Eddie Gomez: The Playing is Free
AAJ: And your own recordings as a leader?
EG: Mezgo  was one of the earliest onesit had Chick Corea, Steve Gaddand Kazumi Watanabe on guitar. I made that in Japan and went on to do other recordings that reflected my eclectic side. Some of the early ones were kind of crossover projects and the more recent ones have been more straight-ahead.
AAJ: Are you teaching?
EG: Yes, I teach at the Conservatory in Puerto Rico, in San Juan. I have a residency, which means I get to fly in once a month for about five days. I've been doing that for about five years and it's great also because that's where my mom is. I love the students there very much. I'm the Artistic Director of the jazz program and I love seeing the strides these students have taken. I also get to bring musicians there. There's a great Afro-Caribbean program and of course the classical tradition which goes back to Pablo Casals.
AAJ: Let's talk about this gig at the Blue Note this month [May, 2010] with Chick Corea and Paul Motian.
EG: I met Chick when I was about 16. He was going to Juilliard and I was finishing high school. We played together for a while, kind of went our separate ways when I went with Bill, but came back to play on a couple of records together. We did his Mad Hatter [(Polydor, 1978)] album and we've always had a good working relationship. I think our perspectives on music are very similar. He's a great pianist, great composer and he's a lot of fun to be around.
AAJ: You're very active.
EG: I'm doing a lot of touring and recording. But you know, I really don't get paid to play. It's kind of like I get paid to travel and the playing is free, a pleasure.
AAJ: How much composing do you do?
EG: I'm not a prolific composer but I do work at it. In fact, I'm working now on an album of my tunes. There is a lot more of my music on the way.
AAJ: What basses do you play?
EG: I have a bass that was put together by Arnold Schnitzer. It's actually a composite bass, made of three basses that he put together. I call it my Frankenstein bass. I also have a wonderful instrument that David Gage restored for me recently.
AAJ: Finally, which bass players have been most influential to you?
EG: Oh God. Lots of them. Paul Chambers, Ray Brown, Jymie Merritt, Eddie Jones, Sam Jones, Scott LaFaro. So many guysJimmy Blanton, Charles Mingus, Milt Hinton...I'm sure I'm leaving lots of guys out.
Eddie Gomez, Dedication (Evidence, 1997)
Kronos Quartet, Music of Bill Evans (with Eddie Gomez, Jim Hall) (Landmark, 1985)
Chick Corea, Three Quartets (Stretch/Warner Bros, 1981)
Jeremy Steig/Eddie Gomez, Outlaws (Enja, 1976)
Bill Evans/Eddie Gomez, Intuition (Fantasy-OJC, 1974)
Bill Evans, California Here I Come (Verve, 1967)
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