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Interviews

Jamie Fox: My Long, Strange Trip

By Published: March 10, 2008
AAJ: So would you describe the record in some sense as a career retrospective?

JF: Well, that's sort of implying that my career is over, so not in that sense, no.

AAJ: (laughing) Right, right. But maybe up to this point?

JF: You know, it's a collection of a certain bunch of tunes, and one thing I noticed is that while being completely happy with it and feeling that it covers a lot of ground, boy, there's a lot of stuff that I do that's not on there that I'd like to do. Basically it's like kind of a stimulus to keep going. So it did gather together pieces that had been around for a long time, and some that were brand new, but it's just more like a project, and now it's time to go do some more.

AAJ: Well the two songs that really hit me most were "When I Get Home" and "Row After Row," and I was going to ask about them. But you already hit on those, so why don't you talk a bit about the musicians?

JF: Yeah well, I've talked about Stephan a lot already, but he's just one of my favorite bass players period—just unbelievably musical and talented and super sensitive and also really versatile. It's like really feeling whatever music he's playing. And he's a great electric bassist too. So that was the longest association that I had.

And then Michael Sarin I haven't played with quite as much, but I really admire his drumming. He's just super creative and just really smart—a brilliant drummer and just endlessly creative. He's played a lot more kind of "out" music than what mine tends to be, but you know, like Stephan, he just feels the music that he's playing and adds perspective to it.

So that was a great foundation, having that bass and drums. And then Dan Willis I had played with in some other contexts and just found, you know, there's a lot of great saxophonists around New York, but there was something about the way Dan played my music that I just thought, wow, he really connects with it. I'm really happy that Dan plays on my record. Some of this stuff is maybe a little challenging if you're a jazz saxophonist, but he just connected with the different places that the music was coming from. You know not all tenor players have listened to the Band or Van Morrison—surprisingly a lot of them haven't—but just his ability to connect and bring something was just great.

Kenny Werner, you know, is a tremendous musician. One of the things I wanted to do with the record was have different textures. I didn't want to do just a typical blowing session; I wanted to have different combinations of instruments. Obviously there's some trio stuff, some quartet stuff, some things with piano, and Kenny's on three of the tunes. He's just, you know, kind of a genius musician—has perfect pitch, great instincts for everything. So it's a little daunting, in a way, playing with him, that he's this good. But it was great. I'm really happy to have the addition of his piano on some of the tunes.

And then Peck Allmond did some overdub horn parts; he played the trumpet and the euphonium, which is sort of a tuba-like thing, and the tenor saxophone. He's someone I've known from the Bay Area, and he's lived in New York for many years. He's amazing because he can play anything that you can blow into, so you never know what he's going to bring to a gig. And he plays thumb piano too. So I wanted someone to just layer a whole bunch of different horns onto some things, so I just called Peck.

Another project I'm involved with and really excited about came about from Peck, who met a singer named Ed Reed who lives in the Bay Area. And they made a record together a year or two ago, and we just recorded a couple months ago. Ed came out here to do a recording. Ed's 78 years old, and this was his first record that he ever did in his life. He grew up in LA around the jazz scene in the 40's and then got into the same kind of drug problems that a lot of people did. And it kind of sidelined him for many years, but he's way past all of that stuff and is just a really soulful, great jazz singer. So I don't know when that record is going to come out, but it was really fun doing it. And that was total straight-ahead stuff, but when you play with people who have such a great ear for it, it's really gratifying.

It's like these connections, you know, shoot off in different directions, and you never know what's going to come about next.

AAJ: That's really great. So what's next for Jamie Fox? You mentioned wanting to do another record, some other stuff, what's next?

Jamie Fox

JF: Well, I just did that record with Jen that I'm really happy about; she just has to find a way to put it out now because her contract with her last label ran out. I'm just planning, you know, another collection of songs of my own that I want to do—some of it's more kind of groove oriented, with a little more funk in there, but it kind of forms itself as it goes along. I have some new songs I've been working with a lot lately, and I'm just trying to go through that fairly organic process of figuring out what the songs are going to be. But within not too many months from now, I'd like to organize a serious recording session.

I'm interested, maybe at some point, in doing some vocal stuff. In The Blues Among Us we all sang—singing, I wouldn't say, is my strong point, but there are ideas for songs that I have that kind of call out to be sung. So anyway, just trying to get a bunch of music together and see what feels like it goes.


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