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10

Take Five With Rik Wright

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However, in terms of listening, I thought John Abercrombie, Mark Feldman, Marc Johnson & Joey Baron made pretty much the most beautiful music I have ever heard.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:
I was playing a casual one time and a guy came up during a version of "A Train" and started rapping over it. At least I think he was rapping, but you couldn't really tell because he didn't have a mic. He was just jumping around the stage like he was rapping and moving his mouth like he was rapping even though no one could hear it. When he was done, he tripped on a cord, fell over drunk, and spilled his beer on my amp.

Favorite venue:
Egan's Ballard Jam House in Seattle is my favorite to perform. It's a great small venue with a nice stage and is perfect for intimate listening.

On the other hand, Vito's in Seattle is my favorite gig to play. There's always a crowd, they have good food. The staff is a blast, the audience is always in a good mood, and they make excellent cocktails. They even pay a guarantee!

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
Red, the most recent. We were on a tear in the studio. It's basically a live recording, a lot of it coming from a live performance on the Sonarchy Radio program broadcast on KEXP. We were just in a zone. There are a lot of rough edges but every player had something real to say on every tune. It's the spirit you hope for with every recording you make.

The first Jazz album I bought was:
John Coltrane, Ballads

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
Me. Music is a conversation. I'm fun to talk to.

Did you know...
I'm an avid wildlife conservationist, a big supporter of Sea Shepherd -a marine conversation society that aggressively puts their lives between whales and whalers on the high seas.

Recently, I was out with some naturalists in the San Juan Islands and was one of the first five people to witness the discovery of a newborn Orca calf. It was the first calf of the Puget Sound resident whales in 2 years, amongst a declining population. A special occasion indeed.

CDs you are listening to now:
Robert Plant, Lullaby and... the Ceaseless Roar
Bill Frisell, Guitar in the Space Age
Jack White, Lazaretto
Groundswell Industrial Revelation, Oak Head

Desert Island picks:
Dave Holland, Extensions (ECM, 1990)
John Abercrombie, Class Trip (ECM, 2004)
Led Zeppelin, How the West was Won (Atlantic, 2003)
Charles Mingus, Ah Um (Columbia, 1959)
Miles Davis, In a Silent Way (Columbia, 1969)

How would you describe the state of jazz today?
In the midst of a midlife crisis. A bit confused. Searching for an identity.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
More music education in our public schools. More state-funded arts organizations. A network of small venues to allow young bands to tour inexpensively. More large venues that book local bands to open for national acts. More universities that will book small touring acts for sponsored performances.

What is in the near future?
The idea is to record one more CD from this batch of material. We had Blue last year, This year's Red, and we'll start recording Green next year. Then we're releasing a compilation of live performances recorded during the same time frame as the three CDs in a live disc entitled RGB. After that, I'm taking a long break. Maybe I'll retire. Who knows?

What song would you like played at your funeral?
"It's a beautiful day" by U2

What is your favorite song to whistle or sing in the shower?
"New Coat of Paint" by Tom Waits

What was your first concert?
KISS at the Capital Centre in Washington DC.

By Day:
I'm a part-time business consultant for High Tech companies.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:
A poet, and probably a part-time business consultant for High Tech companies to pay the rent.

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