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Greg Adams: Cool to the Touch

By Published: June 21, 2007
AAJ: Yes, I would agree; it certainly is a gift to have such a versatile career by having the opportunity to work with countless artists.

GA: It is something that comes naturally to me and I don't take it for granted. It is something that I taught myself to do by listening to other people. I really have had a great time working with so many people.

AAJ: You are involved heavily in the music community and you are obviously committed to music education in public schools, etc. You benefited tremendously from programs such as these, is that why this is so important to you? What are your hopes for the future of jazz in regard to future generations building upon the current foundation?

GA: I am a big on education. I do music clinics and I am on the board of governors in the Los Angeles chapter of The Recording Academy, which is most famously known for the Grammy awards. Music education is a big part of the organization—making sure that schools have instruments. The first things that get cut in the public school systems are the music programs. The arts are always the first to suffer and we can't let that happen. Music is like a language: Italian, French, etc...the language is lost if it is not taught.

AAJ: Music is so important for young students because a lot of the time the music programs or athletic programs are what motivate some students to stay in school.

GA: The kids who are in music programs do better in math and science. Also there is something inherent in it that enables you to get along with people. Music is something that you really have to fight for, to make sure that it stays in the school systems.

AAJ: Right, it is a win-win situation and a light at the end of a tunnel for many.

GA: It is our future. Jazz is our national music. It is a product of New Orleans, and you can't teach jazz because it is an expression of freedom. Some people go off into classical music or country music but with jazz, you have to keep the torch burning.

AAJ: What would your advice be to an aspiring musician, in terms of becoming a professional and having a long spanning career?

GA: It is like the old joke, A man walks up to another man on the street and asks him "How do I get to Carnegie Hall? And the man answers, "Practice, practice, practice. You really have to apply yourself. You have to practice. You will feel the vision if it is meant to be, if it is your passion.

AAJ: It comes down to the determination to stay on the path to follow your bliss.

GA: You have to be around people that can nurture. You need to have different role models. It is great to come from a family oriented lifestyle, where the parents nurture the children, but sometimes that isn't the case so you have to find it and if you have the passion, you will find it.

Greg Adams AAJ: The MySpace phenomena has really had an impact on jazz, in that it has helped expose the genre to different audiences, making it more available. What has your MySpace experience been like? Have you benefited from it? Do you think that artists can truly benefit from it? It has definitely proven to be another avenue for advocacy of the jazz genre and really every genre.

GA: Yes, you know it is an interesting phenomenon. I have had it up for awhile, and I have had several thousand people come on to the page and listen to my music and buy my CD; it is a great tool. We have such few outlets now for people to get their music out there and this is a truly basic way to do that. Record labels these days are conglomerating and going away, and there are all these labels that are dropping artists. I have been on every label since I was eighteen years old and I have been dropped by all of them; it is inevitable. That is why I decided to create my own label.

AAJ: A lot of artists are doing that now; it seems to be a beneficial move in the wake of all the regrouping going on in the business.

GA: You have the independence of knowing that you can go any way that you really want. If you have a concept you stick to it.

AAJ: Like anything worthwhile you have to work at it. Will you be hitting the jazz festival circuit this summer?

GA: Yes, in fact I played the Jacksonville Jazz Festival. We were encored and received a standing ovation. I was thrilled to be on a more straight-ahead billing, which included Nancy Wilson. I feel that it is important for artists to put their best foot forward and keep musicianship up to a very high standard.

Selected Discography

Greg Adams, Cool to the Touch (Ripa Records, 2006)
Greg Adams, Firefly (215 Records, 2004)
Greg Adams, Midnight Morning (Blue Note, 2002)
Greg Adams, Hidden Agenda (Sony Music Entertainment/Epic, 1995)
Tower of Power, TOP (Epic, 1993)
Tower of Power, Monster On A Leash (Epic, 1991)
Tower of Power, Power (Cypress Records, 1987)
Tower of Power, Tower of Power Direct (Shefhield Lab, 1981)
Tower of Power, Back on the Streets (Columbia, 1979)
Tower of Power, We Came To Play (Warner Brothers, 1978)
Tower of Power, Ain't Nothin' Stoppin' Us Now (Warner Brothers, 1976)
Tower of Power, Tower of Power Live (Warner Brothers, 1976)
Tower of Power, Drop In The Slot (Warner Brothers, 1975)
Tower of Power, Back To Oakland (Warner Brothers, 1974)
Tower of Power, Tower of Power (Warner Brothers, 1973)
Tower of Power, Bump City (Warner Brothers, 1972)
Tower of Power, East Bay Crease (Warner Brothers, 1970)

Photo Credits
Top Photo: Bettie Miner
Bottom Photo: Courtesy of Greg Adams' MySpace Page

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