Vic Juris: Tension and Release
AAJ: Bring us up to date and tell us some of your current interests besides your trio and the 55 Bar. How do you see yourself moving forward in the next period, musically?
VJ: I want to keep recording, and I also want to focus on composition. As we discussed earlier, I'm also interested in the acoustic guitar, and I plan to do an all-acoustic guitar recording sometime in the next year. It'll probably be a little more on the world music side. And I'm also getting interested in different percussion and drumming, and some of that we'll be in my music. I'll also continue to work in Dave Liebman's group. In fact, we just made a new recording of Ornette Coleman's music. I'm also involved with Tim Hagans' Norrbotten big band and just did a recording with them. And I'm doing some New York studio work.
AAJ: Do you do any composing?
VJ: Yes, I do quite a bit. That's what I'm planning for some of my recording. I write a lot for the trio, and I'm also writing some acoustic bass pieces.
AAJ:. John Coltrane said that music is his spirituality. Certainly A Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1964) and Meditations (Impulse!, 1965) reflect that. And Dave Liebman, too, is very spiritual, perhaps in a more understated way. So, do you have a particular spiritual path you follow or a general philosophy of life?
VJ: As I get older, I think about the age-old question, "Why are we here?" I value simple things a lot, like conversations with people, but I really think we're just a tiny grain of sand in the universe. As far as we know, we just have each other. We should all take that more seriously. And I think there is something far beyond our comprehension. And sometimes when things are really good on the bandstand and the chemistry is there, it's beyond, it's definitely spiritual. As musicians, there are some moments that are so uplifting and so transcendent, and that's what we're all trying to achieve in a sense.
AAJ: There are those special moments in jazz, and you can tell that the guys are in another space, another level.
VJ: There's that certain magic. Thirty years ago, I was sitting at the bar listening to Chet Baker, and he played a particular phrase that knocked me over. I could still go back to that moment. How did that person play that? Where did it come from? One of the greatest experiences on the bandstand is when you play something you never played before.
Selected Discography Ken Serio, Live...In the Moment (Tripping Tree, 2007)
Gary Versace, Reminiscence (Steeplechase, 2007)
Dave Liebman Group, Blues All Ways (OmniTone, 2007)
Vic Juris, A Second Look (Mel Bay, 2005)
Vic Juris, Blue Horizon (Zoho, 2004)
Vic Juris, While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Steeplechase, 2004)
Dave Liebman Group, Conversation (Sunnyside, 2003)
Marc Copland/Vic Juris, Double Play (Steeplechase, 2002)
Vic Juris, Songbook (Steeplechase, 2001)
Joe Locke, Slander (And Other Love Songs) (Milestone, 1998)
Vic Juris, Music of Alex Wilder (Double-Time, 1996)
Bireli Lagrene, Live at the Carnegie Hall (Jazz Point, 1993)
Richie Cole, Popbop (Milestone, 1992)
Mel Tormé, Mel's London Mood (Parade, 1980)
Top Photo: Courtesy of Vic Juris