I had the pleasure in early October of this year to see the Francisco Pais Quintet play the Jamestown Arts Center. Although he has four albums out, his music is a new discovery to me even though he only lives across the bay in Newport, Rhode Island. The show was the first of a series of shows in New York, Rhode Island and western Massachusetts promoting his new album Verde.
A guitarist, singer and songwriter/composer Pais plays sophisticated modern jazz that is flavored with rock, blues, brazilian and the music of his native Portugal. The show focused on his instrumental works and his band (mostly from New York) had a chance to blow. The show closed with the premier of a video of his song Million Galaxies Away produced by Newport videographer Sky Sabin.
We talk about Verde, the video, his influences, and instruments. Unfortunately the show that we talk about at Sandywoods was canceled and is being rescheduled for early 2017.
Special thanks to photographer Erin X. Smithers for letting me use her work for this post. She has a wonderful blog with radio host Eric Jackson at: followthesoultrane.com
Eric Hofbauer tends to release his work in bunches and in series. He has two new albums out this fall on his own Creative Nation label. The first is his fourth solo guitar albumGhost Frets, dedicated to his close friend and guitar collaborator Garrison Fewell who recently died of cancer. It is performed on his hollow body Guild with no amplification. The second, Three Places in New England is the third in his Prehistoric Jazz series recorded with his quintet. In this series he deconstructs composed classical works to incorporate improvisation within their structure, not just playing over changes but in the spirit or “dna” of the work.
October also saw the release of a music book for advanced students: Prof Hof’s Thirty Nearly Impossible Études for Guitar Duo. The name says it all.
This is the second time I’ve had the chance to talk with Eric. He is a virtuoso who has developed a very personal style and approach to music.
Some people are just easy to talk to and wander into interesting topics without much prodding, one of these people is Jon Lundbom. This is part two of our conversation from last January. Jon has released two EPs this year (Make the Magic Happen and Bring Their ‘A’ Game) in what will be a series of four, eventually to be released as a boxed set.
We talk about live albums, interpreting Wiccan music, recording in series, Ornette Coleman and recording new music.
Although not really a jazz musician there are few guitarists that stand as tall in late 20th Century music as Jorma Kaukonen. A founder of both the Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna he has been tremendously influential in electric rock and blues as well as acoustic finger style guitar.
As well as touring solo and with Hot Tuna he also runs the Fur Peace Ranch a music school and concert venue in southern Ohio. He will be performing at the Odeum Theater in East Greenwich, RI on March 6, 2016. (in the interview I misspoke and said Odeon)
It’s perhaps fitting that this is my first two part podcast considering that I’m interviewing is Jon Lundbom whose current project is a four-part EP release. Although Jon moved to Austin Texas about a year ago, the album was recorded last fall in New York with his group the Big Five Chord.
We talked about the group, which has recorded seven other albums since 2003 and other projects (Merle and the Hagards, Baltobom). We also talked about playing jazz in Austin and his philosophy of putting recording projects and music together.
A Coloradan by way of Virginia and New York Josh Maxey has released nine albums in the last three years. Celebration of Soul released in August is his tenth.
The organ trio is the chosen vehicle for his guitar voice. He plays jazz infusing the feeling and power of the blues. His influences include John Coltrane and Jimmy Page and although he plays songs he loves to smear them together into extended suites.
Prehistoric Jazz is what Eric Hofbauer calls his deconstructions of modern classical music as he transmogrifies it into jazz. He is not content to simply reharmonize and jazzify the pieces that he chooses he reassembles them from their DNA as he likes to put it. He is also a member of the free improvisation group Bolt.
This interview was recorded in April 2015 in a practice room in Fine Arts Building at the University of Rhode Island. It was wonderful to be able to interview someone in person and to be able to respond and develop a dialogue. Because I was able to record with mics in a controlled environment this is also the best sounding interview that I’ve ever done.
We talked about the Prehistoric Jazz series, the spiritual in jazz, humor in jazz and how he gets a sound that is an extension of himself.
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.