Take Five With Dezron Douglas
Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
I actually have three current favorites. At some point all the records I own were my favorites. Right now I am digging on Jackie McLean MAC Attack Live, with Hotep Galeta, Nat Reeves, and Carl Allen. Second is Pharoah Sanders, Journey to The One, with John Hicks, Ray Drummond, Idris Muhammad and Eddie Henderson. Third is George Coleman, Amsterdam After Dark, with Cedar Walton, Sam Jones, and Billy Higgins. I am a fan of any recording that has Ray Brown, Sam Jones, Ron Carter, Charles Mingus or Doug Watkins on bass.
The first Jazz album I bought was:
The first album that was given to me was Arthur Taylor Mr AT and Taylor's Wailers Wailing at The Vanguard, then my High School band director Scott Porter gave me Christian McBride's Gettin to It as a graduation gift. The first record I purchased myself was a compilation disc of Mingus called The Essential Mingus; from that album alone I went on to purchase Mingus Ah Um, Mingus in Wonderland, Changes .One and Two, and Blues and Roots/
What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
Life. I feel like it's my duty to make everyone around me feel like they can play whatever they want to play and its accepted. That's life. Within the contexts of musical format, styles, and idea, sometimes as musicians we get caught up in individuality to the point that we feel we are creating something new. New is a word that means "you." In that case nothing is new; it's all been done before. You can't reinvent the wheel, but what you can do is go on a journey to the unknown with likeminded individuals. That's what I try to do every time I'm on the bandstand.
Did you know...
I am a diehard sports fan. I am an NFL fanatic and a superior NY Giants fan, and I have been since I was four years old. I am a huge Knicks fan as well. The Yankees are the newest additions to my sports family, since I began watching them play in 1990 when they stunk. I'm enamored with everything about sports. The concept of team and having one goal to which everyone benefits from. I played at Dizzy's with Willie Jones during the NFC championship game between NYG and San Fran last year, and during my opening solo to "NOMMO," we were doing a Max Roach tribute, I played the theme song to Monday Night Football, and what happens? Jeremy Pelt comes up to me and says "Giants got the ball back and they are about to kick a FG to win the game." The joy that appeared on my face and throughout my body was magical. I pulled my strings so hard and kicked the song off with a bang.
CDs you are listening to now:
Currently I'm digging on Tony Allen, Fela Kuti's drummer. I recently saw him perform in Amsterdam with his band Black Series ft Amp Fiddler. I am late the Afro Beat game, but I'm totally addicted.
How would you describe the state of jazz today?
'Well.....I feel like it's even more alive than the "Haters" suggest it to be. There has not been a good representation of this music from my generation. There is a pile of great players and serious composers, but no one has yet made me feel like saying "I need to follow this cat." Maybe I am stuck in a more traditional manner, but it has nothing to do with progress. I feel like musicians today are so far behind the musicians of yesterday in the sense of respect for one's self and this music. It all comes down to parenting. I gravitate to the mastersmy elders. They have more to teach us than anybody right now. I think my generation has lost a lot of respect for Elders. This may be due to technology or history, but ultimately parenting.
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
The media needs to get involved much more than they are now. All About Jazz is at the forefront of Jazz Media. We need much more. People watch TV and are on the internet more than they were 10 years ago. I want to see jazz TV shows back on cable. Live music being played for theme songs and what not. Bring back the studio orchestras. It will change things once again.
What is in the near future?
Well I hope to record some more of my music and continue to work with Ravi Coltrane, Cyrus Chestnut, Louis Hayes, Abraham Burton and any musician who feels I can bring something positive to their music.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
I don't like to think about death, but if I had to pick one it would be "That's My Son (Hangin on the Cross)," a traditional gospel song I sing when I am with my father and my brothers.
C. Andrew Hovan