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Interviews

Kenny Rankin: From the Heart

By Published: June 9, 2009
AAJ: Do you look at the future of the music world optimistically? Some jazz musicians are not optimistic. You don't rely on that. You can play a jazz room, but you can be outside it too.

KR: The technology has so changed things for the good and for the band. Expanded things. Broadened things. On the one hand you have digital sampling stuff that gave rise to urban music and the technology that's been utilized in that regard in rap music, in hip-hop. Which is very cool. Ellington said there's two kinds of music, good and bad. Where's the line between? Then it comes down to individual taste. I keep and open mind and an open heart and I listen to whatever comes in. I don't seek it out. I don't try and critique it. I don't try and break it down. What does it do to me?

Technology has given people a lot of opportunities. It's also taken away a lot of opportunities for people that might not go in that direction. In the music business in general, there are radio stations that have been playing the same kind of music for years. I know there's a lot of music being made—and good stuff. Because I hear it in the clubs. But it hasn't been on the airwaves, because it comes down to commercial time and what's the advertisement. And I stop right there. I don't go into that. I love to hear beautiful music. I love to hear rockin' music. I used to clean the house to ZZ Top, Eddie VanHalen. I love that stuff. These guys are good. They got something going on. Dr. John.

Where's the music business going? I've never known the answer to that one. And I kind of like not knowing. It becomes more of an adventure. I've never tried to accommodate or placate or patronize an audience by playing what I "think" they want to hear. I've been so lucky and so blessed to enjoy the work that I've chosen to do and have an audience appreciate that effort. I'm very lucky to be able to say that and experience that.

And I don't take it lightly. The invitation that I get on a daily basis from an audience who've invited me into their evening, I don't take that lightly. That's big stuff. Is it humble? No, it's real, man. It's real stuff.


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