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...

48

Kind of Purple: Jazz Musicians On Prince

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count
Relatively late—I was in grad school in '96-'97. My younger brother got a hold of The Hits/The B Sides and simultaneous to that Ralph Alessi at Eastman played us Parade. Then I dove in. I obviously had heard the hits before but it had never "clicked" until then.

Prince is one of the biggest selling artists of the last 30 years. That would suggest a "lowest common denominator" effect to at least some people. Do you think his music is understood for what it is by most people?

Well "what it is" is in the Ear of the Behearer (thanks Dewey Redman), so I'm not sure that matters. I'm sure he has a huge number of fans who are into the deep cuts, and others who compare variations in feel between multiple versions of tunes, still others who just love to belt out "Kiss." Popular music has myriad artists whose content might extend beyond the consciousness of portions of their fan bases, but everyone needs different things from their music. What matters with artists like Prince is that the depth is there.

Do you think Prince is past his prime?

I don't really subscribe to such a notion with regard to artists. I'm not as familiar with his current work, but he's done so much that's great to me that it doesn't matter.

What sort of project or direction would you like to see Prince take on that he hasn't?

If anything I'd love to see him return to the unfettered psychedelia of the mid 80s. The time seems ripe for that to me.

Steven Bernstein: "Darling Nikki"

Tell me why you picked "Darling Nikki" and how you decided to record your own version of it.

I've actually recorded this twice, with MTO and Sexmob. This song just rocked my world when I heard it. Having come up with jazz music as my foundation, there are certain triadic-based songs that seem "simple" but were not part of my language. "Nikki" is one of them. The movement from A to F in the intro and verse and A to C in the chorus gives the song its very inviting harmonic palette.

"Darling Nikki" is one of the songs he won't perform anymore. Any thoughts on him cleaning up his act, so to speak?

Not my business... I'm a music guy.

When did you first become interested in Prince's music?

I bought Dirty Mind in the spring of 1981 (or what is winter of 1980?) at a record store on Broadway between 113 & 112. It was a revelation.

What is it that stands out most to you about his music?



The music.

Prince is one of the biggest selling artists of the last 30 years. That would suggest a "lowest common denominator" effect to at least some people. Do you think his music is understood for what it is by most people?

I have no idea how most people hear music.

What did you think of Madhouse, Prince's "jazz" project?

Love Madhouse, was just revisiting it a couple of months ago, really good for the ears. I heard that it was Prince playing most of the instruments on this as well. Either way, great music

What sort of project or direction would you like to see Prince take on that he hasn't?

Having me write his horn parts.

Photo credit: Karppinen

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Dave Ledbetter: Diversity and Unity Interviews
Dave Ledbetter: Diversity and Unity
by Seton Hawkins
Published: August 15, 2018
Read Kika Sprangers: Musical Adventurer In Holland Interviews
Kika Sprangers: Musical Adventurer In Holland
by R.J. DeLuke
Published: August 14, 2018
Read Tomasz Stanko: Lyricism and Liberation Interviews
Tomasz Stanko: Lyricism and Liberation
by John Kelman
Published: July 30, 2018
Read Hal Willner's Rock 'n' Rota Interviews
Hal Willner's Rock 'n' Rota
by Ludovico Granvassu
Published: July 26, 2018
Read Making The John Coltrane Jazz Festival in High Point Interviews
Making The John Coltrane Jazz Festival in High Point
by La-Faithia White
Published: July 21, 2018
Read George Wein: A Life and Legend in Jazz Interviews
George Wein: A Life and Legend in Jazz
by Doug Hall
Published: July 19, 2018
Read "Jessica Lurie: In It For The Long Haul" Interviews Jessica Lurie: In It For The Long Haul
by Paul Rauch
Published: January 9, 2018
Read "Helle Henning: Nordic Sounds" Interviews Helle Henning: Nordic Sounds
by Suzanne Lorge
Published: February 14, 2018
Read "John McLaughlin's American Farewell Tour with Jimmy Herring" Interviews John McLaughlin's American Farewell Tour with Jimmy...
by Alan Bryson
Published: September 5, 2017
Read "Camila Meza: Following what the music has to say" Interviews Camila Meza: Following what the music has to say
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: February 25, 2018