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Take Five With...

Take Five With Adam Meckler

By Published: August 31, 2009
I played in a jam session where Roy Hargrove
Roy Hargrove
Roy Hargrove
b.1969
trumpet
showed up and played with us. Yeah, didn't sleep that night.

Favorite venue:

We played every Wednesday night at Gordon Lodge in Door County WI for every summer season from 2006-2008. The people loved the music, and Gordon Lodge treated us like kings. We packed the place and sold a bunch of CDs every week. It paid well, and was right on the edge of Lake Michigan, not a bad way to spend every Wednesday night in the summer months.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

Dave Douglas, Meaning and Mystery. The album is perfectly balanced with a mix of chaotic and harmonious music. The Dave Douglas Quintet is at its best with some of its best improvising and writing to date. I just purchased his Live at the Jazz Standard recordings though, and I've heard they are life-changing. Meaning and Mystery may have found its match in my play lists, we'll have to wait and see.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

Ha. Do I have to answer this?

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

Feeling. Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
b.1945
piano
once said that there was no real technique-based musical reason why Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
had him in his band in the '70s. After all, Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Chick Corea
b.1941
piano
was already playing with him. Instead he suggested that Miles asked him to be in the band because he added a feeling that didn't exist before he got there. A certain energy that only Keith could have brought to the table. Similarly, I do not believe there is anything that I can bring to the table in terms of ripping through changes and shredding that you haven't already heard. On the other hand, I believe my music can be felt on a deeper level. There is an energy and feeling to my music that you don't find everywhere.

Did you know...

I have a Steelers tattoo in the form of the Superman symbol. It is a memorial tattoo for my father who always joked that if he were going to get a tattoo it would be the Superman symbol. He was also a big Steelers fan. So am I.

CDs you are listening to now:

Dave Douglas, Meaning and Mystery (Greenleaf);

Dave Douglas, The Infinite (Greenleaf);

Maria Schneider, Sky Blue (Artist Share);

Kenny Wheeler, Angel Song (ECM);

Clifford Brown
Clifford Brown
Clifford Brown
1930 - 1956
trumpet
, Study In Brown.

Desert Island picks:

Dave Douglas, Meaning and Mystery (Greenleaf);

Billy Joel, The Essential Billy Joe - (I know);

Happy Apple, Body Popping, Moon Walking, Top Rocking;

Kenny Wheeler, What Now.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

The scene goes so much deeper than I ever could have imagined. Still need venues to play at and people to listen though.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

We need to quit being elitists and bring jazz back to the people where it belongs. Russ Johnson
Russ Johnson
b.1965
trumpet
once said that we should "never underestimate [our] audience"—people will hang on to your music because, as Dave King
Dave King
Dave King

drums
once said, "people can sense the intent with which you play, and gravitate towards that," even if the music they are hearing is too complicated for them to understand intellectually. We need to stop charging $50 a ticket to get in to the big jazz concerts and make jazz accessible for the younger generation. This 21+ thing doesn't work out too well either. We've got a very cool thing going, and I would like it if more people would be able to give it a chance.

What is in the near future?

I just finished an album, a tribute to my father who passed away last February from an unexpected heart attack while playing in his twice a week basketball game. The album is titled For Dad. It's definitely worth checking out. I am working on putting together a tour for my wife's band as well.

By Day:

I play music, I write music, I practice music, I teach music, and I fill out freakishly long questionnaires on All About Jazz. Sometimes I do some other stuff to bring in some extra cash, but I don't have a "day job." Honestly, and I was just telling this to a friend the other night, I don't see the fuss about being a full time musician. Everyone's always like, "Yeah, but what's your day job? You can't make money playing music, can you?" I say, if you're assertive and talented, there's a way. I'd rather be dead than work a 9-5. I'd be miserable.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

Professional basketball player.


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