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David Gilmore: Getting To The Point

Phil DiPietro By

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AAJ: Did you start playing with heavy cats right away, when you got out?

DG:Yeah, I missed my graduation by two days because I went out with Steve Coleman. That was my first professional gig. That was 15 years ago, so I was 22 or 3. I had taken a year off between Clark and NYU. I joined the Black Rock Coalition right at the beginning. Kevin Bruce Harris and Geri Allen must have told Steve about me. Kelvyn Bell was the guitarist in the band before me. He's on the first two records. That was my first real thing, touring and stuff, but it wasn't paying the bills. I was managing a bookstore at the time, as well.

AAJ: Did you do the Kevin Bruce Harris records after the Coleman records?

DG:No, the first thing I did was "Sine Die on Sting's label, Pangea. I met Sting and all.

AAJ: He's got Chris McBride, now. I know you played on Chris's last cd. That'd be a nice band, with you and Christian McBride, huh?

DG:Well, actually, my brother, Marque, did a couple of gigs with Sting you know. He was playing on a project with Katia LeBeque and they had some gigs in Spain and Italy and Pompeii. Christian was on the gig as well. Then September 11th hit and the cancelled the rest of the gigs that they had scheduled. It was a special side project for Sting..

Anyway from '87 to '94 I played with Steve.

AAJ: Are you one of the Five Elements?

DG:I guess so, yeah I'm on those Five Elements records and more. I guess I'm water (laughs).

AAJ: Yeah you, Reggie Washington and Gene Lake. That's a rhythm section right there.

DG:I recommended Gene for that gig. Then my brother and Rodney came in for an audition and Gene, well, he just wiped everybody clean, man. Amazing, amazing player.

AAJ: Great cat too. I love his solo cd (http://www.allaboutjazz.com/reviews/r0301_107.htm)

DG:Oh yeah. In between all that I was still working part time "regular jobs. I actually did gig with Sam Rivers before I graduated, but during Steve's time I also did a couple of Kevin Bruce Harris records. He was in Coleman's band at that time, before Reggie Washington. I played with Ronald Shannon Jackson real briefly and then Don Byron.

AAJ: What about Cassandra Wilson?

DG: I only did a couple of gigs with her. Steve produced that record ("Jumpworld , 1989) and I wrote one of the tunes on it. I came close to doing a record back then for Muse because Greg Osby was producing a bunch of sessions for them. But he was trying to get me and another of his guitar players to do a cd and I just wasn't interested in doing a record with another guitarist. I'm on a couple of the Lonnie Plaxico sessions that came out on Muse.

AAJ: What happened to Muse's output?

DG: I know that Joe Fields sold one of his catalogues that he owned and made some money. Maybe that's why they do less recordings. Cindy Blackman, who I play with, just got done with her obligation to Muse.

Every once and a while I did gigs with my own thing but I never pursued it heavily. In '91 I had my daughter, and I was going through some heavy personal things around that time. Looking back, that consumed a lot of my space, you know, and a lot of my focus. And then I started working with Trilok. Right before I went over there to work with Trilok, I quit Steve's thing. Trilok flew me over there, to Germany, to check me out and then rehearse, so it wasn't a sure thing. But I wound up playing with him a couple of years ("Bad Habits Die Hard , "Believe ). That was during Lost Tribe, too. Like '89.

AAJ: We've got to talk about Lost Tribe, with Fima Ephron (www.globalbass.com/archives/feb2002/fima_ephron.htm), Adam Rogers, Ben Perowsky (www.perowsky.com) and David Binney. Killer band!

DG:Well, we never made money with Lost Tribe, either.

AAJ: And you were on a major label!

DG: High Street, a branch of Windham Hill. They kicked in some miniscule tour support to do the states one time. We opened up for Steve Morse.

AAJ: I actually saw Lost Tribe with MMW on a co-bill thing.

DG: They actually did that one after I left the band. They were going out for six weeks driving through the states and up to Canada and back, and I had two gigs with Don Byron in Germany that paid more than six weeks on the road with Lost Tribe would have, so I decided, "I can't do this. No hard feelings, but this is it. They had done gigs without me occasionally before that because I was doing Trilok and Don, so the writing was on the wall there. It wasn't like a major cutoff. It was just time to part ways.

AAJ: In my small circle of friends and fusion lovers, there are people still getting hip to Lost Tribe.

DG: Wow. That first record was real special to me. Maybe just because it was the first record, and that we did it in Maui with Walter Becker. It was a beautiful place. Walter brought us to Windham Hill. Ben Perowsky met him at a session and gave him a demo and he liked it. Then Fima and Ben and Adam Rogers did his record ("11 Tracks of Whack ). It was fun man - I learned a lot from that project. It was definitely the most adventurous stuff on Windham Hill. It was very eclectic, they didn't know how to market it, especially the second record. There was rap stuff on it, and heavy metal.

AAJ: Good point, I really think the Lost Tribe stuff and the stuff Fuze did with the Torsos was a precursor to the rock-metal-rap that is so popular today. Yet, none of the modern-day bands have said that was an influence.

DG:Looking back, it really did have some of those elements in it. I just want to capitalize on all that stuff now. It can't happen fast enough (laughs). Seriously man, I just want to make a living doing what I do. It comes down to that. Getting some recognition in any arena would help.

AAJ: So there hasn't been any major label contact, huh?

DG:Of the few cds that I have sent out, there has been some label interest but they have basically told me that they can't make a move now, so I continued with my initial plan to release it myself. Arabesque was one of those labels.

AAJ: Ben Monder is on that label.

DG:Ben is a highly intellectual cat. He's super nice. I'd like to pick his brain about a few things. But yeah, there are labels out there. Plus I'd like to see what the interest is like for my new Kindread Spirits project. I think that's a great project in terms of commercial viability. That's me on guitar and guitar synth, my brother Marque on drums and samples and Matt Garrison (www.garrisonjazz.com) on bass, keys, and vocoder.

Matt is totally down with that project. He's really great. Kindread Spirits is more like what Nils-Petter Molvaer is doing, with a healthy dose of electronics. Nils is incredibly popular in Europe. He has label support there and he's built his following up.

AAJ: Do you think the fan base builds with the gigging or the gigging builds the fanbase?

DG:I'd say you build your fan base by gigging a lot and you also build the music. It's after that when you reach a point where you start to gig more in terms of demand.

AAJ: I like the whole jam band ethic of gig first and get signed later.

DG: :All I can say is that the market is funny in regards to who gets signed and who doesn't.

AAJ: I just think everything I said before about a market here for your music goes double for the type of sounds you're going for with Kindread Spirits. There's a whole subset of bands doing the live electronica thing that have crossed over into that market, like the Disco Biscuits, Sound Tribe Sector 9 and the New Deal. Take that for whatever it's worth.

OK Dave..NOW comes the time in the interview where you must speak about your time with WAYNE. How'd that happen?

DG:I have to thank Will Calhoun for that. He recommended me.

AAJ: It's all about the word of mouth.

DG:Exactly. Wayne was recording in LA with Will and Marcus, and the way it was told to me, is that Wayne kept hearing guitar. He kept gesturing like he was playing guitar when they were playing the tracks back, so Marcus asked him if he was looking for some guitar on there and Wayne said, "Yeah. I think so . Will suggested me and Marcus had heard me play before so they called me and got me out there. Will originally called and said that Wayne was looking for a guitarist for gigging, so I sent a tape, with mostly Trilok's stuff. A week later, Wayne Shorter called me up! I mean, "Hello, this is Wayne Shorter. I said "huuuuuh!? I remember he said, "Yeah, man, y'know, you get to the point!

So I flew out there and spent a week out there overdubbing with him. The record was done, but he was rerecording the melodies, and they had me double a lot of them. Then Marcus Miller, the producer, proceeded to punish me. He kinda arranged things on the spot because there were no guitar parts written out. Marcus took stuff from the master score and had me play certain chords and chordal type melodies. You can hear it in some areas of the recording better than others. Mainly I'm doubling Wayne and interjecting some things in between. We did the tour later that year in the fall of '95. There were several incarnations of that band. Memories, man.

AAJ: How many dates ?

DG:We did about 20 in '95. In '96 we did a bunch of US dates with Jim Beard (keys), Alphonso (Johnson) and Rodney (Holmes), a European tour...that's when the tragedy happened with his wife (TWA Flight #800, July 17,1996)....after that we did Japan. Maybe like a 80 dates total. Then I played with him in '98 with Terry Lynn Carrington, Jim Beard and John Patitucci. We went to Japan and Brazil. And that was the last time I played with Wayne ... '98.. November. We were supposed to do the next record with me, Brian Blade and Christian McBride, who was with Joshua Redman at the time. We went out there and rehearsed, but it just never happened.

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