Take Five With Joseph Alan Fears

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Meet Joseph Alan Fears:

Born in 1957 In Hastings, Nebraska. Moved at age 11 to start a band and, from 1971 until 2009, Joseph Alan Fears has been performing live in concerts, festivals and nightclubs, as well as recording and releasing songs on his own label, Jaff Records.

Presently performing with his band Zafaja, known all over the world for a great live show.


Bass, guitar, piano, organ, drums, congas.

Teachers and/or influences?

Family friends who were also musicians.

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

at age three.

Your sound and approach to music:

I write lyrics from my personal experiences; my musical compositions come from my inner being and the gift I received from God.

Your teaching approach:

I am only as good a teacher as I am a writer.

Your dream band:

My ideal band has yet to evolve, though I do perform live with a band of my colleagues from my youth. I would one day like to work with Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
and Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis

Road story: Your best or worst experience:

Touring at age fourteen with my band mates, we performed in a club in Columbus Missouri, called The Hole In The Wall (aka The Dirty Boot). The bathroom was located outside, but that was back in 1973.

Favorite venue:

My best live performance spot was in a nightclub called Speeds, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. That was back In 1978, when I was performing with a band known As Flare.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

I believe that some of my best were "Sunset Park" And "Never Gonna Fall Again," because I was super-tuned into my sound quality. My studio sessions were all great. Although I played all of the Instruments on all tracks, it just felt right and sounded great.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

A live Julian "Cannonball" Adderley
Julian "Cannonball" Adderley
1928 - 1975
record (l I cannot remember the album title),back in 1968.

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

I have a message in many of my songs by way of lyrics and music. There is always room for one more story and for one more song.

Did you know...

I found out, from my fans and friends, that I sound more like a jazz artist than I had even thought. I used to perform R&B a lot In nightclubs, but someone was always asking if I could sing or play something by a jazz group like Maze or Kool & The Gang (in their early days).

CDs you are listening to now:

I don't really listen to other artists' music, as it tends to clutter my ability to be original, However, I have always liked the jazz music of Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
, Kenny Burrell
Kenny Burrell
Kenny Burrell
, Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
1922 - 1979
bass, acoustic
, Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
and Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery
1925 - 1968
,to name just a few.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

It is what it is. For me, it's all good.

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

More musicians that want to play jazz need to learn it.

What is in the near future?

Just another story in the path of my projects.

What's your greatest fear when you perform?

That the power might go out.

By Day:

Write and compose music.

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