Tag: 1978

Bill Evans with Martin Perlich 1978

billEvansContinuing with the Bill Evans theme this week, here is a two part audio interview with the great pianist conducted by the legendary interviewer Martin Perlich in 1978. From the introduction:

The interview with jazz immortal Bill Evans was special in many ways. Commissioned by Warner Brothers Records who had just created a Jazz and Progressive Music division, they wanted me to get Bill to talk about how close his music was to rock; “…sell it to the kids!” This was, of course, impossible, but gamely I stuck out my jaw, fielded his words of one syllable answers in the negative and went on to his experiences in classical music as a kid, and in Jazz, especially stories about Miles Davis. The most important “special” aspect was that I place my Nakamichi 500 next to him on his bed and took up a suitable position on the floor.

Click here to listen to Bill Evans with Martin Perlich 1978 Part 1

Click here to listen to Bill Evans with Martin Perlich 1978 Part 2

—Peter Blasevick

Four Chick Corea Interviews with Les Tomkins plus Gary Burton!

Chick Corea keeps putting out great music; his latest duo recording with Gary Burton is testament to that! Here are four interviews with the pianist, all between 1972 and 1982. The final one, from 1982, is actually a joint interview with longtime collaborator Burton, and in it he discusses preparing for a tour together:

How much actual preparation do you need before embarking on a concert tour together?

The groundwork has already been laid in the past year since we’ve developed our way of working together. The only additional preparation we ever do is finding music to play; I compose, we find other compositions to do, and we work them into the repertoire by going over them once or twice, then finding where to drop the new piece into the performance. Except the next album project we have in mind is going to take quite a bit of preparation, actually, because I’m going to write a piece for Gary and myself with a string quartet as well. So the composing will be a process, and then us looking at the music, getting accustomed to it, and seeing how to make it work with the strings will be a full process in itself. I’m looking forward to that. The music will be sort of like a double concerto idea, where there’s two soloists and an orchestra that’s made up of four strings.

Click here to read Four Chick Corea Interviews with Les Tomkins plus Gary Burton!

Three 1970s George Benson Interviews

Today I’m posting three interviews from the 1970s with the legendary guitarist George Benson: “My Present Group” from 1974, and “This Way and That” and “A Personality Thing”, both from 1978. Here from the last of the three interviews is Mr. Benson discussing his awareness of other singers and guitarists:

How would you describe your vocal concept? Are there certain singers whose approach particularly appeals to you?

Once I hear a great singer, I’m very aware of him. I heard Nat “King” Cole when I was a baby, and I never forgot him. I followed him throughout, all the way up until the time of his death, and beyond—I’m still listening at his records, trying to find out what it is about Nat “King” Cole that is so great. It’s a personality thing, though, you know; you can’t be Nat—you can only enjoy him. I don’t think there’s so much of the technical thing that you could really put your finger on. He was a natural singer—though there were some techniques that he used in his lower tones that are very valuable.

There are many great singers—some today—who are using valuable techniques. And I’m aware of them—just like I was of the guitar players. I’m aware of Django Rheinhardt, Charlie Christian, Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery, Tal Farlow—all those great players. I mean, because once you hear those guys . . . how could I call myself a player, and not know who the real players are when I hear them? They’re the guys who helped to shape my concept, and to give me the idea on which to base some of my ideas. I’m never afraid to mention another great artist; I’m not trying to show that I’m better than any other player—what I want to do is to be as dedicated to what I’m doing, or to be as real about it, as I think these artists are. Because it takes a certain amount of dedication, and knowledge, and gift to be what they are. And I’m the first guy to go to their concerts when I hear of them being any placeI run and hear them. It’s a great experience, plus I learn something.

Click here to read Three 1970s George Benson Interviews

Chet Baker in 1978 from Jazz Podium

As most everybody else on the East Coast, Hurricane Sandy has slowed things down a bit here, but it looks like we’ll be back up and running soon! I hope anyone reading this (and everyone else!) affected by the storm is safe and getting back to normal.

In the meantime, here is a cool 1978 interview with Chet Baker from the magazine Jazz Podium, found reprinted on Ehsan Khoshbakht’s great blog Take the “A” Train. From the short interview, the trumpeter talks about the beginnings of his substance abuse problems in the wake of pianist Dick Twardzik’s death:

That’s when it happened, in 1957, when I went back to New York after he died. That ‘s when I started it and I kept that pretty strong for about 13 years and then a judge in Califonia was very kind to me. He could have given me five years like poor Art Pepper, who got sent twice to San Quentin or some crazy place like that, but the judge sent me to a sort of guidance-center where they test you, psychological and every way possible, to decide what to do with you. And when I went back to court with the results of the testing, he let me go. He put me back on the street again.

Click here to read Chet Baker in 1978 from Jazz Podium

— Peter Blasevick

Rich + Tormé = Wild Repartee

This week I’ll be linking to some classic Downbeat interviews. Here is a long and funny 1978 interview with drummer and bandleader Buddy Rich conducted by singer and composer/arranger Mel Tormé. From the piece, here are the two discussing the connection between drumming and tap dancing:

Tormé: Chick Webb, Ray Baduc, Gene Krupa, Ray McKinley—all those guys—were superior drummers in their own ways, but none of them were very daring. They didn’t incorporate bass drum and snare drum as alternate sounds. You’re the first guy that ever did that, I think. Do you feel that your tap dancing talents are the reason that you’re able to communicate between bass drum and snare drum, and tom toms and the rest of them, better than other drummers?

Rich: Tap dancing in the true sense is rhythmical dancing, right? I hate to say that you have to be born with it, but you don’t learn how to be a jazz tap dancer. Baby Laurence was the daddy of jazz tap dancers. The Conners brothers, Bunny Briggs, Buck and Bubbles, Bill Robinson—I would bet that if that they wanted to and picked up a pair of sticks, they could have been outstanding drummers. It’s that kind of feeling, that time thing.

Click here to read Rich & Tormé = Wild Repartee

— Peter Blasevick

Cecil Taylor: 11/13/1978

This week I’ll be linking to a series of interviews from the Canadian Jazz Archive Online, a project of JAZZ FM.91, Canada’s premier jazz radio station.

Here are audio three clips from a 1978 interview with pianist, living legend, and free jazz pioneer Cecil Taylor in which he discusses ‘starving artists’, musical integrity versus commercial success, and his original style and his influence on other players. From one of the clips:

“But you know, the unfortunate aspects of a culture are manifested in the responses that culture takes on as beliefs regarding, you know, the cultural artifacts that come out of areas of that culture that they don’t understand or have difficulty in accepting. And in terms of business, what I see as happening is that, and it’s been happening, simply the reason that certain music is not popular is because it’s never given the machinery that results in a product becoming popular.”

Click here to listen to Cecil Taylor: 11/13/1978

Two 1978 Toots Thielemans Interviews

Here are two great 1978 interviews with the legendary harmonica player Toots Thielemans with Les Tomkins from the JazzProfessional website. Here he talks about his six years with pianist George Shearing:

“It was a steady job, and still good exposure—and it was good music at the time, I guess. It’s still good music, but somehow I flew away a little bit from it. George is still a fine musician, of course. I stayed on there, because it was a good job, and I had no other; it was a matter of security, also. My leaving the band was a mutual thing, after that amount of time, George just wanted to change the faces around, and I was ready to jump in the pool. I decided, well, I didn’t come to the States to be a sideman all my life. Then you have to start to wait for the phone to ring, and that’s not easy. In the States, it can be rough—anywhere, for that matter.”

Click here to read Two 1978 Toots Thielemans Interviews

Gil Evans in 1978

Today is a great two-part 1978 interview with composer and arranger Gil Evans by Les Tomkins from the JazzProfessional website. Here is an excerpt in which Gil talks about his early music involvement:

“Not till I started to high school. I was staying with these people who had a piano; I just started fooling around with the piano, and I realised that I liked to do it.

To start with, I had no background except popular music; that’s what I played then. Later on, I listened to other music, out of curiosity and a desire to know what was happening in my trade. Then I went into the French impressionists and the Russian impressionists; that’s where I started in classical music. I don’t have any background in earlier classical music, like so many people do. I picked up anything I know about Bach, or anything like that, much later—when I came to New York, as a matter of fact, thirty years ago. I started playing Bach, and I realised at that time how people can devote their life to Bach. It’s a fantastic adventure, really, and if it suits your life style, I could see how you could do it, you know; I really could.

And also Chopin. But Bach especially. I could understand completely how people specialize in him, as they do. It seems funny to an outsider—and I thought it was funny, too, until I started playing that music, and I realised how the whole thing can just put you in a trance.”

Click here to read Gil Evans 1978

Bill Evans on Piano Jazz

In this hour long NPR Piano Jazz interview originally recorded Nov. 6, 1978 and broadcast May 27, 1979, the usually quiet and reserved musical genius Bill Evans opens up about his approach and philosophy.

Click here to listen to Bill Evans on Piano Jazz