AAJ: On the last night [February 25th] your daughter is playing in one of the groups, so Sculptured Sounds is kind of a family thing.
RW: [The group] Sojourner is my daughter's [Nioka] project. [February] 25th is called the African-American Legacy Project, which is a concept that Charles Tolliver and I put together. That project relates to the music of great composers who have contributed to the legacy of African-American music, [and] we will be performing in big band and choir fashion. I asked Nioka to bring her group in and [bass guitarist] Matthew Garrison has [said] that he would bring his trio in. He's Jimmy Garrison's son. When we did Lincoln Center we had Roy Haynes' son [cornetist Graham] and Cal Massey's son [tenor saxophonist Zane] involved with it. So the purpose is to create some kind of a vehicle for our links to the people who will move the music to the next space and carry it forward.
Now that's in tribute to Black History Month, so we made that a free concert. We want people from Philadelphia, all around Massachusetts [to know] that it's happening... They may be willing to drive up here and be a part of it because it's going to be something special. And it's worth a couple of hours on the highway. We'll do that in such a way that we'll be finished at about 11-11:30. I asked James Browne [manager of Sweet Rhythm] to keep his club open for people who have driven that far to come down and relax. He said "Well, you know, we don't open on Sunday. So I said "Will you open on Sunday for this occasion? He said he would do it. So that's another one of the things we're working toward, trying to have Sweet Rhythm open after the concert. Another thing that we have to do is get a core group down there, because whenever you have a gathering like that you need music.
AAJ: Is the Sculptured Sounds Music Festival just for this year, or, depending on the reception, would you do it again?
RW: Like you say, depending on the reception. It requires so much work. As I said, those 20-hour days... Whether or not you can continue to evolve and do that year after year, with the kind of resources we have at this point and with the kind of connections that we have in the media, depending on the response and the support that we get, will tell us whether it's a thing that we should continue with or not. From the response to the Preview Concert, I'm very optimistic. But it takes a lot out of one, so [it will depend] on how much it gives back to us.
Trio 3, Encounter (Passin' Thru, 1999) Reggie Workman, Summit Conference (Postcards, 1993) Fortune/Harper/Cowell/Workman/Hart, Great Friends (Black & Blue-Evidence, 1986) Alice Coltrane, Transfiguration (Warner Brothers-Sepia Tone, 1978) Wayne Shorter, Adam's Apple (Blue Note, 1966) John Coltrane, The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings (Impulse!-GRP, 1961)
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.