All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Take Five With...

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...


Take Five With Alexi David

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Meet Alexi David: My name is Alexi David, and I'm a composer/double-bassist/human.

I was born in Cyprus, and raised in Park Slope, Brooklyn, before the evil strollers descended.

I had a stunted growth as a young musician because I was (am?) a drug addict. I'm much better now, but still continue to fight.

After rehab in Cyprus, I resumed playing Double Bass (after a hiatus of years), and I moved back to NYC in August 2005. I became a full-time college student. I have also taught music and helped other young people at The Door, a youth center in SoHo.

Some of the great musicians I've been recording/performing with lately include: Andrew Hadro, Chris Langellotti, Brandon Lewis, Vladimir Katz, Steve Lyman, Luke Damrosch, Thomas Abbott, Elan Mehler, Ryan Anselmi, Junior Mance, Phil Stewart, Stacy Dillard, Bruce Cox, Saul Rubin, Geoff Vidal, Alon Albagli...........

I've recorded with singer José James (featuring Junior Mance) for many Brownswood Recordings and did two European tours with him. <{P> I've played venues such as ENZO e.V (Frankfurt), The Blue Note (Milan), Paradiso (Amsterdam), Bohannon (Berlin), Vortex, Pizza Express, Bush Hall, MoMo's (all London), Berns (Stockholm), almost everywhere in Cyprus, La Fleche D'Or, New Morning (Both Paris), Supermarket (Toronto Jazz festival) Garage, SummerStage, Wetlands, Sweet Rhythm, Hiro Ballroom, Baggott Inn, St. Peter's Church, Smalls, Fat Cat, Swing 46, Knickerbocker, NuBlu (NYC) and lots of other cool joints. I've done live radio shows for WBGO and WBAI.

I've also had/have great teachers and mentors, such as Gamal El-Zoghby, Kirk Nurock, Bill Kirchner, Robert Sadin, Joe Chambers, Cecil Bridgewater, Henry Grimes and Junior Mance.

Aside from music, my life is: animals, Conspiracies/truth, knowledge, food/drink, traveling, history, research, being a Pisces, restoring vintage electronic equipment (mostly tube amps), and trying to improve myself and be a better person. I also have the best girlfriend in the world.

Regarding Music: Besides satisfying my ego, my goal is to create positive change.

Musical/Life Mission Statement

  • To come to terms with my two cultural sides, American and Cypriot. To accept myself as a Cypriot and an American, that is to see the positive and the negative and let it be. The compositions being written blur the boundaries between the two.

  • To blend all the music that is in my head into one kind of genre. That is—no genre at all. I am not a jazz musician, nor a Rembetis, nor a rock 'n roller. I am Alexi.

  • To be more honest in life, and without embarrassment. Same thing applies in music. Music is Life, they're the same damn thing, always.

  • The use of music as a catharsis, a problem-solver, and ultimately a way to stay off Heroin and other bad drugs—bad for me anyway.

  • To encourage and help others, other students at school, children, and lost people—to do the above, or similar.

  • And, you know, to have some Frikkiiiinnnn' fun!


Double-bass, electric bass, piano, saz.

Teachers and/or influences?

Teachers: Gamal El-Zoghby, Kirk Nurock, Robert Sadin, Henry Grimes, Cecil Bridgewater, Junior Mance.

Musical Influences: The Who, The Beatles, Charles Mingus, King Crimson, Bela Bartok, Arnold Schoenberg, Led Zeppelin, Mountain, Cream, Ray Charles, Vasilis Tsitsanis, Rosa Eskenazi.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... Playing a bass got the girls' attention.

Your sound and approach to music: As in life as in music. Or as my friend Stacy Dillard said, "Practice Life and the music will follow."

Your teaching approach:

What are your needs? What do you want? Why do you want to play?

strong>Your dream band:

mmm...I don't think like that.

Road story: Your best or worst experience: You mean like playing jazz for a whole wedding and at the end someone coming up and asking us to play something "jazzy"?

Favorite venue:

Fat Cat, New York City. Musicians are respected there. We get paid a flat rate, which increases as time passes. The music is of the utmost importance and holds a high standard.

I also like Paris audiences.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? So far—"Something For Franz Liszt" and "You Don't See Any Black Destroying The World, Do you? Huh?!" Those were good versions. They're on my website.

The first Jazz album I bought was: I think it was John Coltrane's Interstellar Space. Flipped me out. I loved it.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

A new language - Ottoman/Greek music mixed with jazz and blues and rock. Also, I like to bring the fun back into jazz—and the dance-ability. Often, cats take themselves and their solos way too seriously. If you want the music to progress and survive, stop making it all about you and your notes.

Did you know...

That I'm scared of aliens abducting me from my bedroom window at night?

CDs you are listening to now: '50s Sun Ra, '40s Gene Ammons, "Morning Star," done by both Nat King Cole and Billy Preston, early Black Sabbath.

How would you describe the state of jazz today? I hate these questions.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Play for the people. Entertain. Make people dance. Geez, at least talk to your audience. Jazz used to sell when it had these things. Think about it.

What is in the near future?

To record my compositions—the first batch.

By Day:

Still in College—I also repair vacuum tube equipment and Hammonds/Leslies.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: Junkie. That's what I was before. I quit so I could play again.


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Take Five with Mark Haskins Take Five With...
Take Five with Mark Haskins
by Mark Haskins
Published: April 17, 2018
Read Take Five with Tarek Yamani Take Five With...
Take Five with Tarek Yamani
by Tarek Yamani
Published: April 12, 2018
Read Take Five With the Anansi Trio Take Five With...
Take Five With the Anansi Trio
by Mark Merella
Published: March 7, 2018
Read Take Five with Myriam Phiro Take Five With...
Take Five with Myriam Phiro
by Myriam Phiro
Published: March 2, 2018
Read Take Five with Tat Yoshinaga Take Five With...
Take Five with Tat Yoshinaga
by Tat Yoshinaga
Published: February 28, 2018
Read Take Five with Chris Abelen Take Five With...
Take Five with Chris Abelen
by Chris Abelen
Published: February 13, 2018
Read "Take Five with Andrew Kushnir" Take Five With... Take Five with Andrew Kushnir
by Andrew Kushnir
Published: February 11, 2018
Read "Take Five with Hayley Lam" Take Five With... Take Five with Hayley Lam
by Hayley Lam
Published: August 3, 2017
Read "Take Five with Mark Haskins" Take Five With... Take Five with Mark Haskins
by Mark Haskins
Published: April 17, 2018
Read "Take Five with Debora Galan" Take Five With... Take Five with Debora Galan
by Debora Galan
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "Take Five with Luc Herrmann" Take Five With... Take Five with Luc Herrmann
by Luc Herrmann
Published: January 26, 2018
Read "Take Five With Sylvia Brooks" Take Five With... Take Five With Sylvia Brooks
by Sylvia Brooks
Published: October 1, 2017