Tag: soprano saxophone

Coltrane on Coltrane

johnColtraneToday would have been the great John Coltrane‘s 88th birthday. Besides listening to his indescribable music, here’s a good way to celebrate: a 1960 piece from Downbeat magazine that he wrote in the first person in collaboration with Don DeMicheal. From the interview, Trane on Monk:

Working with Monk brought me close to a musical architect of the highest order. I felt I learned from him in every way—through the senses, theoretically, technically. I would talk to Monk about musical problems, and he would sit at the piano and show me the answers just by playing them. I could watch him play and find out the things I wanted to know. Also, I could see a lot of things that I didn’t know about at all.

Monk was one of the first to show me how to make two or three notes at one time on tenor. (John Glenn, a tenor man in Philly, also showed me how to do this. He can play a triad and move notes inside it—like passing tones!) It’s done by false fingering and adjusting your lip. If everything goes right, you can get triads. Monk just looked at my horn and “felt” the mechanics of what had to be done to get this effect.

I think Monk is one of the true greats of all time. He’s a real musical thinker—there’s not many like him. I feel myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with him. If a guy needs a little spark, a boost, he can just be around Monk, and Monk will give it to him.

Click here to read Coltrane on Coltrane

—Peter Blasevick

Joshua Redman on Ken Burns’ Jazz

joshuaRedmanMany people have issues with the Ken Burns Jazz documentary, but there sure are are some great interviews in it! Here is saxophonist Joshua Redman talking about everything from Miles to Ornette to what the word jazz means. From the interview:

“I care about jazz for the same reason that I care about music. Music is emotion through sound and that’s what jazz is. Jazz is just one form of emotion through sound. I think one of the things that makes jazz so special is that it allows you to convey your emotions in one of the most spontaneous and immediate and direct ways as possible and that’s kind of the special thing about jazz is the improvisational nature of the music, so it’s really representing what you feel and what you’re experiencing at the moment.”

Click here to read Joshua Redman on Ken Burns’ Jazz

—Peter Blasevick

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

Gary Bartz Talks About Drug Use Among Jazz Greats

Here is a very interesting video interview from iRockJazz on a topic that jazz musicians don’t often like to discuss: legendary saxophonist Gary Bartz talks about drug use among jazz greats, how he got hooked, kicking the habit and the effects on the music.

—Peter Blasevick

Jazz Conversations: Wayne Shorter & Joe Lovano

In this six part 2013 video discussion from the BlueNote YouTube pageWayne Shorter & Joe Lovano let mere mortals such as us listen in on their thoughts about music, life, and the rest of the world.

—Peter Blasevick

Steve Lacy in Saxophone Journal 1991

I’m posting interviews this week from Mel Martin’s great site. In this interview, influential soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy talks about his gear, his influences, and of course, Monk. Here he is talking about a number of pianists:

Have you been heavily influenced by the great pianists?

Yes. I wanted to be a pianist but I couldn’t do it, it just wasn’t my thing. I guess I wanted to stand up rather than sit down (laughter). When I was a kid I saw Art Tatum and he blew me away so I gave up the piano. Happily, I discovered the clarinet first then the soprano saxophone when I was sixteen.

You’ve had working relationships with some great pianists such as Cecil Taylor, Thelonious Monk and Gil Evans.

Yeah, that was not a coincidence. I worked with Cecil Taylor for six years and a lot of that rubbed off. I’ve been working with Mal Waldron on and off for nearly thirty years. Monk was also a fantastic playing experience. I was associated with him for a couple of years with the big band and then I worked with his quintet for a season, about four months with Charlie Rouse. There’s a pirate tape and there are three tunes that were all recorded at a festival in Philadelphia in 1960, EvidenceBlue Monk and Rhythm-a-ning.

Click here to read Steve Lacy in Saxophone Journal 1991

— Peter Blasevick

Branford Marsalis on Ken Burns’ Jazz 1996

Ken Burns’ epic Jazz has it’s many detractors, and for a whole bunch of good reasons. However, despite its shortcomings, there are so many great interviews from the series. This one, with saxophonist Branford Marsalis, is a long (35 pages!), wide ranging interview on every aspect of jazz imaginable. Here is Branford on the saxophone in jazz:

“Well, the saxophone is, is the jazz instrument, as far as I’m concerned there is no other jazz instrument. Louis Armstrong played trumpet and at that time, that was the jazz instrument. But, the music started to change and the saxophones became a focal point in big band swing music. But when Charlie Parker came on the scene, he made the saxophone king. And we’re still the kings. We, we run the show.”

Click here to read Branford Marsalis on Ken Burns’ Jazz 1996

-Peter Blasevick

Wayne Shorter: The Man and the Legacy

In his 2003 interview with Philip Gordon for AllAboutJazz.com, legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter revealed his sincere feelings towards his life, his music, his friendships and, his respect for the many world-class musicians with whom he has collaborated with throughout his impressive career. Also discussed were his evolution as an artist and these relationships, and his passionate commitment to spirit of the music, life, and his spontaneous, improvisational approach. Wayne on practicing and Miles Davis:

“No, I don’t practice, it’s difficult to practice the unknown. I do look at material when I’m writing something. It’s a question like so many things in life, it’s like Miles Davis ( Shorter imitates Miles voice) used to say: ‘You see the way Humprey Bogart hit that cat?’, a little punch when he hit a guy. ‘Play that!’ or, when John Wayne used to make that turn- around, or twist when he made a corner, ‘See what John Wayne just did?…now play that!’ Miles was always asked how he did what he did, he’d say: ‘Just watch the way somebody moves and play that’, and then the guy would play that and later ask Miles what he thought, and Miles would say: ‘You talk to your girlfriend like that?'”

Click here to read Wayne Shorter: The Man and the Legacy 

Gerry Mulligan: CBS Sunday Morning News 1982

This is a great piece. Pianist Billy Taylor interviews innovative saxophonist and “cool jazz” pioneer Gerry Mulligan for the CBS Morning News in 1982. Mulligan discusses his early days, his five night engagement with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Maestro Zuben Mehta, and his versatility. Gerry plays piano and sings, and excerpts from live performances are included.

Click here to watch Gerry Mulligan: CBS Sunday Morning News 1982


Four Zoot Sims Audio Interviews

Today it’s back to the Canadian Jazz Archive and JazzFM91 for snippets from four early 80s radio interviews with Zoot Sims:

Click here for 1/23/80: On his musical aspirations, his disposition for being a grounded person, and his success as a musician.

Click here for 3/11/81: On making records,  his musical style, and practicing.

Click here for 4/20/82: On the effect of alcohol on his musicianship, the quality of music versus listenability, and his leisure time

Click here for 4/22/83: On the importance of keeping a repertoire fresh, the musical influences of his family, and the decision to become a musician.