One of the great pleasures of preparing for my interview with jazz drum virtuoso Brian Blade was going back and rediscovering some of the great music that he has played on with other artists over the years. (Check out St. Thomas from Joshua Redman’s Spirit of the Moment album)
Last month he played in Europe with Wayne Shorter and before that he was in Japan with John Patitucci. He also has a recent album with Ron Miles and Bill Frisell, Circuit Rider. Weather he is playing with A list jazz artists or with his own group the Brian Blade Fellowship his credo is “Serve the Music”. The group has developed it’s own distinctive sound that is evocative of the American landscape.
The Fellowship Group will be recording live on August 21st at the cooperatively run Columbus Theatrein Providence. The performance will be followed by a Talkback the following day led by WGBH host Eric Jackson.
This interview was recorded on August 10th and originally broadcast on WRIU in Kingston RI on August 11th.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is sort of fitting that George Wein is the first interview on this site. As musician, club owner and finally as a festival promoter he has done so much to shape the culture of jazz today. At 89 he is still actively involved in the Newport Jazz Festival hearing and approving all the acts.
We talked about the beginnings of the Festival in 1954 and the troubles that befell it in along the way. We also talked about his current role in the organization and how jazz and it’s culture are evolving.
This interview was recorded on July 7th 2014 and broadcast July 8th on WRIU FM in Kingston RI.