Tag: 2006

2006 Mike Stern Interview With Jazz Guitar Life

mikeSternToday a very candid interview with guitarist Mike Stern. In 2006 he spoke with Lyle Robinson from JazzGuitarLife.com about his life and music, and in depth about his previous substance abuse:

JGL: I can imagine. Actually, using the cat metaphor and the whole nine lives thing, you’ve been very lucky in that you have had at least two lives so far given the personal issues you faced in the ‘80’s.

MS: Yeah man! It’s true…lol…at least I’m up to two. I don’t know if I have nine in me but I definitely have two…lol…and I’m certainly grateful that I have been able to do this. Do my own music and play with my own band. It’s definitely been with a lot of effort and I’m so grateful that I am able to do it ‘cause there are so many people who deserve to do it and who can’t do it for one reason or another. And it’s something that I’ll never take for granted. It’s been an honor to be able to play in different cities, different countries and with different people and to even play gigs and have people come to those gigs. And to be able to do my own records is an honor, without sounding too corny about it, it really is, and I don’t take it lightly at all and I am very grateful for it. You were mentioning the two lives kind of thing…that’s something I’m definitely grateful for, that I was able to get sober ‘cause that wasn’t a slam-dunk either you know. I was really deep in the other shit and getting high in every way possible and deep into as you can imagine without going into detail but it was all day long with everything out there and I got really strung out…and for years. It took me years to learn how to play music sober. I had never really done it since I was about 13 years old…I had never really experienced played music sober. I had always had a few drinks in me or I would smoke some pot or I’d get into some deeper shit. So for about twenty years I was always high. Miles used to say…well, someone in the band asked “where’s Mike?” And someone replied “he’s probably getting high someplace.” And Miles said (in a hoarse whisper) “Mike don’t get high, Mike stays high”…lol…he knew what was going on, and I was really crazy in those days so I’m really grateful to be alive.

Click here to read 2006 Mike Stern Interview With Jazz Guitar Life

—Peter Blasevick

Harold Mabern and Eric Alexander: Getting Schooled

Harold Mabern and Eric Alexander have recorded 12 albums together—In this 2006 interview with Andrew Gilbert from JazzTimes, Mabern says it was already one of the longest collaborations of his career, and that was 8 years ago—and they’ve creates some of the great modern-day straight ahead jazz there is. Though initially it was a ‘taking the young cat under his wing’ type of situation, as Mabern had taught Alexander at William Paterson University, it quickly became a mutually beneficial partnership. From the interview:

haroldMabern“He’s given me so much leeway,” Mabern says. “On most of the records we’ve made, a lot of the songs on there were arranged and conceived by me as far as the introductions. We both feel the same way about the music. I always give him good obscure tunes that have been slighted. Like on this latest record, It’s All in the Game, there’s a tune ‘Bye Bye Baby’ from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with Carol Channing that got by Coltrane, Johnny Griffin and George Coleman. It would have been made to order for them.”


Photo by Sheldon Levy

“He’ll give you everything he’s got. That’s what really draws me to him,” says Alexander, 38. “A lot of people can’t deal with that. It’s too strong for them. And on occasion it’s been too strong for me, because he’ll come up with some stuff on the spur of the moment that might not be what you’re thinking of playing. You either have to have the ability to just roll over it, and not go with him and be confident about what you’re doing, or be able to go with him. If you can’t do either, you just get stopped in your tracks.”

Click here to read Harold Mabern and Eric Alexander: Getting Schooled

—Peter Blasevick

Carli Muñoz On Piano Jazz 2006

carliMunozAnother cool NPR Piano Jazz episode today, this one with the great pianist and organist Carli Muñoz. I’ve visited his restaurant in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico a couple of times and had the chance to watch him play and sit and talk with him on both occasions. A great piano player and a very nice man. Carli discusses everything from his early career to his long stint with the Beach Boys to of course his great jazz club.

Set list for this interview:

  • “Mia” (Muñoz)
  • “We’ll Be Together Again” (Fischer, Laine)
  • “So In Love” (Porter)
  • “Stranger In A Dream” (McPartland)
  • “Now Is The Time” (Parker)
  • “Diaspora” (Muñoz)
  • “Margot” (Jarrett)
  • “A Delicate Balance” (McPartland)
  • “Three Little Steps To Heaven” (Muñoz)

Click here to listen to Carli Muñoz On Piano Jazz 2006

—Peter Blasevick

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

Dave Weckl: Rhythm Talk

Today wraps up our week of interviews for the great website AllAboutJazz.com!

When any jazz enthusiasts start talking about drummers, one of the first names that comes to mind is sure to be Dave Weckl. This major innovator of modern jazz drumming has grooved with more players since he started playing in the New York club scene in the early ’80s. His most notable stint started in 1985 when he was asked to be a part of the then-forming Chick Corea’s Elektric Band, which he revived in 2004 after a break of over ten years.

In this 2006 with Stefanee Freedman at a show in Los Angeles, CA with guitarist Mike Stern and bassist Victor Wooten, Weckl discusses his groups, his technique, his recordings, his drums, and plenty else. An interesting bit from the interview:

AAJ: Do you find having more knowledge of the piano helps you with arrangements and writing?

DW: Well, it is necessary or you may sound pretty silly. You have to have some sort of harmonic knowledge to piece all the instruments together. Like anything else, the more influence you have from different things, the more knowledge you have to work with. With drums, it helps to know different cultures of rhythm, so I try to use my background or knowledge of different rhythms to input little things here and there in the music. If you have a better harmonic knowledge from all types of music like classical to rock to blues or whatever, the music will be deeper and fuller.

Click here to read Dave Weckl: Rhythm Talk  

Pat Metheny On Piano Jazz

More Piano Jazz interviews for this week!

Guitarist Pat Metheny is one of the most critically acclaimed jazz musicians of the past 35 years. A tireless sonic explorer whose style incorporates elements of progressive jazz, fusion, Latin, post-bop and New Age music, Metheny has an astonishing 17 Grammy awards and three gold albums. This year, Metheny released Orchestrion, a “solo” album on which Metheny uses his guitar to control an entire mechanical ensemble of orchestral instruments. Metheny has also worked alongside jazz greats such as Herbie Hancock,Charlie Haden, Ornette Coleman, Roy Haynesand Joshua Redman.

On this 2006 Piano Jazz session with Marian McPartland, the Pat Metheny Trio, which includes star bassist Christian McBride and drummer Antonio Sanchez, drops by for a set of Metheny originals and a few Ornette Coleman tunes.

The set list:

  • “Bright Size Life” (Metheny)
  • “So May It Secretly Begin” (Metheny)
  • “Ambiance” (McPartland)
  • “Go Get It” (Metheny)
  • “Question-Answer” (Metheny)
  • “Police People” (Coleman)
  • “Turn Around” (Coleman)

Click here to listen to Pat Metheny on Piano Jazz

Keith Jarrett On Piano Jazz

This week at TNYDP I’ll be listing some of the great episodes from NPR’s Piano Jazz.

Host Marian McPartland tried for years to line-up elusive pianist Keith Jarrett for a Piano Jazz session. Following his stellar performance at Carnegie Hall in 2005, McPartland confronted the elusive performer and convinced him to put in an appearance on her show. The Allentown, Pa., native graciously invited McPartland and a small crew to his home studio, a converted barn next to his 18th-century farmhouse. The intimate setting and the chemistry between the two made for an exhilarating session.

Jarrett plays totally in the moment — he sits down at the piano with no musical pre-conceptions.

“Usually if I have an idea it locks me in its little room and keeps me there unless I get rid of it before I put my hands on a keyboard,” Jarrett says.

Appropriately, he begins the session with a lyrical, improvised piece reminiscent of jazz great Bill Evans and classical composer Aaron Copland. It’s a complete musical idea of which McPartland says, “Lovely chords!”

Click here to listen to Keith Jarrett on Piano Jazz

George Benson 2006

The legendary guitarist sits down with Smitty Smith at JazzMonthly.com to discuss ‘Givin’ it Up’, his collaboration with Al Jarreau and other topics.

Click here to read George Benson 2006


Nine interviews with Carli Muñoz

The legendary jazz pianist and long time Beach Boys sideman Carli Muñoz plays almost every night at his restaurant Carli’s Bistro in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Eating there last night and listening to him play so beautifully inspired me to post a link to his interviews page on his personal website.

Click here to read Nine interviews with Carli Muñoz

Ornette Coleman at Berklee College of Music

In this 2006 interview, Berklee professor Bill Banfield talks with Coleman about knowledge and intelligence, evil and human condition, and his Pulitzer winning Sound Grammar, among other topics. This video clip is from Coleman’s official website, which is a flash site, so there is no direct link. When you click through to the main page, navigate to the “videos” tab; the interview will be listed on the right hand side.

Click here to watch Ornette Coleman at Berklee College of Music