Posts Tagged ‘ Interview ’

A Conversation With Eric Darius

hbh: I speak with the young lion Eric Darius. Hello Eric!

ED: Hello!

hbh: Where are you coming from?

ED: I’m coming from California. I just flew in a several days ago from the New York Jazz festival. It’s amazing time here.

hbh: But you are living in California? In the Los Angeles area?

ED: Yes! I just recently moved from Florida and now live in Los Angeles. But my family is from Jamaica and Haiti. I am coming from a musical background. My father plays the bass, my mum sings and plays piano. My older brother plays the drums and the trumpet, my sister also sings and plays piano. So music is in my whole family.

hbh: Did you immigrate with your family to America or did you come alone?

ED: I was actually born in America. My parents met in New Jersey and I was born there.


Chris Mann Interviews Peter White

CM – Peter, many thanks for taking the time to talk to me today. The last time we spoke was back in September 2009 and in the following month you were due to go and play some dates with your old buddy Al Stewart, so I wanted to start off by asking you how that went.

PW – I did some shows with him in Steelville, Missouri. It was a little hotel/resort kind of place and it seemed like fun, to me. It was, actually, a lot of fun. Getting together with Al is always fun – playing some of the old songs and playing some of the new songs. I started with him when I was 20 years old. Played with him for almost 20 years so it’s always fun to go back and re-live the past a little bit – it’s very comfortable.

CM – Fantastic. And towards the end of 2009 you were due to do some Christmas shows with Dave Koz again. Did that materialise?

PW – Yes it did. I did a whole tour with him. I’ve done many Christmas tours with Dave actually. Starting in 1998, we did five consecutive years, starting the day after Thanksgiving all the way through to Christmas and it was always a lot of fun. I was hanging out with Dave for a whole month out of the year. It was a constant party. Loved it.

CM – Excellent, excellent. Listening to the new CD ‘Here We Go’ Peter, lots of questions come to mind and I wondered after that brief catch-up if we could just launch into talking about the new CD?

PW – Yes, absolutely.

CM – I don’t want to dissect it track-by-track even though that is my usual M.O. but there were some things that really stuck out in my mind. On the first track ‘Night after Night’, I hope you don’t mind if I read from notes that I wrote recently: I wrote that it’s insanely catchy. Does that seem an apt description Peter?

PW – Yes! I like that description. I write lots of songs. I get lots of ideas. That song came to me when I was writing a whole lot – I wasn’t on the road so much. If I continue working on a song it’s because it is catchy to me, it has something that grabs me. The way that song starts – it has that little keyboard melody (sings the melody) – I thought that was really nice, that hypnotic riff that you can hang a song around.


Chris Mann Interviews Brian Culbertson

CM – Brian I’ve been a fan of yours since about 1995 and a HUGE fan since I was lucky enough to catch you at the Capital Jazz Fest in 1999.

BC – Oh nice!

CM – I remember it was a great show. I think you played on the Sunday – maybe even the first set – and everybody was revved up and raring to go while you guys were doing the sound check, so we could see how it was going to go.

BC – All right!

CM – I caught you on Twitter this morning and I’ve noticed while I’ve been researching that you have a very strong web presence, Brian.

BC – Well I’ve tried to be on there as much as I can. Really we have these tools now as artists to be able to connect directly with the fans and we’ve never really had that before so there’s a whole new way of being connected and self marketing I guess. I love it because you don’t have to wait on the big record company machine to spin their big wheel and take a month to do anything.

This way I get to go direct – it’s instant! It’s a lot of instant feedback which I actually love.

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Lee Ritenour Interviewed By Woodrow Wilkins

Lee Ritenour is one of the jazz world’s best-known contemporary guitarists. He’s played as a guest with Maynard Ferguson, the Brothers Johnson and many others. He was a founding member of the contemporary/smooth jazz group, Fourplay. And he’s led his own band, with perhaps is most successful song being the R&B hit, “Is It You.”

Ritenour’s latest studio effort, Lee Ritenour’s 6 String Theory, released on Concord Records, is a star-studded collection of 15 songs that celebrate the world’s most popular instrument: the guitar. Three of the songs were written specifically for 6 String Theory.

Among them is “L.P. (for Les Paul).” “I wrote it with dedication to Les Paul,” Ritenour says. “But I wanted to do what would be my take on a Les Paul line, but at the same time could be a nice take for Pat (Martino).” Some of the guests on this outing are John Scofield, Keb’ Mo’, Slash from Guns ’n Roses and George Benson. Ritenour selected them to represent different genres of music. Not all of the performers are stars. Shon Bublil, a 16-year-old from Canada, won an international competition to earn a spot on the recording. The finals of the competition were held in March, shortly before 6 String Theory was recorded.

“He only knew he’d be on the record the night before he recorded,” Ritenour says of Bublil. “Hundreds of people entered.” The competition was open for about six months. When told that he’d be in the studio, Bublil initially objected. “He was so shocked to win, that I said to him while we were taking photos back stage, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow at my studio,’” “And he said, ‘No, I can’t record I have to go back to Canada.’”

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A Conversation with dee Brown

I met with dee Brown, an inspirational guitarist, composer, producer and arranger. Hailing from Detroit he has currently released his albums No Time To Waste (2006) and A Little Elbowroom (2009).

hbh: dee, what is the history of the title of your second album?

dee: After the completion and success of my first CD “No Time To Waste,” I thought the appropriate title of my recent release should be “A Little Elbowroom” because we really had just a little “elbowroom” left over to produce this one.

When I refer to “elbowroom,” I’m simply looking for enough room to move around freely. And when I mention “freely,” I’m talking about cashing in on the opportunity to maneuver easier within the music industry. Because of Nu Groove Records’ history and reputation of supporting artists like Jay Soto, Michael Lington and Bob Baldwin, we felt more than comfortable with the elbowroom Nu Groove promised us.

We were blessed with three wonderful producers for this project. Chip Dixon, from Detroit, who has worked with William Murphy Jr., Sean “Puffy” Combs and Dark Child (Rodney Jergenson) was joined by fellow Motor City resident Valdez Brantley, who is Usher’s music director, and a producer-keyboardist, who has also worked with Sean “Puffy” Combs, plus New Kids on the Block, Mary J. Blige and Teddy Riley.

The third member of the production team is my label mate Nate Harasim, another Detroit area native whose resume highlights several CD cuts as a Smooth Jazz pianist. One of Nate’s recent projects includes a session with De’Nate, where the vocals of Deborah Connors is showcased. Darren Rahn also contributed on tenor sax. You can add Jay Soto, Nick Colionne and Norman Brown to the list of artists Nate has worked with. Our CD also features the bass of Dave “The Painter” Henderson and Valdez’s brother, Kern Grantley, who is also the music director for Neo, Dezie McCullers on sax, Frank McCullers show casing the trumpet and the vocals of Gerard Brookes.

If you listen carefully, you’ll pick up the way I express my love for the guitar, as it is carries each track’s melody, and truly provides the true essence of knowing what having “A Little Elbowroom” is really all about.

Continue reading A Conversation with dee Brown

Sam McNally interviews Bob James

Pianist, composer, arranger, producer Bob James is a musician of enormous talent whose credits include Ron Carter, Hank Crawford, Eric Gale, Johnny Hammond, Freddie Hubbard, Hubert Laws, Stanley Turrentine, Grover Washington, Jr., Earl Klugh and Fourplay. He has recorded over 15 albums of his own and 4 with ‘Fourplay’ (also comprising Larry Carlton, Nathan East and Harvey Mason).

Notable awards include the 1996 Soul Train Awards “Jazz Album Of The Year”, ‘Cashbox’ “Jazz Artist Of The Year” and “Jazz Producer of the Decade”, Jazziz magazine’s “#1 Best Acoustic Pianist”, “#1 Best Jazz Composer”, “#2 Best Jazz Producer”, “#2 Best Electronic Keyboardist” and “#3 Best Overall Jazz Musician”. Sam McNally managed to interview Bob during his first Australian tour in November 2001.

SM: A great pleasure and an honour to meet you, it’s wonderful to see you here in Sydney.. and we met briefly in Tokyo in January!

I mentioned to you there that you were one of only a handful of powerful, formative influences on my piano playing style in the 70’s. Funny story: on January 21, I was crossing an intersection in Shinjuku, Tokyo and I noticed a guy who looked “quite like Bob James”. I so nearly said “you wouldn’t be Bob James would you?” but I backed off thinking “don’t be stupid, Bob James ain’t gonna be walking around Shinjuku”. Next day I spotted the same guy in the foyer of the Hilton, I enquired, it was you, we had a nice chat.

A very long and rich career, Bob. Just for the record, when did you begin and doing what?

BJ: I started piano lessons at the ripe old age of 4!

Continue reading Sam McNally interviews Bob James

Chris Mann interviews Bob James

CM – Bob let me start my saying that I’m a huge fan of your music ‘One on One’ got me hooked on your music in the late ‘70’s.

BJ – Well, thank you for listening for all that time

CM – And ‘Restless’ is one of the things I’d grab if my house were on fire. I bought it as soon as it came out and I’ve played it fairly relentlessly ever since.

I wanted to start out by asking you who your early influences were when you started playing.

BJ – I have always referred to three different people who I think it’s fair to call my biggest influences: Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans and Count Basie, all for different reasons.

I think probably Oscar Peterson was the one I discovered first back in high school and I use to listen relentlessly to his records and try to learn from them and one of things I discovered pretty quickly was that I’d never be able to have that kind of technique so that it didn’t really make too much sense to me to try to copy him because I knew I’d never be able to do it. And yet I learned a tremendous amount from his very powerful swing feeling.

Somewhat later on, I really became immersed in Bill Evans like probably almost every jazz pianist did. His voicings – even Oscar Peterson was influenced by Bill Evans in that way. So I learned even more and it was easy to fall into the pattern of trying to play like Bill Evans and maybe the only thing that saved me from that was when I discovered the Fender Rhodes maybe in the late 60’s/early 70’s and developed my own sound, it changed my touch and changed my approach to the piano. So that I could still admire and listen and love Bill Evans’ music but not feel like he was influencing me too much.

Continue reading Chris Mann interviews Bob James

Chris Mann interviews Peter White

CM – Peter, I want to start by congratulating you on the release of ‘Good Day’, which I’ve been playing hard in the two days that I’ve had a copy.

I read that some of the songs on the new CD, which I know features original material, were written some time ago – what brought them back to your attention?

PW – As musicians we like to keep every idea – we’re like misers. I read that somewhere and it’s true. If you have an idea, what you think is a good idea, you may not use it at that time but you keep it around in case one day you don’t have any ideas.

I wrote a lot of these songs 10 or 15 years ago – there’s a song called ‘Ramon’s Revenge’. There never seemed a place for it on any of my albums, but last year I said ‘I’m going to record this song – I don’t care whether or not it gets played on the radio’. I don’t record songs to get played on the radio. I record them because I like them and because I’ve got fans out there who want to hear my stuff.

People kept saying to me ‘you’ve recorded enough cover songs – we want to hear your own songs’. So I thought ‘well, I’ve got a lot of those’.

Continue reading Chris Mann interviews Peter White

Chris Mann interviews Jason Miles

CM Jason, I’ve seen the interviews on your website and I ‘d like to use one of your questions: When did you know that Music would be your life’s work?

JM In college. Living in New York, I got to hear great artists in the clubs there. They had great songs and great melodies.

CM What motivated your decision to produce a second tribute album to Grover Washington Jr,  2 Grover With Love?

JM I’ve been listening to the old Grover Washington Jr. records and realised how many great songs I’ve missed. Grover could really play jazz . He could play anything.”

Continue reading  Chris Mann interviews Jason Miles

A Conversation with Richard Smith

During his European tour I met Richard Smith in Apeldoorn, Netherlands in a jazz café. The environment was vivid and noisy as usual. Nevertheless we had a good conversation in relaxed atmosphere.

hbh: First of all I thank you for the opportunity to interview you and that you give me some of your precious time.

RS: It’s my pleasure, it’s my pleasure.

hbh: You are touring now in Netherlands.

RS: Yes.

hbh: Can you tell me something about your gigs here in Netherlands?

RS: We do a combination of larger venues, last night we played in a big square in a town with several hundred people and then we do little venues like this in between where we work out new material. It’s not so much pressure like in a big hall to work through musical ideas. And so we experiment a lot. But also playing in such small jazz clubs is part of the jazz tradition. So I enjoy playing in places as this as well as in big halls. I’m also doing some teaching at the Pop academy. I’m coming from a conservatory in the past. So I combine teaching and playing and working new material. I also write a lot, compose a lot rather here on the road. It’s a big combination of things.

Mainly we are playing theatres or festivals. In England we are playing in the performing art center in Kent, the performing art center is very very beautiful as well as the institute of contemporary music performance I have a relationship with. So a busy tour. When I am done with this tour I’ll go back to Sicily and I’ll finish recording an album with a very fine guitarist Francesco Buzzurro and that’s more about it.

We do Flamenco, Tango, Tarantella. We do a Samba, Bossa Novas, anything what’s ethnic we do. Polca. It’s hard to play Polca as well.

Continue reading A Conversation with Richard Smith