Take Five with Terry Waldo and Tatiana Eva-Marie

Take Five with Terry Waldo and Tatiana Eva-Marie
AAJ Staff By

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Meet Terry Waldo Tatiana Eva-Marie:

Terry Waldo and Tatiana Eva-Marie first met and started performing together at the famous NYC parties hosted by Scott Asen, owner of Turtle Bay Records. The two artists had such musical chemistry that Asen encouraged them to record an album together. Thus was born the duo's new album, I Double Dare You, set to release on August 6, 2021. Each artist has had an illustrious career as a successful bandleader and touring musician. Considered one of America's premier performers and presenters of Ragtime and Early Jazz, Waldo is known for his virtuoso ragtime and stride piano playing, charming vocals, and disarming wit. Waldo is the protégé of the legendary Eubie Blake and has led a number of different bands touring around the world over the past five decades. He's also produced and arranged over 60 albums. Eva-Marie, who fronts the Avalon Jazz Band, has been critically acclaimed by the New York Times, Downbeat, Syncopated Times, Vanity Fair and other renowned publications. She has performed in New York and around the world, including at The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Jazz Aspen Snowmass, Midsummer Night Swing at Lincoln Center, the NYC Winter Jazzfest and many others.


TEM: My voice and my eyes.

TW: These days it's almost always piano, although I used to also play banjo and tuba.

Teachers and/or influences?

TEM: In my upbringing: my parents composer Louis Crelier and violinist Anca Maria, and my theatre mentor Jacqueline Payelle. Among the giants: Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Mozart, Juliette Greco, Henry Miller, Marilyn Monroe, Nijinsky, Napoleon, Arthur Rimbaud, Henri Salvador, Anita O'Day, Mata Hari, JMW Turner, Boris Vian, Gershwin, Woody Allen... long list. In my daily life, my best mate is classicist Mark Buchan who knows more songs than I ever will.

TW: My most famous teacher was Eubie Blake. I was his protege and he called me his "Ofay Son."

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

TEM: I lost my voice for a couple of years and couldn't sing without being in horrible pain. Before that, I had always been surrounded by the music industry and I loved it passionately, but I never gave it any real thought, it was just my natural habitat. When you lose the thing you love most, life changes. That's when I realised I wanted to be a musician.

TW: I always knew I wanted to play music since we got a piano when I was in third grade, but I never thought that I was going to be a musician. I was going to be a filmmaker until the Vietnam war stopped me from pursuing a career in California. I had to stay in Columbus, Ohio where I joined the Army Band Reserve Unit and played "Offensive Tuba" for 6 years to avoid the draft. The music has led me into careers in TV, Radio, record production. theater, teaching, and book writing.

Your sound and approach to music:

TEM: Life experience.

TW: Most of my albums involve putting together the best musicians available who play the '20s style of jazz and using their collective talents to produce jazz performances.

Your teaching approach:

TEM: Brashly lecturing people in bars.

TW: I've used a variety of approaches to teaching. I've taught a number of courses at Jazz At Lincoln Center on 20s jazz styles and ragtime. My individual students are taught depending on where they are and what they need to know. My performances in New York are often thought of as classes for young performers of '20s jazz.

Your dream band:

TEM: I'm already in it. Playing with friends you love and admire is the dream band.

TW: I've had many dream bands. You can listen to my old recordings. I try to find the best guys who are currently playing my style. My current band is made of wonderful players.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:

TEM: Walk of shame: my band and I were escorted out of an airplane at JFK by ten policemen armed to the teeth after the flight staff accused us of being "dangerously rowdy passengers." Slander! We ended up making friends with the policemen who then breezed us through security.

TW: Probably my best experience was my first trip to New Orleans in 1964 when I was 20 years old. I lost my virginity the 2nd night I was down there. (The first night I was too drunk to attempt anything so adventurous.)

Favorite venue:

TEM: My living room with friends, random strangers and cocktails at 5am after a night on the town. Perfect for Rodgers and Hart.

TW: I had as much fun playing in San Francisco in 1965 at the Red Garter and at Turk Murphys Club, Earthquake McGoon's (where I also had a room upstairs for $30 a month).

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

TEM: The next album. Always the next album.

TW: The current album with Tatiana is my current favorite, but I'm quite proud of a number of my old albums. Each one of them was a special project. My albums with Waldo's Gutbucket Syncopators featured a sound more like the early New Orleans based bands such as Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver. My Waldo's Ragtime Orchestra recordings featured dynamic recordings of some of the orchestra arrangements that came out in the Ragtime era. My Gotham City Band recordings have been influenced by Big Beiderbecke and the NY based ensembles.

The first jazz album I bought was:

TEM: A Frank Sinatra anthology CD. I was 13 years old. Before that I just listened to my papa's records. I consider that album my singing teacher.

TW: Spike Jones collection.

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

TEM: Romanticism.

TW: My group is probably playing more 1920s jazz style 2-beat music than any other group on the trad jazz scene.

Did you know...

TEM: I make a fantastic roast chicken? My ancestor fought in the crusades? I love to play Boggle?

TW: I've been music director for a number of famous performers including Odetta, Leon Redbone (wrote songs for him) and Andre DeShields (many shows)?

Albums you are listening to now:

TEM: McCoy Tyner: Nights of Ballads and Blues Igor Stravinsky: Les Noces 2Pac: All Eyez On Me Mighty Sparrow: King Sparrow's Calypso Carnival The Lazours: Freres

TW: I listen to podcasts that feature 78 records.

Desert Island picks:

TEM: Vivaldi's Quattro Stagioni so I can remember what seasons are like, the Nat King Cole Trio when I want to remember love and feel blue, and my personal collection of 1930s hits to drink and dance around to. Add Wagner's Tristan prelude and we're all set. When's the boat leaving?

TW: This may sound egotistical, but I would want my own recordings. They represent the best revival bands that I have ever heard. I still enjoy listening to them.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

TEM: Effervescent but sometimes trying too hard.

TW: I have no idea what is happening in the larger jazz world. I have the feeling that many people teaching about jazz in the academic world tend to look down on the older jazz forms such as ragtime and 20s styles.

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

TEM: Dive bars open all night, a piano, friends and lovers. Fond regrets and a desire for more.

TW: The kind of jazz that I play just needs to be heard. I find that young people who have never heard it before go crazy about our stuff when they are finally exposed to it. I try to put it into a context that reaches people who are not jazz fans. This includes theatrical, TV and radio presentations and shows in public venues that attract a wide range of people.

What is in the near future?

TEM: I wrote the libretto for an opera, music by my childhood friend Gérard Massini, we are recording parts of it this summer and I am thrilled with the way it's sounding, it's a new frontier for me. In the jazz department, I am very excited to be recording with pianist Giovanni Mirabassi and his band in the fall in New York. I will also be featured on a few tracks singing with the Star City Symphony, and I have an album of duets coming out with pianist Jeremy Corren before the end of the year. I've also been collaborating with French saxophonist Guillaume Perret on his new project. It's been inspiring pushing the boundaries of what I usually do and working with artists from different musical horizons. Of course, I'm also planning a new French album with Avalon Jazz Band. What I really just want to do is play, play, play.

TW: We are currently playing two shows a day at various locations around the new Moynahan train station. I'm working on a documentary on Ragtime music that features interviews with Wynton Marsalis and Jon Batiste among others. I'm also doing a podcast called This Is Ragtime that features my old NPR This Is Ragtime Show that played in 1972.

What's your greatest fear when you perform?

TEM: That the venue won't give the band free drinks.

TW: My greatest fear is not having my fingers work right when playing a complicated solo.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

TEM: I want everyone to sit through everything I've ever recorded.

TW: "Proctology" (Waldo composition)

What is your favorite song to whistle or sing in the shower?

TEM: It varies. You should come hear me sometime.

TW: Changes every week.

By Day:

TEM: I sleep.

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

TEM: Archeologist. I've always wanted to be Indiana Jones.

TW: Filmmaker

If I could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be and why?

TEM: Grimod, Brillat-Savarin, and Alexandre Dumas. Because with them I would be certain to have an incredibly decadent feast of food and wine. One I may not even survive. That's how Shakespeare died, right?

TW: I sort of had that dream come true in knowing Eubie Blake. He knew everybody else and filled me in. Might be nice to meet Scott Joplin (the King of Ragtime who died in 1917).

How in the hell did you follow this musical path?

TEM: I couldn't do anything else. The music led me from one situation to another. The right thing always seems to come along.

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