Monthly Archives: January 2013
Ronny Jordan is a winner of Gibson Guitar’s award for Best Jazz Guitarist, he’s been nominated for a Grammy, and is a jazz artist who has made it to the pop charts. He’s known as one of the earliest and most successful jazz artists to draw upon the energy and vitality of hip hop. His music is perhaps best described as Urban Jazz, a blend of jazz, hip hop,and R&B — but certainly not limited to that.
His message is positive and spiritually uplifting, his grooves are addictive, and his playing is ingenious. He is completely self-taught, and in addition to his musicianship, he is an accomplished producer, arranger, and composer. He uses the studio as creatively as possible, and on his latest album he introduces his fans to midi guitar — doing string, keyboard, and bass parts on a midi guitar.
Ronny was born and raised in London, the son of a pentecostal preacher with a very interesting life story which he shared in this interview. This wide-ranging interview took place in late January of 2013, Ronny talks about the awakening of his talent, his early career, his big break with Island Records, and his recordings. Gifted, creative, and humble — he is all-about-the-music.
Derek Trucks talks about international audiences, Howlin’ Wolf, Hendrix, Clapton, Santana, John Lee Hooker, Duane Allman, Coltrane, and even classical music.
Here is audio from my feature interview with Derek for All About Jazz.
Jimmy Herring is one of the world’s premier progressive rock guitarists. In this wide-ranging one hour interview he shares his thoughts on music and his musical influences — from John Scofield, Jimmy Smith, and chicken pickers, to his favorite Howlin’ Wolf song, and lots more.
As a 2012 recipient of a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement, Jaimoe needs no introduction. He has been a beloved figure on the music scene for over four decades, as a veteran of the R&B circuit with Otis Redding, Percy Sledge and Joe Tex, and as a founding member of the legendary Allman Brothers Band and the critically acclaimed band Sea Level.
In late 2011 his Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band released Renaissance Man (Lil’Johnieboy Records, 2011), an album that is generating well-deserved praise and a lot of buzz. We talk about his band, Otis Redding, his friendship with Noel Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Clapton and much more.
In 2012 I caught up with Chuck again after he received a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement, and released Back To The Woods, his tribute CD to the early blues piano players with guest appearances by John Mayer and Keith Richards.
Just after sitting in with the Allman Brothers Band at the Beacon, the iconic jazz guitarist spoke with me about his musical roots in rock and blues — imagine, Cream and the Rascals played at his high school, and he even saw Jimi Hendrix. He gave me his take on Duane Allman, Mike Bloomfield, Sly and the Family Stone, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, John Mayer, Jimmy Herring and plenty more.
In 2012 I spoke with Jimmy again to catch up and get some background about the recording of his great CD Subject to Change Without Notice — for example, he shared his thoughts about the musicianship of his son (who played cello on the CD), and the artistry of his daughter (who painted the cover art.)
Hundreds of millions of people have heard him play without having heard of him. A veteran session guitarist, Louie Shelton played on a slew of million-selling records during his three decades in Los Angeles. His credits include female vocalists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Gladys Knight, and Whitney Houston; soul stars James Brown, Smokey Robinson, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and the Jackson Five; blues legends Otis Spann, Solomon Burke, and T-Bone Walker; male vocalists Joe Cocker, Kenny Rogers, Neil Diamond, and Michael McDonald.
He’s responsible for the instantly recognizable guitar riff on the Monkees’ “Last Train to Clarksville” and the virtuoso runs on “Valleri.” He played on Boz Scaggs’ career-defining album Silk Degrees (Columbia, 1976) with the Grammy-winning song “Lowdown.” He knew Elvis Presley and was in the studio with Phil Spector and John Lennon. He also produced a string of gold and platinum albums for Seals & Crofts, including Summer Breeze (Warner Bros., 1972), an exquisitely produced classic that remained on the charts for 100 weeks.
After decades spent making others sound good, in 1995 he finally put his production expertise to use on a solo instrumental album. Thanks to his funky groove, his mastery of an extraordinarily wide range of styles and techniques, and his producer’s ear, this jazz guitar album has a great groove, lots of energy and considerable commercial appeal. His crisp and highly rhythmic adaptation of Wes Montgomery’s octave style is noteworthy, and makes all his solo releases easy to enjoy.
His induction into the Musicians Hall of Fame provided the perfect backdrop for this conversation about his remarkable musical career.
Susan shares stories from her amazing career: meeting Johnny Cash as a child, hanging out in Willie Nelson’s bus with him and Les Paul, her tears when listening to Eric Clapton rehearsing with Derek Trucks, sitting on BB King’s lap, and much more!
The 2010 launch of the Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band brought together two of the brightest talents on the contemporary music scene.
This interview took place just after Susan and Derek announced the launch of their new band and their intention to take some time off. I was so grateful that she made an exception and granted me this interview during her down time.
Barbara Dennerlein is a superlative Hammond B3 player, the first person honored as Germany’s Ambassador of Jazz. On the week of her fortieth birthday German television did a retrospective and rebroadcast several concerts she had done over the years, and she was invited to be the sole studio guest on a special “Best of” show with Harold Schmidt [Germany’s David Letterman.]
She’s recorded with an eighty piece orchestra, but she is also at home doing a funky concert as a duo with organ and drums. She’s aware of her musical legacy and the reputation she’s established, but she’s also open to challenges outside of jazz — from Bach to blues.