All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Interviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Dan Shout: In With a Shout

Seton Hawkins By

Sign in to view read count
I like guitarists who have got more of a rock sound, but who can play Jazz. I like people who could play on a hollow body and play a straight-ahead Wes Montgomery vibe, but who can also play with pedals and distortion. So when Michael came back, I just said to him, "Hey man, I'm just about to record this album. Please, could you play on it?" And funnily enough, when I did a gig up in Joburg with the same material about two years ago, I couldn't take my whole band. So I took two or three guys up, and then the rest of the band were actually guys already living there. Then, I filled the band with two or three other friends of mine who hadn't done the project, and Michael was one of them. So he was familiar with the material when we went to record, but it had been developed quite a lot more since when he first played it. But he's a ridiculous professional. I started to write for guitar in a more more complicated or more complex way, because he literally plays the horn lines exactly like the horns do, whereas I would give Gorm more free rein to go and do what he thought was best. Michael and Gorm each brought different strengths to the sound. I'm acutely aware that guitar and saxophone work very well together, so sometimes I would double certain things on the guitar that I was playing, or on another part just to reinforce it. But I would also give them the rhythmic aspect and the improv aspect as well.

AAJ: On both albums, but particularly on In With a Shout, one hears the strong influence of Cape artists like the Dyers brothers.

DS: I think there are some hugely influential genres of South African Jazz, particularly from up north. The only problem for me is that I didn't really come to Jazz through those genres. I came to Jazz while I was at UCT, studying classical clarinet. Some of the guys who were a few years ahead of me were people like Kesivan Naidoo, Buddy Wells, Marc de Kock, and Melanie Scholtz. And it was there that I got exposed to Jazz. I didn't actually come up through the Johannesburg or the Durban scenes, the "classic" sort of South African Jazz. I came up in the Cape Jazz sound. What started getting me to love Jazz was hearing the students who were older than me and who are brilliant Jazz musicians nowadays, but also through playing the arrangements of Darryl Andrews and Mike Campbell. They would regularly feature people like Winston Mankunku Ngozi, Robbie Jansen, Selaelo Selota, and Marcus Wyatt as special guests. I feel that my influence of South African Jazz is very specifically through the magnifying glass of the Cape Jazz sound. I'm not saying I don't love or I don't listen to Hugh Masekela or Miriam Makeba or Bheki Mseleku, but my focus, my upbringing, and my love for South African Jazz in particular came through Alvin Dyers, Errol Dyers, Darryl Andrews, Mike Campbell and Andrew Lilley. So instead of writing a samba, I'd rather write a ghoema. That's a sound that I love, and I've tried to sound like the Cape. I try and make my own version of the Cape, but in a way that's like Yellowjackets Meets Ghoema, if you know what I'm trying to say! AAJ: As we move from In With a Shout to Secret Weapons, the compositional range gets quite a bit more ambitious. Can you talk about that development?

DS: I'm a busking composer and arranger, a trial-and-error composer and arranger. Having said that, I play a lot of ensemble music, whether it's big band or tentet, and all sorts of different people's compositions. I think I know generally how it's supposed to sound if it's good. I'm not necessarily sure how to do that, pen-to-paper like a "real" arranger. But it's something I love and it's something I work on and study. I'm always trying to improve myself the whole time. So I think that on In With a Shout, I really felt I took a huge turn in sort of picking the correct personnel for the album, writing better for them, and also discovering myself as to what I wanted to say and who I am and keeping it real in a way. With this album three years later, I think I took another huge step in the right direction. Now I'm trying to find where I think I'm going with it.


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Randy Weston: The Spirit of Our Ancestors Interviews
Randy Weston: The Spirit of Our Ancestors
by Ludovico Granvassu
Published: September 7, 2018
Read Val Wilmer: Dues And Testimony Interviews
Val Wilmer: Dues And Testimony
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 5, 2018
Read Bob James: Piano Player Interviews
Bob James: Piano Player
by R.J. DeLuke
Published: September 3, 2018
Read Ben Wolfe: The Freedom to Create Interviews
Ben Wolfe: The Freedom to Create
by Stephen A. Smith
Published: September 1, 2018
Read Peter Epstein: Effortless Precision Interviews
Peter Epstein: Effortless Precision
by Stephen A. Smith
Published: September 1, 2018
Read Dan Shout: In With a Shout Interviews
Dan Shout: In With a Shout
by Seton Hawkins
Published: August 31, 2018
Read "Fabian Almazan: Multilayered Vision" Interviews Fabian Almazan: Multilayered Vision
by Angelo Leonardi
Published: March 30, 2018
Read "Aaron Goldberg: Exploring the Now" Interviews Aaron Goldberg: Exploring the Now
by Luke Seabright
Published: November 24, 2017
Read "Mandla Mlangeni: Born to Be" Interviews Mandla Mlangeni: Born to Be
by Seton Hawkins
Published: June 11, 2018
Read "Satoko Fujii: the Gift of Music" Interviews Satoko Fujii: the Gift of Music
by Angelo Leonardi
Published: March 7, 2018
Read "Peter Epstein: Effortless Precision" Interviews Peter Epstein: Effortless Precision
by Stephen A. Smith
Published: September 1, 2018
Read "Grace Kelly: Free From Boundaries" Interviews Grace Kelly: Free From Boundaries
by Doug Hall
Published: January 27, 2018