Tag: jazz education

Dave Frank: My Teacher, Lennie Tristano

Here is 6:22 of pretty much everything I love about jazz on the internet. JazzVideoGuy, who does such important work for the legacy of jazz, interviewing the ridiculously hip, funny, and burning Dave Frank about his teacher and great influence Lennie Tristano. Eat up every second of this great interview.


—Peter Blasevick

It’s Barry Harris’ 84th Birthday!

barryHarrisPianist and educator Barry Harris is a true jazz treasure. To celebrate his 84th birthday (ok, two days late), a link to a few interviews posted by Ted Panken for a Downbeat article, one from 1999 and two from 2000. Here is Harris talking about Charlie Parker:

TP:    Any anecdote about when you played with Charlie Parker.

HARRIS:  He was beautiful to us.  I think the best experience that I always tell people is he was playing with strings one time at the Forest Club, which was a roller rink.  It was a dance at this time, and we stood in front, and the strings started, and the most spoiling thing of all was that when he started playing chills just went all through, starting on your toes, and went on through your body, man.  It was everything imaginable.  Orgasms, everything to us.  It’s really a spoiler, because I don’t like to go listen to people because I’m expecting somebody to make me feel like that.

TP:    Did Bird have a huge sound in person?

HARRIS:  Oh yeah.  I remember one time when he was at the Crystal, he was at the back of the room when Lee Konitz had come in and was sitting in with him.  (?)Emperor Nero(?) was playing alto, too.   Bird was over to the side, in the back by the kitchen or something, and Bird just started playing from there.  He had a great big sound.  Gene Ammons used to do that, too.  He’d stand in the back of the Club Valley… Frank Foster, Leo Osbold(?), Billy Mitchell maybe were at the mike playing.  He was up… There was some kind of thing that went up at the top, he started playing — he had a great big sound.  He always let me sit in with him.  When I was very young, he used to make Junior Mance get up and let me sit in with him.  I always loved to see him come to town, because he was one cat really I could sit in with.

Click here to read It’s Barry Harris’ 84th Birthday!

The Jazz Session #88: Ellis Marsalis

ellisMarsalisToday, a cool 2009 interview with pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis from The Jazz Session, a member-supported online interview show focusing on in-depth conversations with jazz musicians authored by Jason Crane.

In this interview, the patriarch of the Marsalis family talks about how his time in the Marines helped build his piano chops; how he got his gig with trumpeter Al Hirt; and what makes New Orleans “fertile ground” for a jazz musician.

Click here to listen to The Jazz Session #88: Ellis Marsalis

—Peter Blasevick

For Alvin Batiste’s 81st Birth Anniversary, A WKCR Interview From 1987

308825587_332a9a1922_oHere is a great interview with master clarinetist and educator Alvin Batiste conducted by Ted Panken for WKCR radio in 1987. Batiste discusses New Orleans and his formative years in great detail as well as other jazz greats such as the Marsalis family and Ornette Coleman. From the interview:

Q: Tell me about how you first entered into music.  Was it always a part of your life?

AB: Well, I can remember very vividly one Easter Sunday, I think I was about five years old, and my mother had gotten me one of these little white suits that kids at that time were wearing in Louisiana, whether you were Catholic or Protestant.  And a parade passed by my house.  I was living in a section of town called Holly Grove.  And parades didn’t pass that often, so I followed the parade, and I was with the parade all day — if you can imagine a five-year-old kid.  They fed me… And they had canals during that time that took care of the sewage and stuff, and so when the water would go in the canal there would be an algae.  And I slipped down and messed up my little pants.  But I got back home at about nine o’clock and got a good one!  But I think that’s when I was bit.

Click here to read For Alvin Batiste’s 81st Birth Anniversary, A WKCR Interview From 1987

Mulgrew Miller, R.I.P. (1955-2013) — A Downbeat Article and Several Interviews

mulgrewMillerWe are all saddened by the passing of the pianist Mulgrew Miller. He was a great artist and was as generous and kind as a man could be the couple of occasions I had to speak with him during my travels at William Paterson University where he headed up the Jazz Studies program.

Here is a tribute by Ted Panken, a collection of interviews from 1988, 1994, and 2005. From the piece, Miller discusses the music of James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Al Green:

“It still hits me where I live,” he says. “It’s black music. That’s my roots. When I go home, they all know me as the church organist from years ago, so it’s nothing for me walk up to the organ and fit right in. I once discussed my early involvement in music with Abdullah Ibrahim, and he described what I went through as a community-based experience. Before I became or wanted to become a jazz player, I played in church, in school plays, for dances and for cocktail parties. I was already improvising, and always on some level it was emotional or soul or whatever you want to call it. I was finding out how to connect with people through music.”

Click here to read Mulgrew Miller, R.I.P. (1955-2013) — A Downbeat Article and Several Interviews

Two part Jack Reilly Interview 2003

Acclaimed for his solo jazz concerts and trio dates in the US and in Europe, Jack Reilly is a vibrant exhilarating pianist. His recordings and books—three volumes on jazz improvisation entitled Species Blues and the nationally acclaimed book The Harmony of Bill Evans—confirm the scope of Jack ‘s talents and versatility.

jackReillyThis interview was conducted by pianist (and BillEvansWebpages webmaster) Jan Stevens in the music room of Jack’s home in the New Jersey shore area. A long and complex discussion of Bill Evans music followed. From the interview:

J.S. So, tell us when you first met Bill Evans, and maybe you can give us a couple of details.

REILLY: Well, I should say I first heard him in ’52. I was in the U.S. Navy; he was in the Army. We both were stationed at the Washington D.C. School of Music. That’s where you go if you’re a musician, and in the service and they teach you music for military functions, dance band stuff, etc. And I just happened to be walking down a hall, and I heard this incredible piano playing coming from a practice room, and I looked through the peep hole in the door, and it’s this guy who looked like a librarian playing, sounding like Teddy Wilson, Bud Powell, George Shearing. But he had his own linear concept going already and it was cookin’ like mad. And it was only solo piano! He was practicing, and I stood there for about 10 minutes or so and wound up getting captain’s [unintelligible] for neglecting to go to my class. Of course it was a school, you know, we all had to take classes, except Bill, they just let him do whatever he wanted ’cause he was so advanced at the time.

Click here to read Two part Jack Reilly Interview 2003

—Peter Blasevick

John Clayton with Don Wolff in 2011

Grammy Award winning Jazz Bassist, Composer and Conductor John Clayton visited with Don Wolff in 2011, and they discussed his career, and also the importance of Jazz Education, an area that Mr. Clayton sees as very important and for which he places much emphasis. Here is the great bassist, composer, and arranger on Milt Hinton:

“Oh gosh, he was such an inspiration. He’s a guy who really, really saw to it that the bass family remained a family. He was always taking time out to give anybody who was interested his time…he really exemplified the “jazz mentor”.

Click here to listen to John Clayton with Don Wolff in 2011

—Peter Blasevick

Wynton Marsalis Speaks Out

Hello all! This week I’ll be posting some great interviews from the fantastic AllAboutJazz.com, which is simply one of the top everything-jazz destinations on the web.

Trumpeter, composer, educator—Wynton Marsalis requires no introduction. Since beginning his career, he has received an almost endless stream of accolades, his share of criticisms, and an ever-growing level of recognition from within and without the jazz community. Speaking with Franz Matzner in 2004 from his tour bus to the accompaniment of companionable laughter, instruments being tuned, and the ambient hum of traffic, Marsalis offered thoughts on education, jazz and the internet, the significance of art, and the identity of the jazz genre, as well as his CD The Magic Hour. From the interview:

AAJ: Over the years, what have you found to be the most difficult part of teaching jazz?

WM: I think the most difficult thing about teaching jazz is a lack of reinforcement. You might teach a really good class, but there’s not a lot of reinforcement in the larger society. Many times the best environment to teach in is one where you say something and you teach a certain thing and then students can go out and see that in everyday life. But in the teaching of jazz, our sense of teaching is isolated. That’s the most difficult thing to overcome.

 Click here to read Wynton Marsalis Speaks Out

Billy Taylor – American Hero

This week I am posting video interviews from JazzVideoGuy himself, Bret Primack. Check out his channel on YouTube, there is so much to watch, you’ll get lost.

Here is a really cool half-hour interview and bio of pianist, composer, and educator Billy Taylor. Produced and directed by Bret Primack in 2011 for a Billy Taylor Celebration at Jazz in July (the UMass Summer camp Taylor founded) the film includes interviews with Billy, Jon Faddis, Kim Taylor Thompson and Alan Bergman, as well as rare performance footage of Billy with Duke Ellington and Willie “the Lion” Smith on the David Frost Show, and, Billy’s acting debut on the CBS Television Program, See It Now, in 1952, when he portrayed Jelly Roll Morton.

— Peter Blasevick

Max Roach: A Shot of Life

I’m posting some fantastic interviews with great Jazz drummers this week. Here is a great five-part video interview with the man who pretty much invented be-bop drumming, Max Roach. In the interviews, conducted in Chicago by Jomo Cheatham in May of 1993, Roach talks about the Chicago Jazz scene, public schools, Rap music, Jazz and European Classical music, and his autobiography which was just released at the time of this interview. Fascinating stuff, and Roach is as cool an gracious as ever.

Note: it appears there should be six parts to this series (number 5 is missing). Any info, let me know and I will add it.

— Peter Blasevick