Everything played by the musicians in the cistern was improvised. Everything done at the concert was either indicated by musical notation or text. It had one additional performance at the Cornish Institute of Music and Arts in Seattle a few months after the original performance. It is now available on the internet with a new title The Awakening (New Edition, 2006). The record company is in Germany.
AAJ: Your body of work is spread out over many labels of various sizes. Unlike some, there is no uniform law on which labels offer up your best works. Did not being affiliated with one label offer you more artistic freedom? Has this been a conscious decision or just the way it worked out?
BS: Well at least I've been able to keep new records out there and available (sometimes!). Record labels come and go. It just worked out this way.
AAJ: Sonny Rollins has started his own label and is offering up recordings of live dates he played at Ronnie Scott's (in London). Woody Shaw's son is doing the same thing, as is Zoot Sim's widow [the excellent Zoot Suite (High Note, 2007) is her first release]. Have you ever thought of going down that road?
BS: I have no plans to start my own record label. However, we are at this time expanding our sales of current and older CDs and LPs on our website www.budshankalto.com . Beyond the Red Door (Jazz Media, 2007), my latest CD is available here and from the record company. I have the US distribution rights to two CDs and a DVD done in Brazil last December. A DVD about my life is being prepared now for release in early 2008. It will also be on our website.
AAJ: Do you listen to your own albums or private recordings of gigs?
AAJ: I have a few favorites which I constantly go back to and will spend the rest of my life listening to, but there is also a definite thrill to discovering someone new and exploring their work. Do you still listen to some of the original artists who got your juices flowing, Artie Shaw etc?
BS: No! The past is back there. The future is straight ahead.
AAJ: You have a new album coming out, a duo with pianist Bill Mays. Will this be a live recording? What dictates which of your projects become albums? Has new technology made any impact on the how and whys of your recording?
BS: Beyond the Red Door was recorded in New York City in May, 2007. The particular studio was chosen because Bill Mays loved the piano. Me too!
AAJ: Where can fans keep updated on your latest projects and appearances?
BS: At the website www.budshankalto.com, and through a newsletter published there that my wife Linda puts out quarterly.
AAJ: Even with the advent of the internet, online shopping, podcasts, and an ever shrinking world where you can buy a Chu Berry CD by PDA while sitting in the Luxembourg Gardens, jazz has become marginalized. Now more than ever, it has been pushed aside by number-crunchers and a youth-oriented culture. Is there a cure-all? I don't know, but please keep doing what you do so well. It has been a pleasure.
BS: The art form we know as jazz music, like many other things, is changing rapidly. We are losing jazz clubs and jazz radio stations, jazz record labels and true jazz festivals. Are there any real ones left to speak of? I am old enough to have survived a lot of "dry spells and periods of change. But nothing like this. Many doomsayers are predicting the end of our art form as we know it. I am not among them. I have my answer, but changes as large as we're seeing now can frequently be very goodshaking out the dust, the dark clouds and the bull-shitters. We can only hope.
Bud Shank/Bill Mays, Beyond the Red Door (Jazzed Media, 2007)
Bud Shank/Bill Cooper, Mosaic Select 10: Bud Shank and Bob Cooper (Mosaic, 2006)
Bud Shank, After You, Jeru (Fresh Sound, 1999)
Bud Shank, The Lost Cathedral (ITM, 1995)
Bud Shank Sextet, New Gold (Candid, 1995)
Bud Shank Sextet, Plays Harold Arlen (Jimco, 1996)
Bud Shank/Kenny Barron, I Told You So (Candid, 1992)
Bud Shank/Marco Silva, Tomorrow's Rainbow (Contemporary, 1992)
Bud Shank/Lou Levy, Lost in the Stars: Bud Shank and Lou Levy Play the Sinatra Songbook (Fresh Sound, 1990)
Frank Morgan with the Bud Shank Quintet, Quiet Fire (Contemporary, 1987)
Bud Shank, At Jazz Alley (Contemporary/OJC, 1986)
Bud Shank Quartet, This Bud's For You (32 Jazz, 1984)
Shorty Rogers/Bud Shank, Yesterday, Today and Forever (Concord, 1983)
Bud Shank/Shorty Rogers, California Concert (Contemporary/OJC, 1985)
The L.A. 4, Executive Suite The L.A. 4, Montage (Concord, 1981)
Bud ShankExplorations 1980 (Concord, 1980)
The L.A. 4, Zaca (Concord, 1980) Bud Shank, Heritage (Concord, 1978)
Kimio Eto, Koto and Flute (World Pacific, 1960)
Bud Shank, Slippery When Wet (World Pacific, 1960)
Laurindo Almeida with Bud Shank, Brazilliance, Vol. 3 (World Pacific, 1958)
Laurindo Almeida with Bud Shank, Brazilliance, Vol. 2 (World Pacific, 1958)
Laurindo Almeida with Bud Shank, Brazilliance, Vol. 1 (World Pacific, 1953)
First and Third Photos: Elizabeth Becker, courtesy of Bud Shank
Second Photo: Ron Hudson
Fourth Photo: Ian Polakoff, courtesy of Bud Shank