David Gilmore: Getting To The Point
So I flew out there and spent a week out there overdubbing with him. The record was done, but he was rerecording the melodies, and they had me double a lot of them. Then Marcus Miller, the producer, proceeded to punish me. He kinda arranged things on the spot because there were no guitar parts written out. Marcus took stuff from the master score and had me play certain chords and chordal type melodies. You can hear it in some areas of the recording better than others. Mainly I'm doubling Wayne and interjecting some things in between. We did the tour later that year in the fall of '95. There were several incarnations of that band. Memories, man.
AAJ: How many dates ?
DG:We did about 20 in '95. In '96 we did a bunch of US dates with Jim Beard (keys), Alphonso (Johnson) and Rodney (Holmes), a European tour...that's when the tragedy happened with his wife (TWA Flight #800, July 17,1996)....after that we did Japan. Maybe like a 80 dates total. Then I played with him in '98 with Terry Lynn Carrington, Jim Beard and John Patitucci. We went to Japan and Brazil. And that was the last time I played with Wayne ... '98.. November. We were supposed to do the next record with me, Brian Blade and Christian McBride, who was with Joshua Redman at the time. We went out there and rehearsed, but it just never happened.
AAJ: Do you have any Wayne stories either funny or more serious, such as what you might have taken from his thing and applied to your own?
DG: Wayne stories...I mean I just like his spirit. I never met anybody or worked with anybody as calm and collected or as peaceful as him. He just has this center, man. And he's funny as hell.
I remember him saying onstage, "Have you ever played like you've never played before? Y'know, like the first time? Then he broke into this wild, free, very loose thing. Then he told me that Miles Davis said that before, to him, you know. He would do that, play very playful games on stage. His playfulness reminds me of a kid, just a beautiful spirit, a beautiful cat.
AAJ: So, musical direction didn't come in musical form. Miles was known for that.
DG:Just his vibe was so heavy. The harmonies he would write, and the maturity of his sound and playing...it's not about chops or technique or anything, just feel and emotion, and he knows how to get there
AAJ: You guys did a record and all these dates with a living legend. What keeps a tour like that, some of those wonderful musical moments, the evolution of the band's sound..what keeps that from getting documented, getting put out?
DG:Good question. A lot of times I don't think the record companies are tuned into what's going on out on the road...what the musicians are doing out there, at all. They have very little or nothing to do with it. I know one date, the Lincoln Center gig, was well-recorded and broadcast on NPR a couple of times. But the record companies should dig deeper. The record companies may actually think Wayne's heyday, you know, is over, with Miles and Weather Report. But that first band..in '96 we hit some moments where it was frightening, some killing music. Words are inadequate to describe playing with Wayne. On some level, it was Wayne's World..but it was the Saturday Night Live one... "I'm not worthy...! (laughs). Some part of me always thought it was some kind of fluke. Sometimes, it might have gotten in the way of me being totally relaxed, but on the other hand, I made it through all the incarnations of that band, so I must have been doing something right. One thing that bugs me is that I never had the right guitar for that band. I should have had a semi-hollow or hollow body on that gig. I played my Tom Anderson (solid body) the whole time. To match Wayne Shorter's fat sound, you need something fat to match it.
AAJ: So after Wayne? I know more recently, you've one stuff with Uri Caine.
DG: Well, Uri's stuff is great, but I'm only on that one cd (URI CAINE ENSEMBLE, "La Gaia Scienza - Love Fugue , Winter & Winter 910 049-2 ).He's been doing the variations on the classical artists. But after Wayne..there hasn't been a regular gig after. Don Byron was before and during Wayne. Every now and then, I still do a gig with Don, who uses me for the quartet thing he does, but not Music for Six Musicians.
AAJ: I love that solo on the Duke tune on Bug Music.
DG: Oh yeah, that was an earlier recording. But I'd say 1999 and 2000 my sideman gigs pretty much dried up.
DG: Those are probably the worst years financially for me. Disastrous. Last year I had a better year. I kept thinking something was going to come up and it didn't. I had no tour longer than a couple of weeks those two years. I did stuff with Randy Brecker and Chris Minh Doky (bass), and Cindy Blackman, with Matt. But dismal as far as work. But that was a sign for me that it was now truly time to work on my own projects..
AAJ: You did Christian's thing in 2000, "Sci Fi . Another of the year's best cds. Aja is beautiful on there! You could carry that Steely Dan gig, huh?