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.
NOTE 2018: If you prefer to read, this interview is now available in print form on my Steemit page here, or on the Internet’s most popular jazz website AllAboutJazz here.
Here are the videos which accompany the interviews.
John McLaughlin, Jimmy Herring, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks
Alex Machecek, John Scofield, Scott Sharrad, Louie Shelton
Ronny Jordan, Devon Allman, Eliot Lewis, Oz Noy
Carl Mörner Ringström, Joey Molland, Michael Lee Firkins, Ray Russell
Oteil Burbridge, Etienne Mbappe, Jerry Jemmott, Nathan East
Chuck Leavell, Barbara Dennerlein, Jon Batiste, Matthias Bublath,
Gary Husband, Matt Slocum
Jaimoe, Jeff Sipe
Various Instruments Interviews
Anne Drummond, Jim Hart, Rod Melancon, The Ringers: Jimmy Herring, Mike Landau, Wanye Krantz, Kieth Carlock
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
On this episode I speak with flutist Anne Drummond. Born and raised in Seattle, she attended the same high school as Qunicy Jones and Jimi Hendrix, and at age 18 she arrived in New York with a scholarship to study piano at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music. She quickly made the transition to working musician when she brought her flute to class. Her piano instructor, the legendary Kenny Barron, quickly had her in the recording studio and recruited her for his band. She ended up out front on tour and played on several of his albums.
She also tour and recorded with the sensational vibraphonist Stehpon Harris. I first learned of her through her impressive work with Matthias Bublath, including the album on which the theme song of talking2musicians appears. She’s a lot of fun, and an impressive talent, so I hope you enjoy the interview, and her new album Revolving which we also preview. Interview Notes
Alex Machacek is an Austrian born jazz fusion guitarist who has been based in Los Angeles for nearly a decade. He’s been described as the next John McLaughlin, which, given his musical abilities is not an unreasonable assertion, but he is not the next anyone, he’s an artist with his own voice and vision. The blistering speed of his playing is matched by a commitment to serve the music. His music is varied, at times tender, emotive and reflective, at times playful, and occasionally angular and harsh. His approach is unorthodox and creative.
This hour long interview touches upon his training, development, influences and approach, with samples from his latest recording, FAT (short for Fabulous Austrian Trio.)
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. They are about to embark on their first tour which will begin on Feb. 19th in Athens, Georgia –get the lastest tour dates here. It is a rare treat to see three of the most gifted guitarists on the planet together on stage in the same band, backed up by an equally talented drummer and bassist. If you’re on the East Coast, you don’t want to miss this!!!
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.
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.