Talkin' Blues with Jimmy Herring
AAJ: He seems to have been a really important influence for you, and for Derek.
JH: Oh big time! Bruce doesn't tell you what to play, but what he does in offers you a path you've never been down before. And if you really embrace it, and you go down that path, and you mix that with what you already know, then you're going to find your voice.
For some it takes time, but for Derek, I've know him since he was 11 years old, he had his own voice from the first minute we heard him play. But he's a very special case. For me, it just took a lot longer to find a voice and to feel like I'm on the verge of finding a sound. You know it's so tempting to copy everybody. And I guess that's a good place to start, you know, if you copy enough people, eventually you're going to find your own voice.
AAJ: Final thing, it seems like Jimmy Smith shared that blues vs. complexity dilemma with you. He seemed to really master the difficulty of playing some pretty abstract lines with great speed in a blues framework in a way that even appealed to rock fans.
JH: He reached everybody! I guess I was about 21 when I got into him. John Sutton, the drummer I was playing with then could really swing, and he was able to play real jazz, which I wasn't because I'm coming from all this rock stuff. So my friend got a call from this artist in residence at the Technical Institute in Fayetteville, North Carolina. His name was Clarence Palmer, and he was brilliant; he used to play with George Benson.
So John got this gig with him because they would do duo stuff, he was playing the bass himself without a bassist, and my God, they sounded like a whole band playing. So after getting to know him and hanging out with him and his family I got exposed to Jimmy Smith. So when I heard Jimmy Smith, I thought, "Oh my God, this is it!" I love him, he's the quintessential guy when it comes to playing Hammond.
Various Artists, The New Universe Music Festival 2010: Abstract Logix Live! (Abstract Logix, 2011)
Widespread Panic, Dirty Side Down (ATO, 2010)
Jimmy Herring, Lifeboat (Abstract Logix, 2008)
Widespread Panic, Free Somehow (Widesprea, 2008)
Project Z, Lincoln Memorial (Abstract Logix, 2005)
Aquarium Rescue Unit, The Calling (Innio, 2003)
Phil Lesh & Friends, There and Back Again (Columbia, 2002)
Project Z, Project Z (Terminus, 2001)
Jazz is Dead, Great Sky River (Zebra, 2001)
Gov't Mule, Live...With a Little Help From Our Friends (Capricorn, 1998)
The Derek Trucks Band, Out of the Madness (House of Blues, 1998)
T Lavitz, Gossip (Wild Cat, 1996)
Col. Bruce Hampton & The Aquarium Rescue Unit, Mirrors of Embarrassment (Capricorn, 1993)
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All Others: John Kelman