Tag: 2010

Four part Joe Sample video interview

Today, a fantastic four-part video interview with the late Joe Sample from the Keyboard Magazine YouTube page. The interview took place  before a 2010 reunion gig with the Jazz Crusaders at Yoshi’s in Oakland, CA.

Part 1: Joe talks about the early days, bad road pianos, adopting the Fender Rhodes, and technology

Part 2: Joe discusseswhat he feels ls lacking in digital pianos, and the challenges of getting consistent dynamics out of even an acoustic piano.

Part 3: The new Rhodes, the Jazz Crusaders vintage set list, and how there’s no middle class in the music business.

Part 4: The interview wraps with with Mr. Sample demonstrating his favorite voicings and approaches to chords.

—Peter Blasevick

Four part JazzWax interview with Gary Burton

garyBurtonToday I’m linking to a four part interview from Marc Myers Jazzwax with the great innovator Gary Burton. Along with being a fusion pioneer, he helped popularize the four mallet playing technique on the vibes and championed the idea of the jazz duet (most recently with Chick Corea on 2012’s Hot House). From the interview:

JW: What was it like working with Shearing?
GB: It was an interesting challenge and experience for me. George did not believe in lengthy solos. Everyone got to play one chorus on any song. You had about 30 seconds to solo.

JW: Did that become a problem?
GB: For me, coming from my student days of five-minute solos, I didn’t know how to do this. At first I tried to play a million things. But that didn’t work too well. Then I became philosophical about it, playing smaller chunks rather than long stretches. With George, I learned how to get into a solo immediately and pace it.

Click here to read JazzWax interview with Gary Burton: Part One; Part Two; Part Three; Part Four

—Peter Blasevick

Chris Potter on The Jazz Session in 2010

chrisPotterI love this quote about saxophonist Chris Potter from Kenny Wheeler:

“Chris was in my composition class at the New School [for Jazz and Contemporary Music, NYC] for about a year. When he called me for a private lesson, I had no idea how he played. We started with a bebop tune; but he went further out on the second thing we played, and on the third tune he was playing in the language of my contemporaries, guys who grew up following all of Miles’ bands and aspiring to the kind of spiritual strivings that defined Coltrane’s music. By the fourth tune, I wanted to take a lesson from Chris.” (from Chris Potter at JazzProfiles)

Anyway, in this great interview from Jason Crane’s JazzSession, recorded before Potter’s performance with Dave Holland at the 2009 Tanglewood Jazz Festival, Potter talks about how a middle-class kid in Columbia, SC, ended up liking Chicago blues; why he looks first to please himself with the music he makes; and how rhythm breaks down barriers with an audience.

Click here to read Chris Potter on The Jazz Session in 2010

—Peter Blasevick

Charlie Haden and Keith Jarrett in 2010

The jazz world lost the great bassist Charlie Haden over the weekend. From Ornette Coleman to Quartet West to Diana Krall, he played with a long and varied list of great musicians over a long and productive career. I particularly like his work with Keith Jarrett, and here the two are discussing their 2010 duet project Jasmine.

—Peter Blasevick

An Audience With… Jeff Beck

jeffBeckToday is the great Jeff Beck‘s 69th birthday. The legendary guitarist made his name in the 60s playing with the Yardbirds, but cemented himself as one of the all-time greats when he released a string of rock-jazz-blues fusion albums in the 1970s. In this 2010 interview with Uncut, Beck answers questions submitted by fans and peers alike. Great stuff! From the Q&A session with John Lewis:

JL: Dear Jeff, if I knew how you play the guitar, I’d steal everything you do, but I don’t. Can you help me?
John McLaughlin

JB: Oh man, stop there. I can die happy. Johnny McLaughlin has given us so many different facets of the guitar. And introduced thousands of us to world music, by blending Indian music with jazz and classical. I’d say he was the best guitarist alive. When the band I had with Rod Stewart broke up, I was left wondering what to do. While the charts were full of stuff like “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep”, I became aware of this underground music scene. And what hit me right between the eyes was John’s playing on Miles Davis’s A Tribute To Jack Johnson. That changed everything. After that, a new chapter of rock music was formed, with his blistering performances with The Mahavishnu Orchestra and everything else. And John’s been at it ever since. He’s a hard one to keep up with!

Click here to read An Audience With… Jeff Beck

—Peter Blasevick

NEA Jazz Masters: Interview with Cedar Walton

One of the great hard bop pianists, Cedar Walton was also known for his compositions, some of which have become jazz standards, such as “Bolivia,” “Clockwise,” and “Firm Roots.” A.B. Spellman spoke with Mr. Walton in 2010 about his musical journey from Dallas to New York to the world stage and being named an NEA Jazz Master.

—Peter Blasevick

Smithsonian Oral Histories: Barry Harris 2010

barryHarrisToday another fascinating piece from the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program. Established by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in 1992, the Program documents more than one hundred senior jazz musicians, performers, relatives, and business associates.  The interviews average six hours in length and cover a wide range of topics including early years, initial involvement in music, generally, and jazz specifically, as well as experiences in the jazz music world, including relationships to musicians. There are usually (but not always) both written transcripts and audio; the transcriptions are complete, the audio are shorter clips from the interviews.

Here is the great pianist Barry Harris in 2010. The full transcript is 36 pages, and in the three audio clips Barry speaks about his ability to write music spontaneously, his view on why Jazz should be as valued as classical, and his experience listening to Charlie Parker. From the interview conducted by Aaron Graves:

See the drag about Nat King Cole was everybody fell in love with the singers. See, all over the world they fell in love with the singers. They didn’t fall in love with the piano playing, which was brilliant. He was a brilliant pianist, you know. So you heard less of the piano playing, and more of the singing, even though we enjoyed the singing, you know, don’t think we didn’t. But it would have been nice to hear the piano a little more – keep going, you know. So we had a lot to listen to, you know, you had all them good musicians to listen to.

Click here to listen to and read Smithsonian Oral Histories: Barry Harris 2010

—Peter Blasevick

Chick Corea: Five Decades of Music In a One-Hour Interview

It’s the great Chick CoreachickCorea‘s birthday today! In this 2010 interview with Russ Davis at the Chamber Music America 2010 conference in New York, Chick discusses everything from who gave him that lasting nickname “Chick” to how he and Herbie Hancock learned to avoid stepping on each other’s toes while playing in a duo setting to how he got “roped into” projects as diverse as doing Mozart duets with vocalist Bobby McFerrin and playing live on the Grammy Awards show with rock band The Foo Fighters and so much more.

—Peter Blasevick

Esperanza Spalding: The Intimate Balance

Here is a September 2010 AllAboutJazz interview with the very talented bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding. In the piece she discusses jazz and classical, her album Chamber Music Society, and being a musician and singer both. From the interview:

AAJ : Where does Esperanza the singer start and the musician end?

ES: That’s a good question—I never saw it like that, I guess. It’s not organized in my mind at all, really. I’m just going for what needs to be done, whether that means singing in a track or not, or I don’t know… You caught me off guard! It doesn’t really go with the way that I’m operating with my music. I certainly feel like all the elements, singing and playing, they’re really part of the same motivation, which for me comes out of composition: that’s my main passion, and what I really think rules everything else. It all comes from there. 

Click here to read Esperanza Spalding: The Intimate Balance

—Peter Blasevick

Bobby McFerrin gets vocal

This is a typically honest and cerebral interview with one of my all-time favorite musicians, Bobby McFerrin. He spoke with UK’s the Guardian in 2010 and discussed his early days, conducting, and Ave Maria and his other viral YouTube hits. Here he talks about one of them:

Last year (2009), Bobby McFerrin was one of a panel of experts at the World Science festival in New York, discussing music and its relation to the brain. As assorted musicologists and psychologists discussed the brain’s expectations of music, McFerrin leapt from his chair to illustrate some of the theories. He jumped up and down on the spot and sang a note, getting the audience to sing along. He then moved to his left and got the audience to sing a higher note. Before long he was skipping around half-a-dozen positions, orchestrating a roomful of people purely by gesture. It’s an astonishing, hilarious performance, one that quickly became a viral hit on YouTube.

“I was just displaying how the pentatonic scale – that’s basically the black notes on the piano – appears to be hardwired into every culture on earth,” he says. “It’s something I’ve been doing as part of my solo shows for years, and it seems to work everywhere I go. I’ve always wanted to break down the line between performer and audience. We’re a roomful of strangers and music is the one thing that binds us together, makes us an instant community. I’d like to think that people leave my concerts realising that they know a lot more about music than they realised.”

 Click here to read Bobby McFerrin gets vocal