Tag: jazz vs classical

Like It Is: The Branford Marsalis Interview

branfordMarsalisBranford Marsalis usually has little problem sharing his thoughts on things, and this interview is no different. The great saxophonist takes on classical vs. jazz, virtuosity versus simplicity, musical maturity, and many other topics in this 2012 interview with JazzTimes. From the interview:

JT: McCoy once told me in an interview that he remembers seeing Trane playing in a band in Philly where he was walking the bar.

Marsalis: Yeah, Benny Golson told me that great story about Trane, that he had decided that he didn’t have enough rhythm-and-blues in his playing, so he took a gig walking the bar but didn’t tell his boys because he didn’t want them to see him. And they found out. Somebody came and said, “Trane’s walkin’ the bar!” at whatever the club was. They all ran there and then Trane got to the edge of the bar and saw them and said, “Aw, shit!” It’s a great story the way Benny tells it.

Click here to read Like It Is: The Branford Marsalis Interview

—Peter Blasevick

Andre Previn with Martin Perlich 9/21/1990


Andre Previn often isn’t thought of as a “jazz” player due to due to his success in the classical and film worlds, but he is one heck of a piano player! Here is a great 1990 radio interview from Martin Perlich. From the intro:

I was fortunate to be invited to occasional breakfasts at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills with then Music Director of the LA Philharmonic André Previn. Raised on the Hollywood sound stages, Previn was an accomplished composer as well as extraordinary jazz pianist. Telarc had just released his second jazz CD—a trio with Mundel Lowe and Ray Brown—and Previn compared the art of improvisation to standard “straight” classical playing.

Click here to listen to Andre Previn with Martin Perlich 9/21/1990

—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

Two Esperanza Spalding from the 2011 Newport Jazz Festival

This week I will be linking to some great video interviews from the JazzTimes YouTube page. There is so much more there than I’ll be posting this week, so be sure to check it out!

Today, two interviews from the incredibly talented Esperanza Spalding at the 2011 Newport Jazz Festival. In the first segment, Spalding talks about her jazz and music education, about her teachers and mentors, and about her own experience as a teacher and mentor. In the second, Spalding talks about playing at Newport for the first time, the significance of the festival and the unique environment created by George Wein. Spalding also talks about why jazz and music festivals are important. Interview by Lee Mergner.


—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

Elvin Jones: Drumming Icon is Still Cooking

Great interviews with great Jazz drummers this week. Today is a nice long 2004 interview with the legendary Elvin Jones from AllAboutJazz.com. From the interview, here is the master talking about his love of Jazz music:

“I always thought that great music is a challenge,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any music greater or a lot more exciting than jazz music, because it’s pure. You hear things that nobody’s ever played before and you hear things that are almost impossible for anyone to duplicate. It’s being done and you hear music that is so beautiful; it makes you weep; it’s more than anything any classical composers have written can be. It compares equally with some of the best that’s ever been done.”

Click here to read Elvin Jones: Drumming Icon is Still Cooking

Ahmad Jamal: A National Treasure Speaks

‘It’s an affront to go up to Wynton [Marsalis] or me and say, ‘I play classical music.’ We are the superior practitioners. Nine times out of ten, a man who’s playing first chair in a symphony can’t play ‘Happy Birthday.'”

Ahmad Jamal is always interesting, and he discusses a number of topics ranging from creativity to silence to free jazz in this short 2008 gem with MinnPost.com

Click here to read Ahmad Jamal: A National Treasure Speaks