Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

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

More Articles

Read Pat Martino: In the Moment Interview Pat Martino: In the Moment
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: January 12, 2018
Read Jessica Lurie: In It For The Long Haul Interview Jessica Lurie: In It For The Long Haul
by Paul Rauch
Published: January 9, 2018
Read Julian Priester: Reflections in Positivity Interview Julian Priester: Reflections in Positivity
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 8, 2017
Read Aaron Goldberg: Exploring the Now Interview Aaron Goldberg: Exploring the Now
by Luke Seabright
Published: November 24, 2017
Read "Todd Neufeld: Transcending the Limits of Sound" Interview Todd Neufeld: Transcending the Limits of Sound
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 7, 2017
Read "Walter Smith III: Jazz Explorer" Interview Walter Smith III: Jazz Explorer
by R.J. DeLuke
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "Tom Green: A Man And His Trombone" Interview Tom Green: A Man And His Trombone
by Nick Davies
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Tim Bowness: Ghost Lights and Life Sentences" Interview Tim Bowness: Ghost Lights and Life Sentences
by John Kelman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Roxy Coss: Standing Out" Interview Roxy Coss: Standing Out
by Paul Rauch
Published: October 22, 2017