Posts Tagged ‘interviews’

Benny Reid new album “Escaping Shadows”

December 21st, 2009
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Benny Reid

Benny Reid, 29, is an saxophonist, composer, teacher, and recording artist who studied at Indiana University and now resides in New York. (Find him on Twitter, All About Jazz, Myspace, or Youtube).

He recently released his second album, Escaping Shadows, on the Concord Jazz label.

It features Benny Reid (alto saxophone & keyboards), Richard Padron (acoustic and electric guitars), Pablo Vergara (piano, Fender Rhodes, keyboards), Daniel Loomis (bass and electric bass), Kenny Grohowski (drums), Jeff Taylor (vocals), and Ryan Fitch (percussion).

For a sample of the music on the CD, check out the video below (or on Youtube).

One of Benny Reid’s main influences is Pat Metheny, and many of his compositions have parallels in some of Pat Metheny’s earlier works. The title track, Escaping Shadows, reminds me of Metheny’s Minuano Six Eight.

I’m a big fan of Pat Metheny so Benny Reid’s compositions immediately appealed to me. His work is similar in style and interpretation to Bob Curnow’s (who did a recording of Metheny’s earlier works in a big band style). Benny Reid’s arrangements make use of the smaller ensemble well and move between a contemporary, abstract style and an almost smooth-jazz sound for some of the melody lines and musical effects.

I especially enjoy Kenny Grohowski’s sensitive, nuanced, and very active drumming (which tends on the busy side but is very musical).

Benny Reid has a great sound on the alto sax – a very clear, expressive and pure tone. He avoids repeating the often quoted licks of bebop and instead forges his own way, with easily recalled and infectious melodies that seem almost derivative in their simplicity, but taken in the context of the band and compositions are obviously original.

Escaping Shadows is available as a Mp3 download or a physical disk from Concord Music Group.


David “Fathead” Newman interview

August 4th, 2005
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On his web site you can listen to a full length version of saxophonist David “Fathead” Newman’s signature tune, Hard Times (click here).

In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, David Newman comments:

Some people are intimidated by jazz. I don’t like to be derogatory, but people are under the impression that it is black music. The music may have come from the African-American culture, but it is really America’s music.

Jazztimes has a great “before and after” interview with David Newman (click here) where they played a jazz clip, asked David to guess who the musicians were, and he made comments on the music, before the interviewer revealed the musicians’ names. The web site has all of the jazz clips in MP3 format and transcriptions of the interview segments.

Residing in upstate New York (at the time of the interview), David Newman discussed Texas, his home state, with the Vermont Review (click here for article):

VR: The music tradition is deep in Texas. It seems that music is inherent Texan trait just as much as football. Were you introduced to music at an early age?

DFN: Yes. There are a lot of influential musicians from Dallas – where I am from. Red Garland, Cedar Walton, Roy Hargrove – to name a few of the present day musicians. Some of my influences from Texas were Arnett Cobb, Illinois Jacquet and Buddy Tate.

VR: Are you Dallas Cowboys fan?

DFN: I used to be but not any more. I have a become a Jets and Giants fan. I am not into football these days because my teams have been a little disappointing. I a big basketball fan. In a basketball, I am a big Knicks fan.


Interview with “Mr. Bongo” – Jack Costanzo

July 6th, 2005
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Found a fascinating interview with the one and only “Mr. Bongo”, Jack Costanzo. From his own web site (which contains MP3 samples from his album Back from Havana):

Jack Costanzo is known and responsible for the popularity of the bongos all over the world. He introduced bongos into American music when he was with the famous Stan Kenton Band, which shot him to jazz fame overnight. Jack recorded with Stan such favorites as The Peanut Vendor, Bongo Riff, Cuban Carnival and about fifty other recordings.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

JV: How was Kenton to work with?

JC: Marvelous! He let you stretch out. “Play what you feel Jack,” he’d say. I remember the opening night at the Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa. It’s a little island he’d worked for years. It’s opening night, his return, and he’s going to show off his new band. So we start with Stardust and you know the tempo is real light and he gives Laurindo Almeida a guitar solo, then points to me. I looked at him like ‘what am I supposed to do with this tempo?’ So Shelly yells ‘pick up the tempo’ so I did these really fast runs and Kenton is yelling ‘that’s what I want!’ (laughter)


JV: Tell us about your jazz experience.

JC: I went through bebop and cubop. When I went to Birdland, which I did fairly often, I was playing with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Max Roach, Percy Heath, Curley Russell, and before he died, Fats Navarro. Playing with Lester Young was probably one of my favorite experiences. But I really didn’t play Latin and that’s why I was so well-liked by the musicians at Birdland because I could play jazz. I remember Bud Powell saying finally we have a conga drummer that can play jazz.


Interview with Tenor Saxophonist Houston Person

November 10th, 2004
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Found an interview with tenor saxophonist Houston Person, who is actually performing in Vancouver on this coming Friday and Saturday nights.