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Scott Kinsey: It's About Meaning

By Published: March 27, 2007

AAJ: Let's talk about some of the musicians on Kinesthetics. Can you tell us something about Jinshi Ozaki?

SK: Jinshi's a great jazz guitarist. We were students at Berklee together in the late '80s and early '90s. And by the way he's also an incredible chef—a very serious chef. So I have to credit some of my extra lbs to him! He's worked with [saxophonist] Kirk Whalum and [pianist] Keiko Matsui among many others. He's also making his own solo CDs. He's a very talented musician. He plays acoustic guitar on this song and he really nailed exactly what I had in mind.

Scott Kinsey

The tune "One for Jinshi came about in '91 as I was showing him how to record in Performer on his then new Mac SE30. He called me a few weeks later and said that the stuff I had improvised while just showing him the program wasn't bad and he gave me a floppy disc of it. I never really played it until I was looking for material a couple of years ago when I started to play around L.A. with my band.

AAJ: Armand Sabel-Lecco?

SK: Armand Sabel-Lecco is a brilliant bassist from Cameroon. He lives in L.A. He does a lot of stuff. He played with the Brecker brothers. He's quite famous for doing the Paul Simon Graceland tour.

AAJ: Cyril Atef?

SK: He's another brilliant guy that a lot of people may not know. On the other hand he's well-known in Europe. He's a great drummer/percussionist, living out of Paris. He also went to Berklee. I met him there. Every time he comes here we record something.

He's part of a few different groups. He has his own group called Bumcello and it's him with cellists. They do a lot of concerts in Europe, all improvised, avant-garde. He also works with a French pop artist called M who is huge in the pop scene in Paris.

Then he also has a very experimental, strange group called CongopunQ which is him with a conceptual performance artist and they do something that I can't even talk about!

AAJ: Percussionist Satnam Rangotra?

SK: He's a very good musician who plays around L.A. a lot. He has some groups of his own, one is called Alien Chatter. Satnam's track I recorded actually in '94. That's how far back that one goes! I never really did anything with it and I got it out for this record. Of course, when I told Satnam he was horrified when he found it was ten or fifteen years old!

AAJ: Steve Tavaglione?

SK: Steve is incredible. We play all the time together in L.A. and I feel lucky because he is one of my favourite all-time musicians. If there is an instrument in his hands there isn't a moment when he isn't creating something beautiful, both on the saxophone and on the synthesizer via the ewi. There is just no-one else like him, he's a deep conceptualist. Steve is one of my best friends too and you might have noticed that he is the only person that is pretty much on all the tunes.

AAJ: On "Quartet you use [drummer] Vinnie Colaiuta. How did you get him involved and what was it like to work with him?

SK: Vinnie is one of those rare people who just live and breathe and beautiful music comes out. It has nothing to do with technique, it's pure art. He played so good it was just ridiculous. "Quartet is a first take and the first time the four of us have ever played together. He just nailed it as if he'd been playing it for a month on the road.

He got involved through Steve Tavaglione. They've been friends for years and years but hadn't had the chance to really play together for a while, so this was an opportunity to play a little music together again. It was such a great experience and I'll never forget his enthusiasm and all the heart he put into it. He was so much fun. We had a blast! I have to say that we did a couple of other songs too that were totally outrageous, but I'm saving them for my next CD!

AAJ: On Kinesthetics you are joined by your old Tribal Tech buddies, Scott Henderson, [bassist] Gary Willis and [drummer] Kirk Covington. Do you ever talk about getting the band back together?

SK: Scott and I talked about it last year, though none of us in the band really felt like it. Willis is living in Spain and he's got stuff going on and he's pretty happy with that. Then Scott is doing his blues band and I'm doing my band and in the end the thought of doing a record long distance is not that inspiring. We may do it at some point, you never know.

Tribal Tech was great and finished on a real high note because the band sounded better than ever when we stopped. That band had a really long life, a lot longer than most.

AAJ: You have also managed a parallel career as a producer; what was the first record you produced?

SK: I was involved in production on a couple of the Tribal Tech records and one or two of Willis's records. Those were probably the first ones I had a hand in. I also did some production for [vocalist] Philip Bailey's last record and I did a lot of production work for Joe Zawinul on Faces and Places (ESC, 2002) and some stuff for [sqaxophonist] James Moody.

AAJ: Are there any producers you particularly admire or are influenced by?

SK: I don't know about producers per se, I get ideas from things I hear all the time without even knowing what they are. In a way, it's just something I do intuitively and naturally. It's just an extension of what my tastes are I guess.

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Download jazz mp3 “This is That” by Scott Kinsey