Conversation with Charnett Moffett
CM: I’m kind of playing with them now. I’ve been very, very fortunate. Really, I have. I’ve played with some of the greatest musicians ever to play jazz, so there’s a big responsibility. I’ve got to get there. I have to get more understanding. I have to keep pushing ahead...if I favor one group or one style, it seems like I’m closing the door on something else. Anyone who really plays well is really my answer at this point. Of course, I have respect for people like Ravi Shankar. I’d like to check that out. Play in an environment like that. Or maybe something else in a more rock element. Someone out there who’s open-minded toward artistic freedom. There are many people out there I’d like to play with, but more importantly, I’m interested in developing a style of music with my own identity—sometime in the future—that will incorporate all of the different elements I’ve been influenced by to date.
FM: Do you have anything you’re particularly into playing?
CM: I think what happens sometimes when I’m doing too many—well, not too many, ‘cause artists, we never have enough work—but I think sometimes when we’re in one environment for too long you miss things. Like if I’m swinging all the time, I may miss funkin’ out because I do enjoy that. Or I may miss playing rock. Or if I’m playing rock, I may say, ‘I haven’t been swingin’ in a while’. I just like to get technically better so that I can maybe go into some other arenas eventually. For example, I love classical music. But there’s a serious commitment that you have to be prepared to make in order to play that music to its highest level. There are all sorts of things. That’s why I think it’s more important for me to think on the compositional level right now. As opposed to as just a bassist or a soloist. So that I can write these ideas that may be improvised and incorporate them into a concept that may develop into something new. I don’t think you try to do something new, I think you just be yourself and express the music as you hear it, and if there’s something unique to it, or that people can relate to, then great. If not, at least you know you expressed yourself the way you wanted.
FM: Have you been working on composition lately?
CM: Well, unfortunately it’s like anything else. I haven’t had time to work on that lately. I don’t think I’ve ever even toured with my own group yet. After playing for twenty years in this business, in a lot of ways, I’m just starting. Which is a good thing! New things to look forward to in life.
FM: It would be terrible if it was the other way around. Twenty years into it and you’re done.
CM: Exactly. You just have to make the best of each situation, and keep moving on forward.