Oteil Burbridge: Making Peace

Phil DiPietro By

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AAJ: Any unsung up-and -comers on the bass, or any other instrument, you'd like to tell us about?

OB: I'm still trying to find out about those guys myself. The ones that I know are pretty "sung"-like Matt Garrison. I don't know how many people know about Mike Pope -BUT THEY WILL !

AAJ: Tell us about the making of the Steve Smith cd, "The Stranger's Hand."

OB: Well, that was such a gas because Steve and Jerry (Goodman) were two of my heroes from my teenage years. I heard that album recently after not hearing it for a long time and it floored me. I have to get away from stuff for a while to tell if I really like it or not. I still haven't even listened to the (Allman's)"Peakin' At The Beacon" record!

AAJ: Tell us about your recent reunion with the Colonel, Sipe and Jimmy at the Warren Haynes Xmas jam. How's it feel?

OB: Just like a favorite pair of jeans. it was so much fun to do that again. We're talking about doing some more dates with that lineup. It seems we're more popular now than when we were together!

AAJ: Being as proficient is as you are in so many styles, it must be very difficult to figure out what's next. Does it become hard to figure out what the next direction? Or is there no question in your own mind about what takes priority?

OB: Honestly, I just don't bother to think about it!

AAJ: To narrow down these types of issues a bit, let's just take your jazzier Peacemakery side, for example, and look at the venues you play. I mean, in New York, you play rooms like the Wetlands and the Lion's Den instead of ,say, the Blue Note. Or to take it to another level, you're playing all summer it huge venues with the Brothers. If, for some reason, the Allman's took a summer off, I would think the Peacemakers could play the European summer jazz festival tour and be received amazingly well.

OB: I would love to do the jazz festivals but the rock scene is where we're at right now. One of these days God will deliver me into those festivals. I'm happy right now where I'm at though.

AAJ: I heard you jammed with the P-Funk crew this year. Anything coming of that?

OB: Actually, that ALMOST happened but it didn't.

AAJ: Any other interesting projects you've got going under the radar screen?

Not at the moment. Just the next Peacemakers with some special guests.

AAJ: With all you've got going on, is there a fantasy jazz call or two that would make you reprioritize everything?

OB: Half of me would say "no..." but let's face it, if Wayne Shorter called and said that him and Joe wanted to put Weather Report back together with me and Erskine, I'm pretty sure I'd quit every band I was in and make a childhood dream come true. Hey, you only live once!

AAJ: I have seen you take so much time with your fans at Peacemakers gigs...answering questions for what must be the umpteenth time ..sharing road stories..showing bass players chords..letting the fans record the sounds and video the proceedings. In fact, the only musician I know that's nicer to the fans than you is Jimmy (Herring)...What makes you such a generous sprit in that regard?

OB: Well a couple of things. I didn't used to be that way. Seeing how Bela Fleck was with his fans really blew me away. People don't forget that kind of stuff for the rest of their lives. And also some bad experiences that I've had with my heroes. That being said though, I can't always be available to people because I am human and sometimes I just want to run, but I think there's a nice way to do that and a shitty way. I apologize to all those who I treated in the latter fashion.

AAJ: Ok... So tell the fans of your jazzier side of the spectrum what to expect.

OB: The Peacemakers will be on the road again in April 2001. And watch out y'all, the Peacemakers may be in the stores soon!! Updates will be at my website. We start working on the next Peacemakers record in March while I'm in N.Y.C. with the Allman Brothers Band. Hopefully it will be a record that's even more jazzy, funky, humble, southern, and spiritual than the last one. This next one will be dedicated to Joshua, the son of a carpenter otherwise known as Jesus Christ. I guess it will be the first jazz, funk, southern fried, fusion, gospel album!!!

AAJ: Sounds amazing...Anything else you'd like to add?

OB: Just that I'm so grateful to be able to share my thoughts life and music with everyone. And God Bless.
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