Tag: 2014

Conversations with Jimmy Cobb

In today’s post, the NYU Steinhardt Jazz Interview Series at SubCulture in New York continues as Dr. David Schroeder interviews legendary jazz drummer and member of Miles Davis’s band Jimmy Cobb on Nov 22nd, 2014. Cobb discusses his time with Miles, being largely self-taught, his first arrival in New York, his opportunity to play with Charlie Parker, and a lot more in this hour-long interview. Great stuff!

—Peter Blasevick

Billy Harper: A Life Of Persistence And Improvisation

Today’s interview is from R.J. DeLuke and AllAboutJazz and spends time with Billy Harper, the standout tenor saxophonist from the post-Coltrane school, who these days plays mainly with the “Cookers” septet along with Billy HartEddie HendersonGeorge CablesCecil McBeeDonald Harrison and David Weiss. He also is a “prolific composer, an educator and has led his own bands over the years, as well as performed with Gil EvansMax RoachLee MorganCharles TolliverRandy Weston, the Thad Jones and Mel Lewis big band, Art Blakey and others.” There is a lifetime of jazz in this interview, a gray read! From the interview:

“I got into jazz completely, which meant improvisation, which was the way I learned to live,” says Harper, a congenial sort who’s thoughtful and forthright. “Improvising all the time. It was not just music. It was the way. That is my life. It might be a funny thing to say, but I feel like I am the music. I don’t mean I’m the only music, but I am music. That’s how much it is a part of me, or I’m a part of it. I really feel like the music. I think that other musicians who are playing represent the music. They are the music also… Whenever writers say sometimes, ‘jazz is dead.’ I think that’s a conspiracy or something. As long as it’s in the musicians, the music is there. It’s where I live.”

Click here to read Billy Harper: A Life Of Persistence And Improvisation

—Peter Blasevick

Quincy Jones: ‘I told Michael Jackson he was weird’

quincyJonesHere is a fun interview with the great Quincy Jones from Paul Lester at The Guardian. Jones discusses everything from Frank Sinatra to his early days to his biggest influences. He also opines on legalizing drugs, Nazis on cocaine, and recording Thriller. Great stuff. From the interview:

Frank Sinatra called you Q. What did you call him?
Francis, or FS.

Were you nervous of him?
Nervous? Not even close, man! I was living in France, studying with Nadia Boulanger [tutor to Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland]. And I come in one day, they say, “Grace Kelly called, Mr Sinatra wants you to bring your house band” – I had the best house band in the world. So we played with Frank, and he said five words to me: “Good job, kid. Koo-koo.” I never saw anything like him on a stage. He was like a magician, from another planet. He had it down. The most magical thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Frank was bipolar, and one of the greatest friends I’ll ever have. I have his ring on, with his family crest, from Sicily. I’ve never taken it off.

Click here to read Quincy Jones: ‘I told Michael Jackson he was weird’

—Peter Blasevick

Notations from Harold Mabern

haroldMabernPianist Harold Mabern is one of the underrated greats of the late 50s early 60s hard-bop era, playing and recording with the likes of Wes Montgomery, J.J. Johnson, Jackie McLean, and George Coleman. He has also had a prolific career as a leader, and has had a profound impact on many great musicians as an instructor and faculty member at William Paterson University and the Stanford Jazz Workshop. Here is a transcript from a great interview with Deborah Demoss Smith at KMHD radio this past week. From the interview:

Do you agree with the idea that West Coast jazz is different than East Coast?
That’s not happening anymore. The West Coast sound is lighter in texture; the East Coast more grainy. But it’s not like that anymore because the coasts have caught up with each other. I was born in the South, where we had to play the blues, which we hated to play the blues; but now we realize that’s a blessing because everybody can’t play the blues. I’m still writing music and still learning music. Ahmad Jamal said the day you stop learning, you might as well go crawl in a hole. 

Click here to read Notations from Harold Mabern

—Peter Blasevick

International Jazz Day 2014: Dee Dee Bridgewater: Jazz & Human Rights

Today, one more interview from International Jazz Day 2014. On April 30, the world celebrated International Jazz Day with a day of music, talks, workshops and an All-Star Global Concert from Osaka, Japan. Included in the festivities were jazz greats such as  Wayne Shorter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Roy Hargrove, Esperanza Spalding, T.S.Monk, Kenny Garrett, Courtney Pine, and so many others. 

This discussion features Associated Press journalist and writer Charles Gans interviewing celebrated vocalist and Broadway actress Dee Dee Bridgewater, who discusses Billie Holiday, the role of jazz in the worldwide struggle for human rights, and a host of other topics in this hour long discussion. She is also wearing a bad pair of cowboy boots.

—Peter Blasevick

Intl Jazz Day 2014: Herbie Hancock & Marcus Miller—Artists for Peace and Cultural Diplomacy

On April 30 of this year, the world celebrated International Jazz Day with a day of music, talks, workshops and an All-Star Global Concert from Osaka, Japan. Included in the festivities were jazz greats such as  Wayne Shorter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Roy Hargrove, Esperanza Spalding, T.S.Monk, Kenny Garrett, Courtney Pine, and so many others. I am posting some of these video interviews over the next week or so.

This hour long panel discussion features UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock and UNESCO Artist for Peace Marcus Miller. The two discuss the concept of ‘artists for peace’; what does this entail, and what potential impact can an artist have in this arena. Fascinating insights from both of these legends.

—Peter Blasevick

Intl Jazz Day 2014: Wayne Shorter—Philosophy of Life Through Jazz

On April 30 of this year, the world celebrated International Jazz Day with a day of music, talks, workshops and an All-Star Global Concert from Osaka, Japan. Included in the festivities were jazz greats such as  Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Roy Hargrove,  Marcus Miller, Esperanza Spalding, T.S.Monk, Kenny Garrett, Courtney Pine, and so many others. I am going to post some of the video interviews over the next week or so.

Here is a fantastic hour-long talk with Mika Shino, the legendary Wayne Shorter in which he discusses what has inspired and continues to inspire his body of work, including philosophy, art, literature, science, physics, and an hours worth of other topics.

—Peter Blasevick

Sonny Rollins in India – Learning Yoga and Why

Bret Primack, better known as JazzVideoGuy, is a treasure trove of great interviews, documentaries, and performances on YouTube, many of which feature the legendary Sonny Rollins. He recently posted a bunch more with the tenor great, including this one on Sonny’s 1967 trip to India, where he lived in an Ashram and studied Yoga. 

—Peter Blasevick

Brad Mehldau: Dragons & Dreams

bradMehldauIan Patterson at AllAboutJazz recently interviewed pianist Brad Mehldau about his experimental new duo album with drummer Mark Guiliana. Mehldau talks jazz, classic rock, and even being influenced by 70s TV theme songs:

“For sure. For me, “Theme from Mash,” but also “Eight is Enough,” I can still remember, I think the lyric was, ‘There’s a plate of homemade wishes, on the kitchen windowsill, and eight is enough, to fill our lives with joy.’ There’s a certain comfort mixed with melancholy to a lot of those themes—it’s not a cut and dry nostalgia for me.

Click here to read Brad Mehldau: Dragons & Dreams

—Peter Blasevick

2014 Interview with Bob Cranshaw

bobCranshawJust this morning Ethan Iverson posted a new interview he conducted with longtime Sonny Rollins bassist Bob Cranshaw. Great questions (as always) from Ethan and a really interesting and long talk. Here is Bob talking about coming to NYC with his group in 1960:

EI:  You felt like New York musicians didn’t accept your group?



BC:  They were not warm. There was just a funny feeling, but it really set me up. Some of the guys that I became really close to once I was here were some of the guys that just seemed kind of, “Eh…” It was like, “Well, we’re from Chicago.” I’m sure you’ve gone through some of it here. “Well, you’re not the New York [guy]. You’re not the ‘in’ guy,” all of those things. At that point, I said, “Okay. They don’t want me? They got me. Somebody is gonna have to move over.” That was my attitude. Somebody just gotta move.

Click here to read 2014 Interview with Bob Cranshaw

—Peter Blasevick