Adam Rogers Discusses His Imminent Debut Release and More
AAJ: I'd say you've achieved that. I mean when you're up there with Mike swapping 64 bars'
AR: It's very inspiring to play with him.
AAJ: I've talked to some pretty heavy cats that are inspired by you, like Dave Gilmore and Fiuczynski'pretty high compliments
AR: Well, those guys are really good friends. I keep them on salary to say stuff like that.
AAJ: Tell us about your bop side versus your fusion side. I mean, I'm sure subsets of folks know you from each camp but not necessarily both. Not to mention the other stuff you do, like Klezmer, etc. Maybe you want to touch on what you feel is some of your best work on each side, notwithstanding the whole categorization trip. I first heard you with Lost Tribe. Was that a co- project?
AR: Myself and Ben Perowsky and Fima Ephron started playing trio in 1988. I've known and been playing with Ben since my mid-teens since we both grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I grew up on 90th and Broadway. Ben and I were in Music and Art high school together and we started playing with his dad, who is a saxophonist. We'd play duos too. Frank Perowsky has played with all kinds of people like Liza Minelli, Buddy Rich an countless Broadway shows. He's been a working musician in New York since the 50's..and he's a great saxophonist. So we started with Fima, who's a phenomenal bassist and someone I've been playing with for 15 years. Then Dave Binney, who I knew from gigs, and his first record, joined. Then, Rachel Z played with us for a little while. We also used to do gigs with Joey Calderazzo at Mikell's, and then a woman named Glenna Powrie (keys) played with us and then David Gilmore joined the band. We made two records, the first in 1994 with Dave Gilmore, who is just one of my favorite players in the world- it was so great to play with him for the years we did. Then he left the band and we continued as a quartet and we made a record for the New York based label, Arabesque, 'Many Lifetimes'. So it was always the base of me, Ben, Fima and Dave, and that's how it ended up as well, when we finally stopped, in Spring of '99.
AAJ: I saw you guys open up for MMW in Boston, fall of '94.
AR: Actually that was a co-billed tour. We swapped opening and closing spots. Some of my favorite moments were with those guys. As happens with a group of musicians you play with for over ten years, there were moments of unbelievable music we made together. I mean, I like the records a lot, but gigs that we did'we evolved a kind of a language together that only happens over time.
AAJ: Well, I'm still waitin' on that double live cd (laughs).
AR: Maybe one day. On the electric jazz side if things, I've played with Bill Evans, the saxophonist, on and off, for a few years'we did a week last year at the Blue Note. I did a little work with the Brecker Brothers toward the end of their last incarnation. I've played on Randy's last two cds 'Into the Sun', a Brazilian fusion record, and the last one, 'Hangin' in the City'. I've been mostly playing more straight ahead or acoustic music for the last few years. I also do many record dates in New York, part of which are straight up pop.
AAJ: Maybe you want to hip the readers to those.
AR: There's a really great singer I've worked with over the last few years called Alana Davis. The one that was released last year, I'm on most of the record. I music-directed her showcases in August and September. That's myself and Jack Daley on bass from Lenny Kravitz's band and a great drummer form Israel named Nir Z. Craig Ross, Lenny's guitarist is on part of it as well.
I played on a nice record by a singer songwriter named Paul Ruderman on Atlantic with the same rhythm section. I also played on some tracks by Vitamin C, who's on Elektra. I actually heard one on the radio in a small town in Japan.
AAJ: Don't forget Walter Becker's record (11 Tracks of Whack), nice work there!
AR: Oh, thank you yeah. He produced the first Lost Tribe record. He used Fima, Ben, myself and Dean Parks, who's plays on a lot of the classic Dan stuff and pianist John Beasley.
I've focused more on more the straight ahead music the past few years. There's a new one coming with Alex Sipiagin (trumpet), with Chris Potter and Gene Jackson.
AAJ: Is Chris Potter a working member of your band?
AR: Well, my band changes based on availability. The recording I did prior to the new one has Chris, Ben Perowsky, Scott Colley and Ed Simon. The new one has no sax. This past fall I played at the Monterrey Jazz Festival with myself Ben, Scott and Kevin Hays on piano.
AAJ: Yeah you did Santa Fe, too, which looked like a nice festival with a great lineup.
AR: For that I played duo with Larry Grenadier (bass) which was great Those were fun gigs for me. The Santa Fe one was cool. We played a lot of music I've written for solo or duo situations that I really haven't had the chance to play, like some of the more through-composed stuff I have. One of these days I'll record that stuff too in some fashion.