Jazz is a pretty small niche in the music industry and free improvisation and new music, often considered as jazz in this country is a very small subset indeed. Damon Smith has found a way to excel and thrive in a very small puddle. As well as being a virtuoso bassist, his Balance Point Acoustics label features a who’s who of musicians play in that genre.
Although I’ve been listening to improvised music for years my conversation with Damon opened up a whole new avenues for appreciation a whole new ways to think about sound and composition.
We talked about:
His recent move to the Boston area via Houston and San Francisco
Like most people I listen to most off my music digitally now. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been putting my scattered CD collection together and listening to a lot of things that have been out of circulation for a while. I have been truly amazed by how many things that Christian McBride has played on.
Outside of being a virtuoso bassist with his own recording career he as played as a sideman on an incredible cross section of the most creative music of the last 25 years. He also plays the role of jazz ambassador and curator with radio shows on both NPR and SiriusXM.
Most recently he has been named the Artistic Director of the Newport Jazz Festival.
We talked about balancing his workload, Newport, George Wein, Chick Corea and his upcoming projects.
Music used in this podcast: Christian McBride – Tango Improvisations (featuring Chick Corea) – Conversations with Christian
Christian McBride – Tones for Joan’s Bones (featuring Chick Corea) – Number Two Express
Christian McBride – Sand Dune – Live at the Village Vanguard
Christian McBride – Boogie Woogie Waltz – Live at Tonic Christian McBride & Inside Straight – The Movement Revisited – People Music
Moppa Elliot is the bassist, main composer and leader of Mostly Other People Do the Killing. Until just recently the band is a pianoless quartet featuring Peter Evans on Trumpet, Jon Irabagon on alto and tenor sax and Kevin Shea on Drums. Piano has replaced the trumpet with the addition of Ron Stabinsky although Steven Bernstein takes over the trumpet chores for the current tour.
Moppa talks about changes in the band and it’s history, composing, Charlie Haden, and the weird story and layered meanings in the music and the cover of the Red Hot album.