Tag: 2000

Joshua Redman on Ken Burns’ Jazz

joshuaRedmanMany people have issues with the Ken Burns Jazz documentary, but there sure are are some great interviews in it! Here is saxophonist Joshua Redman talking about everything from Miles to Ornette to what the word jazz means. From the interview:

“I care about jazz for the same reason that I care about music. Music is emotion through sound and that’s what jazz is. Jazz is just one form of emotion through sound. I think one of the things that makes jazz so special is that it allows you to convey your emotions in one of the most spontaneous and immediate and direct ways as possible and that’s kind of the special thing about jazz is the improvisational nature of the music, so it’s really representing what you feel and what you’re experiencing at the moment.”

Click here to read Joshua Redman on Ken Burns’ Jazz

—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

Interview with Jackie McLean by Steve Lehman

photo by thomas.rome

photo by thomas.rome

Here is a 2000 interview with alto saxophonist Jackie McLean conducted by Steve Lehman in Jackie’s Connecticut home. The interview is posted on Ethan Iverson’s fantastic DoTheMath blog, which, if it isn’t part of your regular reading, should be. Much of the interview is about composing, like this:

JM:  The first person to make me feel as though I could write something and it would be worth something, was Miles. “Dig” was the second thing that I ever wrote. 

The first thing I wrote I’m ashamed to say was so corny, on “What Is This Thing Called Love?” when I was about 15. I’d been playing for about a year. And I’d started to learn about the tunes from going to Bud’s house all the time. Like that “What Is This Thing Called Love?” and “Hot House” were the same tune. 

“Oh, yeah, Tadd Dameron took ‘What Is This Thing Called Love’, which is like a standard, and wrote this other melody. So, I’m gonna write another melody on this.” You know. So, I wrote this little sad melody. 

And then I wrote “Dig” when I was about 17 and a half or 18. That’s when I went down to the Birdland and sat in with Miles, and then went to his house the next day. And he had asked me if I had any tunes and I told him yes, and I played “Dig” for him. 

And right away he said, “Oh, show me that.” You know? And I played it for him, and we played it together. And then I started working with him, and I started learning his repertoire. Of course then Sonny Rollins was in the band too, and Sonny had his tunes that he wrote. We used to do “Wee Dot” and “Conception.”

One night Miles told me to come down when he was working with Coleman Hawkins in Birdland. Miles said, “Come on down tonight, I want you to check out something.” I went down. And I looked up. And when Miles saw me come in and sit at a table he whispered something to Coleman Hawkins and he counted off. And I saw Coleman Hawkins play “Dig” with Miles.

Click here to read Interview with Jackie McLean by Steve Lehman

—Peter Blasevick

It’s Barry Harris’ 84th Birthday!

barryHarrisPianist and educator Barry Harris is a true jazz treasure. To celebrate his 84th birthday (ok, two days late), a link to a few interviews posted by Ted Panken for a Downbeat article, one from 1999 and two from 2000. Here is Harris talking about Charlie Parker:

TP:    Any anecdote about when you played with Charlie Parker.

HARRIS:  He was beautiful to us.  I think the best experience that I always tell people is he was playing with strings one time at the Forest Club, which was a roller rink.  It was a dance at this time, and we stood in front, and the strings started, and the most spoiling thing of all was that when he started playing chills just went all through, starting on your toes, and went on through your body, man.  It was everything imaginable.  Orgasms, everything to us.  It’s really a spoiler, because I don’t like to go listen to people because I’m expecting somebody to make me feel like that.

TP:    Did Bird have a huge sound in person?

HARRIS:  Oh yeah.  I remember one time when he was at the Crystal, he was at the back of the room when Lee Konitz had come in and was sitting in with him.  (?)Emperor Nero(?) was playing alto, too.   Bird was over to the side, in the back by the kitchen or something, and Bird just started playing from there.  He had a great big sound.  Gene Ammons used to do that, too.  He’d stand in the back of the Club Valley… Frank Foster, Leo Osbold(?), Billy Mitchell maybe were at the mike playing.  He was up… There was some kind of thing that went up at the top, he started playing — he had a great big sound.  He always let me sit in with him.  When I was very young, he used to make Junior Mance get up and let me sit in with him.  I always loved to see him come to town, because he was one cat really I could sit in with.

Click here to read It’s Barry Harris’ 84th Birthday!

Tony Bennett at the 2000 North Sea Jazz Festival

Interview with the great singer Tony Bennett at the 2000 North Sea Jazz Festival by NTR/Radio 6 reporter Co de Kloet. The legend discusses the art of intimate singing, fellow performers Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby, and how his style of singing is a bridge between the jazz and pop worlds.

—Peter Blasevick

Chick Corea: Further Explorations of Bill Evans

chickCoreaHere is a cool 2000 Chick Corea interview with Marius Nordal from Downbeat. The interview was conducted just as the pianist was about to commemorate the 20th anniversary of jazz piano hero Bill Evans‘ death with a major two-week engagement called “Further Explorations” at New York’s Blue Note. Corea covers a number of Bill Evans related talk, and also manages to cover other topics as well. From the interview:

Nordal: Bill Evans generally had a gentle, lyrical approach to the piano – you’re often more dynamic, energetic and rhythmic. Did he influence your compositions or concept of touch and sound on the piano when you were developing musically? 

Corea: It was Bill’s sound that I loved as soon as I heard it. He knew how to touch the piano gently and elicit such a beautiful and recognizable tone from the instrument. Up to that time, most jazz pianists were accustomed to playing inferior instruments: old, out of tune, out of regulation and generally beat up. That was the “club piano.” But Bill was aware of the fine sound that a well-prepared grand could deliver. It’s odd that Art Tatum is the only pianist I know of before Bill that also had that feather-light touch – even though he probably spent his early years playing on really bad instruments.

Bill’s harmonic sense and approach to the standards certainly made a big impression on me. I was more encouraged to produce a beautiful sound on the piano.

Click here to read Chick Corea: Further Explorations of Bill Evans  

—Peter Blasevick


Bill Charlap in 2000

Bill Charlap is one of the most sought after pianists in the world of jazz. He grew up in a musical household and absorbed the sounds of jazz and musical theater at a young age. Bill has recorded with many of today’s top jazz artists and also with his own trio. Bill was interviewed in Scottsdale, Arizona on April 16, 2000, by Monk Rowe, director of the Hamilton College Jazz Archive.

Bill talks about some recording that were influenctial early in his life in this excerpt:

“I know the first record I bought was Vladimir Horowitz playing Liszt, the “Hungarian Rhapsody #2,” the one that he did live at Carnegie Hall. That’s some incredible piano playing. It’s real gypsy music. Very soulful. And on a pianistic level it’s just ridiculous. It’s just really unbelievable. Also Art Tatum, “Piano Starts Here.” That one, the four recordings, the shorts of him playing “Tea for Two” and “Tiger Rag,” “Sophisticated Lady” and something else on there too, I forget what the last one is. And the Gene Norman Shrine Concert which is also on there. That was very nfluential, him playing “Yesterdays” particularly, “Time” and “Flights of Fancy,” the harmonic ideas. The lines. You know it’s a very linear Tatum, particularly on that. That’s a very important record for me. There were some early Oscar Peterson that my parents had. I think that was one of the first jazz albums I bought. The Horowitz was the first classical record, the first record indeed. I was a little boy, I went to Barnes & Noble and I said “do you have ‘Homage to Liszt?’” I probably said “Homage of Liszt.” And that’s the record. I still remember the cover, it’s this brown cover and it’s Liszt, the Abbe Liszt, the old Liszt on the cover. And I went and I bought this Oscar Peterson record many years later.  It was “Return Engagement.” It was a Verve two-fer that had a lot of “Night Train” on it, much of the classic trio with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen. Those were real important. There were many others. It would be almost impossible to name them all, and I would certainly leave things out. But there is a couple desert island discs for you, or at least the first records that I listened to.”

Click here to listen to and read Bill Charlap in 2000

– Peter Blasevick

Two interviews with Herb Ellis

For the fourth installment of Guitar Week at TNYDP, here are two interviews with the great Herb Ellis. Herb played with so many of the greats, but is of course best known for his many years with the Oscar Peterson Trio. Both interviews are from the Hamilton College Library Digital Collection, and are in text and audio format.

Click here to read Herb Ellis 1995

Click here to read Herb Ellis 2000