Take Five With Rick Bogart


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Meet Rick Bogart:

Rick Bogart, clarinetist, vocalist and composer, is an Arabesque Recording Artist. Latest release is a ballet for solo dancer and solo clarinetist on Arabesque Records. Played in New Orleans during the heyday of the French Quarter. "We played six sets a night, six nights a week, year in and year out—all [through the musicians'] union with benefits. Now in New York since 1980, playing and keeping active.


Clarinet and piano.

Teachers and/or influences?

Robert Strickler, Kalmen Opperman , Gervase de Peyer, Orin Brown and Eugene Conley. Thomas Jefferson in New Orleans, with whom I worked for 16 months.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I was 14 or 15 and thought I would try to be a musician.

Your sound and approach to music:

I am a melody man. I was taught in New Orleans to improvise in a way that the melody would come thru and yet be exciting.

Your teaching approach:

Depending the level of the player, simple basics. sight-singing, ear training, scales and chords. Then define what direction they want to take and assist in that direction if possible.

Your dream band:

I have had many dream bands in New York; I worked at the Parker Meridien five nights a week for eight years, and could get wonderful players like pianists Keith Ingham and Don Edmonds; pianist Lee Musiker would also play on occasion, as well as bassists Morris Edwards, Mike Weatherly and Bob Arkin.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:

In Cleveland, we worked the Theatrical Grill and we had a drummer who would take his false teeth out and turn them upside down when he played a long solo.

Once, going to Istanbul the port agent said there was a problem and so we went to the commander to see what the problem was. They started speaking in a language I could not understand. So I took a nap. The Turkish commander ultimately said, "if he feels that way, just take him thru," so we went to the hotel.

Favorite venue:

Seppis, in the Parker Meridien Hotel, was an all-time favorite. Good treatment, good food and good music, five nights a week for eight years.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

By Louis Armstrong.

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

I think I make people enjoy what they are listening to.

Did you know...

I got a job teaching school in New Orleans and a full-time job on Bourbon Street at the same time. I chose playing.

CDs you are listening to now:

Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Artie Shaw, Irving Fazola, Ella Fitzgerald.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

Very difficult; how does one get experience playing in a union band for extended periods of time?

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

An appreciation of live music.

What is in the near future?

I have another CD coming out and some performance dates to consider. Still playing in New York City regularly on Sundays at The Red Bench, and Tuesdays and Fridays at Lybane.

What's your greatest fear when you perform?

The reed!

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Just "A Closer Walk with Thee."

By Day:

None have been considered except I have a teaching certificate.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

I probably would try teaching or something I believed in.

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