MORAY JAZZ CLUB JAZZ ARTISTS’ INTERVIEWS

  • GRAEME NAIRN- JAZZ GUITARIST
    PN4

 

WHY JAZZ?

During my primary school days, I was always interested in and attracted to anything which went ‘ping’, ‘toot’ or ‘bang’, and so I spent quite a lot of time ‘pinging, tooting and banging’. Some say I still do! By the time, however, that I went to Montrose Academy, I’d been exposed to and fatally attracted by that ephemeral but important music phenomenon, skiffle. It may have been simple and crude, but it did get people playing together. Throughout secondary school my musical taste broadened to encompass the cataclysmic shock of rock’n’roll in 1956 or thereby. There followed a frenetic period of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino et al. One day the triumvirate of Chris Barber, Pat Halcox and Monty Sunshine emerged from the musical ‘soup’ and I was, as with the other guys in the skiffle/rock group, hooked.

The first thing to go by the board was the guitar and despite the best efforts of Eddie Condon, I didn’t want to play guitar in a ‘trad’ band. No, the desire to develop that earlier ‘toot’ was too strong so having saved up my weekly wages from my paper round (approx 28p)….quite a lot of weeks, the vast sum of £5 changed hands and I became the proud owner of an ancient ‘simple system’ clarinet. The public didn’t know what was about to engulf them.  The other members of the skiffle/rock group all acquired appropriate instruments and so was born ‘The Society Five’ a band that enjoyed considerable success in and around Montrose, but also in the ‘jazz hinterland’ of rural Angus and Kincardineshire at such glittering venues as the Nurses’ Home at Stracathro Hospital near Brechin and the unforgettable mart at Fettercairn. I trust the above throws some light on the metamorphosis that developed in the 50s and in which I was irrevocably caught up.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST GET INTO PLAYING JAZZ?

As I’ve previously said, the rudimentary and I must stress rudimentary performance of jazz occurred around 1955/56. I was still playing guitar in an equally rudimentary fashion but not in a jazz context. That came later.

WHY PLAY THE GUITAR?

I had been ‘pinging’ away on guitar for a number of years and it seemed, to me at any rate, that I had some sort of empathy and even facility for the instrument. I remember discovering a diminished chord and being enthralled. It had nothing to do with skiffle or rock’n’roll and put in very fleeting appearances in our ‘trad’ repertoire. My damascene moment came, I think, in 1956 when my senses were wonderfully assaulted by the playing of Tal Farlow. To the tender fifteen year old ears, which hitherto had been exposed mainly to the twangings of such luminaries as Bert Weedon and Hank Marvin, Tal Farlow in full flight was some sort of deity from a parallel universe. I met him many years later….a very nice man. And that is why I play the guitar.

IS THERE ANYONE WHO HAS HAD AN INFLUENCE ON YOUR CHOICE OF INSTRUMENT?

In Autumn 1959 I pitched up at the doors of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in
Dundee, where in addition to having an extremely enjoyable and successful six years studying drawing, painting and finally, graphic design, I developed quite markedly on the guitar. My very good friend, the late Molly Duncan of Average White Band fame, whom I’d known from school days in Montrose, Roger Ball from Broughty Ferry, also of AWB fame and Brian Craib from Angus Youth Orchestra days and latterly in the bass section of the RSNO, were all with me in a band at the art college. I distinctly remember also the  giant presence of Bill Kemp. It was now that I discovered the singular genius of Wes Montgomery. that discovery marked the end of fooling around with tenor and baritone sax and I started to concentrate on the guitar.Of course it goes without saying the incomparable Jim Mullen has been a major influence on me as a good few years ago, I espoused the thumb approach, which at first was very difficult but now seems to have reached a sort of ‘plateau’ of reasonable competence.

WHO DO YOU MOST ADMIRE AS AN INSTRUMENTALIST AND WHY ( NOT NECESSARILY A GUITARIST

There was a premis doing the rounds at one time suggesting that jazz guitarists were more interested in sax players than in other guitarists (as far as rock guitarists are concerned, there is only one instrument in the entire universe and that’s the guitar!) and there is no doubt that bop/post bop tenor and alto phrasing has its definite attractions.
I would have to mention several instrumentalist from the British stable in the 60s
including Jimmy Deuchar (tpt), Ronnie Scott and of course the amazing Tubby Hayes. At this point I must include Jim Mullen.

From the other side of the pond, the candidates are legion, but I would mention
Miles, Dizzy, Parker, Johnny Griffin and pianists like Bill Evans, Tommy Flannigan and Oscar Peterson. However the one I would have to settle on is Cannonball
Adderley. His facility and creativity was such that it seemed he didn’t have to wrestle with cumbersome mechanical devices fixed to a conical metal tube to produce wonderful music…..he just had to imagine it and it would appear seamlessly and endlessly.

WHERE TO PERFOM OTHER THAN MJC

I could say immediately the Lincoln Centre or Carnegie Hall, but that would presuppose I had the musical ability to walk through the stage door. I don’t think I’ll be catching a plane to the States in the forseeable future and that’s got nothing to do with Covid19. I’ve played quite a few interesting places over the years,but right now I’d be very happy to get back to MJC.

SEVEN PIECES FOR DESERT ISLAND DISCS

1 Round Midnight (Wes Montgomery)

2 Meditation (Gene Harris and Jim Mullen)

3 Suddenly Last Tuesday (Jimmy Deuchar and Tubby Hayes)

4 Cherokee (Tubby Hayes)

5 With the Wind and the Rain in Your Hair) Vic Ash

6 Mas que Nada (Oscar Peterson)

7 Dindi (Astrud Giberto and Stan Getz)

Graeme what  a wonderful insight in to the evolution of a jazz guitarist.Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

COLIN HENDERSON- SAXOPHONIST AND FLAUTIST

C6

 

When did you first get in to playing jazz?

My father, Bill and his brother, Bob both played sax so I was brought up surrounded by jazz music, which was then Trad or Dixieland.  There was really only one way for me to go.  I started playing sax when I was about 15 and would play gigs with my Dad, who was then playing with Alex McArthur, a very good accordionist.  I was taught classical clarinet with Kim Murray who would say to me, “You’ve been playing with your Dad’s band again.  Stop bouncing your notes!”  But Dad’s influence eventually won.

Both he and Bob played with Alex Sutherland in the Two Red Shoes.  When I was at Elgin Academy I got a gig there with the new band leader, Jimmy Martin.  My Dad would always tell me to learn my scales and chords but I was listening to John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, etc and just wanted to play as many notes as fast as I could.  Unfortunately, not very well!  I should have listened to my Dad.

Uncle Bob was an excellent clarinet and flute player and he taught at Gordonstoun School in Morayshire.  When I was at Elgin Academy he offered to teach me flute.  I jumped at the chance and would often bunk off school to go to Bob’s for lessons.  The Academy eventually asked me to leave, which I did.  Happy to oblige.

Is there anyone who has had an influence on your choice of instrument?

As I said, I was impressed by Coltrane, Parker, etc in the 60’s but when the whole avantgarde jazz thing happened at that time, I lost interest.  I just didn’t get it.  I think it set jazz back for years.  They were trying to compete with the new music of the 60’s by becoming hip and modern but, for me, it didn’t work.  If the sound of honking and the ringing of bells and all that sort of stuff is good, then that’s fine!  I don’t have the technique or the knowledge to play modal jazz although I am very impressed with the young players who do.  I just find it a bit limiting as I’m into swing and melody. So that’s what I like to play.

Who do you most admire as an instrumentalist, and why?

Too many to mention but on bari, obviously Gerry Mulligan, Joe Temperley and Alan Barnes – all my melodic players.  Paquito d’Rivera on clarinet and alto rings my bell.  I read Art Pepper’s biography and it was interesting to hear that his music changed as his life changed.  He is a big favourite on alto, as is Alan Barnes who I’ve met several times. He’s a real gent.

So, seven jazz pieces to listen to or play on a desert island ?

I tried to make a list but just couldn’t narrow it down to 7.  I couldn’t decide what to leave out.

Thank you Colin for sharing this with us, including the fact that you were ‘asked to leave school’!

DOMINIC SPENCER – PIANO7FC8FAC2-E8B4-44DC-BDD7-6A731E7516BA

Why jazz?
I love music but was never really interested in pop or rock music.  I mostly listened to classical music until I heard live jazz and immediately was attracted to idea of improvisation.

When did you first get into playing jazz?
While at university in 1980 after hearing a local trad band play live at the Freshers Fair.

Why play the piano?
I played trombone and piano at school but piano was my first choice and I took private lessons outside of school. I started playing jazz on the trombone and played regular gigs in Edinburgh switching to the piano later.

Is there anyone who has had an influence on your choice of instrument?
My initial influences on piano were Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Hank Jones, Kenny Drew and others but I came to the music of Keith Jarrett later and he is my favourite pianist by far. I also like the music of Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane, Lee Konitz,  Sonny Rollins amongst others.

Who do you most admire as an instrumentalist, and why?
Keith Jarrett is my favourite instrumentalist because he is a true improviser.  I don’t have much time for musicians that base their solos on “licks” plagiarised from other musicians and passing it off as their own.

If you had a free choice, where would you choose to perform?
A concert hall with a Steinway Grand piano and a listening audience.

Jazz Desert Island Discs…seven jazz pieces – what are they?

  1. My Song” …My Song Keith Jarrett by Jarrett’s ‘European Quartet’ featuring Jan Garbarek, Palle Danielsson and Jon Christensen
  2. Etcetera“…Et Cetera  Wayne Shorter – tenor saxophone  Herbie Hancock – piano  Cecil McBee – bass  Joe Chambers – drums
  3. So What” …Kind of Blue Miles Davis
  4. Someone to Watch Over Me”…The Melody At Night With You Keith Jarrett
  5. Quartet No.1”…The Three Quartets Chick Corea
    Chick Corea – piano; drums (track 8)  Michael Brecker – tenor saxophone Eddie Gómez – double bass Steve Gadd – drums
  6. All the Things You Are”  …Standards vol 1  Keith Jarrett
    Keith Jarrett – Piano   Gary Peacock – Double bass  Jack DeJohnette – Drum
  7. Blue Train”…Blue Train John Coltane
    John Coltrane – tenor saxophone  Lee Morgan – trumpet  Curtis Fuller – trombone  Kenny Drew – piano  Paul Chambers – bass  Philly Joe Jones – drums

 

IAN MILLAR – TENOR & SOPRANO SAXOPHONE

5ED11CBF-EB00-426D-B45D-9664C653FAF0

 

Why jazz?
My dad used to take me to lots of concerts as a kid – jazz, classical, Spanish guitar.  I guess jazz started to resonate with me.  I saw Duke Ellington at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh when I was about 12.

When did you first get into playing jazz?

Although I played piano (classical ABRSM grades) from the age of 10 to 14, I didn’t start playing jazz until I bought a (very cheap, very awful!) tenor saxophone at the age of 18.  I went along to the Calton Studios in Edinburgh where live jazz had started on Sunday evenings to watch The Gordon Cruickshank Quintet (Gordon on sax, Brian Keddie trombone, Lachlan MacColl guitar, Kenny Ellis bass and Bill Kyle drums) and at the end of the gig I asked Gordon if I could go to him for lessons.  I was taught by Gordon for about 18 months.  Since then I’ve been largely self-taught, apart from learning jazz piano with Jack Goldzweig at The London School of Jazz and going on 2 or 3 jazz courses:

  • Eddie Harvey’s “City Lit” two week jazz course in London – where I was taught by Bobby Wellins!
  • The Wavenden Jazz Course for 2 weeks where I was taught by John Dankworth!
  • The Jamey Aebersold one week jazz course in London, where I was taught by Bobby Watson – who was trying out new tunes and arrangements with us that he had written for Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers!

The Calton Studios in Edinburgh became my main source of live jazz for quite a few years. There was live jazz 3 or 4 nights a week and visiting artists (mostly from London) played regularly through Platform Jazz Clubon a Wednesday evening.  It was where I “discovered” musicians such as: Al Haig (piano), Jimmy Knepper (trombone) from the States and British musicians such as saxophonists: Bobby Wellins, Peter King, Don Weller, Kathy Stobart, Stan Sulzman, Art Themen and many others.

Platform Jazz  then moved into The Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh for regular Friday evening concerts, where I was exposed to even more artists: Stan Tracey, Barbara Thompson, George Coleman, Dewey Redman, Steve Coleman, John Tchichi, Billy Higgins, John Surman, Ronnie Scott, Martin Taylor, Bob Brookmyre, Sonny Stitt & Red Holloway, Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, Freddie Hubbard and more….  Great times!

Why play the saxophone?
A friend once asked me (at a Chris Barber concert), what my favourite instrument was.  Almost instantly, I said “saxophone”.  It was as much a surprise to me as everybody else!  I must have been about 17.

Is there anyone who has had an influence on your choice of instrument?
My main hero has always been Sonny Rollins, although I very early on decided that I should have more than one hero.  So Lee Konitz, Wayne Shorter, Charles Lloyd and Steve Lacy were quickly included.

Who do you most admire as an instrumentalist, and why?
To me, Sonny Rollins is what jazz is all about, and is what attracted me to jazz.  He is a true improviser.  His sound on the tenor is unique and ever-developing.  He almost sounds like a different saxophonist in each decade from the 1950s to the present day. A huge big, strong, warm commanding sound with great intonation!  He’s someone who has worked at, and continually developed the art of improvisation (rather than regurgitating other musicians “licks“).  And so his playing has also continually developed over the last 60 years or so.  Very sadly, he had to retire from playing in 2016 due to pulmonary fibrosis (inflamation in his lungs).  He’ll be 90 in September 2020.  I was lucky enough to see him perform live about 6 or 7 times.

My other main influence is Lee Konitz.  He very sadly died this year in New York due to covid-19 at the age of 92.  Something that really got to me, and still makes me feel emotional thinking about him now.  Again he was a true improviser.  He kept playing and practising right up to the end (there’s a YouTube video of him playing on his 92nd birthday!).  His tone also continued to develop and just got better and better with age.  A beautiful “pure”, yet full sound with immaculate intonation and great depth and emotion.  His swing feel was unique and wonderful.  He once said that he would be very happy if he could spend the rest of his life just working on “All The Things You Are“!  Sadly missed.  I was lucky enough to see him perform live on about 4 or 5 occasions.

Both these saxophonists practised their instruments a lot – continually throughout their careers.  Putting in many, many hours of serious, hard work.  Jazz is a skill that you have to work at forever.  There’s no stage when you have “mastered” it (Sonny and Lee certainly wouldn’t say they had!).  Its for life!  These guys are hugely inspirational to me and very motivating.

If you had a free choice, where would you choose to perform?
I thoroughly enjoyed playing in The Moray Jazz Club.  Its a listening venue!

Dream venues would be:

Village Vanguard, New York
Ronnie Scott’s Club, London
Birdland, New York
The Blue Note, New York
Smalls Jazz Club, New York
The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh
and any quality (listening) jazz clubs in Europe!

I can only dream….!

Jazz Desert Island Discs…seven jazz pieces – what are they?

  1. Autumn Nocturne” performed by Sonny Rollins (album:Don’t Stop The Carnival)
  2. Joanna’s Theme” Wayne Shorter & Herbie Hancock (album: 1 + 1)
  3. Dorotea’s Studio” Charles Lloyd (album: Voice In The Night)
  4. A Different Look” Jerry Bergonzi & Joachim Kühn (album: Signed By)
  5. Polka Dots” Lee Konitz & Riccardo Arrighini  (album: The Soprano Sax Album)
  6. Salvador” Sonny Rollins (album: This Is What I Do)
  7. My Song” Keith Jarrett with Jan Garbarek (album: My Song)

 

MARTIN LEE THOMSON- EUPHONIUM

MARTIN LEE THOMSON
Why Jazz?
Jazz for me is a perfect way to express myself. I don’t feel I have to stick to any rules most of the time and it feels almost like a total escape.
When did you first get in to playing jazz?
I first got into playing Jazz when I started music fairly young. I would come up with short simple tunes or riffs at the piano or I’d make up tunes on my euphonium.  Quite often when I’d hear something on the radio I’d try and play along or even improvise around the tune. This passion just stuck and never left – getting more involved in folk music I saw these beautiful crossover aspects and knew it was exactly what I wanted to do.
Why play the Euphonium?
I started Euphonium because I had heard it on an old “Beirut” album. I kept asking my mother to let me play and finally, after much persuasion I started lessons with Alisdair Grant in Elgin. His passion for jazz was very strong too and I learnt so much from hearing him improvise and play. This passion later led me to Audition and later study at St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh where was introduced to jazz improvisation properly with Richard Ingham. I loved the fact I played an instrument that was unique and not very often heard improvising at all.
Is there anyone who has had an influence on your choice of instrument?
Many people have influenced my choice of instrument such as of course the “Beirut” band, Django Bates, Danielle Price, Anthony Cailliet and Sebastian Rosso to name a few. All great improvisers and extremely creative musicians.
Who do you most admire as an instrumentalist / singer and why?
I admire so many different musicians for many different things! but Laura Jurd has to be one of the artists who has most inspired me on my musical journey. The way she approaches writing music, her instrument and improvisation is absolutely incredible, I am always constantly blown away with everything she releases. She combines many aspects of contemporary Classical, Jazz and Folk to create her own extremely unique sound. If you haven’t heard her, definitely check out her albums!
Jazz Desert Island Disc.. seven jazz pieces- what are they?
This is a super tough question! but my seven would be:
Christian Wallumrød Ensemble- Haksong
Skadedyr- Datavirus
Laura Jurd- Duet One
Moskus- Tandem med Sankt Peter
Daniel Karlsson Trio- Spyder’s Mam
Building Instrument- Rygge Rygge La La
Elliot Galvin- Nimbostratus
Thank you Martin, pleased you are championing the Euphonium. Would be great to hear you at MJC again in the not too distant future.
MATTHEW KILNER- SAXOPHONIST
K4

When did you first get in to playing jazz?

I first started playing jazz when I came to secondary school. Pauline Black who taught at my school at the time ran the school jazz band which I joined when I was around 13. After playing in the schools main jazz band for a few years I got the opportunity to play in a smaller jazz band that was again run by Pauline Black. This smaller band was more student led and put more of an emphasis on improvisation and playing over standards as opposed to school band arrangements. Playing in that band really sparked my love for the music and performance

Why play saxophone?

I cant really remember the reasons for choosing to play the saxophone I just know that I was desperate to play it from a pretty young age. I actually first started playing on the trombone believe it or not. I cut a deal with my Dad saying that if I stuck out the trombone for 5 years he would buy me a saxophone. I think out of pure stubbornness I begrudgingly stuck it out for 5 long years and the rest is history.

Is there anyone who has had an influence on your choice of instrument?

As far as anyone influencing me to choose the play the saxophone I dont think there was anyone in particular. I always enjoyed my parents’ music and the music they listened to often had a horn section or a big ripping sax solo which I think attracted my ear. My parents played a lot of Stevie Wonder when I was young so I think hearing the horn section in Sir Dukeor Master Blasterenticed me. One of my favourite sax solos of all time is Phil Woods on Billy Joels tune Just the way you are. So I think its fair to say that particular songs influenced me more than specific players for choosing an instrument when I was that age.

Who do you most admire as an instrumentalist / singer and why?

Id say I admire anyone who is really at the top level of playing. I know how much time these players must have put in to get where they are so I think that level of dedication to a craft is inspiring. There are probably 2 people that really stick out to me the first being John Coltrane who managed to really turn his life around after battling with drug addiction and create some of the most transcendent music the world has ever seen. The second being Nina Simone who had an extremely difficult life as a black woman in the mid 20th century. Her music and performances are so heartfelt and emotional they help convey so much of the struggles that so many people were facing during those times. Both of these people show anyone can be a force for good despite adversity and further conveying this in their music just adds to their overly mastery as instrumentalists.

If you had a free choice, where would you choose to perform, apart from Moray Jazz Club?

Apart from the Moray Jazz Club I would love to play in the Village Vanguard in New York City. I was there back in 2018 to see Joe Lovanos quartet play. I think performing in one of the most prolific jazz clubs in the world, which has hosted all of the best jazz musicians the world has seen, would be a pretty special experience. Maybe one day huh.

Jazz Desert Island Disc.. seven jazz pieces- what are they?

Wow, mega tough question. I think this would probably change on a daily basis but here is my discright now. Apologies for all the Coltrane

Dexter Gordon- The Panther (The Panther 1970)

John Coltrane- Wise One (Crescent 1964)

Peter Erskine Trio- Ambleside (As It Was 2016)

John Coltrane- Blues to Elvin (Coltrane Plays the Blues 1962)

Brian Blade Fellowship- Crooked Creek (Perceptual 2000)

John Coltrane- Like Someone in Love (Lush Life 1961)

Bridges- Two (Continuum 2017)

 

Thank you so much for your insights Matthew, we look forward to hearing you play again soon at  MJC

FINLEY CAMPBELL- BASSIST
FINLEY CAMPBELL
When did you first get into playing jazz?
I first started playing Jazz in my last year at School with Pauline Black in Aberdeen Music centres big band.
Why Jazz?
I play Jazz because it is an extremely challenging and enjoyable genre to play. I also really enjoy the communication required between the members of the band.
Who do you most admire as an instrumentalist and why?
One of my heroes is Jaco Pastorius, it was when I first listened to him that I realised what was possible on the bass guitar. It totally transformed the way I thought about the bass.
If you had a free choice, where would you choose to perform?
I would choose the Blue Lamp in Aberdeen.
Jazz Desert Island Discs.. seven  jazz pieces- what are they?
1. Portraits of Tracy – Jaco Pastorius.
2. I’ll be seeing you – Walter Smith III
3. A moment’s notice – John Coltrane
4. Song for Bilbao – Michael Brecker
5. Green Park – New Focus
6. Illuminate – Konrad Wiszniewśki
7. Strasbourg/ St. Denis – Roy Hargrove

Finley, great to have your take on bass playing, look forward to seeing you and the Hamlet crew at MJC!

Richard Glassby 

K5

When did you first get into playing jazz?

I first played jazz in my first year at university. During school I was part of a few rock bands and learnt drums through playing rock music, so going into a classical course there wasn’t much choice as to what ensembles I could play drums in. I auditioned for the jazz band and was lucky to get in alongside 4 others (ended up becoming Hamlet) who were all roughly my age and had already started to discover their passion for jazz too.

Why did you take up drums?

I remember during second year of school, our class during music were doing a lesson on how to play the drum kit and I just found it really easy to pick up. I already at that point played piano and my teacher said I needed another instrument for our standard grade Music exams. So, it wasn’t really until third year of school when I started to play the drums seriously and started to take an interest.

Is there anyone who has had an influence on your choice of drums?

I remember who influenced me to play piano. As for drums, I don’t think anyone inspired me to start learning drums, although there were people who influenced my style of playing. I started piano because of the leader of a theatre group that I went to when I was younger, and he played piano, and I wanted to be like him! That group is probably why I am so interested and involved with music now, I have a lot to thank them for.

Who do you most admire as an instrumentalist and why?

Early musical influences were people like Matthew Bellamy from Muse and Simon Neil from Biffy Clyro (and their respective drummers), just compositionally they were so interesting to listen to and they were bands that I listened to a lot as a teenager. As for drummers, Dave Grohl probably goes without saying, he is just admired by every drummer ever! His presence and showmanship live and in a band are so good, I wanted to play like him when I was younger.

I love the playing from Eric Harland. He is so relaxed and expressive around the kit; I really admire his playing. Mark Guiliana is another I love to listen to, as well as people like Bill Stewart, Brian Blade and Ari Hoening. When first getting into jazz, John Coltrane was my main source of “jazz education”, so he is someone I look up to even as a drummer. Elvin Jones, I think is probably my biggest inspiration. He was someone I really aimed to sound like for a long time and every time I listen to him play, I just want to get better. Tommy Smith was another artist I listened to a lot whilst I was discovering jazz, it was actually at his Euroradio Jazz Orchestra gig he put on at the Blue Lamp back in 2016 that made me want to pursue jazz.

If you had a free choice, where would you choose to perform?

I would want to perform on something like the Glastonbury main stage or the O2 arena or something along those lines, I think that would be a crazy experience. I have never visited the big jazz venues before, like the Village Vanguard etc. so I don’t have any experience with the famous jazz clubs, but I definitely wouldn’t turn a gig down from them!

Jazz Desert Island Disc.. seven  jazz pieces- what are they?

Song – Album – Artist (Drummer)

1. Resolution – A love Supreme – John Coltrane (Elvin Jones)

2. Exodus – Torah – SNJO (Alyn Cosker)

3. Ask Me Now – Twio – Walter Smith III (Eric Harland)

4. Two Folk Songs – The Unity Sessions – Pat Metheny (Antonio Sanchez)

5. Through Piat – These Human Beings – Pericopes +1 (Nick Wight)

6. Day Light – Paris – Tommy Smith (Jeremy Stacey)

7. Timelessness – Timelessness – Bheki Mseleku (Marvin “Smitty” Smith)

Many thanks Richard, it will be great to hear you play again at MJC

FRASER PETERKIN- Drummer

N3

Why jazz?

Its the unknown and freedom aspect of it I love…… The silent telepathic moments that happen and are shared when you‘re playing, the in-the-moment aspect of the music…..the craft of constantly striving to grow and mature as a musician…. Man that’s difficult to answer fully…. I’d have to write a book on it….. Hopefully that makes sense what I’m saying there…….

When did you first get in to playing jazz?
I first heard Gene Krupa, Sidney Bechet, Lester Young and Charlie Parker records at my Grans from a very young age and that stoked the fire. I’d already been playing drums for a while and my Dad had a great record collection of Motown stuff, Psychedelic Rock, Steely Dan, The Police, Cream, Santana – all of which I still love and influence me still greatly. I actually started playing drums after I saw Santana playing at Woodstock on the TV when I was around 9 years old. I’m still a huge Mike Shrieve fan, as well as the great drummers from those bands; Benny Benjamin, Pistol Allen, Al Jackson, Bernard Purdie, Stewart Copeland, Zigaboo Modeliste, Jeff Porcaro etc. They’re  incredible musicians and young players should definitely be respectful of these guys –  there’s so much you can learn listening to them. So my gran would record these great records onto C90 cassettes for me and I started playing along in my garage to all these wonderful records on a single deck cassette player and headphones. That’s when I was around 14 years old, I actually started playing drums when I was 10, in the BB’s on snare drum – my only formal training….long before YouTube and the Internet ……. Lol. 
Why play drums / jazz?
Like I said it’s the craft, the freedom, the communication and the constant urge to become more at one with the craft on your instrument. It’s a real buzz that never stops really. I love playing other types of music. Afrobeat, Funk, Cuban, World Music, Electronic etc but Jazz is my first love.
Is there anyone who has influenced you on Drums?
My main influences on Drums in Jazz are Elvin Jones, Jack Dejohnette, Vernell Fournier, Max Roach, Tony Williams, Alan Dawson, Paul Motion, Philly Jo Jones, Bill Stewart, Dan Weiss, Roy Haynes, Marcus Gilmore, Gene Krupa, oh man I could name about another 100 guys……… Lol. Those are my main Jazz influences on my Jazz playing, as well as the guys I mentioned earlier. It’s important to draw influences from all music spectrums, don’t limit yourself to just listening to Jazz guys or try to imitate them……. Draw on their ideas yes, but don’t try to clone them. Also I’m a firm believer in everyone has something to offer on the instrument. It’s important to share ideas, encourage young musicians and learn from one another. Leave egos and cliques at home, it helps no one 🙂
Who do you most admire as an instrumentalist and why?
As a drummer I’d say Elvin Jones, he pretty much embodies what a drummer should aspire to. Mastery of the instrument, creativity beyond belief, fearlessness, spirituality, constantly evolving and humble as can be. He’s a real hero of mine. John Coltrane too…….. Also much admiration is given to the amazing musicians, some who are sadly not with us any more whom really encouraged me and gave me the great opportunities to play this wonderful music when I was young. I learned so much from playing with these wonderful musicians, who really nurtured me and a bunch of other young guys. They really taught you the craft wisely, I was like a sponge soaking it up. Trying to play as many different jazz gigs as possible; Trad / Big Band stuff / Be Bop / Free Jazz, just trying to embrace it all. And I’m eternally greatful to those wise sages, Norman Moy, Gary Gibb, Alex Sutherland, Ian Macleod, Bill Kemp, Eddie Reed, Pete Lowit, Alan King, Mike Rae, Jon Hall (its been great playing with Jon again at Moray jazz club, it’s the first time I’ve seen him in years). And kindred spirits Barry Middleton, Rod Stewart, Graeme Stephen, Gary Gibb, Mike Rae, Scott Cruikshank, Neil Birse, Simon Gall… I’ve learned heaps about playing music with all those guys.
If you had a free choice, where would you choose to perform, apart from Moray Jazz Club?
Carnegie Hall
Jazz Desert Island Disc.. seven  jazz pieces- what are they?
Oh no…. Okay here goes
1. Bill Evans, sunday at the Village Vanguard
2. Herbie hancock, the new standard
3. John Coltrane, A Love Supreme
4. Max Roach, Max Roaches it’s Time
5. Miles Davis, Live Evil
6. Kamasi Washington, The Epic
7. Brad Mehldau, The Art of the Trio
And about 100 more I’d smuggle onto the island….

Wonderful insight in to the passion of a drummer Fraser!

BARRY MIDDLETON- PIANIST

ND9

Why Jazz?

It was a logical/natural progression in musical development. I was always improvising from the beginning, but jazz gave me a formal language which could then be translated into informal playing later. Also being a pianist, ten fingers and 88 notes makes you curious about harmony, jazz is an endless cure for that curiosity.

When did you first get in to playing jazz?

I started “properly” around the age of 18 playing what was called then “acid jazz”. Basically it was a more modal form with a large funk element, which allowed musicians to get versed in modal theories of harmony and play long solos! Around this time I started playing with many of the great Aberdeen musicians (Pete gave me one of my first gigs playing in an opening of a new underwear department!). Established players also included Norman Moy, Bill Kemp, Eddie Reid, John Hartley, Alex Sutherland, many more. At the same time there was a fantastic crew of fearless young guys around my age who were breaking through at the same time. There were tons of gigs back then in a culture of “go for it, all out, no inhibitions”. So the patient learning the craft from the older generation was important alongside the fearless freedom of youth.

Why play jazz?

I played piano from the age of 9. I wanted a toy piano for Christmas and my father said “if you’re getting into that you will do it properly”. Within months I was all over it and would run home as fast as I could from my lessons to practice.

Is there anyone who has had an influence on your choice of  piano?

Based on the above answer you could say Santa!

Where to begin! Coltrane for his spirit and harmonies. Herbie Hancock for transcending music, his humanity. Wayne Shorter for fearless exploration. Chick Corea for still producing amazing music, especially in a trio/solo format. I could give you a list of 50 people, not all are famous.

If you had a free choice, where would you choose to perform, apart from Moray Jazz Club?

Anywhere people have ears! Somewhere like Bimhuis. Every live recording from the Village Vanguard sounds amazing so yes please. Could I play a solo piano concert in the open air, surrounded by epic mountains…Concordia in the Karakoram.

Jazz Desert Island Discs.. seven jazz pieces – what are they?

Virtuoso – Joe Pass

A Love Supreme – John Coltrane

Letter From Home – Pat Metheny

Kind of Blue – Miles Davis

Burnin’ – Jimmy Bruno

Smokin’ at the Half Note-Wes Montgomery

Land Of Cockayne – Soft Machine

Barry, real pleasure to have your musical insights, can’t wait to hear you again at MJC

FABRIZIO CONTI- DRUMMER

C4

When did you first get in to playing jazz?

I started playing the violin aged 10, a family tradition. At 13 I fell in love with drums listening to the famous rock bands of the 70’s. For ten years I had the chance to play with different bands in Milano: rock, funk, reggie and even jazz standards. At 23 I stopped completely to complete my studies and then go to work overseas, mainly in Africa.

Why play jazz?

Landed in Scotland in 2000 and restarted playing few years later aged 40. Initially it was charity rock-pop but gradually started to be interested by jazz again. The most inspiring event was meeting the legendary Mr. Bill Kemp at the Club House, a Sunday afternoon jam session.

Who do you most admire as an instrumentalist / singer and why?

Mr. Bill Kemp, he is the musician that I admire the most. Bill encouraged me to study again and gently pushed me to playing Big Band music, which eventually became my main interest.

If you had a free choice, where would you choose to perform, apart from Moray Jazz Club?

I have had the privileged opportunities to play with the Aberdeen Jazz Orchestra, the Lossiemouth Air Force Big Band and the Aberdeen Community Big Band. My favourite venues are the Moray Jazz Club and Aberdeen’s Blue Lamp that used to be run by the legendary Mr. Sandy Brown (RIP).

Jazz Desert Island Disc.. seven  jazz pieces- what are they?

If  I had to take few jazz albums on an island they would be all the albums of the Thad Jones & Mel Lewis Big Band. Looking forward to seeing you and all very kind MJC people as soon as possible.

We are looking forward to seeing you too Fabrizio!

COLIN BLACK – GUITARIST

COLIN1

When did you first get in to playing jazz?

Not long after learning a few rock tunes, and realising with a bit of practice, anything is possible

Why play guitar?

I don’t know why, but it appeals to me, the sound, the look, the history, the players

Is there anyone who has had an influence on your choice of playing guitar?

Too many to mention, Joe Pass, Frank Zappa, Steve Howe, Jimmy Page, Pat Metheny, JJ Cale, Jimmy Bruno

Who do you most admire as an instrumentalist and why?

Frank Zappa. He had the integrity and commitment to compose and play his own music without conforming to anyone. Pat Metheny, for the same reasons

If you had a free choice, where would you choose to perform, apart from Moray Jazz Club?

At the moment anywhere, but The Blue Lamp is always special

Jazz Desert Island Discs.. seven jazz pieces – what are they?

Virtuoso – Joe Pass

A Love Supreme – John Coltrane

Letter From Home – Pat Metheny

Kind of Blue – Miles Davis

Burnin’ – Jimmy Bruno

Smokin’ at the Half Note-Wes Montgomery

Land Of Cockayne – Soft Machine

Many thanks for your responses Colin, will be great to see you again.