Category: F

Dave Frank: My Teacher, Lennie Tristano

Here is 6:22 of pretty much everything I love about jazz on the internet. JazzVideoGuy, who does such important work for the legacy of jazz, interviewing the ridiculously hip, funny, and burning Dave Frank about his teacher and great influence Lennie Tristano. Eat up every second of this great interview.


—Peter Blasevick

Bill Frisell in Fretboard Journal 2008

billFrisellHere is a cool 2008 interview with guitarist and innovator Bill Frisell from Danny Barnes and Fretboard Journal. They discuss everything from gear to composing to practicing to living in New York…a whole bunch of good stuff. From the interview:

DB: When you were learning, were there any particular books that got you to a new place? The Nicolas Slonimsky book or any textbooks?

BF: I played clarinet in school. That was my first instrument, and everything I did on that was just looking at music and reading. The guitar came along later, and I learned it on my own in the beginning. It was just playing by ear, playing along with records and playing with my friends. The whole way I came about playing music on the guitar, in the beginning anyway, was a completely different path. Clarinet was this real intellectual thing: I’d see this note on the page and then I learned how to push the right button to make that happen. With my guitar playing, I met [guitarist and teacher] Dale Bruning at the very end of high school, and he helped me to bring the two things together a little more. There were these books that I used, I think they were saxophone books, maybe by Lennie Niehaus. They were exercises written for saxophone players, certain kinds of phrases and slurs, jazzy-sounding saxophone solos. And I guess that was a moment where I was kind of bridging that gap from just playing by ear to being able to read on the guitar. I went through all those books. Now I have shelves full of books that I mean to do stuff out of, but they’re all just waiting around for someday.

Click here to read Bill Frisell in Fretboard Journal 2008

Quick Note: Australian independent film maker Emma Franz is making a documentary about the music and life of Bill Frisell. She is finishing up the project and is raising funds for the final editing and music licensing. Check out a clip from the footage and the project itself, it looks really great:

—Peter Blasevick

For Bill Frisell’s 63rd Birthday, A DownBeat Article, An Uncut Blindfold Test, and A Few Other Pieces

billFrisellIn honor of guitar legend Bill Frisell‘s 63rd birthday (March 18), Ted Panken posted his “directors’ cut” (about 1500 words longer) of a DownBeat cover piece he wrote about Bill and his long-standing trio partners Tony Scherr and Kenny Wollesen, during a week in Perugia for the 2008 Umbria Summer Jazz Festival, the uncut proceedings of a Blindfold Test Frisell took with Panken around 2000 or 2001, in his extraordinarily cramped room at the former Earle Hotel on the corner of Waverly Place & MacDougal, on the northwest corner of Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. Here he discusses John McLaughlin:

“He always blows my brains out.  There was one moment when I went to a Shakti concert, and I almost quit playing the guitar.  I just thought, “Man, this is hopeless.”  But it was a good moment because it made me figure out that I had to figure out something else to do other than that.  I’ll never be able to… But he’s so much more… He’s known for being, you know, fast, but he’s a soulful… And rhythmically and harmonically, so…it’s some far-out stuff he’s doing.  I can’t figure out why people don’t… He’s right in there in that line of… There’s Charlie Christian and Wes Montgomery and Jim and whoever all other guys, and he’s one of those main guys for me.”

Click here to read For Bill Frisell’s 63rd Birthday, A DownBeat Article, An Uncut Blindfold Test, and A Few Other Pieces

—Peter Blasevick

Art Farmer in 1974 and 1988

artFarmerHere are two interviews with the great trumpeter Art Farmer from the UK National Jazz Archive. The first of the two interviews by Les Tomkins includes tributes from bandmate Ron Simmonds on his memories of Art Famer and his unique solo at Ronnie Scott’s Club in 1974. The second covers traveling and the ClarkeBoland band. From the first interview:

“I’ve always felt that I was one hundred per cent dedicated to playing, but each year that I’m in it I find out that I can do a bit more. I find out that I can and I should, or I should have been. Like, when you first start playing you practise maybe an hour a day, and you figure: “Well, gee, I’m really giving my all to it.” And you find out later that that’s really just a drop in the bucket—and there’s no end to it, no limit. You have to expend your energy as long as you have it to expend, and that’s still not enough.”

Click here to read Art Farmer in 1974 and Art Farmer in 1988

1994 Tommy Flanagan interview on WKCR

The one year anniversary of TNYDP! Thanx to everyone who visits the site, I really hope that people are finding it useful. For the last month we are averaging about 20 new visitors a day and we’re up over 200 followers on Twitter, so I guess some are!

Here is a long in-depth interview with Tommy Flanagan conducted by Ted Panken. The pianist talks about everything in what was originally a Sunday Jazz Profiles show on WKCR in November 1994. HEre is a quick excerpt:

TP: …so many great stylists of Jazz came up out of Detroit around the same time.  Milt Jackson, Lucky Thompson, Billy Mitchell, Barry Harris, you, and the list goes on.    

TF: Yes.  Well, as a young musician, Lucky left Detroit early.  So we didn’t know him until he came back to settle in Detroit for a while.  I think he’d even been to Europe, and he did the West Coast scene with those bands out there.  When he came to Detroit, I guess I was like 17 or so.  Lucky formed a band with Pepper Adams, Kenny Burrell and myself — I can’t remember all the other players.  He was a wonderful writer.  It was a seven-piece band, a septet, and he wrote some beautiful arrangements, and really got me interested in how to voice music, and got me interested in trying to arrange — although I never did get that far into it.  But he was a big inspiration, and he helped us a lot in learning how to play music on a professional level.  He certainly was in a class with Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster and Don Byas, just a notch under them, and he certainly was cut from the same cloth.

Click here to read 1994 Tommy Flanagan interview on WKCR 

Getting Some Fun Out of Life and Music: Back in St. Paul With David Frishberg

A few cool interviews I found on the JazzPolice website this week.

Today’s interview is with American jazz pianist, vocalist and composer David Frishberg. He’s likely best known for writing funny tunes (and of course the Schoolhouse Rock classic “I’m Just a Bill”), but he is quite the pianist and singer as well. In the piece, Frishberg discusses his early years, leaving Minnesota for New York, songwriting in L.A., and some of his influences. From the piece:

Looking back, David identifies three individuals who most influenced him personally and musically—Al Cohn, Jimmy Rowles, and Dave Karr. He also cites pianists whose style made the biggest impression—Teddy Wilson, Mel Powell, and Nat Cole. “Also I was a big fan of Tatum and others—Errol Garner and the boppers, Al Haig, and Bud Powell.” But it was particularly Jimmy Rowles whom he admired. “I was already in the Twin Cities Big League, but then I heard a Jimmy Rowles record. Something about the way he played and touched the piano changed me. I wanted to play with and learn from him. I listened to him play on the Woody Herman Small Band sides, and on Peggy Lee’s “Black Coffee” on a 10-inch LP from Decca. It showed me how brilliant and elegant an accompanist could be. Rowles had everything.” Of old bandmate Dave Karr, Frishberg says, “Dave Karr is one of the most profound influences on my music—his excellence and musicality. I’ve learned a lot and was inspired by him. He was the most proficient musician I had met at the time.”

Click here to read Getting Some Fun Out of Life and Music: Back in St. Paul With David Frishberg

Bill Frisell On Piano Jazz

I’m posting five great NPR Piano Jazz interviews this week. Though Marian McPartland no longer actively hosts the show (which has been running since the late 1970s), it still airs weekly with encore performances and in an updated version hosted by Jon Weber.

Int today’s interview, guitarist and composer Bill Frisell brings his sparkling, atmospheric sound to this episode of Piano Jazz in a session that originally aired in October 2007.

At one point in the hour long show,  Frisell’s give his solo take on “My Man’s Gone Now,” from George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess. Frisell picked up this tune when he first began studying jazz seriously by listening to Bill Evans and Miles Davis.

“It’s one of those tunes that stayed with me from the late ’60s when I first heard it, and I’ve been trying to play it all along,” Frisell says.

During the interview, Bill’s performances include:

  • “When You Wish Upon a Star” (Harline, Washington)
  • “My Man’s Gone Now” (Gershwin, Gershwin, Heyward)
  • “All the Things You Are” (Hammerstein, Kern)
  • “He’s the One” (McPartland)
  • “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (Williams)
  • “Strange Meeting” (Frisell)
  • “Echoes of Yesterday” (McPartland)
  • “Blue Monk” (Monk)

Click here to listen to Bill Frisell On Piano Jazz

Béla Fleck at Hamilton College 2004

Here is a 2004 interview with banjo player and innovator Béla Fleck. Béla has recently done some great work with pianist Marcus Roberts, and a look back with an older interview is always interesting. As with all Hamilton College interviews, this is in both text and audio format. In this excerpt, Fleck discusses a bit of his writing process:

Are there times when you write and you write a hook that you think, this is — I mean it’s probably hard to be objective about your own writing — but do you think like yeah, really have something good here?

Yes I do. I totally get in love with, and in fact I feel like as a writer you’re trying to write something you can fall in love with that you can be emotional about and stand behind. And not everything that I write did I feel that way about. But by the time I’ve written constantly over a year and then there’s a few tunes that I go, I keep thinking about that one tune that I wrote, that tune, so maybe if I’m still thinking about it maybe it’s good. Maybe it’s because I’m always careful about not becoming emotionally involved with I don’t want to like play a pretty progression and then get attached to it just because it might be the most hackneyed progression you’ve ever heard but if you play it for two hours suddenly you get all emotionally involved. And I don’t want it to be like that. I want it to really be good. And so I’m careful when I get emotionally involved with something to make sure and step back from it and then play it again and see if I can still get in that place, if it’s going to have that kind of power, if the right pieces of things come together it will have that power, but I just want to be careful that if you’re going to play something beautiful it’s not just beautiful because it’s in the right tempo and has the right chords, it actually is beautiful and you’ll hear it that way. You know what I mean?

Click here to read and listen to Béla Fleck at Hamilton College 2004

Inside the Cannonball Adderley Quintet

In this fantastic four page 1961 Downbeat interview with Don DeMichael, Cannonball, his brother Nat Adderley, Louis Hayes, Victor Feldman, and Sam Jones discuss religion, if musical ability is innate or learned, and the factor of race in jazz. Nat speaks on the latter topic for quite a bit. Great insight!

Click here to read Inside the Cannonball Adderley Quintet

Two Tal Farlow interviews

For the legendary guitarist’s 91st birthday, here are two magazine interviews:

Click here to read Downbeat 02/79

Click here to read Guitar Magazine from 12/81 and 01/82