Take Five With Charlie Peacock

Take Five With Charlie Peacock
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Meet Charlie Peacock:
Charlie Peacock is an American multi-genre Grammy Award-winning record producer, composer, and recording artist. He has award-winning and chart-topping credits in jazz, gospel, country, folk, Americana, rock, and pop. Lemonade (Twenty Ten Music, 2014) is Peacock's third recording in the jazz genre.

His first release, Love Press Ex-Curio (Thirty Tigers, 2005) was followed by Arc of The Circle (Runway Network, 2008), a duet recording with saxophonist Jeff Coffin
Jeff Coffin
Jeff Coffin

saxophone
. Each recording reached the Top 5 on the CMJ Jazz Chart and amply provide clues to Peacock's unique solo piano approach, which is now fully revealed on Lemonade.

Peacock has performed and recorded with notable jazz artists like Don Alias
Don Alias
Don Alias
1939 - 2006
percussion
, Bela Fleck
Bela Fleck
Bela Fleck
b.1958
banjo
, Ravi Coltrane
Ravi Coltrane
Ravi Coltrane
b.1965
sax, tenor
, Marc Ribot
Marc Ribot
Marc Ribot
b.1954
guitar
, and Victor Wooten
Victor Wooten
Victor Wooten
b.1964
bass
. In addition to his unique solo efforts, Charlie Peacock has played a lead role in creating major chart hits in three separate decades, most notably Amy Grant's "Every Heartbeat," Switchfoot's "Dare You To Move," The Civil War's gold certifed debut album Barton Hollow (Sensibility, 2011), which earned a Grammy for Best Folk Album and Country duo, and the 2013 Billboard topping debut, The Civil Wars (Columbia, 2013). The producer's most recent credit is production and arranging of "Misery Chain," performed by Chris Cornell of Soundgarden (featuring Joy Williams) for the 12 years As A Slave soundtrack (Columbia, 2013).

Instrument(s):
Piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, trumpet, and electronic organ

Teachers and/or influences?
My father, trumpeter/educator, Bill Ashworth and a grammar and high school educator named Dean Estabrook who taught me music theory in high school. Dr. Frank Kofsky, educator and former editor of the Jazz & Pop magazine was a strong influence also. Dr. Kofsky took me to Keystone Korner in San Francisco and allowed me to help him with interviews when he was writing his column for the San Francisco Chronicle. I specifically remember going to Andrew Hill
Andrew Hill
Andrew Hill
1937 - 2007
piano
's home for the afternoon and would claim his playing as a huge influence along with Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
b.1945
piano
(Facing You (ECM, 1972) in particular). Other piano influences include Carla Bley
Carla Bley
Carla Bley
b.1938
piano
, Joe Sample
Joe Sample
Joe Sample
1939 - 2014
piano
, Ray Bryant
Ray Bryant
Ray Bryant
1931 - 2011
piano
, Chuck Leavell
Chuck Leavell
Chuck Leavell
b.1952
keyboard
, Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
, Ahmad Jamal
Ahmad Jamal
Ahmad Jamal
b.1930
piano
, Jackson Browne
Jackson Browne
Jackson Browne
b.1948
guitar
, and Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Chick Corea
b.1941
piano
to name a few.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I first heard my father rehearsing with his band in the garage. The Beatles on Ed Sullivan sealed the deal. Next came my parent's Columbia Record club discs and finding out about Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
and Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
, who were two artists they seemed to feature quite a bit. I loved it all.

Your sound and approach to music:
My approach to music is very broad and inclusive. I am a classic eclectic with an emphasis on American music. As a record producer, I tend to work with simpler rhythmic and harmonic forms, but my ear loves complexity as well. As a result, I've learned to move comfortably between the poles of simplicity and complexity and all points in between in production, composition, and my playing.

I try to major in what is emotive and evocative rather than what is technically accurate or correct. As far as improvising goes, even with the obvious influences, I've tried to do something a little different with the left hand by outlining chords in 5ths and 6ths and avoiding the jazz pedagogy voicings that my generation all learned back in the day. I love the chordal genius of Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
b.1940
piano
and Bill Evans, but because I usually produce much simpler music, it's allowed me a contentment with less complex harmonies. This is probably why my sound is a little less anchored in a particular time in jazz history—that's what I hope for anyway.

Your teaching approach:
My teaching philosophy is very much like house building. I start with the foundation and build up from there to greater and greater detail, complexity, nuance, contradiction, and randomness. In addition, I don't just teach facts, but ideas within varying contexts supported by overarching ideas about the nature of humanness and living in this planet.

Your dream band:
I think my dream band would be one that I compose for... a big band, so let me cast the players based on that. The drummer would have to be Brian Blade
Brian Blade
Brian Blade
b.1970
drums
, either James Genus
James Genus
James Genus
b.1966
bass
or Mike Elizondo on bass, guitars would be Annie Clark and Jerry McPherson, Ralph Alessi
Ralph Alessi
Ralph Alessi
b.1963
trumpet
on trumpet, Jeff Coffin
Jeff Coffin
Jeff Coffin

saxophone
on tenor, Don Byron
Don Byron
Don Byron
b.1958
clarinet
on clarinet, my cousin Tom Ashworth on trombone, Jeff Taylor on accordion, pump organ, and misc. instruments, and Danny Lanois on pedal steel.

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