Category: D

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

Al Di Meola: Telling it like it is

It’s Al Di Meola‘s 60th birthday today! In this 2003 interview, the jazz/fusion/classical/overall guitar virtuoso pulls no punches about his band, his composing, and his disgust with the state of the music business. From the interview conducted by Anil Prasad for Innerviews:

alDimeolaDo you have an overall philosophy as a band leader?  

Musicians must understand rhythm and syncopation in order to do this kind of music. It’s not really a philosophy, but just an understanding of the rhythmic concept I have and it sometimes needs to be drilled a lot. I think we’re getting close to it. The concept is playing off the quarter note. It’s also understanding that when you play syncopations off the quarter note that no matter how complex it may seem, the quarter note never ever sways one hair unless it’s intentionally meant to.  Generally, if we’re all playing together and one guy is feeling the quarter note in another place, it’s really apparent to me. It may not be for the listener, although I think the listener will feel something is awkward subconsciously. Understanding how to play off the quarter note without the quarter note ever moving is something that’s rare for musicians to really get. It’s not something you can really learn. You’re born with it. It’s in you and I have to get it out of them. But sometimes it’s not in them. Then you’ve got a problem.

Click here to read Al Di Meola: Telling it like it is 

—Peter Blasevick

Miles Davis: a classic interview from the vaults

milesDavisA classic 1985 interview with Miles from Rocks Backpages, reprinted here in The Guardian. A really long piece, and Davis is typically funny and outspoken and brilliant and a jerk and all the things you’d expect:

When I was 17,18, my allowance was like $40 a week. My wife would cook something, a little cornbread, and I’d say to Bird, Come on downstairs and eat. And he would eat all of the cornbread! He would sit down and leave a little piece like that and then leave! Did that a couple of times and I said, Fuck Bird! After a couple of times I didn’t leave him anything to gobble up.

“Like when Bird died. They asked me to say something about Bird. I said, Man, if I said something about Bird, you wouldn’t believe it. Don’t ask me that! He was a big hog. A pig. No such thing as no with him. And Trane. And Sonny. Only three people I knew like that. And Dizzy, when he was young. I suppose geniuses are like that.

“Trane would find a note he liked and run all kinds of chords on it. But he was a big hog. I seen him with a whole ounce of dope once, the dope was spilling over and he wouldn’t give it to nobody. So much that it was running all over everything! Guys would ask him for some, he’d say no.”

Click here to read Miles Davis: a classic interview from the vaults

Two Jack DeJohnette audio interviews

JackDeJohnetteHere are two podcast interviews with the legendary drummer Jack DeJohnette from the AllAboutJazz site. In 2011 DeJohnette discusses his famous cymbals and creating his signature sound. The following year DeJohnette talks about the next phase of his storied career, his induction as a 2012 NEA Jazz Master, and the multiple projects he took to the Newport Jazz Festival that summer.

Click here to listen to Two Jack DeJohnette audio interviews: 2011

Click here to listen to Two Jack DeJohnette audio interviews 2012

—Peter Blasevick

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


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

Jack DeJohnette: Painting With Sticks

JackDeJohnetteHere is an interesting talk with the great drummer Jack DeJohnette from keyboardist and composer George Colligan. The interview was originally posted on his blog JazzTruth (which you should check out), but was recently reprinted at AllAboutJazz. The interview was conducted while they were touring Europe together in May of 2011. From the interview:

GC: How would you describe, if there was a way to describe it, your general concept of drumming?

JD: I would describe it like I did in a video recently. It’s called musical expression on the drum set. That’s what I do. I see myself as a colorist, not as a drummer, per se. I always though, “I want to do on drums what somebody like Keith Jarrett does on the piano.” The drum set is a musical instrument like guitar and everything else. You tune them, you tune the set, like you tune a guitar or bass, and I tune my drums in such a way so that no matter what I play, whatever I hit on it is a melody and that makes me think differently, it makes me think more melodically. And you know, you play drums, so you’ve played my set,so when you play it, no matter what you play…

Click here to read Jack DeJohnette: Painting With Sticks

Five Joey DeFrancesco Videos

Here is a brand new (April 2013) five part video interview with organist Joey DeFrancesco from the JazzTimes YouTube Channel. The interviews were conducted by Irene Lee on board the 2013 Jazz Cruise and cover DeFrancesco’s musical education & development, his ideas about jazz education, the Jazz Cruise and his band, his current & future projects, and playing the trumpet & singing.

—Peter Blasevick

Five Paul Desmond interviews and some extras

From the cool JazzProfessional website, here are five interviews with the iconic alto saxophonist Paul Desmond conducted by Les Tompkins. As always, Desmond is classy, funny, and articulate throughout. “The personality of Paul Desmond” and “The jazz audience” are from 1963, with Back in the crook”, “Giant jazzman, gentle wit…”, and Sax viewpoint” from 1972. Additionally there is a special tribute story from the time of Desmond’s death in 1977, and a page of Desmond quotes. 

From the first interview, Desmond on practicing:

“I feel the necessity for practice, but the results don’t generally justify it. I have a tendency to get bugged by some small thing when I start practising and do one of those Stephen Laycock retroactive bits for five or six hours, ending up playing one interval and working on the intonation or something. After about four hours I come to the job and I can’t play a note! So I’m really better off without practising. I either have to just make it playing the job or forget it. There isn’t time then to get introspective or critical and tear anything apart. You just have to keep going.”

 Click here to read Five Paul Desmond interviews and some extras

—Peter Blasevick

2010 Jack DeJohnette Interview at NYU

Here is a cool 10:00 video interview with the great Jack DeJohnette. In this 2010 interview with Dr. David Schroeder, Director of the NYU Steinhardt Jazz Studies Program, the drummer talks about a number of topics including playing with Sting and going to see Charles Mingus.

—Peter Blasevick