Tag: audio interviews

Fresh Air Remembers Jazz Innovator Ornette Coleman

OrnetteColeman

Jazz legend Ornette Coleman left us earlier this month, and here is a great retrospective piece from NPR’s Fresh Air. Included in the piece are parts of earlier interviews with his former bandmates Charlie Haden and Don Cherry, his son Denardo Coleman, and two with Ornette himself.

In the interviews, among other topics, Coleman discusses the early days with his quartet and their residence at the Five Spot in NYC. At one point Ornette says “Leonard Bernstein, Gunther Schuller, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, they all came by.” He goes on to relate how one night after they were done with a set, Leonard Bernstein just jumped up on the bandstand and started hugging everyone in the band. Wow.

Click here to listen to Fresh Air Remembers Jazz Innovator Ornette Coleman

Burt Bacharach On Piano Jazz

burtBacharachBurt Bacharach has written more than 600 songs and more than 70 Top 40 hits. In 1957, Bacharach met fellow songwriter Hal David, and the two began a collaboration that would result in some of the most memorable songs of their day, many of which have an adventurous and jazz-inspired sense of harmony and rhythm, cleverly disguised as simple pop songs!

In this NPR Piano Jazz session from 2005, Bacharach discusses his early years, his collaborations, and performs some of his most famous numbers, such as “What the World Needs Now Is Love” and “Close to You.” 

SET LIST

  • “Alfie” (Bacharach, David)
  • “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” (Bacharach, David)
  • “This Guy’s In Love With You” (Bacharach, David)
  • “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” (Bacharach, David)
  • “What The World Needs Now Is Love” (Bacharach, David)
  • “Portrait Of Burt Bacharach” (McPartland)
  • “The Windows Of The World” (Bacharach, David)
  • “Close To You” (Bacharach, David)

Click here to listen to Burt Bacharach On Piano Jazz

—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

John Abercrombie: Searching For A Sound

johnAbercrombieThere are a series of interviews hosted by Dr. David Schoeder for NYU called the Steinhardt Interview Series that were done in 2009 and 2010 here. They are all great, and this one with John Abercrombie is no exception. From the interview:

“Basically the guitar is a piece of lumber. Some are made of a little better lumber than others, but it almost doesn’t matter. Once you put an electronic pickup in the guitar, and you have a cable, and you plug it into an amplifier that sits outside of you, your sound’s coming out of there… I can understand why the rock ‘n’ roll players need to use stacks of Marshall amps. This gives them what they want. They need to play that loud. They have to. That’s part of the sound. I didn’t need to play that loud, but I needed a sound, so I just had to try different things until I came up with it. I realized the guitar was the least important part in my sound. A lot of the possibilities come from whether it’s just a single amplifier with no reverberation, or whether it’s a stack of Marshalls, or whether it’s some sophisticated setup.”

Click here to read and listen to John Abercrombie: Searching For A Sound

—Peter Blasevick

‘Fresh Air’ Remembers Jazz Singer Jimmy Scott

jimmyScottJazz singer Jimmy Scott passed away last week at the age 88. Scott, who had a rare genetic condition that gave him his distinctive voice, was popular in ’50s but didn’t make any records between 1975 and 1992. Here he speaks with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air in 1992 about his comeback. From the interview:

GROSS: When you started singing, were there a lot of listeners who assumed you were a woman?

SCOTT: Yes. Yes. I had people play the records, after doing them with Lionel Hampton. And they’d have contests on the programs to have the public tell them who it was. And many people called women’s names. Finally, it was announced that it was not a woman, but it was myself whom was singing with Lionel Hampton at the time. I’ve even had people in the public question, is he really a guy, or is he – is that a woman standing there, you know? (Laughing) So those things have happened, you know. But being in the business, you learn that opinions are not supposed to affect the work you do in public, you know?

Click here to read and listen to ‘Fresh Air’ Remembers Jazz Singer Jimmy Scott

—Peter Blasevick

Sonny Rollins: ‘You Can’t Think And Play At The Same Time’

sonnyRollinsThe legendary Sonny Rollins released the third installment of his Road Shows series of live albums last week, and he spoke with NPR about why he prefers recording live to in the studio these days. From the interview:

What’s hard for you about listening to older recordings of yourself?

Well, the older recordings I don’t mind so much, because in those days — you know, when I was recording with J.J. Johnson and Bud Powell and all those great people — we just went in the studio for a short time, and we knew that was it. We rose to the occasion without any afterthought or forethought; we just went in there and recorded. Now, it’s a lot different. When I was in the recording studio over at Fantasy [Records] for many years, I had the option of listening back and doing another take, and I did five, ten takes. That sort of changed the dynamic.

Click here to read or listen to Sonny Rollins: ‘You Can’t Think And Play At The Same Time’

—Peter Blasevick

Three part 2013 Gary Husband interview

garyHusbandHere is a three part 2013 interview with drummer and keyboardist Gary Husband from AllAboutJazz. In part one Husband speaks of his formative years, talks at length of his decades-long relationship with Allan Holdsworth, discusses Jack Bruce and Gary Moore, and speaks about his solo piano recordings. Part two covers working with John McLaughlin, Jan Hammer, Jerry Goodman, Wayne Krantz, Jimmy Herring, Mike Stern, Steve Hackett, Steve Topping, Neil Taylor, and more. Part three focuses in on his latest project with Gary Husband on piano and Alex Machecek on electric guitar. He also discusses his work with Billy Cobham.

Click here to listen to Three part 2013 Gary Husband interview Part One, Part Two, Part Three

—Peter Blasevick

Hank Jones with Bill Charlap on Piano Jazz

hankJonesI love when a musician is interviewed by one of his or her peers…it usually gives the interview a slant it wouldn’t ordinarily have. Another musician will often ask questions of their subject that a non-musician wouldn’t necessarily consider because of their shared talents and experience. Here is a great interview in which pianist Bill Charlap, sitting in for regular host Marian McPartland on NPR’s Piano Jazz, interviews the legendary Hank Jones.

In this 2009 session, Jones returns to the program 30 years after his first appearance for a set of tunes spanning his career. “Keep the melody intact,” Jones says flatly. “You can do all kinds of things with the harmonies, but the melody must remain.”

The set list for the show:

  • “Lonely Woman” (Bill Stegmeyer)
  • “We’ll Be Together Again” (Carl Fischer)
  • “Lotus Blossoms” (Billy Strayhorn)
  • “Easy Living” (Ralph Rainger/Leo Robin)
  • “Odd Number” (Hank Jones)
  • “Lord, I Want to Be a Christian” (Traditional)
  • “Sophisticated Lady” (Duke Ellington/Irving Mills/Mitchell Parrish)
  • “Oh, Look at Me Now” (Joe Bushkin/John DeVries)

Click here to listen to Hank Jones with Bill Charlap on Piano Jazz

—Peter Blasevick

The Jazz Session #76: Steve Kuhn

steveKuhnHappy 76th birthday to the great Steve Kuhn! Jason Crane interviews the pianist for Jason’s great podcast The Jazz Session. Kuhn speaks about his (then) new new album, Mostly Coltrane (ECM, 2009), which pays tribute to John Coltrane, with whom Kuhn worked for several weeks in the early 60s. In the interview, Kuhn talks about Coltrane, the Lenox School of Jazz, his composing methods, and the support he received early on from Bill Evans. He also discusses the sacrifices he made in pursuit of his musical vision.

Click here to listen to The Jazz Session #76: Steve Kuhn

—Peter Blasevick

 

The Jazz Session #91: Mike Stern

mikeSternHere is a cool 2009 talk with Mike Stern from Jason Crane’s JazzSession podcast archive. So many great interviews there, check it out.

“Guitarist Mike Stern has played with everyone. And yes, that includes Miles Davis. After decades in the business, he could easily be resting on his laurels. Instead, he’s pushing himself into new territory, as displayed on his CD Big Neighborhood (Heads Up, 2009), which finds him in the company of everyone from Esperanza Spaulding to Randy Brecker to Eric Johnson to Steve Vai. In this interview, Stern talks about why he likes surrounding himself with fresh ideas; his rockin’ side and his lyrical side; and how guitarist Hiram Bullock once blew Michael Brecker’s mind.”

Click here to listen to The Jazz Session #91: Mike Stern