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Peter Eldridge: A Lot of Other Stuff

By Published: August 27, 2007
AAJ: Is that part of why you never got further along, do you think?

PE: Who knows? I could've gone out and fallen on my ass. I hope it's not too late. And I also heard that Capricorns do better in their second half of life, so I'm OK.

AAJ: There ya go.

PE: I've heard that from a few different people: "Oh, you're just getting started."

AAJ: So is that where you really want to go, the solo thing?

PE: If the Voices and more solo opportunities could co-exist, that would be great. I'm hopeful, but not sure if life really works that way. We shall see.

AAJ: So what is Moss, then?

PE: Moss is on the "let's-do-a-gig-every-year-and-a-half" plan. Luciana's busy, we're all so busy—it's a joke, just trying to get together for a rehearsal. Well, I have March blah, I have this morning here...The five of us sitting in the room with calendars? It's a joke, it's just funny. We're about to record this album in August, and we probably won't see each other until the day before. But it's like that with the Voices too. Now Kim lives in Pittsburgh, we're all spread out, and we all have lives, people have kids... the only time when we rehearse is when we're on the road in Germany. We have time over there. We sit in a hotel and work on the new stuff.

AAJ: Given your collaboration with Ivan Lins, I wanted to ask you what it is about Brazilian music that gets to you so much. Can you articulate it?

PE: It's harmonically incredible, it's melodically beautiful, it's rhythmically sensual and ... it's the best of everything. There's so much for the ear to jump on: are you hearing that next chord? How things move around, how beautiful the harmonic line is... "Luiza."

AAJ: new favorite Jobim tune.

PE: And the language is the most beautiful language in the world. They could be singing about taking out the laundry, and it sounds like they're having the sexual experience of their lives.

AAJ: I know you've had some major life stress lately. How has that affected you?

PE: My mother's stepping into Alzheimer's the way she did has made me reassess the way I deal with my life. I've cut out a lot of the crap. Things that would feel so big—like trying to avoid any type of altercation with people—are suddenly insignificant. When the Voices are arguing over an arrangement, or someone's getting bent out of shape about the mix of a tune—including me!—it's nothing, compared to what she's going through. And you really start picking your battles, sorting out what's really important to you, and what isn't. It's amazing.

New York Voices l:r: Lauren Kinhan, Darmon Meader, Kim Nazarian, Peter Eldridge

AAJ: It must be terrible when someone you love is there, and yet not there at the same time.

PE: Yeah. She's been in this world, but gone, for over two years now, and it just kills you. Cause we were really close; we were quite the team. It's been hard. She cries quite a bit, and you don't know why. I think the emotions are all kind of raw now. Happy and sad are one. They're all there.

AAJ: It's hard to tell what's really going on.

PE: You hope to God she's not going, "Get me out of here." You just hope that she's content in whatever she's going through, that she's not inside of herself going, "Help!" and can't express it. That's the hardest part, because you just don't know. "Are you happy, Mom? Are you okay?" And she'll just stare. That experience has been my defining moment of the last three or four years. The one salvation is that I'm cutting out a lot of bullshit that I needed to get rid of many years ago. I'm finally doing it. Some people never get to do that. It's finally growing up, I guess.

AAJ: The last question I usually ask is, "What do you want to say to people?" This is your chance to say whatever you want—your soapbox.

PE: Well... wow... I could go in a lot of different directions.

AAJ: That's always true with you. (we laugh) But is there something that we don't know about you that we should?

PE: I'm trying to avoid any pidgeonholing at this point in my life: oh, he's the lyric baritone, or the funny one—all the one-dimensional perception that's inevitable when you're part of a group. I hope that people are starting to see that there's a lot of other stuff there too.

Selected Discography

New York Voices, A Day Like This (MCG Jazz, 2007)
Peter Eldridge, Decorum (Reuben's Tunes, 2005)
Ann Hampton Calloway, Signature (N-Coded, 2002)
Paquito D'Rivera, Brazilian Dreams (MCG Jazz, 2002)
Peter Eldridge, Stranger in Town (Rosebud, 2000)
Peter Eldridge, Fool No More (Rosebud, 2000)
New York Voices, Sing, Sing, Sing (Concord, 2000)
Jason Miles, A Love Affair: The Music of Ivan Lins (Telarc, 2000)
Don Sebesky, I Remember Bill: Tribute to Bill Evans (RCA, 1998)
New York Voices, Sing the Song of Paul Simon (RCA, 1997)
Count Basie Orchestra, Count Basie Orchestra with the New York Voices Live at Manchester Craftsman's Guild (MCG Jazz, 1996)
New York Voices, What's Inside (GRP, 1993)
New York Voices, Hearts of Fire (GRP, 1991)
New York Voices, New York Voices (GRP, 1989)

Photo Credits
Eldridge Photo: Joshua Silk
New York Voices Photo: Courtesy of New York Voices

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