Take Five With Rick Stone
So we go to the desk and they give us a key and we go to the building (they were like little garden apartments) and get inside to find the air conditioner is broken (this is in July and it's about 98 degrees and humid). So we go back to the desk and they give us another key. We go to check this room and it's only got ONE bed (Yikes! I like Ralph, but not like that!) Back to the desk for another key (this is starting to sound like Goldilocks, but we never really found one that was "just right"). We opened the door and it was like a "breath of air freshener" but at least the A.C. worked and there were two beds (two out of three's not bad eh?) and we figured it was the best we would get from them.
Hands down it's The Bar Next Door at La Lanterna. This is a tiny little basement club in the Village that seats all of about 28 people. JJonathan Kreisberg started the jazz their in the 90s and still plays there every Wednesday night. He brought Peter Mazza in who now does Sundays and books and MC's the other nights. They've got good food, the people treat the musicians wonderfully and Peter does a great job of making everybody feel at home. Really a nice warm vibe.
The first Jazz album I bought was:
Miles Davis Bitches Brew. I saw it in the record store when it first came out and at first it was the cover that got my attention. Later the music.
Desert Island picks:
Jim Hall These Rooms (Denon);
Jimmy Raney/Stan Getz Complete Roost Sessions (Mosaic);
John Scofield Works for Me (Verve);
Bill Evans The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings (Riverside);
Wes Montgomery The Complete Riverside Recordings (Riverside).
(Okay so I cheated with the box sets, could you really expect me to keep it down to five?)
How would you describe the state of jazz today?
Tons of amazing young musicians out there. The educational system has done great job of turning out players! I doubt that the level of musicianship has ever been higher.
At the same time, there definitely has NOT been a development of the jazz audience, so what we're seeing is shrinkage. Fewer clubs for these musicians to play regularly (which is what these musicians need if they're going to develop their own sounds and styles).
The scene is still pretty healthy here in NYC, but from conversations I've had with those in other cities, jazz is in a serious decline. Touring here in the U.S. for all but a select few has become downright impossible.
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
I think people just need to keep playing and create their own "scene" wherever they live. Jazz seems to be thriving in Europe and Japan, so why not here?
If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:
Graphic designer or architect.