Jim Rotondi: Trumpet Man Seeking New Pleasures
AAJ: Yeah, the whole record really lives up to its title in terms of the diversity of material and grooves.
JR: That whole band came together based on what [producer] Gerry Teekens and I had talked about. We both had some ideas about people that we had always wanted me to work with. I think he wanted Bill Stewart and I was glad to do it because I had thought about doing a quartet date with Larry Goldings' trio some time ago. Gerry then suggested Sam Yahel because Larry lives in California and so it was logistically easier to have Sam do it. And then I have more musical associations with Peter Bernstein than any of the other guys on the date. We've done a fair amount of things together over the years.
AAJ: I like that you have picked a few more tunes that don't get done on a regular basis, like "Firewater" and that Duke Pearson line. I'm a big fan of Pearson's writing.
JR: You know I recall reading a few years back where someone called Duke Pearson the most underrated composer on the Blue Note label.
AAJ: Makes sense to me. Now let's go back and touch on some bio information. You're from Montana and I'm guessing there's not a lot jazz-wise going on there. How long did you stay there?
JR: Only as long as I had to (he laughs).
AAJ: I mean, I've been out there and there's not much going on.
JR: Yeah it would be a negative number in terms of the musical thing. I left there when I graduated from high school, but I was fortunate because I had so much music in my family so I was not completely devoid and was set in the right direction before I left.
AAJ: So you went to college and studied music?
JR: I went to the University of Oregon but I was basically spending my father's tuition money on records at the time. But seriously, I hadn't declared a major and he was kind of wondering about it. But there was this little record store in Eugene, which is still there, that sells all used vinyl for really cheap so I would go down there at least twice or three times a week. So that was my big vinyl time.
AAJ: Do you still have all those records?
JR: I have all of it and I'll never give it away either. I mean, I still think they sound better.
AAJ: Well, my turntable is always spinning so I can relate.
JR: Yeah, I have a Rega P2 and since buying that I've kind of re-discovered my vinyl because of it. I had a pretty bad turntable before this one and Peter Washington set me in the right direction because you know he's a serious audiophile.
AAJ: Very interesting, I didn't know that about Peter. Well before we go too far off topic, is there anything else that you'd like to mention about upcoming gigs, record dates or whatever?
JR: Well, speaking about Chris Potter, who I don't get to really play with hardly ever, we're doing a Bird tribute at Smoke the weekend of August 27th and 28th with Anthony Wonsey and Willie Jones and we'd love to have people know about that. I think it's going to be happenin' and it's a small club so come and hang out. Other than that, you know I'm just glad to be in business.
Visit Jim Rotondi on the web at www.jimrotondi.com .
C. Andrew Hovan