- Describe your sound in three words please!
Moody, Grooving, interactive.
- “‘Feline Master’ was conceived as a bitonal funk jam”. At which point did you feel that this was no longer another jam but a newly created song? Tell us a few things about your creative process.
My creative process is different for every song. This song started out with me trying to play different melodic lines on the piano, where my left hand was in one key and my right hand was playing the same line in another key. I am a terrible piano player, so this ended badly :-). I did end up coming up with the bassline and overall structure of the tune from this experiment though. I ended up putting this tune on the shelf for about 10 years before I got it out to play with this band. I do that a lot. I’ll write 98% of a song and then finish it 5 years later.
- Improvisation is a key element in your music. Is improvisation a talent or a skill?
I don’t really believe in talent. I think if you enjoy doing something, you will work to develop the skills necessary to do it. I think the most important part of improvisation is having open-minded and willing partners on the bandstand. I definitely got that with this group of musicians.
- How much time should a Jazz musician practice every day?
Every musician in any genre needs to practice as much as they need to get where they want to be. It’s a personal choice really. While practicing arpeggios with a metronome is definitely important, I also firmly believe that listening to music, seeing live musicians work, talking to other musicians about what they are doing, or even just having an important life experience will inform your music just as much and make your music multidimensional. The hard part is figuring out what’s missing, and then going out and getting it.
- If you could only own one CD, what would it be?
Only one? That’s such a hard question. I guess off the cuff I would have to say “TNT” by the band “Tortoise”. That album definitely changed how I think about music. I’m pretty sure I listened to very little else the year it came out.
- If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
I wish I knew the answer. I feel like the music industry turns everything and everybody into a product. There’s so many things wrong with “Art as a commodity” that I can’t go into it here. Subscription music services have democratized the consumption of music while completely disenfranchising the artists at the same time. There are certainly many other people discussing this problem who are more eloquent than me. All I know is it will be pretty sad in 100 years when nobody knows who the Beatles or Ravel or Thelonius Monk are because nobody was working night and day to juke an algorithm on their behalf.
- What was the best film you have watched during the quarantine?
I honestly can’t think of a single film I’ve watched during the quarantine! That must mean they weren’t very good. I thought the show Homecoming on Amazon was entertaining.
- One last thing we should know about you?
Without the love of my Wife and Daughter, and the respect and friendship of the amazing music community I am surrounded by in Charleston, none of this music could have ever happened. Thank you.