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Interviews

Charles Fambrough: City Tribes

By Published: January 3, 2011
AAJ: It's really beautiful. I'm getting to the point where I'd rather hear him play the EVI than the trumpet (no offense John). Why did you have him use the EVI so much for this album?

CF: It naturally happened; it wasn't planned that way. The tunes called for more of an EVI sound. Basically the EVI meshed better with the flow of this record. I use John on muted trumpet a lot because it's a good combination with the EVI.

AAJ: He's also a very good composer. He wrote that beautiful tune, "Secret Hiding Place" for "Keeper of The Spirit" and this one as well.

CF: John is really undiscovered as far as I'm concerned. A lot of people play one percent of what he plays and get a lot of recognition. But we can't worry about that. We just have to keep moving ahead.

AAJ: Dave Valentin
Dave Valentin
Dave Valentin
b.1952
flute
is a special guest on this record, and he really adds something wonderful.

CF: I just love the way he plays. Bill O'Connell
Bill O'Connell
Bill O'Connell

arranger
plays with Dave a lot, and Bill suggested I call Dave because he fits the scenario. Dave was the most enthusiastic person in the whole crowd. He was cheering us on and telling jokes. He was a delightful ingredient. He contributed more than just music; he contributed spirit and attitude. I love Dave Valentin ; I used to go see him when he played at the Village Gate with the Latin All Stars.

AAJ: From The Proper Angle to your current projects, I see continuous growth. Someone with a closed mind would listen to City Tribes and say, "Well, he's gone commercial" or "He plays too much Latin music."

CF: Well, the thing about being a musician—through the eyes of a musician—you can't be concerned. The musicians that I aspire to, the record company is insignificant to them. Their development, individual growth and viewpoint [is important]. They may not sell as many records, as someone who's forced on selling records. To be quite frank and honest with you, the music I put on my records is what I want to hear. If I find myself making music for money then I would go make music that would make tons of money. It would be a business venture.

My albums are like puzzles. It's up to the audience to see how they piece together. They come from playing on the road for 25 years, with different people: Art Blakey and McCoy Tyner; Airto. Playing opposite George Benson
George Benson
George Benson
b.1943
guitar
, opening for Earth Wind and Fire; Donny Hathaway
Donny Hathaway
Donny Hathaway
1945 - 1979
vocalist
, Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
b.1950
keyboard
and Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin

vocalist
. Everyone has a goal. My goal is not to mix my concept of music with a monetary attitude. My view of music is purely a view of my aspirations toward people like Trane and Miles that I aspire to. People like Bobby Durham
Bobby Durham
Bobby Durham
1937 - 2008
drums
and Shirley Scott
Shirley Scott
Shirley Scott
1934 - 2002
organ, Hammond B3
, who helped me learn music. They are the inspiration I aspire to.

AAJ: It seems to me that you've realized a lot of your dreams and aspirations.

CF: I was fortunate. My goal in life was to play with McCoy Tyner. My goal in life was to play with Trane if he was alive. And Art Blakey. They were my goals, to play with these individuals. If I was offered a lot of money, I don't know if I would replace that.

Selected Discography

Charles Fambrough, Live at Zanzibar Blue (Random Chance, 2002)

Charles Fambrough, Upright Citizen (Nu Groove, 1997)

Charles Fambrough, City Tribes (Evidence, 1996)

Charles Fambrough, Keeper of the Spirit (Audioquest, 1995)

Charles Fambrough, Blues at Bradley's (CTI Records, 1993)

Charles Fambrough, The Charmer (CTI Records, 1992)

Charles Fambrough, Proper Angle (CTI Records, 1991)


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