Tag: singers

Video interview with Ray Charles from North Sea Jazz Festival 1997

Here is a quick video interview with the eternally hip Ray Charles. NTR / Radio 6 reporter Co de Kloet interviews Ray Charles backstage at the North Sea Jazz festival in 1997 where they discuss blending different styles, spontaneity, expressing emotion in music, and keeping songs new and fresh.

—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

Giants of Jazz: Tony Bennett in exclusive interview from CBC’s Hot Air archive

tonyBennettToday a cool two-part interview with the legendary Tony Bennett from the CBC Radio-Canada archive.

The exact date of this interview is not known, but it is almost certainly from the mid-’60s when Bennett was one of many big acts that came to Vancouver to play with the fine house band in residence at the Cave Supper Club on Hornby Street.

Bennett expressed gratitude to singer Perry Como for supporting his earliest forays into television.

Bennett’s great respect for arrangers is evident in this interview. Among the many names he drops in the conversation is that of Robert Farnon, a Toronto-born arranger, orchestrator and conductor who was admired by Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones and others.

Click here to listen to Giants of Jazz: Tony Bennett in exclusive interview from CBC’s Hot Air archive Part 1 and Part 2

—Peter Blasevick

Absolute Brilliance with guest Jacob Collier

jacobCollierThe most talented musician in the world may be 19 years old and it may be Jacob Collier. He just released a new video and here is a new interview from a couple weeks ago with Kerry Marsh on his podcast Vocal Jazz and Beyond. You can imagine they get to talking about all things composing, arranging, and playing. The interview with Jacob starts at about 23:00 of the 1:17:00 podcast.

Click here to listen to Absolute Brilliance with guest Jacob Collier

—Peter Blasevick


Tony Bennett at the 2000 North Sea Jazz Festival

Interview with the great singer Tony Bennett at the 2000 North Sea Jazz Festival by NTR/Radio 6 reporter Co de Kloet. The legend discusses the art of intimate singing, fellow performers Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby, and how his style of singing is a bridge between the jazz and pop worlds.

—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

Jacob Collier: Multi-instrumentalist and music Genius

If you haven’t yet checked out Jacob Collier, do so. Right now.

In this 2012 interview with the Brazilian website Falafil, the singer, multi-instrumentalist, and all around prodigy discusses his famous videos, his family, the Royal Academy of Music, and other topics. From the interview:

You are a winning self-taught multi-instrumentalist. How and when you discovered your interest and natural talent for music?

I have been interested in and passionate about music every since I can remember. My mother inspired me from a very young age by playing her violin, and I often used to watch her conducting the chamber orchestra at the Royal Academy of Music. There were always instruments around my house, and I always loved to play, as well as to sing. I remember being given a Djembe drum when I was about eight, and loving it. I was introduced to Cubase software when I was about seven years old, and this enabled me to begin composing, arranging, and recording my music. I always loved to record singing in harmony, even at a young age.

Click here to read Jacob Collier: Multi-instrumentalist and music Genius

—Peter Blasevick

Bobby McFerrin gets vocal

This is a typically honest and cerebral interview with one of my all-time favorite musicians, Bobby McFerrin. He spoke with UK’s the Guardian in 2010 and discussed his early days, conducting, and Ave Maria and his other viral YouTube hits. Here he talks about one of them:

Last year (2009), Bobby McFerrin was one of a panel of experts at the World Science festival in New York, discussing music and its relation to the brain. As assorted musicologists and psychologists discussed the brain’s expectations of music, McFerrin leapt from his chair to illustrate some of the theories. He jumped up and down on the spot and sang a note, getting the audience to sing along. He then moved to his left and got the audience to sing a higher note. Before long he was skipping around half-a-dozen positions, orchestrating a roomful of people purely by gesture. It’s an astonishing, hilarious performance, one that quickly became a viral hit on YouTube.

“I was just displaying how the pentatonic scale – that’s basically the black notes on the piano – appears to be hardwired into every culture on earth,” he says. “It’s something I’ve been doing as part of my solo shows for years, and it seems to work everywhere I go. I’ve always wanted to break down the line between performer and audience. We’re a roomful of strangers and music is the one thing that binds us together, makes us an instant community. I’d like to think that people leave my concerts realising that they know a lot more about music than they realised.”

 Click here to read Bobby McFerrin gets vocal 

Getting Some Fun Out of Life and Music: Back in St. Paul With David Frishberg

A few cool interviews I found on the JazzPolice website this week.

Today’s interview is with American jazz pianist, vocalist and composer David Frishberg. He’s likely best known for writing funny tunes (and of course the Schoolhouse Rock classic “I’m Just a Bill”), but he is quite the pianist and singer as well. In the piece, Frishberg discusses his early years, leaving Minnesota for New York, songwriting in L.A., and some of his influences. From the piece:

Looking back, David identifies three individuals who most influenced him personally and musically—Al Cohn, Jimmy Rowles, and Dave Karr. He also cites pianists whose style made the biggest impression—Teddy Wilson, Mel Powell, and Nat Cole. “Also I was a big fan of Tatum and others—Errol Garner and the boppers, Al Haig, and Bud Powell.” But it was particularly Jimmy Rowles whom he admired. “I was already in the Twin Cities Big League, but then I heard a Jimmy Rowles record. Something about the way he played and touched the piano changed me. I wanted to play with and learn from him. I listened to him play on the Woody Herman Small Band sides, and on Peggy Lee’s “Black Coffee” on a 10-inch LP from Decca. It showed me how brilliant and elegant an accompanist could be. Rowles had everything.” Of old bandmate Dave Karr, Frishberg says, “Dave Karr is one of the most profound influences on my music—his excellence and musicality. I’ve learned a lot and was inspired by him. He was the most proficient musician I had met at the time.”

Click here to read Getting Some Fun Out of Life and Music: Back in St. Paul With David Frishberg

Guitarist John Pizzarelli from the 2012 Jazz Cruise

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’s interviews are with singer/guitarist/bandleader John Pizzarelli and were conducted aboard the MS Westerdam during the Jazz Cruise 2012. In the three clips, Pizzarelli discusses his early years, including his first instrument, the first jazz album he loved, the first jazz concerts and his very first paying gig; part two covers his favorites from the Great American Songbook and beyond, his bucket list of artists with whom he’d like to play, and the genesis of the radio show he does with his wife, singer Jessica Molaskey; and finally he discusses the talks about performing on the Jazz Cruise. Interviews by Irene Lee.

—Peter Blasevick