Tag: 1965

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

Wes Montgomery in Jazz Monthly May 1965

wesMontgomeryHere is a great interview I stumbled across this morning with the great Wes Montgomery in Jazz Monthly magazine from 1965. The interview is conducted by Valerie Wilmer and covers his family, his famous thumb technique, his first gigs, and more. From the interview:

“When I started I bought the whole works. I got a box of picks because I felt sure there would be the right one in there for me. I refused to play unamplified, so I’m sitting in my house playing, you know – happy, but when I used my brand new amplifier I guess I didn’t think about the neighbours. Soon they started complaining pretty heavy. But I was enjoying myself because it wasn’t noise to me, it was music. But after two months my wife came to the door and asked me would I kindly turn that ‘thing’ off. Well, ‘thing’? It was a guitar and amplifier, you know? So I laid my pick down on the amplifier and just fiddled around with the thumb. I said is that better.? Oh yes, she says, that’s better. So I said I’ll play like this till I get ready to play out, and then I’ll get me a pick. Well, that wasn’t easy either because I found out that I had developed the thumb for playing so that when I got ready to work my first job I picked up a pick and I think I must have lost about fifteen of them! I just didn’t realise that I had to develop my pick technique, too. So I said ‘later’ for the pick. I was just playing for my own amusement so it was great. See, I couldn’t hear the difference in the sound as it is today, so I figured OK, I’ll just use my thumb. Probably a thousand cats are using their thumbs – only they’re not in Indianapolis! The more I learnt about it, I found out that less guys were using their thumbs and I began to get a little frightened!”

Click here to read Wes Montgomery in Jazz Monthly May 1965

—Peter Blasevick

Two Jim Hall interviews from Downbeat

jimHallVery sad to hear of the passing of the great Jim Hall. In going back through the archives I was surprised to see I’ve never posted an interview with him! Here are two nice pieces on Hall from Downbeat Magazine, one from 1962 and the second from 1965. In this excerpt, Hall discusses his early time with Sonny Rollins:

“I was living on 49th Street with another guitar player, Park Hill, and sleeping on the floor,” he recalled. “Sonny had heard me somewhere and, since I had no phone, came on up to 49th St. and left me the invitation. He didn’t have a phone either so I went downtown to Grand St. with a note accepting.

“It was a tremendously rewarding year with Sonny. I learned more from him, and was inspired more by him, than anyone in recent years. He is such a virtuoso that it scares you to be on the same bandstand. I felt I had to practice every day so that I wouldn’t let Sonny down. I produced because I was scared of Sonny.

“The way he can project to an audience musically is fantastic. And he can sail in and out of different keys at random and at breakneck tempos. He and Bill Evans are the only virtuosos I’ve ever played with.”

Click here to read Jim Hall: Form/Function/Fulfillment

Click here to read The Unassuming Jim Hall

—Peter Blasevick

Three 1960s Quincy Jones Interviews

quincyJonesFrom the newly revamped JazzProfessional website (now part of the UK National Jazz Archive), here are three mid-1960s interviews with legendary producer, conductor, arranger, and composer Quincy Jones. Speaking with Les Tompkins in 1963 and 1965, Jones discusses his development and early days of his career. From the first interview:

“Actually, the first record I made was with Art Farmer for Prestige. I wrote an album for him called “Work Of Art”. That was with musicians from the band, and it was a thrilling moment for us—to have Art get a record session. We rehearsed and prepared for it for two months. We had the luxury of time that we can’t afford today. Incidentally, during my stay with Hamp we had a tremendous awakening in Sweden. I imagine anybody that has never left the States has the feeling that the Americans play far better than most European musicians—in jazz, anyway. In many ways this is a fallacy. It was exaggerated. I don’t mean that we felt that we were superior, but we had a feeling that it wasn’t quite up to the same standard that we had in New York.”

Click here to read Three 1960s Quincy Jones Interviews Part One Part Two Part Three

1960s Dexter Gordon Audio Interviews

More Dex this week! Here are 17 beautiful minutes of Dexter Gordon telling his life story. The audio comes from some rare outtakes and extras from Dexter Gordon – Complete Blue Note Sixties Sessions

—Peter Blasevick

Louis Armstrong 1965

This is a cool 1965 interview with the legendary Louis Armstrong from the JazzProfessional website. Here he comments on his time with King Oliver:

“If you ask me to look back to a highspot in my career—I still remember the days I played second trumpet with King Oliver in Chicago. I came right out of New Orleans, playing with the Tuxedo Brass Band. And we was at a funeral when I got Joe Oliver’s telegram. He had a little band at the Lincoln Gardens, and he told me to come at once. Gee, that was one of the highest lights I’ll ever have! It was the first time I’d been up North, you know. Chicago looked like a great big wonderful city to me.

Yeah, I liked Joe. He never was too busy to help the youngsters, you know. He did a lot for me. It broke my heart to lose him.

They had some good players in those days. Everybody played from the soul, and good notes. At that time there was King Oliver, Bunk Johnson, Freddie Keppard—they were the main three that went down in history. King Oliver was the most popular of all of ‘em, but they were all good boys. And all three of ‘em’s gone now. Lost three good men.”

Click here to read Louis Armstrong 1965

Sonny Strikes Back

In 1963 music critic Steve Race accused Sonny Stitt of copying Charlie Parker as hard as he could, and of having “given up all pretence of individuality”. Steve also offered Sonny a piece of advice: “I think it’s time he stopped playing Parker and went back to playing Stitt”. This 1965 interview with Les Tomkins includes his answer to this criticism.


Click here to read Sonny Strikes Back

Thelonious Monk 1965

Monk was a fascinating man, and he discusses himself as a pianist, a composer, and a bandleader in this 1965 interview with Les Tomkins. From the interview:

TM: I wasn’t trying to create something that would be hard to play. I just composed music that fit with how I was thinking. I knew musicians would dig it, because it sounded good. I didn’t want to play the way I’d heard music played all my life. I got tired of hearing that. I wanted to hear something else, something better. In fact, I wanted to play differently. I had a different conception of rhythm section, and all that.

Click here to read Thelonius Monk 1965

—peter blasevick

Seven Interviews with John Coltrane

JohnColtrane.com, the official website of John Coltrane, has seven audio interviews with the legendary tenor saxophonist:

  • by August Blume on June 15, 1958, recorded at Blume’s home in Baltimore, Maryland prior to that evening’s performance of the Miles Davis Quintet (with John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones) at The Crystal Caverns, Washington, D.C.
  • by Dutch jazz historian Michiel de Ruyter November 19, 1961; December 1, 1962; October 26, 1963; and July 27, 1965
  • in Japan recorded by Kaname Kawachi on July 9, 1966. Coltrane comments on many great musicians including his time with Miles Davis
  • with Frank Kofski August 18, 1966. Coltrane discusses the breakup of his classic quartet.

Spiritualism and philosophy as a theme run through all of these interviews as you would expect with Coltrane, even as early as the earliest here in 1958.

Listen to all seven John Coltrane interviews here