Tag: live performance

Jimmy Smith Documentary (Jazz Organ) – 1965

Here is a great 90 minute long West German documentary film made about Jimmy Smith and his trio. As you can imagine, there are great performances, but also tons of backstage footage and discussions. One interesting exchange happens backstage when Smith and his interviewer discuss if the Beatles are clever musicians or just a gimmick as Smith notes. Great stuff.

—Peter Blasevick

McCoy Tyner: NJN/State of the Arts Showcase 1995

Grammy Award winning jazz musician McCoy Tyner in a 1995 interview with State of the Arts host Amber Edwards. Tyner discusses his meteoric rise to fame when at the age of 17 he became part of the legendary John Coltrane Quartet along with his early years growing up in Philadelphia. Tyner performs solo renditions of Blue Stride and Flying High.

—Peter Blasevick

Bill Frisell On Piano Jazz

I’m posting five great NPR Piano Jazz interviews this week. Though Marian McPartland no longer actively hosts the show (which has been running since the late 1970s), it still airs weekly with encore performances and in an updated version hosted by Jon Weber.

Int today’s interview, guitarist and composer Bill Frisell brings his sparkling, atmospheric sound to this episode of Piano Jazz in a session that originally aired in October 2007.

At one point in the hour long show,  Frisell’s give his solo take on “My Man’s Gone Now,” from George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess. Frisell picked up this tune when he first began studying jazz seriously by listening to Bill Evans and Miles Davis.

“It’s one of those tunes that stayed with me from the late ’60s when I first heard it, and I’ve been trying to play it all along,” Frisell says.

During the interview, Bill’s performances include:

  • “When You Wish Upon a Star” (Harline, Washington)
  • “My Man’s Gone Now” (Gershwin, Gershwin, Heyward)
  • “All the Things You Are” (Hammerstein, Kern)
  • “He’s the One” (McPartland)
  • “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (Williams)
  • “Strange Meeting” (Frisell)
  • “Echoes of Yesterday” (McPartland)
  • “Blue Monk” (Monk)

Click here to listen to Bill Frisell On Piano Jazz

Introducing Bill Evans—The Jazz Review, October 1959

This week I’m posting interviews from the music journal The Jazz Review, which has been wonderfully preserved at the great website jazzstudiesonline.org. Founded by Nat Hentoff, Martin Williams, and Hsio Wen Shih in New York in 1958, The Jazz Review was the premier journal of jazz in the United States. Short-lived as it was (1958-1961), it set an enduring standard for criticism. All the interview links point to the full .pdf for that issue, so it might take a second to load. Worth the wait!

Another great early interview with a legend today: pianist Bill Evans. He talks to Nat Hentoff about his album “Everybody Digs Bill Evans”, and in this excerpt you can already hear him formulating some of his revolutionary ideas for the trio-format:

“I want to be able to be free to go in my own direction without having to drag other people into my way of thinking. Ideally, I’d like to play solo piano, but from a practical standpoint, in terms of establishing a reputation and the kinds of rooms one can play, a trio makes more sense. And actually, there is almost as much freedom in a trio and certainly a stronger rhythm base.”

“I’m hoping the trio will grow in the direction of simultaneous improvisation rather that just one guy blowing followed by another guy blowing. If the bass player, for example, hears an idea that he wants to answer, why should he just keep playing a 4/4 background? The men I’ll work with have learned how to do the regular kind of playing, and so I think we how have the license to change it. After all, in a classical composition, you don’t hear a part remain stagnant until it becomes a solo. There are transitional development passages—a voice begins to be heard more and more and finally breaks into prominence.”

Click here to read Introducing Bill Evans—The Jazz Review, October 1959

Joe Lovano Discusses Hank Jones

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 look up and realize it’s two in the morning.

I’ve mentioned before I’m sure that I just love Hank Jones…any excuse to post about him is fine with me. Here is a nice long talk with tenor great Joe Lovano in which he discusses  working with the legendary pianist and goes into detail about their 2007 live duet album Kids.

— Peter Blasevick

Herbie Hancock on Tavis Smiley 2011

More interviews from talk show host Tavis Smiley’s archive today. Here is a a cool 2011 talk with the legendary pianist and composer Herbie Hancock. From the interview, Herbie talks about failing when taking chances on the bandstand and relates a great story from his days with Miles:

“You have to get up. (Laughter) You have to get up and try it again. You can’t let that throw you. Years ago, if I fell on my face somehow in the middle of a show or something, it just didn’t work – and actually, I can give you an example. I was playing with Miles one time, the great Miles Davis, during the ’60s, and we were performing in Europe.

We were on this tour. This particular night was the peak of the tour. It was the night, you know, when it’s all happening? Every song was building and building and building. We had the audience grasped like this. It was all like one. So Miles played the tune “So What,” and Wayne Shorter plays his incredible, fiery saxophone solo, Tony Williams is burning up on the drums, Ron Carter on the bass is amazing, and then Miles comes to his solo, right?

At the peak of Miles’s solo I play a chord that was so wrong (laughter), I thought I had lit a match to the whole thing and just burned it to the ground. I didn’t know what to do. Miles took a breath and then played some notes that made my chord right. (Laughter)

I couldn’t believe what I heard. He made it fit somehow. What is he, some kind of alchemist or something? Merlin the magician? It took me years to figure out actually what happened. What happened was Miles didn’t judge what I had played. He just heard it as an event that happened and went, “Hm, that’s interesting,” and then found some notes to make it work right. (Laughter)” 

— Peter Blasevick

Oscar Peterson & André Previn

This December 1977 BBC Four interview of Oscar Peterson was conducted (pun intended) by André Previn  sitting piano side and covers just about anything you’d like to know about the great Canadian pianist. Peterson performs examples (as does Previn) and the two generally yuck it up for an hour. Previn is typically funny and Peterson is typically great.