Tag: bass

Percy Heath Steps Out

The great jazz bassist Percy Heath would have been 92 years old today. Percy, the oldest sibling, was a key member of the Modern Jazz Quartet beginning in the 1951 and has played on literally hundreds of albums as a stalwart rhythm section sideman. (That was after his stint as a pilot with the Tuskeegee Airmen during World War II).

The oldest of the Heath brothers—along with saxophonist Jimmy and drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath—Percy was recognized before this 2004 interview by The New School University’s Jazz & Contemporary Music Program with their ”Beacons in Jazz” award on the heels of his 2002 designation as a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master.

Here NPR’s Liane Hansen speaks with Heath about his family, his life and his 2004 solo debut record, A Love Song.

—Peter Blasevick

Eddie Gomez: The Call Of The Wild

eddieGomezHey folks! After a several month layoff due to server, hosting, WordPress, and time (time, Time, TIME!!) issues, we are back here at TNYDP with a new look and plenty of new and historical interviews with your favorite jazz players, writers, and other notables.

Today, a great recent interview with the legendary Eddie Gomez, courtesy of AllAboutJazz. Over the course of two phone talks with Robin Arends, Gomez discusses jazz in the fifties and sixties, pollution, overcrowding, Eddie’s collaboration with Bill Evans and his rich career afterwards. From the interview:

AAJ: Jazz is more institutionalized now compared to when you started? 

EG: The music evolved and developed that way. You can also say that of classical music. In the 14th, 15th century it was very specialized music and it was not available for the average people. For the average person there was folk music. It took a time before it was not only available for the privileged people. You can say the same about jazz, in a shorter timescale. By now there are more people who listen to jazz music like it is classical music, but the experience is so different. The world now is not in for steady bands. It is hard to sell records. There are many good bands, but there is not enough work, there is not enough touring. In my time there were many bands: Art BlakeyBill EvansMiles DavisSonny Rollins, there were lots of good bands and they stayed together. This is a treasure for the music, for the art form. They recorded three, four albums.

Click here to read Eddie Gomez: The Call Of The Wild

—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

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

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

For Ron Carter’s 77th Birthday, a DownBeat Feature From Two Years Ago

ronCarterBass maestro Ron Carter turned 77 yesterday. Ted Panken posted a feature piece that DownBeat assigned me to write two years ago in response to his entry into the DB Hall of Fame. Some interesting insights about Carter’s early days and his career. From the interview:

“Jazz was always in the air at school, but it wasn’t my primary listening,” Carter said. “I had other responsibilities—the concert band, the marching band, the orchestra [Carter played cello exclusively from ages 10-17], my chores at home, and maintaining a straight-A average. We were playing huge orchestrations of Strauss and Beethoven and Brahms, and the Bach Cantatas with all these voices moving in and out.”  Midway through Carter’s senior year, it became clear to him that more employment would accrue if he learned to play the bass, a decision reinforced when he heard “Blue Haze,” a blues in F on which Miles Davis’ solo unfolds over a suave Percy Heath bassline and Art Blakey’s elemental beat on the hi-hat, ride cymbal, and bass drum. “I was fascinated to hear them making their choices sound superb with the bare essentials,” Carter said. “These three people were generating as much musical logic in six to eight choruses as a 25-minute symphony with 102 players.”

Click here to read For Ron Carter’s 77th Birthday, a DownBeat Feature From Two Years Ago

—Peter Blasevick

Chuck Israels: Tribute To Bill Evans

Bassist/arranger/composer Chuck Israels is in expansive form for this interview with Robin Arends from AllAboutJazz conducted in a room of a former monastery in Oegstgeest, a small town in the Netherlands near the North Sea. The 77 year old legend recently published the album Second Wind (Soulpatch Music Productions, 2013), a tribute to pianist Bill Evans. From the interview:

AAJ: So today jazz musicians should use Charlie Parker, Cole Porter, George Gershwin as their starting point? 

CI: Yes, you have to build on to something. The idea that anyone is original and comes up with his own ideas is not really accurate. You have a personality which has been developed by which ideas you take and which ones you reject, but it all comes from behind. You can’t start with John Coltrane and go from there. That doesn’t work.

Click here to read Chuck Israels: Tribute To Bill Evans

Eddie Gomez On Piano Jazz

eddieGomezI was listening through some repeats of NPR’s Piano Jazz with the late Marian McPartland recently, and they are just great. There aren’t many forums that allow long-form interview/performances like these, and we’re fortunate that they keep an archive of selected episodes up at the NPR site.

In this episode, bassist Eddie Gomez visits Piano Jazz for a session with his old boss, Marian McPartland. The pair first teamed up in the early 1960s, when McPartland found herself in need of a bassist for a regular trio gig at Strollers in New York. Gomez gained exposure that led to the chance of a lifetime: a spot as bassist in the Bill Evans Trio. On this installment of Piano Jazz from 2007, Gomez and McPartland get together for a set of tunes by Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Cole Porter, Thelonious Monk and more.

“Eddie is such a wonderful bassist,” McPartland says. “I remember hiring him for that gig, and we had a fabulous time catching up on the show. It was a lot of fun playing together again. And he went on to big things with Bill Evans… and now teaching the kids.”

Here is the set list played during the interview:

  • “On Green Dolphin Street” (B. Kaper, N. Washington)
  • “Windows” (C. Corea)
  • “Willow Weep for Me” (A. Ronell)
  • “Easy to Love” (C. Porter)
  • “Turn Out the Stars” (B. Evans)
  • “Free Piece” (M. McPartland, E. Gomez)
  • “Stella by Starlight” (N. Washington, V. Young)
  • “Sometime Ago” (S. Mihanovich)
  • “Straight No Chaser” (T.S. Monk)

Click here to listen to Eddie Gomez On Piano Jazz

Stanley Clark interview with Martin Perlich


This is a very intimate audio interview with the great bassist Stanley Clarke. Conducted at his home around 1979 (the date listed is 1971, but that is certainly inaccurate; they mention Charles Mingus just having died [1979] and Clarke playing with Ron Wood [around the same time]). Recorded in Clarke’s California home, this interview has everything from phones ringing  and level tests to great discussions about jazz and rock and roll.

Click here to listen to Stanley Clarke interview with Martin Perlich

—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