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All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Interviews

Daniel Carter, Reuben Radding and Gregg Keplinger

By Published: February 6, 2005

AAJ: That's as I recall, yeah.

GK: But I think Chicago was the bigger market. It was a little more risque for the audience and it had a draw that way too.

RR: Well, and then they recorded there. What started to happen was they started to get the draw of exoticism, that "exotic black music."

GK: Think of it, hearing that the first time. That stuff is some deep stuff.

DC: They had the whole country jumping with big band music, music coming out of ragtime stuff. It's like all of that music was more popular than anything else, than if someone came up with some artistic challenge. It was very much integrated with what people wanted to go and hear.

GK: Well it was dance, too.

RR: Yeah, as soon as jazz stopped being a dance music and became a concert music that's when its decline in popularity began.

GK: That and the advent of the jukebox and the radio and all that crap, you know.

RR: The two and a half minute format.

GK: And then not to mention television.

AAJ: And rock and roll.

GK: Rock is a good extension of it but it sure got stupid over the last few years.

RR: Yeah, I mean rock and roll has also given a lot back to jazz and creative music. I know it has actually hugely influenced myself, and lots of people who are coming to this music now came out of rock rather than coming from jazz. That's real exciting to me because it further widens what this music draws on for its sounds and material. It's no longer the property of one kind of thing. It used to be with improvisational music you either came from the jazz side of things or from the classical side of things and found your way into the out music. Now I see it blending from so many things.

DC: There was probably a lot of rhythm and blues stuff that people were doing coming into jazz. From the beginning of rock, I mean it sort of depends on what you mean by rock, but as rock became - I don't know if it was marketing - but became like more white guys playing rock, it seemed like a lot of those guys were really carrying the ball on a lot of blues elements and evolving something that a lot of people obviously were checking out. And that meant that a lot of people were checking out some kind of evolution of the blues in that sphere while a lot of the stuff that became soul music, disco, and funk was developing blues the way it developed it. I think now, I'm talking about in New York, a lot of the young people develop through the rock thing I mean as rock moved into punk, different kinds of noise. I don't even know what you call all of these different musics.

GK: Well, I think that created a wide interest of a younger age group in this kind of music, in hip hop and bass and drums.

RR: It's because they're open to the sound of this not being like show tunes.

DC: I would really like to know because I haven't really gotten into hip hop and stuff, I often wonder how much those guys are really into jazz. I know to a significant degree they are but there seem to be some hindrances when you go from one market category to another.

RR: All of these terms were invented just to market records you know.

DC: I remember when I was in a recording space and it was real late, around one or two in the morning, and these hip hop dudes came in. This was probably in the early '90s and what I felt when I saw these guys was, "Man, you all brought some stuff!" I felt that they did their part by bringing in some rejuvenation, even of jazz too, even though a lot of jazz dudes didn't want to hear these guys.

GK: They're pushing the envelope. That's what is so cool about the younger players. They're going for different sounds.

DC: The DJs and the turntables.

GK: Yeah. I mean a DJ would be nutty in this thing.

RR: I have played with DJs in improvised jazz. When they're really good it's like any musician. They're using their ears.

DC: One thing about DJs is that they are tremendous teachers just by doing what they do because they collect so many records, man. They might listen to Kate Smith or somebody or like some country music, classical, or different kinds of sound effects. There's all kinds of stuff! And when you play with that stuff in addition to doing something that's happening, to be presented, you're like, "Wow, man. I've never heard this before!" (Laughter) It's like a lesson in music history or something.

AAJ: So do you guys think that this stuff draws on any influences that you can think of?

DC: I'll just get the simple part out of the way. In terms of what I was inspired by in high school it was like Mingus, Brubeck, Paul Desmond, Sonny Rollins. My mother brought one Charlie Parker record into the house so I played that one over and over. There was Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderly, Ornette Coleman, Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor. I probably left people out but those influences are to me like a foundation, especially in the jazz area. But then in the pop field in the '50s you had rockabilly playing on the radio, you had sha-boom sha-boom, you had Pat Boone.

GK: Tommy Dorsey. Remember "So Rare?" Isn't that a pretty song? That's alto sax, man.

DC: And of course you had all of the so-called doo wop groups. I don't remember anybody calling them doo wop groups then.

GK: No way. (Laughter)

DC: The Beatles. Bob Dylan. The Temptations. James Brown. The Kinks. Louie Louie, man.

RR: Did we leave anything out?

DC: You know, there is just so much stuff man. And then when you would turn on the TV when TV first came out there was some guys with some cowboy hats and some fiddles and some steel guitars.

GK: Strictly from squaresville.

(The room erupts with laughter.)

RR: As listeners you absorb all of these things and then you play this stuff and it's not like, "Well, now we're choosing to boil it down to this thing." It's like this stuff is just coming through and regarding some of the things we just talked about, we may not be conscious of when it is coming through and when it's not.

DC: And not to mention on influences - this guy (gestures to Keplinger), he's an influence now! I'm saying, "Wow, man. Check this stuff out."

GK: Thank you.

DC: This cat's an influence man (gestures to Radding), and there are waves of dudes and a few chicks you know. When hardcore punk hit New York that stuff was massive. These cats were like rhythmic modulation, like Elliott Carter. These guys were bad! I just mentioned that because of our kind of system, certain people get the chance to be "the people." But right now I have started a motto. I know I didn't start it but every once in a while it comes around. It's like six billion people, what a heck of an influence they all are!

(The room erupts with laughter.)

GK: That's awesome!

DC: The good, the bad and the ugly - what an influence!

Photo Credit
B&W by Jack Gold



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