interviews
Posts

  • Mindi Abair | Sax & Vocals | Teen Jazz Influence Interview

    A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON MINDI ABAIR:

    Having grown up in a musical family, Mindi Abair first picked up the saxophone at the age of eight. She attended Berklee School of Music in Boston as a Woodwind Performance Major, and since has performed with groups and artists such as Jonathon Butler, Bobby Lyle, Duran Duran, Adam Sandler, Mandy Moore, and the Backstreet Boys.

    Mindi Abair’s Saxophone Setup

    Alto Saxophone: Mark VI silver alto saxophone, Rico 2 1/2 reeds, Oleg 6 mouthpiece, Francois Louis ligature.
    Soprano Saxophone: Yamaha 62R curved neck, Plasticover 2 1/2 reeds, Rico metalite 9 prototype, Francois Louis ligature.

    THE INTERVIEW

    SINCE YOU WENT TO BERKLEE FOR COLLEGE, DID YOU FIND ANY DIFFICULTY ESTABLISHING YOURSELF AS AN ARTIST WHEN YOU MOVED TO CALIFORNIA?

    “I think it is hard for anyone to establish themselves as an artist no matter where they are whether they are from that area or not. It was really tough for me. I had just moved, and I figured ‘I’ll do it’. I had a waitressing job and I went to sit in at every club. No one would hire me, and I just couldn’t get my name out there. So, finally I started my own band cause that is the only way that I was going to meet people and get them to know me. I begged my keyboard player Tommy Coster, Jr to move out from Boston and he did.”

    “All I wanted to be was an artist, and write and play my own music, but no one would hire me to do that. I just kept making demos and getting turned down, so I finally started playing with other people to make a living. It was the only way to get people to pay attention to me enough to get a foot in the door.”

    “IT JUST HAPPENS THAT WAY” AND “COME AS YOU ARE” WERE BOTH VERY SUCCESSFUL ALBUMS – APPROXIMATELY HOW MANY OF EACH DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE SOLD?”

    SoundScan Numbers:
    “It Just Happens that Way”: 125,000
    “Come As You Are”: 60,000

    “I did my first CD with Matthew Hager after college on a four track recorder. We sat down to write the music together; it was the first time that we had ever written together. We found someone to give us six hours of studio time for free. I recorded all the vocals, and only played sax on one song. At the time, I had my web site and the CD just went up on the web site to be sold.”

    ADVICE FOR FEMALE MUSICIAN?

    “When I was a senior in high school, I was going to try out for the All State Jazz Band in Florida. I had done the wind ensemble, but I was at the point where I thought it was very dorky. So, I wanted to try out for the jazz band. I wasn’t very good at playing jazz at the time, so I just practiced and practiced, but about a week before my audition, I gave up because I didn’t think that I could do it. So my dad came in and asked me if I was quitting, and pulled the whole reverse psychology thing on me, which made me decide I was going to go in and do the audition. I went in and got first chair alto in the ensemble. I went back and told my dad, who wasn’t the least bit surprised. He explained to me that sometimes it is not the most talented musicians who get it, but the ones that put themselves out there. So my advice is that if you want something, you just have to go for it. You might be told no a few times, but not everyone can keep saying no.”

    ADVICE FOR YOUNG MUSICIAN? CAN YOU HELP EXPLAIN SOME OF THE PROCESS THAT YOU WENT THROUGH TO GET YOUR RECORD CONTRACT AND THE SUCCESS THAT YOU HAVE HAD IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS?

    “Getting my record contract was a many year ordeal. After college, all I wanted to do was go out and record, but I realized it was a lot deeper than that. I had offers from record labels, but they were never quite what I wanted. I wanted to sign with someone who would let me make the record that I wanted to make. Verve Records is the label that lets me do my own thing.

    After getting off tour playing and singing in other groups, I decided that I wanted to play more sax. I had really only been doing one or the other [voice or saxophone], and I wanted to do something that let me do both. So I got together with a friend and we wrote and recorded a few songs which Verve jumped on immediately. The record came out a few months after I was signed, and it was very successful. No one was surprised more than I was. Making ‘Come As You Are’, the second record, I decided to sing a little bit more. My third record for Verve is going to be out April or May of 2006. The next CD uses more vocals than the previous two, but has fewer solely vocal tracks than ‘Come As You Are’. I don’t like to be like one of the artists that makes a whole bunch of CDs that all sound the same; I want each to be unique and show growth musically.

    Verve records has been amazing with me, they haven’t taken away any of my creative control. They initially wanted to choose my producer, but I really bucked that hard. I talked with the president of the company and he let me choose my own producer, Matthew Hager. It made the recording environment more comfortable for me because I wasn’t trying to impress anyone, and I was just getting to work with my friends.”

    WHAT PARTS OF YOUR PERSONALITY HAVE YOU FOUND TO BENEFIT YOU AS PART OF NETWORKING AND TOWARDS THE GROWTH OF YOUR CAREER? ARE TRAITS THAT YOU HAVE ALWAYS HAD OR ARE THEY LEARNED CHARACTERISTICS?

    “I’ve always been very outgoing and a more friendly type. I do think that it really helps. It is really tough for the shyer artists. I feel that the more outward personality of mine helps me do what I do. I like to be out there and meet everyone. With learned characteristics, you learn what works as you go. You learn from doing and making mistakes. For example, I opened a concert for Al Jarreau a few years ago. There was a meet and greet after our show. I was very nervous. I got there before he did, and I didn’t know what to do. Al Jarreau walks in absolutely fearless. I just sat there and thought, ‘I shouldn’t be so shy’. You just have to be yourself. I learned in situations that I would normally be shy that I just need to go out there and be myself.”

    HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT DATING WITHIN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY?

    “I feel that dating in the industry is unavoidable, but not so good sometimes. A lot of it is proximity and who you are around. Where am I going to find a doctor or lawyer to date? When I finally did date non-musicians, I just had nothing to say to them. Musicians are flakey, so you just have to find the right musician. I ended up with a composer, and we can appreciate each other because we are enough different to not be threatened by each other.”

    SO YOU HAVE BEEN TRAVELING A LOT RECENTLY. DO YOU ENJOY BEING ON THE ROAD? WHAT PERFORMANCE SETTINGS DO YOU FEEL MOST COMFORTABLE IN – LARGE CONCERTS, FESTIVALS, SMALL CLUBS, ETC.?

    “I love being on the road. I grew up on the road. I feel really comfortable in odd settings and acclimate very quickly. I always find all the thrift shops and flea markets in new areas. I love to just try out stuff and see what real people do in different towns, not the tourist areas. But if I am away too much, I miss home.”

    “I think performance settings are so different, and I have played in all settings. I appreciate each one for what they are. The anonymity of playing for a large audience in an arena is great. Early on I spent a few months playing on the street in Santa Monica so I wouldn’t have to work a day job. I was just tired of saying ‘do you want fries with that’, but it was really scary having someone right in your face listening to you. I love the intimate clubs because I feel I can put on a different show there. The big shows, you play bigger than in a club setting. I really like the change and variation. I like them all.”

    WHERE DO YOU GET INSPIRATION FOR THE MUSIC THAT YOU WRITE? A LOT OF YOUR SONGS YOU CO-WRITE, WHAT PART OF THE WRITING DO YOU USUALLY FIND YOURSELF DOING?

    “I get inspiration everywhere. There is a song on the new CD called ‘Rain’ dedicated to hurricane Katrina victims. Love. I got married last year, and love is a great muse. You can write tons of songs about love. Everyone does. I’m not one to write songs about traffic, but more about things personal to me.”

    I writes all the songs myself and chart them all out by hand. And I tend to have more problems naming songs than writing them. So I just name them after what they sound like if nothing incredible has inspired them.”

    WHO DID YOU STUDY WITH?

    “I never took lessons until college. Even though my dad was a sax player, he wouldn’t teach me. He figured I would hate him in some way in the future, because you usually always hate your teacher. I did take lessons from this swing band leader. He would dance around if I swung a piece right, and it was very funny. My first official teacher was Bill Prince at the University of North Florida. He was an amazing teacher, but I only had him for a year. He really showed me the basics. The next year I went to Berklee and eventually worked my way up to working with Joe Viola. He was absolutely amazing – the Yoda of saxophone. I copied most of to the music in his file cabinet. He was just an unbelievable influence and teacher. If I made a mistake, he would make me make it again so I would know how not to make it. I also studied a semester with George Garzone who is a master of multiphonics and outside playing.”

    YOUR INFLUENCES- HOW DID THEY HELP SHAPE YOU AS A PERSON OR YOUR PLAYING?

    “Cannonball Adderley – He’s so melodic. Wayne Shorter – I was Wayne Shorter in the Berklee Shorter Ensemble. I worshiped him. Kenny Garrett – I’m a huge fan of; he has his own voice. When I was younger, I liked Sanborn because he was the link between the rock I was listening to and the saxophone, the same with Marc Russo. And Madonna because she knows how to get what she wants. She’s persistent.”

    WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR GOALS MUSICALLY FOR THE FUTURE?

    “I think a goal is always to become a better musician, whether that means writing or playing. I just bought a new saxophone, so I am all into practicing. For me in the last few years, it has been getting better as a writer. My goal is really to keep doing what I am doing because I am really happy doing it.”

    WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CONTINUE DOING MUSIC?

    “I don’t think that I know what else to do. Music is hard. It is not an easy business. You are constantly buying equipment, hiring, firing… It has to be something that you love, otherwise you are just going to hate doing it.”

    WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU DID BEFORE YOUR MUSIC CAREER AS A PERFORMER BECAME AS SUCCESSFUL AS IT IS TODAY?

    “I was Road Manager for Kilauea and second saxophone. I played on the street so I wouldn’t have to have a day job. I played with John Tesh, played a NAMM show, played countless weddings and club dates, and did tours with Adam Sandler, Duran Duran, and the Backstreet Boys.”

    WHAT WAS YOUR COOLEST OR MOST MEMORABLE GIG? WHAT WAS YOUR WORST?

    “One of the most memorable gigs was my CD release party for my first CD because it was the fulfillment of a goal that I had since I was a kid. It was something very special that not everyone gets to do.”

    “The worst was when I had a gig that I had to play as a flower. I was pretty humiliated about that.”

    “My first gig with Backstreet Boys was a two hour show. I was playing percussion, keyboards, and sax. There was stuff blowing up around us, a lot of pyrotechnics with a 60,000 people audience. I had made a book of all the music as a security blanket. We started running to the stage and I realized I forgot my book. I ran back and it wasn’t there and made it just in time on stage for the show. There was so much happening on the stage that I couldn’t even think. I had no idea what I was doing the whole entire show. Would anyone in the audience know that? Probably not, but I was horrified.”

    OTHER HOBBIES:

    “Going to the beach, drinking iced tea, cooking and baking, and hiking.”

    FAVORITE JOKE ABOUT YOUR INSTRUMENT:

    “What is the difference between a large pizza and a saxophone player?
    A large pizza can feed a family of four.”

    ENDORSEMENTS:

    Audio Technica, ProTec, Oleg Products, Young Chang

    LOOKING FOR MORE INFORMATION:

    mindiabair.com

    October 21, 2012 • Interviews • Views: 2397

  • Saxophonist Trevon James | Teen Jazz Artist

    Setup/Gear/Manufacturer of Instruments:

    687GN
    Bb Tenor Saxophone
    Selmer Bundy II Alto Saxophone
    Vandoren Alto Saxophone Reeds 3

    Why did you begin studying music?

    I began because music was always something that was of great interest to me, I was captivated by how it had the power to change peoples emotions, and wanted to be a part of it, my uncle played saxophone for 12 years but he died from a gun shot. I play his alto saxophone and its still in good shape. I do what I do because i love it.

    Saxophonist Trevon James

    Located in Michigan City, USA

    • Tenor and Baritone Saxophone
    • 5 years of playing

    Teen Jazz Artist Badge

    [What’s this?]

    What are you doing with music now?

    I am studying jazz at the Michigan City High School Jazz and am also playing in the Michigan City Jazz ensemble. I run the schools jazz band and smooth jazz department, and am doing gigs throughout Michigan City. I try to get out more with my sax to show that I am one the worlds greatest Jazz musicians.

    Who are some of your influences?

    Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Hank Mobley, Cannonball Adderley, Oli Silk, Kenny G, Boney James, Wynton Marsalis, and George Gershwin.

    Who have you studied with?

    Mr.Quincy Ford, Nate Cook, Dereck Meilander, George Olson, Steve Chambers, Justin Morris, and Anthony Banks.

    What would you like to do with music in the future?

    I Trevon D. James is gonna follow my heart and play in many places throughout america. i plan on going on to college and get my doctors degree. As an musician I plan on helping other Jazz teens become even better than i am. I will be playing my saxes until i cant paly anymore. Musicians must be knowledgeable about a broad range of musical styles. Having a broader range of interest, knowledge and training can help expand employment opportunities and musical abilities. Voice training and private instrumental lessons, especially when taken at a young age, also help develop technique and enhance one’s performance.

    Would you like to add anything else?

    I wish to continue to study music up to degree level and then would like to go on to performing professionally or teaching at higher education level. I also give private lessons at my high school for free. I would like to become an Jazz superstar to show kids hey playing sax is where its at. So I just love Playing Sax 24/7.


     

    Interested in having your profile featured on our site?

    Teen Jazz is also looking for young Jazz Artist features, so you could become a feature if you apply. You will be notified by email of the status of your application.

    Terms and Conditions:

    (A) You cannot submit one sentence answers to the Teen Jazz Artist Application form questions, they must be a short paragraph.

    (B) You must respond to the confirmation email that you receive from Shannon Kennedy after you submit your profile or your profile will not be published on Teen Jazz.

    (C) Pictures and Contact Information on your page are optional, but let us at Teen Jazz know if you would like to have both or either on your profile.

    Apply Here

    October 20, 2012 • Up and Coming Musicians • Views: 2000

  • Guitarist Chieli Minucci | Teen Jazz Influence Interview

    Name: Chieli Minucci
    Instrument: guitar
    Years Playing: since age of 8
    Location: New York
    School/Major/Degree: Ithaca College, never finished, English major, music major for one year

    We also interviewed Chieli in 2013. You can read the updated interview here.

    THE INTERVIEW

    Chieli Minucci, an established guitarist in New York, has been renowned for both his skills as a performer and as a composer. With impressive credits and an extensive discography, Minucci has been successful in many genres of the music industry including performance, recording, composing for artists, himself, musicals, et al. and much more.

    Minucci offers a variety of advice for aspiring musicians including the age-old expression “practice makes perfect”. He illustrates that it isn’t just about constantly playing your instrument, it needs to be a “combination of serious ‘woodshedding’ and practicing the rudiments of your instrument”.

    Influenced by musicians from different spectrums of the music world including John McLaughlin, Eric Clapton, and Pat Metheney, it is apparent that Minucci has emphasized diversity in his music. In his own words, “I’ve tried to be in as many different musical situations as possible. There is a lot of variety in music, and the person who can perform in the most settings gets the most work. Besides, it is more interesting to be more diverse in music.”

    Minucci contributes some of his success to the relationships that he has made throughout his career. “I’ve always been really outgoing and friendly and I like what I do and I like the kind of people I meet in the [music] industry. Music is just a secondary part of who you are, and you share that with other musicians. The relationships that you have with other people in the music industry are essential to a successful career; I get work because of how I play guitar, but most of the work I get are because of the relationships I have developed with other people. I have very close relationships with the people that I work with.”

    Chieli’s father, who is a great melody writer (and has written some Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby and some classic crooner standards), has played a major role in Chieli’s decision to be a musician. Because grew up in house with melodies being played all the time, it was no big surprise that Chieli chose music as a career. His father has also been a big influence in his writing, which Chieli recently won a Emmy for…

    With a career as successful as Chieli Minucci’s, going out on the road is inevitable. Luckily, Chieli loves being out on the road. “The road is the whole reason I do this. I love traveling with my band.”

    Chieli has performed and recorded with top pop artists Celine Dion, Lionel Richie, Jennifer Lopez, Jewel, Mark Anthony, Jessica Simpson, Anastasia, as well as the jazz artists Marion Meadows, Jay Beckenstein, Gerald Veasley, Lao Tizer, Nestor Torres, Bob Baldwin, and many others.

    Visit chielimusic.com for more information.

    October 18, 2012 • Interviews • Views: 1277

  • Drummer Evan Stone | Teen Jazz Influence Interview

    Name: Evan Stone
    Profession: Drummer
    Years Playing: since the age of 8
    College/Major/Degree: none
    Location: Los Angeles, CA

    THE INTERVIEW

    I first met Evan Stone at a Greg Adams gig in 2004. He and I have played together a few times since then and have remained in contact. The idea for Teen Jazz Influences was actually inspired by Evan himself. We were talking about our websites one day, and I wanted to do an article on him. Since he didn’t really qualify as a Teen Artist, I created this series so I could feature Evan Stone. Evan is a very interesting and talented person and I feel very honored to have had the opportunity to play with him and call him a friend. After reading this article, if you are interested in learning more about Evan Stone, you can visit his website.

    WHEN DID HE FIRST BEGIN SERIOUSLY STUDYING HIS INSTRUMENT?

    Evan Stone has studied with Peter Erskine, Jeff Hamilton, Roy Burns. He first began seriously studying drums at the age of 12 and began playing in clubs at the age of 13 .

    WHO ARE HIS GREATEST INFLUENCES?

    Drummers: Peter Erskine, Jeff Hamilton, Roy Burns, Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Jack Dejohnette, John Bonham, Stewart Copland, Vinnie Colaiuta, Max Roach, Philly Jo Jones, Phil Collins, Art Blakey

    Non Drummers: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Frank Zappa, Beatles, Police, Stevie Wonder, the Meters, Tower of Power, Dexter Gordon, Billie Holiday, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Bjork, Radiohead, James Taylor, and many others

    Styles: Everything from folk to progressive rock to swing

    WHO OR WHAT GAVE HIM THE CONFIDENCE TO PURSUE MUSIC AS A CAREER AS OPPOSED TO A HOBBY?

    Evan Stone’s parents were largely responsible for allowing him the opportunity to pursue drumming and music without any restrictions. They told him to do what was in his heart and if he wanted to be a musician to be the best he could be and not to settle for second best. Evan picked things up quickly and was able to play rock beats on the drum set without any formal training at first. He then began studying with drum instructors and still studies with other musicians to this day.

    Evan believes that “confidence can be built through people telling you that you are progressing and that they really like your sound/style.” Evan Stone feels that being your own critic also will help you make better choices. “You need to monitor if you are making progress or not to determine if you can develop and establish a musical career.”

    BRIEFLY DESCRIBE THE DIFFICULTY TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN YOUR CAREER WHILE REMAINING TRUE TO THE ART FORM WITHOUT “SELLING OUT” TO POPULAR ART?

    “Success can be defined in many ways. If you find yourself in a situation that is less than desirable, that may be selling out. If you just want to play the music that you love which is in your heart and which is not particularly the most popular music on the scene at the current time, then it is very difficult to create a successful career from that if you are defining your success in making a lot of money from the music you created. If money is not the be all end all, and you are getting by and are happy with your life doing whatever it is that you do, then that could also be considered success.

    I feel that as long as you are doing what is in your heart that keeps you satisfied, and as a result of that, you are earning enough money to make a living from that, than that is the ultimate success. If the music you create is also the music that you love, and appears to be what everyone else loves too, then you are in an ideal situation. I would not consider that selling out if it happens to be the popular music of the day. I believe that would put you among a very small percentage of creative people. If you are in music solely for the purpose of making tons of money, than chances are you are going to wind up playing music that you do not love.”

    Evan Stone always wanted to play music that he created or helped to create part of the overall sound. He likes to be involved in groups that are trying to do something different. “When you try to create something new, you are a true artist because you are attempting music that hasn’t been done before.” If he was called for a gig he didn’t want to do, he would do it if it helped him pay the bills. He feels that sometimes you have to take gigs you don’t Necessarily love to keep doing what you do love.

    The gigs that he does for love and the gigs that he does for money are very rarely the same.

    DO YOU BELIEVE THAT YOUR GENDER OR APPEARANCE HAS AFFECTED YOUR CAREER? IF SO, HOW HAVE YOU CHANGED YOURSELF TO CONFORM TO YOUR INDUSTRY STANDARDS? HAS THIS CHANGED OVER TIME?

    “Unfortunately, the music business today is extremely image driven. More so now than ever before. In the jazz world it never used to be that way; in the 40’s, 50’s ,60’s and 70’s, you were respected for your playing and not for what you looked like. MTV changed the value of image versus talent because you had to look good while you were playing. It has a lot to do with marketing – sex sells and it also sells in the music industry which is why you see Britney Spears, etc. The record companies want that image to create teen idols.”

    It has even spread into the world of Jazz today. Although there is not much of a world of jazz left, certain artists who play music that I think better fits under the category of “Pop” or “R&B” who call themselves jazz musicians seem more concerned about how they look on the cover of their CD than they do about the integrity of the music they are making. Perhaps some of them really love that kind of music but I don’t call it jazz. Jazz for me is music that is improvised and in the moment. Remember, Jazz music was created out of the desire for personal freedom. It has little to do with how hot you look when you are playing your axe.

    Evan Stone feels he might only have lost a couple gigs because he didn’t look the part of what they were looking for. He hopes people don’t care about what he is wearing and only what he is playing. But he feels that musicians should still dress nice to respect the music and show that it is a serious art form. You don’t want the audience to feel like they are watching bums on stage. Also, as a drummer, it doesn’t matter as much because we are in the back. He listens to musicians because they sound good and he feels that people need to close their eyes and use their ears more.

    WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING WITH YOUR CAREER FOR YOURSELF? HOW HAS MONEY CHANGED YOUR INITIAL CAREER PLANS?

    Evan Stone is a free lance drummer. He produces other artists, and is writing music for television and film with the drummer for Offspring. Evan Stone has his own jazz quartet that he leads and has been performing around LA the last 16 years working with many groups of musicians. He just recorded his first solo record that will be out in the fall.

    In the future he would like to do some jazz festivals and continue doing local bands playing funk, rock, and jazz. He feels that he needs to play jazz to feel complete.

    Money hasn’t really changed his initial career plans – but he just has to be able to pay his bills. You are generating your own income as a self employed musician, you are constantly struggling to get new gigs, to keep gigs. He feels as a musician you are on a constant job search – with no security blanket. There are pros and cons – you are your own boss but when you take time off you aren’t getting any income. You have to take the leap of faith and not let money be your driving influence.

    WHAT INSPIRES HIM TO CONTINUE TO PURSUE MUSIC? HAVE HE EVER COME CLOSE TO GIVING UP?

    Evan Stone’s inspiration lies in the fact that learning an instrument and trying to master it is never ending for anyone who wants to continue their craft and keep developing. He is always trying to come up with a new direction in music. The musicians that are around him also inspire him. He has never minded being the weakest link in a group because it forces him to grow. He is also inspired knowing that there is so much to learn.

    He has wanted to quit at times in the past as a young musician – when he used to see great drummers perform, it was hard not to walk away feeling inspired but also feeling a bit like quitting because it seemed impossible to reach their level. Every artist who is serious about their craft deals with this at some point. He has also gotten pretty burnt out on drums – so to prevent this, he has picked up guitar and keyboards. In the last three years Evan Stone has bought a saxophone and has been practicing. He is self taught and practices with Aebersolds. Evan started playing sax to get interested in music again so he would not be burnt out on drums. It worked because he started learning the melodic side of music rather than the rhythmic side. It was another perspective on music – how a horn player hears a drummer.

    WHAT WAS HIS COOLEST GIG? WHAT WAS LAMEST HIS GIG?

    Evan Stone’s coolest gig – ” I think some nights when I am playing with my quartet and things are really flowing and everyone is listening well and playing at a very high level that those are some of my coolest gigs. Some nights are absolutely euphoric. “Part of the allure of being a musician is when you are completely aligned with your musical thoughts – it is the ultimate high. They don’t happen often which is why they are special.

    Lamest Gig – Any gig where he has to put on a tuxedo to play music for people who aren’t listening to the music.

    OTHER HOBBIES:

    Some of Evan Stone’s other hobbies include chess, baseball, and traveling.

    EVAN STONE’S ADVICE FOR THE YOUNG MUSICIAN:

    “Get with a good teacher and learn how to manage your time effectively so you can practice, perform and look for gigs. Have a smart business sense on top of being a good player so you can have a successful career. Surround yourself with great players who will push you to become what you have always expected of yourself.”

    HIS MOST EMBARRASSING MUSICAL MOMENT:

    His most embarrassing moment was when he was playing with Maynard Ferguson and he couldn’t read music well yet. At the time, Evan Stone was 21. Maynard Ferguson pulled a new chart out on a gig. Evan had all the music in the book memorized, and was not able to sight read the new chart. Since he couldn’t read, the band almost folded on stage because of it. After that gig, he made it a goal for that to never happen again, so he learned how to read music better.

    EVAN STONE’S OWN CDS:

    Solo record “Evan Stone Sticks & Stone” – all straight ahead jazz

    FAVORITE JOKE ABOUT HIS INSTRUMENT:

    What did the drummer get on his IQ test? Drool

    WHAT WAS HIS FIRST INSTRUMENT? DREAM INSTRUMENT?

    His first instrument was a trumpet – he played trumpet for five years. His dream instrument are the Drums – the ones he is playing now they are the best drums he has ever played in his life

    IS HE ENDORSED BY ANYONE?

    Evan Stone is an artist for Canopus Drums, Vic Firth drumsticks, Aquarian drum heads, Bosphorus Cymbals.

    LOOKING FOR MORE INFORMATION?

    Evan Stone has his own website with sound clips, a blog, and much more.

    October 18, 2012 • Interviews • Views: 1750

  • Beechler Mouthpieces | Teen Jazz Company Interview with Judy Beechler-Roan

    Beechler Mouthpieces or Remle Music is a family owned enterprise that was established by Elmer Beechler. Now run by his daughter Judy Beechler-Roan, 2012 is the 62nd year that Remle Music has been in business and the company has seen tremendous growth in the last few years. With some of the most popular handmade mouthpieces available on the market (I use the mouthpieces myself), Beechler is sure to look forward to further success with artists all over the world.

    THE INTERVIEW WITH JUDY BEECHER-ROAN:

    HOW LONG HAS YOUR COMPANY BEEN IN BUSINESS? WHAT HAS SOME OF THE GROWTH BEEN THAT YOU SEEN?

    “Beechler has been in business for 62 years. Our company has grown three times what it was a few years ago.”

    WHO ARE YOUR TARGETED CONSUMERS?

    “Our targeted consumers are mainly music dealers and individual musicians.”

    WHAT PRODUCTS DO YOU OFFER THAT WOULD BE APPEALING TO YOUNG MUSICIANS? WHAT KIND OF FEEDBACK DO YOU GET? WHAT KIND OF FEEDBACK WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE? IS YOUR WEB SITE SETUP TO RECEIVE FEEDBACK?

    “We produce an excellent student mouthpiece, the Tuffite mouthpiece.”

    “All the response we receive from people who have used our mouthpieces has been positive. For people who want to let us know what they think, we have an email contact available on the web site for feedback.”

    WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR KEY ARTISTS?

    “Some of our key artists include Gerald Albright, Rheuben Allen, John Bambridge, Jay Beckenstein, Dave Boruff, Ron Brown, Eddie Daniels, Kenny G, Euge Groove, Everette Harp, John Klemmer, Dave Koz, Michael Lington, David Mann, Eric Marienthal, Najee, Michael Paulo, Nelson Rangell, Albert Wing, and Andrew Worfolk.”

    WHAT DO YOU FEEL ARE YOUR MOST EFFECTIVE METHODS OF ADVERTISEMENT?

    “I would have to say that our most effective method of advertisement is word of mouth.”

    WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO BE THE ONE TO CARRY ON THE FAMILY COMPANY?

    “I was really the only one available to continue. The company was started by my father and worked with him for 30 years so it seemed natural to continue.”

    HOW LARGE IS YOUR COMPANY? ABOUT HOW MANY EMPLOYEES? WHERE ARE YOU BASED OUT OF?


    “We have dealers in 32 countries, and we have 9 employees where the company is based in Northridge.”

    HOW DO YOU DISTRIBUTE PRODUCTS? HOW DO YOU FIND OUT ABOUT DEALERS?

    “Dealers come to us because of interest in our products that they receive from musicians.”

    WHAT ARE QUALIFICATIONS TO BE EMPLOYED? IS THERE POTENTIAL EMPLOYMENT FOR YOUNG MUSICIANS? INTERNSHIPS?

    “We hire employees based on craftsmanship. We do not offer internship positions because we look for long term employees.”

    MORE INFORMATION:

    For more information you can visit the Beechler mouthpiece web site.

    October 15, 2012 • Interviews • Views: 1677

  • Jazz Monthly | Teen Jazz Company Interview with Smitty Smith

    HOW LONG HAS JAZZMONTHLY.COM BEEN AROUND?

    “I have been working on jazzmonthly.com since January 2006.”

    WHAT GROWTH HAVE YOU SEEN WITH JAZZ MONTHLY?

    “Well, I started out with Jazz Nation, and I was with Jazz Nation for about six years, so some of the growth has been making the transition to Jazz Monthly. The most significant growth the site has seen is the traffic and the response from viewers around the world. We have received great reviews on the aesthetic appeal of the site, how user-friendly it is, and the content as well. We have had a ton of artists that have such powerful stories. Right now we are featuring Steve Quirk, Althea Rene, and many artists people are getting introduced to for the first time.”

    WHO IS YOUR TARGETED AUDIENCE WITH JAZZ MONTHLY?

    “Our targeted audience is anywhere from 25 to 55, but we would like to go deeper into that because jazz is a genre that could really encompass every age group.”

    WHAT DOES JAZZ MONTHLY OFFER THAT WOULD BE APPEALING TO YOUNG MUSICIANS?

    “Great examples of musicianship. When one reads the interviews, they will find that many of the artists started young and just stuck with it. The stories show that a young musician needs to stick with it, ignore the many distractions that may come along, and to keep trying to do what they love to do.”

    WHAT KIND OF FEEDBACK DOES JAZZ MONTHLY RECEIVE?

    “The number one comment is that our readers love the color scheme. Closely following that is that they love the content. People like the fact that we have educative information. We offer great information about the artists and entertainment that they love that educates them more about the music and the artists.

    “The web site is not necessarily set up for feedback, but our contact information is on the site for people who want to comment.”

    WHO ARE SOME OF THE KEY ARTISTS THAT YOU HAVE FEATURED?

    “Well, they are all key artists. Some of the names that I can recall off the top of my head include keyboardist Greg Karukas, the legendary Ramsey Lewis, Rick Braun, DW3 from Spaghettini’s, Gerald Veasely, Gerald Albright, Mindi Abair, artist Bettie Miner, Althea Rene, and Dee Dee Bridgewater.”

    WHAT NEW FEATURES CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE FUTURE?

    “We are going to feature guitarist Steve Oliver, Bob James, Roy Hargrove, Eric Darius, and more. We are also going to feature some up and coming artists such as vocalist Sophie Milman, Jill Jensen, and this great young female sax player named Shannon Kennedy.”

    VERY CLEVER SMITTY. (SHANNON LAUGHS)

    (Smitty laughing) “Yes, we are going to feature you as well. I think you have a great story to tell with the fire that you have in your music and your industriousness to get the music out there both for yourself and others. You have a great future ahead of you.”

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH, SMITTY. SO, WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION TO DEVELOP JAZZ MONTHLY?

    “I have a love for music and its artists. I love what artists do with their music and I want to introduce as many musicians as possible to the world. Jazz Monthly is a site that will feature every genre of jazz, and I feel that it could be a serious force for introducing new music to the world.”

    HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN THE WEB SITE WHILE WORKING AS A CHEMIST?

    “I have some great people working with me that keep the ball rolling while I am away.”

    TELL US MORE ABOUT THE STORE THAT IS GOING TO BE ON JAZZ MONTHLY:

    “We are really excited about the store. We can get music to fans around the world at a reasonable price and we feel that it something people want. They can read about the artist on the web site and get their music. We not only wanted to feature the music, but to make it available.”

    FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT JAZZ MONTHLY:

    Visit the Jazz Monthly web site.

    October 11, 2012 • Interviews • Views: 1409

  • Rheuben Allen Saxophones Interview | Music Company

    TRANSCRIPTION OF THE INTERVIEW

    Rheuben Allen is a contributing writer on Teen Jazz

    Shannon (SK): I’m Shannon Kennedy with Teen Jazz Radio and today on the show we are continuing the Careers in Music Series and I have with me Rheuben Allen. Hi Rheuben.

    Rheuben (RA): Hi Shannon, how are you today?

    SK: I’m good and how are you?

    RA: Pretty good.

    SK: We haven’t quite decided what we’re going to talk about yet but I think you said something about saxophone repair?

    RA: We could talk about saxophone repair. Anything in particular you want to talk about?

    SK: Maybe something like tips for doing sax repair on the go?

    RA: Okay, we can do some things, like we can talk about what you can do on the road or if you’re in a place where you have a concert and something happens. The main things to keep with you all the time of course are a screwdriver so you can put screws back in if they get loose. Rubberbands of different strengths and saran wrap.

    Now, suppose a pad falls out or you get a rip in a pad, you can put saran wrap around the pad and then a rubber band on the top of that and then that will hold you until you can get to a repairman. It’s not the greatest fix in the world, but it will actually work. And rubberbands of different strengths are also good for if a spring breaks. You can find a way to hook the rubberband to the key to make the key operate.

    RHEUBEN’S COMPANY

    SK: Rheuben has done a lot of different things in the music industry – everything from performance to playing in military bands to saxophone repair and even owning his own company that makes saxophones and saxophone accessories and actually, not just saxophones. You’ve done guitars and string instruments and brass as well?

    RA: I’ve done quite a bit of things. I am kind of coming back to just doing saxophones and things I really know, like clarinets and flutes. In the guitar world I wasn’t that “swift.” So I wasn’t a big hit.

    The thing I’m concentrating on for the next year, I have a couple of new saxophone models on the market. My newest one has 14k gold lacquer and it’s an alto and it comes with two necks, one of which is my latest neck. My latest neck looks like this (shows neck).

    Now what it does is that it has weights in these holes and the holes originally come, the neck comes like this (shows another neck). See there are holes in the neck. There are two kinds of braces. The one that Shannon has up close. This one, the brace is sautered the entire length of the neck. The one I have in my hand is only sautered on two points, leaving this piece free and what that does is it allows the neck to vibrate a little more by having that space. Now the strength of the neck is in the sauter like this, it’s very difficult to bend this neck down because of the way it’s sautered together.

    You can take the weights out of the neck and put them in many different configurations. This is an alto neck that Shannon’s holding now with two weights in it. Each position of the weights changes the way the neck plays because it changes the response of the instrument. I find that tenor players have recently liked either just the first weight or the one and two weights or no weights in the neck. You can play it without the weights in the neck and it responds very well.

    SK: So this is the alto neck with two weights and I am currently removing one of the weights so you can see exactly what the weight looks like and this is actually the way that I play my alto (showing neck with only the back weight). I have the third weight in the back and mine is silver, so it’s quite like this.

    This is what the weight looks like (showing weight) – the weighted piece and the opposite end and it just basically screws together like this and that’s how you can remove it or add it and do whatever you want.

    So what other cool things do you have to show us?

    RA: I have thumbrests. They’re designed so that when you put your thumb underneath it, you can’t bend your thumb. When you bend your thumb around the thumb rest, it puts tension in your hand. With this being straight when you play, the hand is more relaxed and you can’t tense up as much. So it does help in preventing long term hand injury and that sort of thing.

    I make clarinet tuning rings and soprano/clarinet/flute pegs. You can see all my accessories on rheubenallen.com. All of my saxophone necks feature this cordura neck case and that allows you to carry the extra necks. Also, if you have a valuable neck, you can buy the case separately and carry the necks in the case. It’s a very good product for keeping your necks safe.

    SK: Teen Jazz Radio is so super freaking awesome that not only do we have one guest, but we have two!

    RA: Now I’d like to bring in Ted Yamada. Now Ted manufactures the t-shirts and things that I sell on my web site. He has a music company called KDIMusic.com. That’s Ted back there. Say hi Ted.

    Ted (TY): Hello.

    SK: Ted wants to talk about his festival that he is holding in August.

    TY: I have a festival, August 13th and 14th, it’s Nisei Week Japanese festival, plaza festival and one of the acts will be Shannon Kennedy Band. So we’ll keep you up to date on when she will perform. We also have a Nisei Week Japanese Festival Marching Band and one of the sponsors is here (touches Rhueben’s shoulder). You can come out and support the Nisei Week festival. It will be held August 13th/14th. As part of the plaza festival we’ll have unique food, merchandise and entertainment.

    SK: PS. Little Tokyo Los Angeles is…

    RA: the location for the Nisei Week Japanese Festival. You can email Ted, he also has Facebook and how’s your Facebook listed?

    TY: KDI Music

    RA: We hope you enjoy visiting all the web sites and seeing all the strange stuff and things like that!

    -And of course, don’t forget to enjoy the bloopers at the end of the video!-

    October 10, 2012 • Interviews • Views: 2060

  • Saxophonist Everette Harp | Teen Jazz Influence Interview

    Name: Everette Harp Instrument: Saxes, flute, EWI, keyboards, and vocals Years Playing: A really long time! Really long!!! Location: L.A.

    ADVICE FOR YOUNG MUSICIAN? CAN YOU HELP EXPLAIN SOME OF THE PROCESS THAT YOU WENT THROUGH TO HAVE THE SUCCESS THAT YOU HAVE HAD IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS?

    Practice, and aspire to be great players….not just “good enough,” but great! My desire was just to practice and try to play the best I could whenever the opportunity presented itself. I was always very versatile in the styles of jazz I could play, so it made me a little more in demand as a touring/studio musician. This helped to bring more attention my way in the long run. My only desire was to be the best “jazz” sax player I could be. Although I never feel like I will be I still practice to achieve greatness as a “jazz” sax player.

    WHAT PARTS OF YOUR PERSONALITY HAVE YOU FOUND TO BENEFIT YOU AS PART OF NETWORKING AND TOWARDS THE GROWTH OF YOUR CAREER? ARE THESE TRAITS THAT YOU HAVE ALWAYS HAD OR ARE THEY LEARNED CHARACTERISTICS?

    I’ve always been very personable. I’ve found that in this business it is not how well you play sometimes, but how much you are liked. I’ve always been a people person, although in my later years I tend to desire a lot more privacy. But when I am out in public, or performing my natural tendency to socialize plays a large role in my stage presence. On stage I just talk as if I’m talking to a group of friends. I like to make people laugh, and I have a tendency to be a slight bit comical on stage. I feel once you warm your audience up with laughter, the rest is academic.

    DO YOU ENJOY BEING ON THE ROAD?

    No. I enjoy being performing. The road is an unfortunate but necessary by-product.

    WHAT PERFORMANCE SETTINGS DO YOU FEEL MOST COMFORTABLE IN – LARGE CONCERTS, FESTIVALS, SMALL CLUBS, ETC.?

    All the above. I enjoy playing in clubs for small intimate audiences where you can see everyone and it’s more personal. I enjoy the rush of the big stage as well as the challenge of entertaining a large audience. I sometimes dislike summer outdoor gigs, but only because I’m not a fan of hot weather.

    DO YOU WRITE MUSIC? WHERE DO YOU GET INSPIRATION FOR THE MUSIC THAT YOU WRITE?

    Yes. I get inspiration from God. I know people like to hear the story behind a song, but most of the times I write because the songs are in my head. I find not having to lean on outside inspiration very liberating. But I do love the moments when some external source inspires a song, I just don’t rely on it. I write songs because I can, and it’s what God has enabled me to do.

    WHO DID YOU STUDY WITH?

    I went to North Texas State, and the closest I came to lessons was listening to great players around me practice everyday.

    YOUR INFLUENCES- HOW DID THEY HELP SHAPE YOU AS A PERSON OR YOUR PLAYING?

    Mainly as a player I had a host of influences from Stanley Turrentine, Dexter Gordon, Grover Washington, Jr., John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Michael Brecker, David Sanborn…. to my constituents like Gerald Albright, Kenny Garrett, Branford Marsalis, Najee etc… I have always been able to hear and play what other players do which helped me to build a library of cliche’s to draw from in my playing. I would then take what I learn from other players and eventually use it in a way that was more natural for me. It would take time for me to make it more mine, but in building that repetoire I was able to start thinking independently my approach to a solo, and not just mimic someone else’s solo.

    ANY NEW PROJECTS COMING UP?

    New cd just released on May 23rd. #1 Billboard Smooth Jazz charts the first week out. It is entitled “In The Moment”. (This was from when the interview was conducted in 2006. He more recently released “My Inspiration” in 2008.)

    WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR GOALS MUSICALLY FOR THE FUTURE?

    To play more mainstream jazz. I really desire to go back to my roots and play more straight ahead at one point. That’s not to say that I would in any way abandon my more contemporary music. I love it all.

    WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CONTINUE DOING MUSIC?

    To try and be different, and to make a change. Making a living is not bad too!

    WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU DID BEFORE YOUR MUSIC CAREER AS A PERFORMER BECAME AS SUCCESSFUL AS IT IS TODAY?

    I worked my way through High School, and College at Jack In The Box, and in as a manager of an Italian Restaurant respectively. I was an associate accountant for six months after I finished school.

    WHAT WAS YOUR COOLEST OR MOST MEMORABLE GIG?

    Hard to pick just one, but if I had to I’d say playing the presidential inaugural ball for and with President Bill Clinton, and being in photos all over the world with him just from that moment. What was your worst? That would be falling off the stage at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas.

    OTHER HOBBIES:

    I love golf!!!!!

    FAVORITE JOKE ABOUT YOUR INSTRUMENT:

    A man once noted at the immense amount of force I put through my horn and summed it up by saying, “Man, you’re going to blow the curve out of that thing!!!”

    ENDORSEMENTS:

    Akai, Guardala Horns, Rico Reeds

    LOOKING FOR MORE INFORMATION:

    everetteharp.com – it’s all there!

    October 7, 2012 • Interviews • Views: 1410

  • Ethnomusicologist Dr Suzel Reily | Teen Jazz Interview

    Hey everyone. With me today, I have a very special guest. This is Dr Suzel Reily, she is a professor at Queen’s University Belfast and she teaches in the Ethnomusicology department. So today we’re going to follow up on careers in music and discuss ethnomusicology as a career.

    THE INTERVIEW

    Hi Suzel

    Hi there Shannon, how are you?

    Good and you?

    I’m just fine

    So why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

    I was born and raised in Brazil of American parents and so I think having that double cultural background was probably what incited me to be interested in issues of culture and different kinds of musics. I actually began as a music educator. I discovered a thing called ethnomusicology and it was quite definitely the thing for me and then I went back to Brazil after finishing my MA and did a PHD in the department of social anthropology at the University of Sao Paolo, so that was, I guess, how I became an ethnomusicologist.

    So why don’t you talk about some of the things you do as an ethnomusicologist?

    Well, some people divide it into the two big camps – those people who are connected more to anthropology which I guess would be people like myself and people who are more linked to musicology and this is particularly marked in traditions that have got an art tradition associated with them like Indian classical music. Obviously one big area of ethnomusicological work is the field work. There’s of course the teaching, music journalism, arts administration, music therapy…

    What are some of the other things that an ethnomusicologist could study? What other topics are there that are available?

    Anything that’s connected to music and music is such a central part of so many people’s lives. Many ethnomusicologists do go abroad, a number of ethnomusicologists are now showing that ethnomusicological sensibility can be really quite critical to understanding even what we consider western classical music.

    And how would one go about selecting a topic to study?

    Often people will come with particular musical experiences that they had and that for one reason or another they were drawn to that topic or drawn at least to that particular music world. You can’t do everything so then you end up having to decide how you’re going to cut up your cake. Sometimes you have a particular idea about what you wanted to do and when you get to the field you realize that it isn’t going to be possible. It’s a little bit pragmatics, it’s a little bit chance, it’s a little bit personal interest and you just go from there.

    So what are some of the other fields that you have to research and be aware of in addition to music and anthropology?

    Music and anthropology would be the main ones. Depending on what you want to study, nowadays there’s a lot of very interesting material coming out of geography, sociology as well. One of the writers that all ethnomusicologists nowadays are reading, and she would not consider herself an ethnomusicologist but rather a socioligist is Tia DeNora, and she wrote a magnificent book on music in everyday life. There’s also a growing trend in cognitive ethnomusicology perhaps being led by Judith Becker. Cognitive psychology can be another important area. The work on emotions by Dimazzio is also being cited quite a bit. Philosophy is another area that some people wold say that you need to have a good basis there. But a lot will really depend on what area of music and what geographical area you’re working on.

    Do you think it is necessary to learn the language of the region that you’re studying?

    It’s fundamental. You do need to, yeah. Especially if you’re going to do fieldwork. It is possible to work with translators if you have the funds to pay them but it just does not take the place of first hand encounters and actually being able to talk yourself with the people that you’re studying. I would certainly encourage anyone wanting to go abroad to do research to start learning the language as soon as possible.

    What advice do you have for a young musician or scholar interested in studying ethnomusicology?

    Go do it! Well if you’re in high school and are thinking of studying ethnomusicology then one thing that you might want to do is take languages. You’ll certainly want to have every kind of musical experience that you possibly can. Start listening to as much music of the most varied type that you can and by that I mean actually listen. Don’t just put it on in the background. Sit down and actually take the time to try to hear what is that, how is this music put together? What are the sounds that are going on here? And do the same for musics coming from a lot of different places. Read. “How Musical is Man,” you might enjoy that. Tom Turino’s book on music in social life. Above all listen to as much music as you can.

    -And of course bloopers!-

    October 6, 2012 • Interviews • Views: 1555

  • Trumpet Player Greg Adams | Teen Jazz Influence Interview

    Name: Greg Adams
    Location: LA/Hollywood, CA
    Profession: Trumpet Player/Arranger/Composer
    Years Playing: since the age of 5

    A LITTLE BIT ABOUT GREG ADAMS:

    Greg Adams graduated from high school in 1970 and was planning on attending school at Berklee School of music, but instead joined a band called “Tower of Power” from Oakland, CA that was just about to put horns on their first record. He had known the members of the group for several years, and with the knowledge of Greg Adams being an arranger, they asked him to join the band when there was an opening. So, in the end, Greg Adams had to make the decision of joining a band or going to college. Tower of Power already had a recording contract and Greg really wanted to be in a band, so the group became his music education. He had the chance to do all the things he would have learned to do in school while touring and getting paid to play. “So really, that was my university, joining Tower of Power, and I stayed with them for 25 years.”

    He wished he had gone to college and strongly advises anyone who wants to do music to go to college so you can get a teaching credential to have something to fall back on. “You have to be really prepared and school will teach you more about music and you want to be well versed in the language of music.”

    THE INTERVIEW

    WHEN DID HE FIRST BEGIN SERIOUSLY STUDYING HIS INSTRUMENT?

    “I started at about five years old, but I kind of dragged the horn around until I got a sound of it at about ten. In high school, I studied with several local professional musicians in the Bay area where I grew up.”

    Greg Adams parents were musicians and he went to music camp every summer to play in brass bands. He was in Salvation Army brass bands playing cornet, which is where he got his classical training, but his jazz training he got from his private teachers.

    His first trumpet he owned in high school. It was a French Bessen that he bought from his teacher. But he’s played on pretty much every horn since. He now plays a Monette Ajna Bb trumpet, a Bel Canto Bb trumpet and Kanstul Flugelhorn.

    WHO ARE HIS GREATEST INFLUENCES?

    There are a lot of people who have influenced Greg Adams, but his biggest influence was the writing of Henry Mancini. Later, while he was touring with TOP he met him, and talked to him for forty minutes. Greg Adams is also influenced Quincy Jones’ writing. As far as trumpet, he has a lot of influences, including Miles Davis and Randy Brecker, but doesn’t pattern himself after any one of two other artists.

    WHO OR WHAT GAVE HIM THE CONFIDENCE TO PURSUE MUSIC AS A CAREER AS OPPOSED TO A HOBBY?

    His parents… they were both musicians and they greatly encouraged him. His mom was a pianist and trombonist and his father played cornet. His parents were a large influence in letting him flourish.

    WHAT IS HIS OPINION ON JOINING THE MUSICIAN’S UNION?

    “When you can join the Union, join it – it does have benefits, especially for recording. In today’s world, with all the home studios and the way records are made, it is hard to think that the Union is relevant. There just aren’t as many sessions any more, and those that there are, there are a few 100 players that get them all. Music is cyclical and you haven’t heard a lot of horns on records, but horn parts are coming back.”

    BRIEFLY DESCRIBE THE DIFFICULTY TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN YOUR CAREER WHILE REMAINING TRUE TO THE ART FORM WITHOUT “SELLING OUT” TO POPULAR ART?

    When Greg Adams left TOP, he was immediately offered a solo deal with Epic Records as a smooth jazz artist and he took it. He put out “Hidden Agenda” with the single “Smooth Operator”. Since, Greg Adams has put out a few other records, “Midnight Morning,” (Blue Note) and “Firefly“.

    Jazz is really tough to make a living at, especially straight ahead jazz. Although I love to play jazz, I can’t afford to just do that. So you have to give and take, and at the end of the day I don’t feel like of sold out. However, there is a lot of mediocrity in smooth jazz. There are a few good artists, but they don’t always rise to the top. You have to have a record company to help you rise to the top as an artist.”

    DO YOU BELIEVE THAT YOUR GENDER OR APPEARANCE HAS AFFECTED YOUR CAREER? IF SO, HOW HAVE YOU CHANGED YOURSELF TO CONFORM TO YOUR INDUSTRY STANDARDS? HAS THIS CHANGED OVER TIME?

    “I don’t think that it has changed at all. Gender and appearance have always played a role in everything. It’s so easy to say that it is tougher for girls to get a break, but then again, there are just so many more men because girls just don’t really decide to pursue music as often as men do. Image does play a role, because if you are handsome and beautiful, people are going to use that. But I let my playing and my writing speak for itself. In a perfect world, that’s how it should be, but it’s not a perfect world.”

    WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING WITH YOUR CAREER FOR YOURSELF? HOW HAS MONEY CHANGED YOUR INITIAL CAREER PLANS?

    “No, I’ve never had a real huge hit record – that kind of money changes your life because you have such a stream of income. It’s so much money, so soon and it can change you for the worst. I’ve kind of kept an even keel. You’re only as good as you’re last project because you are remembered for the last thing that you did.”

    “Money has not changed me because I don’t go out and [spoil myself], but it’s a real trap to fall into. You have to have a team behind you to advise you so you don’t blow it. It can end as fast as it happened – the one hit wonders. It is a tough world… a tough business to be in.”

    DOES HE WISH ANYTHING HAD HAPPENED DIFFERENTLY WITH HIS CAREER?

    “Well sure, everything I just said on the last question, I wish would have happened to me. There are always things you’ll look back and wish you’d done differently, but you can’t look at life that way, you just have to keep going.”

    WHERE DOES HE THINK MUSIC IS GOING?

    “Well, music is going in its own direction. But music is cyclical, there are only so many styles that you can do in the world of music, so things kind of go in and out of popularity, so different styles that are now passé will come back around.”

    WHAT INSPIRES HIM TO CONTINUE TO PURSUE MUSIC? HAS HE EVER COME CLOSE TO GIVING UP?

    “I love music, and I would never even think of doing anything else. It’s what I do and couldn’t imagine trying to get another career. I will always be a musician.”

    COOL PEOPLE HE HAS PLAYED WITH:

    “I have played with hundreds of people on hundreds of records. But to name a few, The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart a couple times, Huey Lewis and the News, Michael Brecker, and a group called Dreams Come True from Tokyo.”

    WHAT WAS LAMEST HIS GIG?

    One time in Fairbanks Alaska with TOP. They were on a stage eight inches high, and were playing on a PA system that made a buzzing noise louder than the band. The show was on an air force base and no one came. If he was in the audience, he would have wanted his money back.

    The worst shows are the ones where you are there and no one cares. Where you are an annoyance because people have to talk over the music. There will always be lame gigs, and you have to take the good with the bad.

    Another lame gig was on tour with TOP. They had a huge poster with a lead pipe so it would roll down at the beginning of the show. So this one time in Seattle, someone gave the signal to pull the rope too soon, so as he was walking out and the lead pipe came down and hit him on the top of the forehead and split his head open. He got back just in time to play the last song, “What is Hip”.

    HOBBIES:

    Traveling.

    ADVICE FOR A YOUNG MUSICIAN:

    “Practice. You’ve got to dedicate yourself to your instrument. You have to think about music as a language. The more education you have, the better you are at the language. Because music is a communicative thing, you get along better with people. There are so many things music gives you. 99% of kids are not going to choose music as a vocation, but there will always be something that you take away from your music experience.”

    HIS MOST EMBARRASSING MUSICAL MOMENT:


    Once in Toronto in the 70s, at the end of a show when the lights were going crazy, he would throw his horn up in the air and catch it. One night, he threw the horn up in the air and he didn’t catch it. He hasn’t thrown up in the air since.

    FAVORITE JOKE ABOUT HIS INSTRUMENT:

    “Trumpet Player’s head explodes after playing high note” – as a tabloid headliner.

    ENDORSEMENTS:

    Monette Ajna Bb trumpet, Bel Canto Bb trumpet, Audio Technica wireless mics, monster cable

    LOOKING FOR MORE INFORMATION?

    Greg Adams has his own website with an official biography with full credits, discography, and sound clips.

    October 6, 2012 • Interviews • Views: 2379