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Kevin Brandon: Brandino Is In The House

Scott Mitchell By

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AAJ: How important have the internet and social media been to you as an artist?

KB: It's something everybody needs to deal with and, if you use it to your advantage, it can help you reach out globally in ways you could never do in the past. In 1987, I started going back to school, dealing with computer classes in media to stay on top of where technology was heading and how I could use it to my advantage as an artist and in my business.

AAJ: How difficult and time consuming is it to stay on top of your social media responsibilities?

KB: It's real hard and time consuming. You really need to allocate your time wisely and focus on what you are trying to write, record, or market in the entertainment world.

AAJ: How much time do you spend practicing?

KB: About two hours a day

AAJ: How much time did you use to spend practicing?

KB: About eight to ten hours a day.

AAJ: Who are your jazz heroes?

KB: Louis Armstrong.

AAJ: Who are your rock heroes?

KB: Jack Bruce.

AAJ: Who are your bass heroes?

KB: Slam Stewart.

AAJ: How would you describe your musical style?

KB: Different.

AAJ: What do you do for fun?

KB: Work on my 1965 Ford Econoline van.

AAJ: What is your favorite restaurant?

KB: RJ Southern Home Cooking Restaurant in Downey, CA.

AAJ: How did your family influence your development as an artist?

KB: They introduced me to a lot of different kinds of music.

AAJ: How important is chemistry with fellow band members when you are on tour?

KB: Without chemistry in your band, you don't have a band, you have individuals playing what they want to play individually, instead of collectively.

AAJ: What was your formal musical training like?

KB: Classical flute lessons in high school from Milton Hall, Watts, CA; harmony by Walter Piston; techniques of 20th Century composition by Leon Dalin; 20th Century harmony by Vincent Persichetti; counterpoint by Kent Kennan, and more.

AAJ: Did reading music come easy to you?

KB: It was hard at first but when you enjoy playing an instrument, you want to perform as much music on that instrument as you can, to open up possibilities performance-wise.

AAJ: Are there any musicians in your family?

KB: My sister played piano and my brother played saxophone and piano. My parents did not play.

AAJ: How supportive was your family with respect to your early adventures in music?

KB: Really supportive, music gave me a chance, It kept me out of trouble so that was good, but it also gave me a chance to excel where I knew I could.

AAJ: How has jazz influenced your life and music?

KB: Jazz is part of my DNA.

AAJ: Who were your early jazz influences?

KB: All the greats!

AAJ: Who are your current jazz influences and likes?

KB: I really don't have though influences anymore. They do what they do and I do what I do.

AAJ: How would you describe yourself as a person?

KB: Very positive and energetic.

AAJ: How would you describe yourself as a musician?

KB: I really don't judge myself; you tell me, you heard me play.

AAJ: What do you do for fun?

KB: Work.

AAJ: How do you relax?

KB: Chamomile tea.

AAJ: What was your most embarrassing experience on stage?

KB: Breaking a high G string in the middle of the show Dream Girls, where there are no stops in the music.

AAJ: What were some of you special on stage moments and memories?

KB: The time Aretha performed at Navy Pier in Chicago and the band kept playing for about 20 minutes after she had already left the stage. The band was so much in a groove and trance; we didn't know she had actually left the stage.

AAJ: Describe a typical day in your life when you are on tour?

KB: Get up, get some breakfast in the hotel café, wait for the band to collectively unite and get to the next city to perform and start it all over again the next day.

AAJ: Describe a typical day in your life when you are home.

KB: Coffee in the morning, feed the dogs, turn on the computer, check email, practice, run errands. Come back and start writing, go to the studio to record on an album. Make sure If I have any writing assignments for the week, if not go have some fun.

AAJ: How do you balance your home life and your professional life?

KB: It's a challenge some time, but if you focus on the duties you have in front of you and plan your time. You can be amazed how much you can accomplish.

AAJ: What is the most difficult aspect of your work?

KB: Meeting two or three deadlines at the same time.

AAJ: When you are playing live are there any significant differences between jazz, rock, fusion, or blues sets?

KB: It's all music to me.



AAJ: I noticed an old Ford pickup truck in your yard. What is the story behind that?

KB: That's one of my hobbies to complete.

AAJ: I know that a big part of you is interested and involved in giving back to the community and, in particular, helping young kids find their way in life. Can you tell us more about this aspect of your life?

KB: I spend a lot of my time working with a special foundation that helps physically and mentally challenged kids and the under privileged in the inner city. We help them to become functionally self sufficient in society. I spend a lot of time trying to find support for the program and ways to expand what we are doing to other cities. We are online at www.youcandoitifyoutry.org

AAJ: I also noticed a stack of computers in your garage. What is the story behind that?

KB: The computers were donated to the program but we cannot do much with them until we have a secure building to use them in. It is frustrating having them here and not being able to put them to use.

Selected Discography

Brandino, Midnight Fantasy (N' House Records, 2010)
Brandino, Live (N' House Records, 2010)
Robbie Krieger, Singularity (Oglio, 2010)
Brandino and Friends,Live at Charlie O's Volume 1 (N' House Records, 2008)
The Temptations, Back to Front (New Door, 2007)
Joss Stone, Introducing Joss Stone (Virgin, 2007)
Justin Timberlake, FutureSex/LoveSounds (Jive, 2006)
Stevie Wonder, Conversation Piece (Motown, 1995)
Stanley Turrentine, LA Place (Blue Note, 1989)

Photo Credit: Scott Mitchell

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