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Mike LeDonne: Where There’s Smoke

By Published: August 27, 2012
AAJ: And physically?

ML: Physically, the technical demands are just the same as classical music. I know, because I've played both. But in jazz, you're composing spontaneously. Now, it's really something else to memorize music, like classical players do. That's another thing. That's another part of the brain. 'Trane said if they put a transcription of a solo of his in front of him to read, he just couldn't do it. But look what he could do when he improvised. There are different strengths and weaknesses in everybody. But, technically, you have to have everything at your command in jazz to get the music out. You've got to be on the top technical level and the top thinking level to be a great jazz musician.

Selected Discography

Eric Alexander & Vincent Herring, Friendly Fire: Live at Smoke (High Note, 2012)
Gary Smulyan, Smul's Paradise (Capri, 2012)
Mike LeDonne, Keep the Faith (Savant, 2011)
Mike LeDonne, The Groover (Savant, 2010)
Benny Golson, New Time, New 'Tet (Concord, 2009)
Wycliffe Gordon, Boss Bones (Criss Cross, 2008)
Chris Flory, For You (Arbors, 2008)
Mike LeDonne, FiveLive (Savant, 2008)
Mike LeDonne, On Fire (Savant, 2006)
Mike LeDonne, Night Song (Savant, 2006)
Eric Alexander, Gentle Ballads (Venus, 2005)
Joe Locke, Rev-elation (Sharp Nine, 2005)
Benny Golson, Terminal 1 (Concord, 2004)
Mike LeDonne, Smokin' Out Loud (High Note, 2004)
Gary Smulyan, The Real Deal (Reservior, 2003)
Mike LeDonne, Then and Now (Double Time Jazz, 2000)
Mike LeDonne, To Each His Own (Double Time Jazz, 1998)
Benny Golson, Remembering Clifford (Milestone, 1998)
Milt Jackson, Sa Va Bella (For Lady Legends) (Warner Bros., 1997)
Mike LeDonne, Waltz for an Urbanite (Criss Cross, 1996)
Mike LeDonne, Soulmates (Criss Cross, 1993)
Mike LeDonne, Common Ground (Criss Cross, 1990)
Mike LeDonne, The Feeling of Jazz (Criss Cross, 1990)
Mike LeDonne, 'Bout Time (Criss Cross, 1988)

Photo Credits

Pages 1, 4: Salvatore Corso
Page 2: Michael Wartell
Page 3: Herb Scher
Page 5: C. Andrew Hovan
Page 6: Dan Codazzi

Page 7: Giorgio Ricci

Page 8: Courtesy of Mike LeDonne
Mike LeDonne
Mike LeDonne

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