Tag: 2008

Ornette Coleman at Bonnaroo, 2008

“To tell you the truth, I never think about the subject of what I’m doing, I only think about the quality of what I’m doing,” says jazz legend Ornette Coleman in response to a question about playing in front of a mainly rock and roll audience at the Bonnaroo festival in 2008. Coleman proceeds to touch on music as religion, healing through music, his philosophy of harmolodics, his Pulitzer Prize winning 2007 album Sound Grammar, and a lot more, all packed into this 5:39 minute interview! Please do yourself a favor and well-spend your next five or so minutes watching it.

—Peter Blasevick

Seymour Nurse Interviews George Duke

Here is a great four part interview with the late George Duke from Seymour Nurse from The Bottom End.

Part one covers the original London (UK) Jazz-Fusion Dance Movement, and how his music influenced this culture at clubs like, “The Horseshoe” and “Electric Ballroom.” Part two covers Duke’s  timeless masterpiece, “A Brazilian Love Affair”, Milton Nascimento and the late, great, Cannonball Adderley. In part three, George gives his thoughts on his female vocalists, Sheila E, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and the exquisite, “Muir Woods Suite”. Finally, part four begins with blaring sires and goes on to cover Duke’s current work.

—Peter Blasevick

Allan Holdsworth: Harnessing momentum

allanHoldsworthAllan Holdsworth is one of the most creative, innovative, singular guitarists who has ever lived. He’s influenced legions of guitarists in jazz, rock and roll, and fusion and continued to release great music for more than four decades. Here is a great talk form 2008 with Innerviews’ Anil Prasad in which he discusses his never-ending musical quest. From the interview:

How do you go about capturing ideas during your writing process?

Ten years ago, I used to record things when I improvised. I’d put on the recorder and start playing and if I found something interesting, I’d go back and listen and think “Oh yeah, I can work with that.” Sometimes, I’ve gone the way of not recording anything at all. It can sometimes be about how I feel at that point in time, and I just scribble the music down and keep going back to it until I can put it into shape. Sometimes things come really fast and some things take months.  Take “Sphere of Innocence” from Wardenclyffe Tower. I wrote the whole tune in a couple of hours but there was a modulation in the middle of it that resolved in a way I wasn’t happy about. Ninety-nine percent of the piece was done in less than a day and it took months to finish the other one percent.

Click here to read Allan Holdsworth: Harnessing momentum

—Peter Blasevick

Hank Jones in the Village Voice 2008

hankJonesIt’s no secret that Hank Jones is one of my favorite pianists of all time, and since today would have been his 96th birthday, it seems a good a reason as any to post another interview of his! Here he is speaking with the Village Voice in 2008, shortly atet his 90th birthday celebration(s). From the interview:

VV: Reviewers have called your playing “eloquent” and “lyrical,” as well as “relaxed” and “understated.” Do any of those adjectives not feel right?

HJ: Well, I don’t know how eloquent I am, but I play, probably, in a relaxed and understated manner. Perhaps. Perhaps that suits my style. Of course, this varies from tune to tune, as you know, because you don’t play the same way on every tune. Certain tunes make you think a certain way and certain other tunes make you think another way. But in the aggregate I think my approach is really pretty relaxed and laidback, you might say.

Click here to read Hank Jones in the Village Voice 2008

—Peter Blasevick

Bill Frisell in Fretboard Journal 2008

billFrisellHere is a cool 2008 interview with guitarist and innovator Bill Frisell from Danny Barnes and Fretboard Journal. They discuss everything from gear to composing to practicing to living in New York…a whole bunch of good stuff. From the interview:

DB: When you were learning, were there any particular books that got you to a new place? The Nicolas Slonimsky book or any textbooks?

BF: I played clarinet in school. That was my first instrument, and everything I did on that was just looking at music and reading. The guitar came along later, and I learned it on my own in the beginning. It was just playing by ear, playing along with records and playing with my friends. The whole way I came about playing music on the guitar, in the beginning anyway, was a completely different path. Clarinet was this real intellectual thing: I’d see this note on the page and then I learned how to push the right button to make that happen. With my guitar playing, I met [guitarist and teacher] Dale Bruning at the very end of high school, and he helped me to bring the two things together a little more. There were these books that I used, I think they were saxophone books, maybe by Lennie Niehaus. They were exercises written for saxophone players, certain kinds of phrases and slurs, jazzy-sounding saxophone solos. And I guess that was a moment where I was kind of bridging that gap from just playing by ear to being able to read on the guitar. I went through all those books. Now I have shelves full of books that I mean to do stuff out of, but they’re all just waiting around for someday.

Click here to read Bill Frisell in Fretboard Journal 2008

Quick Note: Australian independent film maker Emma Franz is making a documentary about the music and life of Bill Frisell. She is finishing up the project and is raising funds for the final editing and music licensing. Check out a clip from the footage and the project itself, it looks really great:


—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

Two part Slide Hampton interview from WXXI Rochester

Trombonist Slide Hampton is a Grammy winner, an NEA Jazz Master, and an all-around living legend. More importantly he is a fantastically gracious and kind man which comes across in this two part interview he did in 2008 for WXXI in Rochester, NY.

—Peter Blasevick

2008 Jazz Police Interview with Randy Brecker

The JazzPolice website is filled with great content, including some interesting interviews. Here’s a 2008 discussion with trumpeter Randy Brecker. In the interview, conduvted by Joe Montague, the Jazz great reflects on a number of topics, including the delicate subject of his late brother Michael:

“It is hard for me to relate to Mike as an iconic figure in jazz, because to me he is still just my brother. It is hard for me to focus on how influential he was, even though I obviously know that he was. Foremost, I think of him as my brother. If I could get past that and look from afar like anyone else, I would say that he has to be one of the most influential jazz musicians, other than John Coltrane, because he had a real vision in mind, and he stuck to his artistic vision. He was one of the few guys, and I think partly because he had a big following, that was able to do musically pretty much whatever he wanted, and people didn’t try to channel him into doing something else. He will occupy a unique position in jazz history, and he certainly was one of the most popular saxophonists ever, but he could back it up, because the music had so much emotional depth,” says Brecker.

Click here to read 2008 Jazz Police Interview with Randy Brecker

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  

Paul Motian – A Jazz Perspective

Friday! Today finishes our week of podcast interviews from JazzCorner.com. JazzCorner is a portal for the official websites of hundreds of jazz musicians and organizations. There is a ton of great info you can get to from there, so check them out.

After his groundbreaking association with Bill Evans, drummer Paul Motian later collaborated with pianists Paul Bley and Keith Jarrett. An eclectic artist, he also worked with Arlo Guthrie including, a stint at Woodstock. Later, Motian become a composer and bandleader, producing a number of well-regarded projects for ECM Records beginning in the 1970s. He had, since the early 1980s, also led a celebrated trio featuring guitarist Bill Frisell and saxophonist Joe Lovano. On November 22, 2011, Paul Motian died at the age of 80 leaving a wealth and breadth of stunning music.

In this quick 2008 piece, Reese Erlich spoke with Motian about playing with Evans, Lovano, and Frisell, his approach to composition, and musical spontaneity.

Click here to listen to Paul Motian – A Jazz Perspective