Claudio Roditi: A Brazilian in Iowa
The interview turned to the subject of making the transition from sideman to bandleader, and Roditi expressed frustration with the American jazz scene in that regard. After last year's release of Brazilliance X4 (Resonance, 2008), Roditi was chagrined to find that despite having performed at prestigious U.S. schools and jazz festival as a sideman for Gillespie and D'Rivera, he nonetheless found it virtually impossible to garner any interest in him performing as a leader of his own band.
"I've been around for forty years," noted Roditi. "I contacted all kinds of festivals and schools and got no answer from anyone, not from New York City, not George Wein, no one. The only place I heard anything from was the Detroit Jazz Festival, where I'd played with Dizzy. I sent them a press kit and everything but had no reply to that."
As was the case with his remarks about many Americans' poorly-nuanced perception of Latin American music, Roditi was touching upon the musical manifestation of a larger cultural mindset. In his view, a hyper-cautious corporate mindset has permeated the jazz world in the U.S., fostering a business approach in which there is little incentive to take risks on new or lesser-known talents. Roditi expanded his criticism to take in the national jazz magazines, as well. "They think they know what sells, and so you see the same characters all time. It's too unfair, not just to me but to hundreds of other musicians!"
Claudio Roditi, Brazilliance X 4 (Resonance, 2009)
Claudio Roditi, Beyond Questions (Nagel-Heyer, 2008)
Claudio Roditi, Impressions (Groovin' High, 2007)
Claudio Roditi, Smile (Nagel-Heyer, 2006)
Claudio Roditi, Reflecitions (Nagel-Heyer, 2005)
Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band, Dizzy's Business (MCG Jazz, 2005)
Claudio Roditi, Three For One (Nagel-Heyer, 2004)
Claudio Roditi, Light in the Dark (Nagel-Heyer, 2004)
McCoy Tyner, McCoy Tyner & The Latin All Stars (Telarc, 1999)
Trio Da Paz, Black Orpheus (Kokopelli, 1998)
McCoy Tyner, Autumn Mood (Delta, 1997)
Jim Hall, Textures (Telarc, 1996)
Horace Silver, Hard Bop Grandpop (GRP, 1996)
Claudio Roditi, Double Standards (Reservoir, 1996)
Claudio Roditi, Samba Manhattan Style (Reservoir, 1995)
Claudio Roditi, Free Wheelin': The Music of Lee Morgan (Reservoir, 1995)
Jimmy Heath, Little Man Big Band (Verve, 1992)