Zenon: The arrangement process was very similar [with "Nardis"]. You're a couple steps ahead. You're starting with a tune that already exists. When you have an original, you have to come with a seed and then make that grow into a full tune. I've been doing this for a few years now, writing music that is very specifically written for this band. It grew out of this strong rhythmic idea that proceeds from the drum set and has a tribal feel to it. I made the whole tune grow out of that. A short rhythmic cell that finds itself repeated and reprised throughout the composition. I built it up that way.
AAJ: How is the fan support at the gigs?
Jones: It's great. Doing a live CD, you have home court advantage. We're in San Francisco. Each show was sold out. So that energy comes across on the record. But the music is also well received on the road. The band has such a wonderful balance of complexity, soulfulness, a lot of different rhythms. It's really a journey for the listener to check out the band. I think we found a really nice balance.
AAJ: Will you stay with the group for the next tour?
Jones: That's the plan, unless something else comes along. I'll probably be with the band for a little while. You never know with me. I don't like to stay in one band for too long. You can kind of get comfortable. But I'm definitely committed to sticking with the band for the foreseeable future because it's not a typical band. It's different every single year. Last year it was drastically different from this year.
Zenon: I'm extremely proud to be part of it. To be art of something that's been going on for so long. It's something to be proud of. It's such a unique situation. We don't know how long it's going to last It might go for 20 more years. I might go for three years. As long as we can keep this momentum going, it's something to feel great about.
AAJ: What's going on this year after the Collective?
Jones: I'm going to go back and finish the semester at Berklee College of Music. I'm the chair of the brass department now. While I'm on tour, I've been going back and forth to teach and take care of things with the department. I'm looking forward to the summer. Each person has different things... I'll be putting out a record on May 26, Live at the Jazz Bistro with my quintet. I'm really excited about that. We have a lot of summer gigs coming up for that.
AAJ: Your album this year, how is that going?
Zenon: Great. We did a long tour in the spring in the States. We have another one in Europe in the summer. And another in the fall. We're getting a lot of good feedback. I'm really happy about how things turned out.
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.