should be some recognition of talent during that talent’s lifetime.

Unfortunately, there is this thinking, that once you start making any kind of money, your artistry becomes somehow devalued. You have to be on your last legs, in all sorts of dues–paying situations, before they’ll say: “Well, there goes a great musician.” This is preposterous.

Click here to read Two 1979 Ahmad Jamal Interviews with Les Tompkins Part One; Part Two

—Peter Blasevick

Four part JazzWax interview with Gary Burton

garyBurtonToday I’m linking to a four part interview from Marc Myers Jazzwax with the great innovator Gary Burton. Along with being a fusion pioneer, he helped popularize the four mallet playing technique on the vibes and championed the idea of the jazz duet (most recently with Chick Corea on 2012’s Hot House). From the interview:

JW: What was it like working with Shearing?
GB: It was an interesting challenge and experience for me. George did not believe in lengthy solos. Everyone got to play one chorus on any song. You had about 30 seconds to solo.

JW: Did that become a problem?
GB: For me, coming from my student days of five-minute solos, I didn’t know how to do this. At first I tried to play a million things. But that didn’t work too well. Then I became philosophical about it, playing smaller chunks rather than long stretches. With George, I learned how to get into a solo immediately and pace it.

Click here to read JazzWax interview with Gary Burton: Part One; Part Two; Part Three; Part Four

—Peter Blasevick