Monthly Archives: January 2017
Sweden’s Carl Mörner Ringström is not the first musician I’ve interviewed whose parents were music teachers, but there the similarities end. He got his first electric guitar at the age of seven, and although his father is a classical guitarist, the son was determined to master the instrument on his own. He spent the next four years in his room with the door closed learning to tune and play guitar by listening to Eddie van Halen – a decision which gave him his unique approach to jazz. He discovered jazz when he began formal musical training in the Swedish school system, but continued to play in several rock and metal bands.
His band, the CMJ Quartet, won the Swedish Youth Jazz Competition in 2004, and in 2015 he was nominated and performed at the BMW World Jazz Award concert in Munich, Germany. He’s a graduate of the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen, Denmark. He’s played extensively throughout Europe, and spent time in Asia, and New York City. As is the case with many young jazz artists, he plays and records in a series of fluid partnerships and combinations, gives private instruction, and teaches on the college level.
During the interview we also preview his latest album, on which his metal roots can also be heard.
On this episode I speak with all three guitarists from The Ringers: Jimmy Herring, Wayne Krantz, & Michael Landau, plus their fantastic drummer, Keith Carlock. The band brings together five extraordinary musicians, world class players who collectively have recorded and toured with many of the best known and most respected artists on the planet. Steely Dan, Michael Jackson, Bonnie Raitt, Seal, Sting, Joni Mitchell, John Mayer, James Taylor, the Allman Brothers Band and m.m.
These are musicians’ musicians, guys who put the music first, and who want to have fun on stage playing to people who love music.
Jim Hart is one of the hottest young musicians on the U.K. jazz scene. His musicianship elicited this praise from vibes heavyweight Joe Locke: “Some of the best music I’ve heard in a long time. Definitely the best vibes playing I’ve heard in a long time.”
He was awarded the John Dankworth “Most Promising Musician” award in the BBC Big Band of the Year competition for his drumming, and his skill as a vibraphonist earned him the British Jazz Award for “Rising Star” in 2006, and for miscellaneous instrument (vibes) in 2007.
In addition to fronting two different bands under his own name, he is also a much sought-after sideman. His recordings have earned him rave reviews from the Guardian, the BBC, and All About Jazz, and foreshadow a bright future.
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 induction into the Musicians Hall of Fame provided the perfect backdrop for this conversation about his remarkable musical career.
Or read the print version. This is my most read and most recommended print interview.
A string of Grammy-nominated albums, along with her appearance on Austin City Limits, established Susan Tedeschi as one of today’s premiere blues artists. On top of that, she’s performed in front of millions of music lovers by headlining numerous festivals and opening for music legends like B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Bob Dylan, The Allman Brothers Band, and the Rolling Stones.
Her appeal extends well beyond the blues. For example, she and her husband, Grammy-winning guitarist Derek Trucks, were asked to join Wayne Shorter as Herbie Hancock’s special guests at his Seven Decades Birthday Celebration at the Hollywood Bowl, on Sept. 1, 2010.
The 2010 launch of the Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band brings 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.
Or read the print version
Jerry Jemmott’s groove is the bedrock of B.B. King’s career defining hit, “The Thrill is Gone.” He was in the studio with Duane Allman and Wilson Pickett recording “Hey Jude,” a track that was instrumental in launching Duane’s musical career; and they were together again for Herbie Mann’s Push Push (Atlantic, 1971), Duane’s first and only jazz sessions, and the last full album he recorded prior to his death. He was also there on December 13, 1968, when Mike Bloomfield called an unknown Johnny Winter, up onstage at the Fillmore East—a Friday the 13th that turned out to be Winter’s lucky day.
He was with singer Aretha Franklin when she conquered San Francisco’s hippie community at the Fillmore West in March of 1971.
Jerry Jemmott’s blues credits are truly remarkable: in addition to B.B. King, Freddie King, Mike Bloomfield, Duane Allman, Otis Rush, Johnny Winter, Warren Haynes, and Derek Trucks, there’s his legendary association with Cornell Dupree, Bernard Purdie, and King Curtis. And of course there’s his collaboration with Jaco Pastorius.
In this extensive interview Jerry speaks about all this, as well as his wide-ranging session work for Atlantic Records, and his current gig with blues/rock legend Gregg Allman.
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.
Chuck Leavell is one of the world’s premier blues rock pianists—a veteran musician who has recorded and toured with many of the best-known names in the business. He is perhaps best known for his work with the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, The Black Crowes, and his legendary years with the Allman Brothers Band in the ’70s.
He’s a phenomenal musician who’s been part of so much musical history. In 2008 Chuck did an extensive career retrospective interview with me for All About Jazz, you can hear about 60% below, (about an hour and 15 minutes.)
Or read the print version
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.
Or you can read the print version:
Derek is a consummate musician, he has been on the cover of Down Beat and Rolling Stone; he’s been profiled in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal; he’s toured with Clapton and Santana; he’s guested on recordings with J.J. Cale, Elvin Bishop, Buddy Guy, and David Sanborn; he’s done a DVD with McCoy Tyner, Ron Carter, and Jack DeJohnette; and he and his wife performed at the White House with B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Mick Jagger, and m.m..
Here is the audio of the second half of my feature interview with Derek for All About Jazz. From his earliest guest appearance on stage with the Allman Brothers Band to his duets with Eric Clapton and lots more!
Read the full print interview