Category: Keezer Geoffrey

Jazz Police Interview With Geoffrey Keezer

A few cool interviews I found on the JazzPolice website this week. Here’s a quick 2005 talk with the great modern-day pianist Geoffrey Keezer. He talks about recordings and some of the people he was playing with at the time, as well as growing up with the support of his parents:

JP. You grew up in a family where music was a major component of daily life. [Father Ron Keezer headed the jazz band program at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.] Looking back now, how did that environment inform your development as a young musician, and how does it impact your work today?

GK. I feel so fortunate and blessed to have had the total support of my parents in whatever I wanted to do. Of course if my parents hadn’t been musicians I might have turned out differently. But as a kid, I thought everybody played music – it just seemed so normal to me!

Click here to read Jazz Police Interview With Geoffrey Keezer

Geoffrey Keezer: Making, And Controlling, His New Music

I’m posting interviews from AllAboutJazz.com all week. They are one of the great one-stop-shop destination Jazz websites out there, so check them out.

Pianist/composer Geoffrey Keezer has been playing piano since age three and has been on the road since 1989 when he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers after a year at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Over the years, he’s recorded steadily and played with numerous jazz luminaries including Ray Brown, Diana Krall, Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, Kenny Barron, Chick Corea, Benny Green, and Mulgrew Miller.

In this 2008 interview with R. J. Deluke, Keezer speaks at length about the modern music industry, and also about different bandleaders he’s worked with. Here he discusses his tenure with Ray Brown and some of the challenges about being a sideman:

“Ray Brown was great,” recounts Keezer. “He was a beautiful human being and a very great bandleader. As good as the experience was, it wasn’t exactly the way I wanted to play. I had to adjust. Any time you work as a sideman, typically when you’re hired by a band, you’re kind of like an actor playing a role. They hire you because of your basic skills. They like the way you play and the way you accompany, etc. But you do have to sort of bend a bit to the sound of the band. Which is fine. That’s part of being a professional.

“Ray’s concept was a lot more traditional, a lot more straight-ahead than what I was really wanting to do. To his credit, he never told me told me how to play. He knew that I could give him enough of what he wanted. He would allow me to go off on a tangent once in a while, as long as I gave him some groove and swing and blues, and all those elements that he was so great at and that made his music so special.

Click here to read Geoffrey Keezer: Making, And Controlling, His New Music