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How would you describe the state of jazz today? I think jazz is in great shape today, in terms of the fact that there are so many young people out there getting involved in it. There is always a shortage of places to play as the number of musicians grow so addressing this is of paramount importance.
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? I think that we have to be careful sometimes to make sure that what we do is for the benefit of the audience and not just for ourselves, as it is very difficult to entice new people into the music sometimes, especially when it is non vocal-led. Sometimes the word "jazz" can be our worst enemy, as it covers far too diverse a spectrum of music. All we can do individually I guess is tell our own stories and make sure we do that in as open and engaging way possible.
What is in the near future? Well my double album, Blues Vignette, has just been released in the States, and I recently recorded a new solo CD for ACT which comes out in January, so I'll be travelling around the world making music both with my trio, with Yuri Goloubev on bass and James Maddren on drums, and solo. Also I'm involved with many different collaborations with different artistsmusical and otherwiseso have a look at my website for all the details of what's going on.
My day job is doing my accounts, sending emails, all the fun stuff. I also write a lot of music, sometimes for larger classical ensembles so that always takes up huge chunks of time. I do try and play football for a few different teams whenever possible so that's always a welcome relief. Oh, and sometimes I try to practice.
If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: Footballer!
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.