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Take Five with Mercedes Nicole

Mercedes Nicole By

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The first jazz album I bought was:
Well, I'd be more honest if I told you the first album I "stole" from my father was Bob James, Touchdown and the track "Sun Runner" just made me feel like dancing all over the house. I loved the flute and congas on that cut. I would dance till I couldn't dance no more! It was jazz and funky at the same time.

Music you are listening to now:
Eric Bibb: Blues People
Gregory Porter: Be Good
Rachelle Ferrell: Live in Montreaux
Miles Davis: Kind of Blue

How would you describe the state of jazz today?
I believe we are experiencing a new Renaissance, and it's not just in Harlem, it's globally. People are expressing themselves and embracing themselves through music, particularly jazz. The face of new jazz is exploding with everything from acoustic bass, to opera, Hindu, and American blends that leave you spellbound.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
More venues that explore not just international artists, but local artists, and talent buyer that will pay artists what they are worth, not just put out a tip jar and have them hope for the best. More jazz education needs to take place, not just with kids, I love kids, but there are adults who because of life twists and turns, missed an entire education on what jazz is and where it came from.

What is in the near future?
September 25th I'm doing a live dinner show at China Harbor up in the grand ballroom, with one of my favorite local singers, Pamelagrace Beatty. The venue seats 200, and I'm hoping for just that. It's a pretty luxurious spot overlooking Lake Union. The food is delicious, and I'm bringing in sound so everyone will enjoy the beauty of the music.

This will be a pretty amazing show because I'm bringing in Julian Priester, who was a member of Sun Ra's band, toured with Lionel Hampton, Dinah Washington, and played with the likes of Max Roach, and the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Julian's been all over the world!

Also on stage will be Oscar William on trumpet and flugelhorn, he's played with the late Ray Charles, Bobby Blue Bland, Barbra Streisand and host of other folks

Clipper Anderson, who has played with a long list of jazz greats including Michael Brecker, Arturo Sandoval, Dave Samuels, Buddy DeFranco and more. Gregory Smith, who is a local Graduate of the Prestigious Cornish Institute, college of fine arts, and has played all over the West Coast, Alaska, and beyond. On drums will have Brian Kirk, who played with ton of great musicians while living in New York for ten years,. Little Jimmy Scott, Lou Donaldson, Jack Mc Duff, Bobby Hutcherson, and more.

What is your greatest fear when you perform?
That I will run out of CD's to sale, because you can never capture that audience again.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:
Neuroscientist. I love studying the brain, and the psychology of people, I'd want to make a discovery on how to help people live longer and be happier. I hate seeing people suffer from depression and heartbreak.

If I could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be and why?
I'd love to have dinner with Duke Ellington. He was so handsome and classy. He has so much pride in his work, and I 'd give him my elevator speech on why he should hire me! I'd love to take a walk in a Paris park with Louis Armstrong. I think he'd bring me tons and tons of laughter.

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