Tag: trumpet

Nat Adderley: A Player’s Player

natAdderleyHere is an interview with the great cornetist/trumpeter Nat Adderley recently posted at the AllAboutJazz webiste. The interview was conducted by Joan Gannij in 1996 and originally appeared in Downbeat Magazine. Adderley covers some interesting topics including racism, East Coast vs. West Coast jazz, the jazz scenes in Europe vs. the USA, and much more. A great read!

JG: How would you compare performing in Europe with the States: 

NA: Around the world, the audiences are larger than ever. We get to play our music more now than at the end of the 50s when we were creating the style. In those days we would leave New York to go on a cross country tour from coast to coast, playing week-long gigs in clubs in PhiladelphiaClevelandDetroitKansas CitySan FranciscoLos Angeles, then back again via PortlandSeattle and Tacoma. Today, you can’t do that. In fact, I haven’t been to Detroit or Cleveland in twenty years. Why? Cause there’s no place to play, there’s no market, no promoters. In fact, I rarely go to Chicago anymore. When I added up over the last five years, the city I played in the most was Zurich, even though I have a regular one-week contract to play in New York every year at Sweet Basil.

Click here to read Nat Adderley: A Player’s Player

—Peter Blasevick

Thad Jones and Mel Lewis 1969

thadJonesHere is a great talk with bandleaders Thad Jones and Mel Lewis speaking with Les Tomkins in 1969. They talk a lot about their legendary orchestra and its players and how fortunate the two of them have been in their careers. From the interview:

Lewis: I don’t think any two guys could be as lucky as Thad and I, as far as having something that you can be proud of till your dying day. The kind of thing you dream about. And most people would never attempt it, because they’d figure: “Oh, it couldn’t happen.” But it can. We’ve proved it—to ourselves, anyway. If somebody else doesn’t melLewisbelieve it, i doesn’t matter; we know it, and we’re two of the happiest guys in the world right now.

Jones: We’ve both been sidemen in other bands for practically all of our musical lives; we’ve never really done the things that we wanted to do as individuals. When you play with somebody else, you always try to fit that particular mould, to give what is in you to give within whatever’s going on. I worked for that bandleader; I gave him what he wanted. This is the type of attitude that I’ve come to expect; otherwise you’ll never be able to give one hundred per cent of you. And any band must do this, in order to be an orchestra, to play as one.

Click here to read Thad Jones and Mel Lewis 1969

—Peter Blasevick

Miles Davis: a classic interview from the vaults

milesDavisA classic 1985 interview with Miles from Rocks Backpages, reprinted here in The Guardian. A really long piece, and Davis is typically funny and outspoken and brilliant and a jerk and all the things you’d expect:

When I was 17,18, my allowance was like $40 a week. My wife would cook something, a little cornbread, and I’d say to Bird, Come on downstairs and eat. And he would eat all of the cornbread! He would sit down and leave a little piece like that and then leave! Did that a couple of times and I said, Fuck Bird! After a couple of times I didn’t leave him anything to gobble up.

“Like when Bird died. They asked me to say something about Bird. I said, Man, if I said something about Bird, you wouldn’t believe it. Don’t ask me that! He was a big hog. A pig. No such thing as no with him. And Trane. And Sonny. Only three people I knew like that. And Dizzy, when he was young. I suppose geniuses are like that.

“Trane would find a note he liked and run all kinds of chords on it. But he was a big hog. I seen him with a whole ounce of dope once, the dope was spilling over and he wouldn’t give it to nobody. So much that it was running all over everything! Guys would ask him for some, he’d say no.”

Click here to read Miles Davis: a classic interview from the vaults

Woody Shaw: My approach to jazz

woodyShawI’m going to post some interviews from the UK’s National Jazz Archive this week. If you’ve never visited, take a few minutes and check them out, there is a lot of great info on their site.

Here is a cool interview with trumpeter, flugelhornist, composer and band leader Woody Shaw from 1977. From the interview:

“I have played the flugelhorn at times, but I like the trumpet. The flugelhorn is purely incidental to me; it’s effective and pretty in certain things—but I can get just about the same sound on the trumpet. I have a very well–developed low register, with a very big, dark sound; so I don’t worry about the flugel. But—I’m going to get a flugelhorn ! Now, that instrument fits Art Farmer perfectly; you could have no better choice to play the flugel. It fits his style, his whole musical personality—he’s a very lyrical player. I heard him recently; he sounds beautiful.”

Click here to read Woody Shaw: My approach to jazz

—Peter Blasevick

Two-part 1973 Freddie Hubbard interview

freddieHubbardHere are two 1973 interviews by Les Tomkins with jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard from the UK National Jazz Archive. Hubbard discusses Bix Beiderbecke, his early days in NYC, playing with Quincy Jones, and plenty else. Here Freddie talks about the business side of jazz:

There was a period in New York where it was kinda free. I mean, you got a bunch of great guys together in the studio and you just played. And the man who made the record made all the money. So it got to the point, everybody said: “We deserve more money.” Well, all record people are very money–conscious. They like the music, but it always ends up into a capital gain thing. Which is good, but in the meantime the artist doesn’t realise his gains.

See, people take you for granted—the fact that you’re out there and you’re more interested in creating something righteous that you believe in. Nowadays. it’s a thing of: “If I’m going to create this, then I should be rewarded.” You’ve got musicians now who are more business–minded.

Click here to read Interview One: You Have to Change With the Times 

Click here to read Interview Two: Melody is as Important as Ever

—Peter Blasevick

Roy Hargrove in Chicago 2011

Here are four 2011 video interviews with the always honest and interesting trumpeter Roy Hargrove from the folks over at iRockJazz.

In the first clip, Hargrove talks about what it’s like to live life on the road as a Jazz musician, and how the business is more about what a musician has to deal with, and not the performance itself. Roy also elaborates about what a musician who lives for the music gives back, and gives up for a ‘on the road’ lifestyle:

Here he talks about his background in music, his roots in a gospel upbringing, and how the music he plays is from the heart, and the creator:

In the third, he discusses how music is ever present in his thoughts, and how he will be inspired, and is thinking about music all the time:

Finally, Roy says it isn’t about having a job or making money, you have to put more into it then that, and if you do, the music will take care of you:

—Peter Blasevick

Freddie Hubbard 2001 Downbeat Interview

freddieHubbardFrom Ted Panken’s great Today is the Question:

In 2001, I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours with the late Freddie Hubbard for a DownBeat profile. It took a bit of negotiating, but Freddie met me at the appointed hour, and spoke at length about his life and times. In this case, I have to depart from the  “raw and uncut” policy I’ve followed for the most part on the blog, and will decline to print the verbatim conversation—it’s a bit too real and profane, and he named names. But I was able to distil from it for print what I thought was a reasonably compelling first-person account, which I offer on the occasion of his 75th birth anniversary.

“Wes Montgomery lived two blocks from me, across the railroad tracks, and to get to the conservatory I had to pass by his house. I’d hear Wes and his brothers rehearsing, and one day I stopped and went in. At the time, everything I knew was reading, and it amazed me how they were making up the music — intricate arrangements, not jam stuff — as they went along. After that, I was at his house every day, and then Wes started inviting me to a Saturday jam session in Speedway City. The Montgomery brothers didn’t care about keys. At home I was practicing in F or B-flat, but at the jam session they’d play in E and A — the funny keys. Practicing in those keys opened me up, made me a little better than most of the cats.”

Click here to read Freddie Hubbard 2001 Downbeat Interview

Art Farmer in 1974 and 1988

artFarmerHere are two interviews with the great trumpeter Art Farmer from the UK National Jazz Archive. The first of the two interviews by Les Tomkins includes tributes from bandmate Ron Simmonds on his memories of Art Famer and his unique solo at Ronnie Scott’s Club in 1974. The second covers traveling and the ClarkeBoland band. From the first interview:

“I’ve always felt that I was one hundred per cent dedicated to playing, but each year that I’m in it I find out that I can do a bit more. I find out that I can and I should, or I should have been. Like, when you first start playing you practise maybe an hour a day, and you figure: “Well, gee, I’m really giving my all to it.” And you find out later that that’s really just a drop in the bucket—and there’s no end to it, no limit. You have to expend your energy as long as you have it to expend, and that’s still not enough.”

Click here to read Art Farmer in 1974 and Art Farmer in 1988

Three 1960s Quincy Jones Interviews

quincyJonesFrom the newly revamped JazzProfessional website (now part of the UK National Jazz Archive), here are three mid-1960s interviews with legendary producer, conductor, arranger, and composer Quincy Jones. Speaking with Les Tompkins in 1963 and 1965, Jones discusses his development and early days of his career. From the first interview:

“Actually, the first record I made was with Art Farmer for Prestige. I wrote an album for him called “Work Of Art”. That was with musicians from the band, and it was a thrilling moment for us—to have Art get a record session. We rehearsed and prepared for it for two months. We had the luxury of time that we can’t afford today. Incidentally, during my stay with Hamp we had a tremendous awakening in Sweden. I imagine anybody that has never left the States has the feeling that the Americans play far better than most European musicians—in jazz, anyway. In many ways this is a fallacy. It was exaggerated. I don’t mean that we felt that we were superior, but we had a feeling that it wasn’t quite up to the same standard that we had in New York.”

Click here to read Three 1960s Quincy Jones Interviews Part One Part Two Part Three

Wallace Roney: In the Realm of Anti-Gravity


Here is a cool long-form interview with trumpeter Wallace Roney posted last week at AllAboutJazz conducted by R.J.Deluke. Lots about Miles, Joe Henderson, Cedar Walton, his current band, etc. Good stuff.

Much is made of trumpeter Wallace Roney coming from the Miles Davis school, a mentor-protégé situation that blossomed in the 1980s that Roney is very proud of. But that wouldn’t be telling the whole story of the Philadelphia native who, in his prime years, has become one of the world’s finest trumpet players, and a musician whose quest for innovation is everlasting…

Click here to read Wallace Roney: In the Realm of Anti-Gravity