Gerry Gibbs has been a professional musician since his teens and has been playing the drums since the age of four. He has played with a who’s who of the musicians that have shaped the language of jazz today. His current project with two albums out is The Thrasher Dream Trio featuring Ron Carter on Bass and pianist Kenny Barron. This spring and summer there will be a series of performance dates including the live recording of a new album.
In 2012 Wadada Leo Smith was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his epic work on civil rights Ten Freedom Summers that filled 4 compact discs. Although also known for free improvisation he has often worked recently in sprawling thematic pieces. His most recent the Great Lakes Suite pays homage to those bodies of water.
We talked about his work in progress and his methods of composing, his time spent in Connecticut in the 1970s and the Creative Music and Improvisors Forum. Working on Red Hill with Joe Morris and Jamie Saft, the Yo Miles project and of course the Great Lakes Suite.
This interview was recorded in December 2014 and parts of it were broadcast on WRIU at that time.
While cleaning out some boxes the other day I came upon an old Hartford Advocate from April 12, 1978. The Jazz, Rock and Pop listings made me wish I could go back in time and catch some of these shows John Zorn and Eugene Chadbourn, Phil Woods, Al DiMeola, Oliver Lake, And Lee Konitz. Unfortunately I had never heard of any of these people in April 1978.
I posted the clipping of Tower of Power mostly because of the Logo art for Jim Koplik and Shelly Finkel. I also included the listing below Lee Konitz because of Fountain Head (sic) and Firefox. Of course the Shaboo ad has Rhode Island’s own Roomful of Blues no doubt still with Duke Robillard on guitar at that time and Connecticut’s Eight to the Bar who also still perform.
One of the things that I do at Jazz New England is to try to dig up some of the regional jazz lore. I grew up in Connecticut and came of age in the mid to late 1970s. I came to love jazz in a large part because there was so much jazz in Hartford, often for free. That and the fact that as WPLR and WHCN turned from early freeform FM to more commercial Album Oriented Rock I listened more and more to WWUH that played Jazz, Fusion and Progressive rock. Even before I was old enough to go to clubs there were the Peace Train and Monday Night Jazz concerts in Bushnell park and the events at Real Art Ways that all featured world class and cutting edge performers.
I’m a Rhode Islander now and Rhode Island has it’s own jazz culture and history which is suprisingly different from it’s neighbor. In the future I’ll explore it’s idiosyncrasies. Eventually I’d like to include all of New England but for now I’m going to go with what I know.
Greg Abate is best known as an alto saxophonist although he also plays soprano, tenor, baritone and flute. In his earlier career Greg played with Ray Charles and the Artie Shaw Orchestra as well as the seminal RI groups the Duke Belaire Orchestra and the fusion group Channel One which he also led. He started his solo recording career in 1990 and since then has worked mainly in the straight ahead and bop idioms.
We talked about his upcoming gigs and double live album with Phil Woods and his Sextet date at Chan’s later this month, also touring in the UK, Europe and the Florida and recording with Red Rodney in the 1990s. His Most recent Album is Motif on Whaling City Records.
I’d like to thank Greg for his great patience and good humor. There were actually two interviews that went into the making of this. The first was actually the better of the two. We talked about his recent tour of the UK in more depth and the second Channel One album that was recorded and lost. The sound quality was better too. Unfortunately there was a recording failure and his side of the conversation was lost.
It’s only been a little over a month since the first time that I interviewed Phil Haynes. We talked almost an hour both times and didn’t cover any of the same material. Last month we talked about his new No Fast Food double live In Concert album with Dave Liebman and Drew Gress. This time we talked about another new release this time by another of his projects Free Country.
Free Country is a quartet with guitar, bass, cello and drums that takes americana to new realms with intricate arrangements and sophisticated improvisation. The new album Something Beatles is installment 2.5 of what Phil envisions as a trilogy. The first album Free Country is all music from before 1900. The second How the West Was Won was about America coming of age. The third album will be recorded during the upcoming tour and will be titled 60-69.
We talked about Phil’s take on americana, how the project took shape, “why” the Beatles, Corner Store Jazz and recording the groups second album in New York shortly after 9/11.
Although he is the drummer and leader of his own band Redivider, when I talked to Matthew Jacobson he had just finished the first night of a european tour. Like most jazz musicians he has a number of projects going on. His current tour with Aerie will dovetail seamlessly into a series of dates with Blowout Fracture and recording sessions with both groups.
Having recently returned to Ireland from an extended stay in New York on a Fulbright Scholarship he is in a unique position to talk about jazz and improvised music on both sides of the atlantic.
We talked about the state of Jazz in New York, Dublin, the UK and Europe, Redivider, the ongoing Match&Fuse DIY project and how his love of anagrams and wordplay relates to improvisation and composition.
My Guest is the renowned jazz drummer Phil Haynes. He has recorded over 65 albums under his own name and with others, most notably with the group Joint Venture and with Trumpeter Paul Smoker. His most recent album is No Fast Food, In Concert featuring Dave Liebman on Sax and Bassist Drew Gress.
We talked about the new live double disc, another of his groups Free Country and their upcoming live album, Composing, Paul Smoker and his time living in New York.
Dan Moretti is a Rhode Island Native and although preforms and records worldwide he continues to make the Ocean State his home. He has recorded 16 albums since 1986. The most recent Dan Moretti and the Hammond Boys: Live at Chan’s was recorded in Woonsocket. The quintet mines a soul jazz groove and includes fellow Rhode Islander Duke Robillard.
This last year Dan has toured Europe and Asia with Niles Rodgers and Chic and in 2011 recorded an album with La Piccola Orchestra La Viola in Italy. He is also a full time Professor at The Berkley College of Music in Boston where he teaches Contemporary Writing and Production.
We talked about the various phases of his carer, his work with the Psychic Horns and David Liebman, performing in europe and surfing.
Originally from Toronto Tom studied both at GIT and Berkley School of Music before moving to New York. Although he has been playing there since 1989 and recorded with others this is his first solo album.
Tongue & Groove is a modern jazz album that has many facets. It incorporaties rock guitar, South Indian rhythm and melodies, and influences from modern classical composition.
Tom is also the Curator of Jazz at the Cornelia Street Cafe a well known jazz club in New York. He was also responsible for booking South Indian music and starting Carnatic Sundays at that venue.
I interviewed Tom over Skype on August 11, 2014 and it was originally broadcast over WRIU in Kingston, RI on August 19th.