Take Five With Bob Albanese
Your dream band:
My dream band would include my present most versatile trio with Tom Kennedy (bass) and Willard Dyson (drums) at the nucleus. Many configurations could ensue from there, from quartet with a strong, story telling soloist such as Ira Sullivan, Adam Niewood, Claudio Roditi, Frank Wess, Lew Tabackin, Randy Brecker, Bob Mintzer, Wayne Shorter, Steve Slagle, Bob Mover, Bob Francesini, Bob Malach, Dick Oatts, Walter Smith Jr, Dori Cayami, Ralph Moore, Roy Hargrove, Joe Lovano, Tim Hagans, Paul Meyers, Loretta Ables, Azure McCall, Rachel Gonzales, Diane Reeves, Esperanza Spalding, Gretchen Parlato, Wayne daSilva, Joe Locke, Filipe Salles, Joe Magnarelli, Tom Waits.
Other favorite bass players:
John Benitez, Ruben Samama, Ugonna Okegwo, Ratzo Harris, Luques Curtis, Ruben Rodriquez, Mario Rodriquez, Doug Weiss. Other favorite drummers: Victor Lewis, Victor Jones, Steve Davis, Joe Ascione, Steve Williams, Steve Johns, Henry Cole, Obed Calvaire, Will Clark, Mike Clark, Daduka deVonseca, Steve Berrios, Robby Ameen, Roy Haynes, Al Foster, Paul Motian, Frank Bambara, Yayo... Nana Vasconcelos... so many drummers, so little time.
My ideal big band is an extended eight brass five saxophones 18-piece band with vibes, guitar optional second keyboardist, and multi-percussionist . I like to include tuba and French horn when possible.
My ideal jazz philharmonic includes the large ensemble described above plus full string sections, woodwinds, brass, timpani and harp.
My musical directions follow a jazz aesthetic with leanings toward Latin, Brazilian and ethnic influences, as well as everyday influences of American melting pot (especially NYC).
Road story: Your best or worst experience:
On Buddy Rich's band in 1981, the bus got stuck in the mud in Terra Hoate, Indiana... Buddy ordered the band to get out and push. Everybody seemed to look up at him like "are you serious?" ... he was. Eventually took numerous hours for the bus to be towed out of mud. Then drove 30 hours straight to gig in Las Vegas (the Jerry Lewis Telethon). Buddy, in typical fashion, played unbelievable... but chose to end the 15-minute slot after the first tune because he didn't like that he was kept waiting so long.
Playing with an organ trio on the corner of 42nd and 6th Ave one summer in the '80s, Stevie Wonder walked by with brother Milton and dropped a sizable tip in my top pocket while I played under the hot sun with my shades on.
Playing in Grand Central station on Casio keyboard with Tim Horner on congas in the early '80s, and got a summons for "entertaining the passengers." from a cop named "Officer Nodo."
My best gig to date was the one I did with my trio with Ira Sullivan for my CD release party for One Way Detour, at Smalls Jazz club in Greenwich Village.
Smalls (10th St NYC), Oscar Peterson Theatre (Montreal, Canada) Concert Haus, (Berlin, Germany), Newport Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Jazz A Junas, (Junas, France), The Sunset Club (Paris, France), Concert Hall Issi li Moulineau, France. Citi Jazz, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sweet Basil Tokyo, Japan, Blue Note Club, Fukuoka, Osaka, Japan, Carnegie Hall, Avery Fischer Hall, Dizzy's Club Coca Cola.
Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
One Way/Detour, Bob Albanese trio with Ira Sullivan.
It was a spontaneous session. First and second takes, nice piano, great rhythm section (Tom Kennedy, bass, Willard Dyson, drums) and guest Ira Sullivan, who was 76 at the time of the recording in 2008. It was a simple session without a lot of preparation or preconceived notions. I wanted to document the way I play in write in the moment. Ira Sullivan was one of many great artists that I had the opportunity to play with once. I wanted to make it happen again. By virtue of a gig that I was doing in Palm Beach, Florida with the trio backing singer, dancer, stage and screen star, Ben Vereen, we seized the day(s) on our two days off and went in to a newly found local studio in Jupiter, Florida (instead of relaxing by the pool) and recorded One Way/Detour. I chose the title based on an oxymoronic street sign that me and my father and law spotted in Manhattan previously. The One Way going one direction and the Detour sign posted below in the opposite direction. I identify with that sign as a motif for how much of my life and career has gone. The titles on the project are oxymoronic in nature as well, "Ugly Beauty," "Midnight Sun," "Major Minority," "Joyful Noise," "Friendly Fire," etc...