Category Archives: Interview Notes
Nathan East is one of the world’s premiere session musicians. He’s perhaps best known as Eric Clapton’s favorite bass player, but that’s also Nathan on Michael Jackson’s “Bad” and Daft Punk’s recent Grammy winning album. Of course he’s a founding member of the highly successful jazz group Fourplay.
Some of his other credits include: Anita Baker, Herbie Hancock, Babyface, B.B. King, George Harrison, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Savage Garden, Sting, Quincy Jones, Al Jarreau, Kenny Loggins, and The Manhattan Transfer.
His debut self-titled album will be released March 25, 2014, with guest appearances by Michael McDonald, Sara Bareilles, Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Kazumasa Oda, Bob James, Chuck Loeb, Ray Parker, Jr., David Paich and his son Noah East.
Guitarist Mike Seal first caught my attention at the end of 2014 as part of the Jeff Sipe Trio. At that time I described him as an extraordinarily talented young musician, an assessment shared by many, including the legendary dobro virtuoso Jerry Douglas. This summer the three time winner of the Country Music Association’s Musician of the Year award invited Mike Seal to join his band. At the beginning of this exciting new chapter in his musical journey, it seemed like an ideal time to speak with him.
Mike has been active on the Southern music scene for over ten years, touring with The Jeff Sipe Trio, The Black Lillies, The Jeff Coffin Mu’tet, and sharing the stage with musicians such as Kofi Burbridge, Oteil Burbridge, Col. Bruce Hampton, a.m.m.
Mike’s grandfather was a gifted self taught gospel guitarist in rural Virginia, and his older brother, Rob Seal, is a multi-instrumentalist (guitar/mandolin/violin/banjo) who is active on the bluegrass music scene. Mike is married to Megan Lovell who is a very accomplished lap steel and dobro player. She and her sister Rebecca front the popular Americana roots band Larkin Poe. The band frequently tours with Elvis Costello, and has opened for the Tedeschi Trucks Band.
During the interview he solves the mystery of his unique technique, talks about his influences, and his trial by fire initiation into the Jerry Douglas Band at the Bluegrass Festival this past summer in Telluride, Colorado, a.m.m. There are several audio clips which showcase his remarkable musicianship and the breadth of his musical interests – jazz, bluegrass, and even two classical pieces. I’m eagerly anticipating an album from this extraordinarily talented musician.
Hit the play button to listen, or click R on the guitar pick icon to download the mp3
Interview related videos
Below — Jeff Sipe Trio with Mike Seal, Taylor Lee bass, Jeff Sipe drums
Mike Seal on guitar with the Jeff Coffin Mu’tet in 2011, playing “L’Esperance” by Felix Pastorius (bass) and Jeff Coffin (sax)
Mike Seal with The Black Lillies
The Jerry Douglas Band with Mike Seal on guitar
Mike Seal playing J.S. Bach
Mike Seal and Jonathan Keeney playing Girl with the Flaxen Hair by Claude Debussy
Mike’s wife is Megan Lovell (lap steel guitar) of the band Larkin Poe.
(look close and you’ll see Mike riding in the back of the truck.)
Here are some clips of the stunningly talented Mark O’Connor, can’t thank Mike enough for turning me on to him.
And a fantastic blues player to boot!
Talk about a strange coincidence, during the interview I mentioned to Mike that Dan Seals 1985 song “Headin’ West” was the first time I heard Jerry Douglas play. Here’s is a clip from the 90s of Jerry Douglas and Dan Seals doing that song — but instead of Jim “Moose” Brown on guitar, it’s Mark O’Connor on fiddle!
The great Phil Baugh mentioned in the interview
Mentioned in interview TTB backstage with Jerry Douglas & Taj Mahal
Jeff Healey’s amazing 5 finger technique
Appearing at the Latitude Music Festival was Zayn’s prize for winning the 2016 season of the UK Sky Arts TV series Guitar Star. Rock producer Tony Visconti, of David Bowie fame, welcomed him to the stage as, “an incredible performer, a consummate artist, great guitarist, great musician and a visionary!” George Benson, who like Visconti was a judge and mentor on the series, appeared via video on the stage screens with these words, “Zayn has a been an outstanding performer, because he shows what guitar is all about. Its about invention, it’s about personality…he’s truly a star.”
Once on stage he embodied two seemingly incongruous qualities, humility and rock star cool. For the television viewer it seemed like a dream come true situation for the young jazz guitarist – as he played the director intermittently cut to slow motion closeups of various teenage girls in the crowd swaying to his music. It was a joyous and well deserved culmination of an arduous competition. Unseen by viewers was the harrowing experience he endured, which is the stuff from which musicians’ nightmares spring.
After graduating from Berklee College of Music, Zayn spent some years in New York City honing his craft before returning to London. Shortly thereafter his London flat was burglarized and all of his laptops, computers, and hard drives were stolen. Yet another nightmare for a musician – in an instant years of work and irreplaceable media were lost. With nothing left to lose, he auditioned for Guitar Star and emerged as the clear winner.
Clearly, he’s been tested, but also blessed. After he left the stage at Latitude, Melvin Benn, the festival’s founder, told Zayn he wasn’t made for the little stage, he was made for the big stage. His perceptive observation was spot on, a delicate flower would have withered in that intensity. Not only did Zayn survive, he clearly thrived. Subtle, intense, emotive, inspired, inventive, resilient, resourceful, passionate, eclectic, and continuously evolving – that’s Zayn Mohammed. Life has given him an exciting fresh start, and I’m eagerly anticipating the next chapters of his musical adventure.
Listen below to part 1 ZAYN’S GUITAR EXPERIENCE —
Listen below to part 2 THE MAIN INTERVIEW —
Below interview related videos
Zayn playing Breezin’ for George Benson
Below is 12 y.o. Zayn on Sky Television in the UK
Below Zayn in 2013 testing a Godin Nylon String @ Guitar Center playing Nardis
Below Zayn as a student @ the 2013 Berklee Folk Festival –
1. MANOUCHE/GYPSY JAZZ (GUITAR) : “Danse Norvigienne” – Django Reinhardt
(2nd Guitar: Mike Bono, Violin: Patrick McGonigle)
2. NORTH/INDIAN FUSION (SAROD) : “Lotus Feet” – Shakti
(Piano: Nicolo Ielasi. Tabla – Kabir Uppal)
Below Zayn as a student @ the 2013 Berklee Folk Festival – Part 2 playing Oud
The great Lenny Breau mentioned by Zayn
Below MonoNeon (thanks to Zayn for this great tip)
Below back in their student days at Berklee, MonoNeon and Zayn
Mentioned by Zayn, Bireli Lagrene and Sylvain Luc
Bireli Lagrene (Gypsy Project) – Place De Broukere (Samois 2002)
We spoke about Dave Brubeck not reading music (for four more interesting facts read the rest @ mentalfloss.com Here’s the 1srt of their 5 things you didn’t know about Dave Brubeck
Brubeck enrolled at what’s now University of the Pacific in 1938 with plans to study veterinary medicine. He eventually switched his major to music, though, and he tore through his classes until he had to enroll in keyboard instruction his senior year. At that point, Brubeck had to admit to his professor that he couldn’t read a single note of music, even though he played jazz as well as anyone.
Brubeck’s professor and dean informed him that they couldn’t let a student graduate with a music degree if he couldn’t read music. Brubeck shrugged off their worries by saying he didn’t care about reading music; he just wanted to play jazz. Brubeck’s other teachers protested that he was a very gifted musician even if he couldn’t read music, so the dean cut a deal with the jazz man: Brubeck could graduate, but only if he promised never to teach music and embarrass the school by revealing his shortcoming. Brubeck later laughingly told the website JazzWax, “I kept that promise ever since, even when I was starving.”
Here is someone else mentioned who doesn’t read music, but can play just about anything on guitar. Here’s yet another side of Louie Shelton doin’ some chicken picken
Zayn mentioned he felt Derek Trucks was a kindred spirit after hearing this song.
Another of Zayn’s major influences — John McLaughlin with Shakti, 4th Dimension, and Remember Shakti with the late great Shrinivas
Another big influence Tigran Hamasyan
Zayn mentioned Jan Garbarek as a huge influence, but I didn’t recognize the name — seeing it, it then looked familiar. And stored away on vinyl I even have an LP :-O
The saxophonist who recorded in Africa whose name escaped me is Pharoah Sanders. (the name of the album is: Maleem Mahmoud Ghania-The Trance Of Seven Colors with Pharoah Sanders.)
If you search YouTube for “hammond b3 organ jazz” and sort by view count, not only does she occupy the top two spots, but an astounding four of the top five videos! Even if you eliminate “jazz” from your search, she’s at number two just behind Billy Preston, and she still has two videos in the top five.
Fittingly, in 2014 she was inducted into the freshman class of the Hammond Hall of Fame. First round inductees were identified as the pioneers, innovators, and trailblazers who possessed “The Sound,” “The Soul,” and were “The One.” The sound signified that candidates had an immediately recognizable personal style and sound that had become influential over time. The soul signified that inductees had integrated the use of the Hammond in a unique way in whatever genre they represented. The one signified that inductees were identified primarily as Hammond players.
Now the YouTube B3 sensation has released a HQ DVD, and she’s been busy with interesting projects since we last spoke (you’ll find those interviews if you scroll further down this page.) As usual, there are plenty of audio clips for your enjoyment.
To listen to the interview click the play button or download the MP3
BONUS AUDIO — As mentioned in the interview above, while still a teenager, Barbara played an unrehearsed gig in a Munich jazz club with two English musicians from the Hugo Strasser Band (Alan Waterson /drums and Eric Stevens / bass.) Recorded at the Schwabinger Spritzen on April 9, 1983 by Hans Dennerlein. May only be used with the permission of http://www.barbaradennerlein.com
Scroll to the bottom of the page for related videos
BARBARA DENNERLEIN (earlier interview from 2012)
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 Harald 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.
YOU CAN WATCH THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW (2012)
READ OUR EXTENSIVE CAREER RETROSPECTIVE INTERVIEW @ ALL ABOUT JAZZ (sorry no audio available) This is one of my most read interviews.
Videos related to 2016 Interview
4 of the top 5 search results for “Hammond B3 Organ Jazz” when sorted by view count
Start watching closely 25 seconds into this clip and you will see the “mysterious head” appear — which was mentioned during the interview.
Clip about the Christmas Soul album
Mentioned in the interview, her first national TV appearance
Mentioned in the interview, Ohne Filter
Mentioned in the interview, ZDF Jazzclub
Matt Slocum is a prominent keyboardist on the Southern music scene, best known for his work with Oteil Burbridge, the Lee Boys, and Susan Tedeschi and his role as Jimmy Herring’s go-to keyboard player. Last year he was recruited by Bruce Hampton to join the Aquarium Rescue Unit’s 30 year anniversary tour. He’s also a member of the band King Baby, who just finished recording their first album which will be released this fall on Abstract Logix.
He was born in Massachusetts, where he began studying classical piano at an early age. As a teenager he moved to Alabama and continued his musical education at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. At the 1991 Berklee College of Music Summer Performance Program he was ranked among the the top ten of the attendees.
We get into all of that and more, and listen to some audio of Matt’s superb musicianship playing with Jimmy Herring, Bruce Hampton, and King Baby.
Play audio or download mp3
Matt Slocum, Susan Tedeschi with the Lee Boys doing “Joyful Noise” by the Derek Trucks Band
Robbie McIntosh who started out on classical guitar
Friedrich Gulda & Zawinul
Barbara Dennerlein, Mitch Watkins, Dennis Chambers
With a musical career that spans five decades and as many continents, John McLaughlin has established himself as one of the premier guitarists on the world stage. At the age of 73 his youthful vigor is nothing short of astounding. If he’s not touring with one of his two working bands, chances are he’s either preparing for his next tour, or he’s in the recording studio, or he’s embarking on a new project that has captured his imagination. He continues to thrill audiences with his virtuosity, intensity, and high energy style; all of which are on full display on his soon to be released album Black Light – already the top selling album in the category jazz fusion on Amazon. Listening to it you can understand why he calls the 4th Dimension the best band he’s ever had.
When we spoke he was at home doing some press work and getting a little R&R before embarking on a tour of Asia. When he answered the telephone he said he had just finished an in depth interview dealing with his musical history, but fortunately I had already decided to use this opportunity to explore the magic of music and creativity and ask about some of the insights he has gleaned during his long and rich musical journey. It turned out to be a serendipitous decision that pushed the right buttons. Unbeknownst to me, the title of his album essentially came about as he pondered such questions, and as a result he was energized and highly engaged throughout our conversation. Click play to listen, or download the mp3.
Scroll to the bottom to see the related videos
Earlier interview with John
McLaughlin, Barot & Mbappe remember Mandolin Shrinivas
The legendary guitarist John McLaughlin and two of his extraordinarily talented band mates from The 4th Dimension remember fellow musician U. Shrinivas, who played electric mandolin with John McLaughlin in the formation Remember Shakti. Shrinivas passed away in September of 2014 (New York Times Obituary.)
Recently Shrinivas, Barot, and Mbappe had formed a trio which explored a fusion of African and Indian music. In this interview John McLaughlin shares his memories of Shrinivas, and Ranjit Barot and Etienne Mbappe talk about their work on the album Bombay Makossa that they recorded with Shrinivas, and we preview several tracks from the new album.
Oteil Burbridge is one of the most respected bass players on the Southern music scene. He is an original member of the cult band Aquarium Rescue Unit led my Col. Bruce Hampton, who are regrouping for a reunion tour this summer. He was the original bass player in the Tedeschi Trucks Band, and he received a Grammy lifetime achievement award for his 17 year stint with the legendary Allman Brothers Band.
He departed the TTB in order to start a family and he is now the very proud father of a healthy baby boy. To spend more time with his family he is selective about touring and has really been mixing it up these past few years.
If you’ve listened to my interviews with John Scofield, Jimmy Herring, Derek Trucks, and Jeff Sipe you know his name has come up several times. He is all about the music and it was a treat to finally talk to the man himself.
Aquarium Rescue Unit with guests Kofi Burbridge on flute and Chuck Leavell on piano
Roosevelt Collier, Derrick Lee, Kofi Burbridge, Oteil Burbridge & Anthony Cole
Oteil in the movie Being There with Peter Sellers — he appears about 4 minutes into the clip.
Oteil on Studio Jams #7 doing “Butter Biscuit”
Oteil with the ABB
BB King & Bobby Blue Bland mentioned in the interview
Kofi & Oteil join Soulive on stage
Jaco Pastorius – Bass Solo Montreal Jazz Festival 80
Joni Mitchell & Jaco mentioned by Oteil
Many of you will recognize him from the theme music here @ talking2musicians. Well, it’s 2015 and he has just released his 8th album, “Eight Cylider” which we preview during this interview.
He is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and after spending several years in New York honing his skills, he returned to his native Munich as one of the hottest players on the vibrant Munich jazz scene.
He’s an excellent player, but it is the range and richness of his compositional prowess I find especially striking. Listen in to discover why he happens to be one of my favorite contemporary jazz composers.
Read an earlier biographical interview
Jeff Sipe is a drummer based in Asheville, North Carolina. For decades he has been a conspicuous presence on the Southern Music scene. He was an original member of the Aquarium Rescue Unit, and the phenomenal trio Hellborg, Lane, & Sipe. He’s known as Jimmy Herring’s go-to drummer, and he can be found in all kinds of fluid combinations. After I heard the recent release by the Jeff Sipe Trio I knew I needed to speak with him.
Jeff has enlisted the aid of two extraordinarily talented young musicians, Mike Seal on guitar and Taylor Lee on bass, and I can’t praise the three of them enough. The playing, the arrangements, the music — everything comes together and works on several levels. Each is a musician who remains true to his own artistic vision, and it’s clear they are in sync with where they want to go musically. That’s the foundation of an excellent album.
During the interview we’ll preview four tracks from the album, and Jeff also shares some stories about people like Steve Vai, Frank Zappa, Kevin Eubanks, Bill Frisell, Jimmy Herring, teenage Derek Trucks, and explains what makes Oteil Burbridge such a remarkable bassist.
A native of Liverpool, England, Joey Molland is the sole remaining member of the group Badfinger from their most successful period in the early 1970s. He shared lead guitar duties with Pete Ham, wrote songs, and sang. This is an in depth interview in two parts.
In part one he shares memories of his early years in Liverpool, seeing the Beatles at the Cavern Club, playing guitar on the street corner on Penny Lane, working the local clubs, and joining Badfinger and recording with George Harrison as the group’s producer. We also talk about slide guitar and various recordings.
In part two he shares memories of playing at Madison Square Garden on the Concert for Bangladesh, doing session work at John Lennon’s house on the Imagine album, and much more. We also preview his recent album Return To Memphis.
Mentioned by Joey, the Rollings Stones manager caught his band doing this song at the Blue Angel in Liverpool and brought them to London to record it. It did make the charts and the band played on the television program Ready, Steady, Go along with the Rolling Stones seen below in a very unusual clip.
Shortly after joining Badfinger Joey on an early television appearance, although this was recorded prior to his arrival in the band (notice he is holding a bass guitar.)
Joey’s song Sweet Tuesday Morning
Joey’s song Suitcase
Badfinger performing Take it All
Todd Rundgren revisits the same song (which he produced) four decades later.
Discussed in the interview Concert for Bangladesh
The perfect song for the final scenes of Breaking Bad