All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Serving jazz worldwide since 1995
All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Take Five With...

Take Five With Alexi David

By Published: August 14, 2013
Meet Alexi David:

Cypriot-American composer and bassist Alexi David grew up in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood. His group, Alexi David's Patriot Act, has created the first fusion with jazz and the Greek sounds of rembetika. David is also adept on bouzouki, baglama and piano. He is a scholar on the music of the late Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
1922 - 1979
bass, acoustic
, and has worked extensively with Terry Waldo, Jose James
Jose James
Jose James
b.1978
vocalist
, The Fat Cat Big Band
Fat Cat Big Band
Fat Cat Big Band

band/orchestra
, Junior Mance
Junior Mance
Junior Mance
b.1928
piano
and many others. Being Nellie McKay's regular bassist, he naturally lives with two cats. He is currently hard at work researching for forgotten and never performed Mingus compositions, to perform at upcoming shows.

Instrument(s):

Double bass, electric bass, bouzouki.

Teachers and/or influences?

My double bass teachers are Henry Grimes
Henry Grimes
Henry Grimes
b.1935
bass, acoustic
, Kurt Muroki, Andy McKee
Andy McKee
Andy McKee
b.1953
bass
, John Arbo, and Mark Helias
Mark Helias
Mark Helias

bass, acoustic
.

Influences include Paul Chambers
Paul Chambers
Paul Chambers
1935 - 1969
bass, acoustic
, Slam Stewart
Slam Stewart
Slam Stewart
1914 - 1987
bass
, Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
1922 - 1979
bass, acoustic
, Richard Davis
Richard Davis
Richard Davis
b.1930
bass
, Jimmy Garrison
Jimmy Garrison
Jimmy Garrison
1934 - 1976
bass, acoustic
, Red Mitchell
Red Mitchell
Red Mitchell
b.1927
bass
, Oscar Pettiford
Oscar Pettiford
Oscar Pettiford
1922 - 1960
bass
, Wellman Braud
Wellman Braud
b.1891
, Omer Avital.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

Girls suddenly paid attention to me! Playing helped me raise my self-esteem.

Your sound and approach to music:

Be limitless, honest, and take risks. As my bro Stacy Dillard
Stacy Dillard
Stacy Dillard

saxophone
said, "Practice life and the music will follow."

Your teaching approach:

What do you want to achieve? Why do you want to play music? Take things slow because nothing good comes fast and easy.

Your dream band:

I'm not a big fan of these kinds of questions, but I wouldn't mind having Jaki Byard
Jaki Byard
Jaki Byard
1922 - 1999
piano
on piano, Elvin Jones
Elvin Jones
Elvin Jones
1927 - 2004
drums
or Max Roach
Max Roach
Max Roach
1925 - 2007
drums
on drums, and cats like Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Rahsaan Roland Kirk
1936 - 1977
reeds
, Johnny Hodges
Johnny Hodges
Johnny Hodges
1907 - 1970
sax, alto
, Clifford Jordan
Clifford Jordan
Clifford Jordan
1931 - 1993
saxophone
, and Joe Farrell
Joe Farrell
Joe Farrell
1937 - 1986
saxophone
in the reeds section.

Favorite venue:

At the end of the day, it would have to be Fat Cat. Despite the madness, any place where I can get paid decently and have women dancing to swingin' music. Unless I'm in a concert hall, I hate dead silent comatose atmospheres; you gotta bring the dance back into music. That's why Cabaret Laws were enacted: to keep interracial dancing at bay.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

I don't have one. I do like how my double bass was recorded for Jose James
Jose James
Jose James
b.1978
vocalist
' The Dreamer (Brownswood, 2008), though.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

That's not for me to judge. These things are usually realized long after they've happened Within a context. I've made some new sounds like using bozouki to play a Fats Waller
Fats Waller
Fats Waller
1904 - 1943
piano
Tune, or fitting a blues form inside a Greek zembekiko rhythm. But being new sounds don't necessarily make them important.

CDs you are listening to now:

These days, Parliament-Funkadelic.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

This question... I know many musicians that are doing truly incredible swingin' things; I'll leave it at that.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

Same things that can repair society like less self-centeredness, more openness, less fear, and respect for wise elders, etc.

What's your greatest fear when you perform?

That the audience or sidemen won't enjoy the show and that my chops or my brain may not be in great shape that day.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

"Angels Praying," aka "Number 13" in the Fat Cat Big Band book, written by Jade Synstelien
Jade Synstelien
b.1974
guitar
.

By Day:

Besides playing, I enjoy restoring vacuum tube audio equipments—mostly Hammond organs and Leslie speakers. I also do live sound and repairs at Fat Cat. Good backups when gigs are scarce.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

Dead man. Music was my motivation to get clean from heroin.


comments powered by Disqus