Lock the gate. All right, let's do this, how are you? What the fuck is what the fuck buddies? What the fuck cares? What the fuck? Nix what's happening? I'm Marc Maron. This is my podcast. What day is it? Where are we? What year is it? What is the truth? What isn't? What's happening? How are you doing? What's right in front of you is what is right in front of you, OK?
Is it OK right in front of you? I hope so, because it's still pretty fucking gnarly in my head and down the road a piece.
Down the road, a piece seems pretty fucking gnarly to me. Hope your voting vote early vote now.
Let's take a walk and put that ballot in the fucking mail. Let's go fill it out. I'm going to stand here until you fill it out. Do it. So today you're going to hear me talk to Wynton Marsalis, I wouldn't say I was nervous, but he's like he's like a music genius and also an encyclopedic music genius.
So I was was that was nervous. Just like there are things I need to know about jazz. I don't know about jazz. I know about three things about jazz.
He knows everything about jazz. And it's a little intimidating. He's also, you know, the director of jazz at Lincoln Center, Pulitzer Prize winner.
He's won a million Grammys. He got the National Medal of the Arts comes from a family full of renowned jazz musicians.
And I'm like that. You have to learn his monk's pretty good, right? That the loneliest monk. But it was an honor to talk to the guy and I listened to the hell out of his new record man, this the ever funky, the ever funky low. And it's just one of these records. It's like a masterpiece. Like there's like three or four albums to it.
It's like 50 fucking riffs and songs.
And there's a narrative and there's poetry and it's like, holy shit. And I would never have seen it hadn't had. I've been following him and been friendly with the.
With the Jazz at Lincoln Center, people, you look at his discography, he's done like ten records a year, for fuck's sake, the guy does all these records.
Mike, where have I been?
I've been collecting old records and having certain opinions about jazz based on I don't know what. Winton is one of those guys, he's like too good, he's he's like he's like good at his own trip, he's good at classical. He can mimic people perfectly, just complete control of the instrument and his mind. And I'm listening to this new record and it's like a fucking masterpiece.
And I'm like, there's people going to know about the ever funky low down, the funky, funky, expelled phone, but funky. I just was in and the subjects he discusses are all relevant, and he and his sources are great, sort of like. The old time snake oil salesmen and just, you know, folk stories and like fucking it just it was one of those things. It's like, why? And I know about this.
Well, now I know I was happy. I immersed myself in it and that I was able to.
To, you know, to talk about it and learn some things, I look to Winton as a teacher, but he's a good guy, too. He's a good guy. And you're going to hear me talk to him soon, so.
If you haven't heard Glo, the show glow is over, they've stopped it.
You know, we were two and a half episodes into shooting when the lockdown started and they kept pushing it down the road apiece. And and we were told that it's going to go we're going to do it. Production is going to start in like March. We'll probably be shooting in May. And then a couple of days ago, they said, nope, what's done? We're not doing it.
And yeah, I'm upset, but it's like we live in this fucking world. There's like 15 people on that set and a lot of them are engaging all at once. And, you know, they don't even quite understand this disease fully, let alone, you know, how to protect people from it on in the way necessary to guarantee that we would even be able to do it in May.
I understand. Netflix, Netflix is argument as to why they canceled. There was a lot of people that love the show over there and there's a lot of you that love the show. I get it. But it's still you know, it hurts because we had the writers, Kaleen, we had the the final seasons wait out.
You know, they know the story. You know, part of me is like, well, why don't we make a movie down the line? You know, why don't we just wrap it up with a two hour Netflix movie? I suggested that. And people are tweeting about it and talking about it, then the head of Netflix, he emailed me, explained what was up. He just basically said we can't you don't know when we can do it safely.
I get it. I get the business side of it. I get the safety side of it. I mean, this year's just been fucked up.
Now, the last two cats. Oh, that's the girlfriend. Well, that's my stand up job. I lost a blow job, I'm OK. But it's a bit much we might lose the country. It's fucking a lot. It's a lot. And it was weird, you know, when I talked about that the other day, about when the monster was in the hospital and I had I personally had a certain sense of relief because I wasn't being assaulted and it didn't feel like there was, you know, stepdads chaos everywhere.
And, you know, he's back at just like he is instinctually authoritarian.
And so and the chaos he creates is intentional. And the way it trickles down is intentional.
And, you know, the supplicants, enablers, grifters, small timers, short money people, conspiracy theorists, angry fascist freaks. You know, all of them just, you know, follow in line and do their part to sort of disassemble, aggressively disassemble any sense of reality or truth to the point where, look, you know, lefties were no stranger to the conspiracy.
I mean, fuck, we invented deep state. The lefties invented the state.
And we had you know, we were all disappointed that it turns out it doesn't exist because they didn't show up to take care of this.
All the more modern conspiracies from the 60s, a lot of them were kind of left leaning, the old timey ones like Zogu and, you know, Luminato, stuff that's been around a long time that was mostly Christian demonization of the Jews.
But point being, as these elaborate mythologies kind of mutate and grow malignantly as they are added on to.
By dumb people who like to connect dots and sort of make equations out of random facts, tie them together and call it truth, and then throw in some mystical hokum and some religiosity, and then they just sort of let that cradle and their dumb noggins and they're like, I got it.
I got the whole package. I got the truth. I know what's going on and where it's heading. You don't. But the problem is, is that once it becomes a slippery slope or kind of a mushy middle zone of what is real and what isn't and who you can trust with the truth and who you can't, then all of a sudden everybody just is sort of like, who knows?
So you have no you're not tethered to a grounded reality anymore, a sense of order or truth or process context.
And you just kind of go through your life not believing any of that matters. And you focus on your task at hand and you kind of like your brain goes a little dead in that area and you just take what they give you. That's the plan. That's the way authoritarianism works.
Too much out there. I just you know, I don't know how everybody partakes in it so aggressively, I can't take it.
Folks, every 26 seconds there's a break in in this country. But with simply, say, home security, you can protect your whole home around the clock.
It's serious, lasting protection. And all it takes is a simple 30 minute setup. You'll even get a free security camera when you protect your home today.
More on that in a second. Simply safe is an award winning arsenal of sensors and security cameras that blankets every inch of your home. You'll know your home and your family are always safe. Whenever you have, you're simply safe. System turned on. You set up simply safe by yourself in just a few minutes without any tools or wiring. No technician or salesperson has to set foot in your house.
Then simply safe will monitor your home around the clock with security professionals who are there in case of emergency to immediately send help to your home. Plus, there's no contract, no hidden fees and no installation costs. It's no wonder U.S. News and World Report named it the best overall home security of 20/20 right now.
Visit simply safe dotcom Strachwitz and get a free security camera. Plus a 60 day risk free trial.
With any new system ordered, there's nothing to lose. Go to simply safe dotcom. So WTF today that simply safe dotcom.
So WTF, go do that. Ease some of the fear, at least in your immediate environment.
So I'm sorry about I do have a couple of other things happening, the last few projects that are going to be available of me are these movies. I did respect the Aretha Franklin Flick with Jennifer Hudson and Stardust, the David Bowie flick with Johnny Flynn. I mean, there I will bring I will give you more information on that stuff as I get it. I'm trying to keep you in the loop. I really am. I really am. My hand is OK.
I was a little paranoid, I didn't I didn't get the chronic diarrhea disease from the from the antibiotics, there's still a little tenderness deep in the tendon, which I hope doesn't flare up in some way.
And I you know, I lose my thumb. But that but the bite is OK. But it was pretty fucking overwhelming then.
And it took me a while to accept Buster again as a as a as a friend. It's hard to accept your friend when they bite your hand and cause an infection that makes you sick.
Like if your friend did that to you, would you would you right away be like, hey pal, what's up?
I can only pet you with this one hand. I guess that's what you get when your own animals. OK, so listen, I listen to a lot of Wynton before I did this and there is a lot of Wynton to listen to and I read some stuff, but he's you know, he is a giant.
In the world of jazz, he's a giant in the world of making sure that jazz survives and is understood and is taught and is appreciated and enjoyed almost all kinds of jazz, let's say all.
But I do believe there are some he likes better than others.
Really, it was it was an honor to talk to this guy.
As I mentioned earlier, his latest composition is called The Ever Funky Lowdown.
You can call it an opera or a polemic or performance art, whatever you call it.
You can get it at Store Dot Jazz Dog. And this is me talking to the amazing. Wynton Marsalis. You're a good man. How are you feeling? Good man, how you been? I'm hanging in is just the time. I got to tell you something, man.
You know, I've been wanting to talk to you for a while, and I'm not a music journalist or anything, but I'm a music lover. And I've spent some time in the last few years trying to understand and get engaged with jazz music.
But when they sent me this thing, the Ever Funky Lowdown, and I was like, why?
What is this thing?
And and when I listen to it and I was like, holy shit, what the fuck is happening? He's he's he's he's getting it all in. It's all in one dark piece.
I mean, just what what possessed. I don't even know how to describe it. Is it an opera? What is it.
No, it's just it's just a story is a game, you know, it's a story is a game with a satirical character. And the music is just all kind of stuff that I grew up playing in.
But I mean. But it's deep, man. I mean, I get it. I get that. The pitch is it's a game and you've got Mr. Game and you've got this satire. But I mean, you're you're selling it a little short by just saying, yeah, it's a funny it's not like a fun. You're right.
Now, it's stuff that I learned across all these years, just about people, but human beings, because I've taught for 40 years now and because I taught in so many schools all over the United States. And I stay after every gig. So I meet parents and kids starting in nineteen eighty. So you think it's twenty twenty now. Yeah. And I'm afraid to fly. So I also drive everywhere. Yeah.
And I've met so many people and their kids and so many states and places really all over the world. But let's just say especially in the United States, a lot of stuff becomes clear to me when I hear people talk to each other and when people talk about other people. My father used to always say everything you hate if you to call a group of people say so. That's why the second movement this is called that he was a man with date.
So, you know, then if you met them and you sat down with did you talk with them? Because he grew up in very strict segregation. And so is really the things that they will focus on are just things that I have observed and know about our country. And of all the long pieces I've written, this is the one that I did the least amount of musical research for, because a lot of the styles of styles that I grew up playing and so forth, as the story goes, is just what's apparent about the about what goes on.
Well, yeah, right. It's about America, but it's also about power. It's about money. It's about the black experience. Right. But then you sort of build from that and you talk about freedom in a general sense, how it relates to technology and what that means, what is freedom.
So, I mean, these are and this character is this sort of snake oil salesman, huckster con man president, you know, whatever, you know, you're going to call this guy.
It's sort of the dark trickster that runs through history.
And however you want to look at it, steals people's souls and sells them back to them. I mean, you captured it. That's what he does. You know, he comes in many forms. And you and I, we age. Well, you remember Oral Roberts, Reverend Ike. Yeah. The nineteen seventies are. It is a combination of many different rhetoric we've heard from different United States presidents stuff, game, Julius Caesar and stuff that Hitler used all the kind of the kind of differentiation between people.
And it goes all the way back to the beginning. No, this was different from him. Right. You could go in any any tradition you want to go with. Right. Then the question becomes. What's wrong with me, there was something is wrong with these people, it's especially you notice in the schoolyard, the bullies are the cool people or it is sort of that. Yeah, you if I was I was growing up because I've never really dealt with anything to mess with.
I mean, there was a lot a lot of a lot of fighting and ignorance. But I was always able to handle business enough to not to not be in the group that was messed with. But when we became integrated after Martin Luther King was killed, you had to deal with stuff, you know, and it was always interesting to me who the kids would pick to be an outsider if they weren't black. Yeah. And it was always some strange kind of thing.
They would they would figure out who it was.
And it was always a kid that that was just different and probably couldn't protect himself.
Right. Right. God helped him. Yeah. And, you know, if they couldn't protect themselves, God help them. Yeah.
And they and they just were relentlessly bullied for no reason just because they are weird. Right. Right.
So, yeah, I was interested because if you were black, if you were at that time where I was from, if you're black, you were such an outsider, you didn't qualify for that. It was just like you had to deal with another equation. Right.
But at least in that equation, you had peers, you had other black people, you had friends. Usually they picked the one guy that was just too odd and didn't fit in and he had nowhere to go.
And in this case, at school, it was a girl and many picked on this girl. It was just relentless. And I just remember thinking, man, no. Why, and then it extends to groups of people when it extends, then as you as you grow, do you start to notice as the stakes get higher and higher? But with Mr. Game, he's pulling the double switch. So it's like what you see and he brings you close to him so he can stab you while he has you looking at somebody else.
Then he sends you out with that wound and you still feel connected to him. That's right.
And he also switches your brain to believe that he's helping or he's doing something get like the focus. I mean, really, it's it's so ambitious.
The library, the libretto, you know, which I had to read a couple of times because I listen to the album a couple of times. It must be I mean, is it going to be released on CD or vinyl? Because it must be nine records.
I mean, it's like.
That's that's the curse that was put on me.
I'm always writing long pieces and I always I don't know whether that long man, I just always come on when there's this, there's like fifty five tracks on this thing.
They're always, they always like that. I don't set out to make them like that. Blood on the field was three CDs, you know. All right.
I went ahead. Yeah. Congo Square was two hours. I don't even know how long this was.
But the thing is there's a narrative, there's an arc. There are these, you know, these setups of these you know that it's broken into. What for? What is it for? Not for games or surprises for price.
Seven objectives. Yeah. Five prizes. Five prizes. Yeah. The seven objectives are what I had, which you have to believe in order for you to qualify for the prizes and those seven object.
Yeah. It's a way the seven objectives if you work through them, are just you annihilating your sense of self and ego in order to play along with the game.
This is like being a part of a game, but really is about sort of exploring the idea of power and the idea of freedom in relation to, you know, I think the core of it. It seems to be the black experience. But then, you know, the overarching of it is, you know, all of our experience, it's about commodification.
You know, the truth. Is this the white experience? Yeah. You really check up the game is not talking to black. You know, I'm talking to white people to the white America.
Right, right. Right. And, you know, I was I was in that first generation that was really integrated more or less. We weren't really integrated. But, you know, I was in that kind of throw period is really tough. My parents were completely segregated where this was.
You grew up in New Orleans, right?
I grew up outside of New Orleans, Kenner, little forms, Broadbridge towns. We moved to New Orleans when I was twelve.
How many kids were six kids?
And your parents and your dad was a musician?
My dad, you know, jazz music, jazz musician.
And you remember you have real memories of when it was integrated, man.
I remember. Yeah, I remember all about I remember when King was killed. I remember a lot of really after nineteen sixty six I can remember my first concert I went to was James Brown Admissable Auditorium nineteen sixty seven. I can remember that concert that was going to all black school then got all white school year at that time. You can't even, you can't describe what it was like to be like in that kind of community and not just hearing people screaming, people screaming and I'm too young.
I was six, I remember the shoes all had just it was a communal thing. It was cathartic. Yeah. Yeah.
So, OK, so you black schools. White schools.
Yeah. Just to hold the whole intensity of everything in the kind of hatred, in the anger about it and you going and dealing with a with a situation. It was a situation you have to deal with and it wasn't. No I don't talk about it. A lot of people talk about these kind of things. But in the end I realized that my the white students I went to school were being Dengate. So it's always kind of when a black person is talking, there's always something about what was done to us.
Yes. No, that's obvious. Yeah, but there's something being done to huge a huge segment of the United States population, and they're being gamed in an unbelievable way that continues to work. And over the years, I always wonder, how long is this going to work? If you if you fought for the Confederate Army in the Civil War, you didn't have a plantation. Yeah. You just a guy out there died for what reason, to keep another person who you want to have the benefit of making money off of them.
And that that continues to today. I've seen in my entire adult life, if it's not really hard, it's something else. Now, it's the four hundred people in Chicago who looted is always something that will write. Two hundred and eighty million people looking for a thousand. It's just stupid, right?
If you remember that the day that you the sort of your your brain shifted into realizing that they were being gamed or is that.
Oh yeah, I remember. Yeah, I remember. What was the incident. Well, I was going to school in the school was so. So prejudiced the kids couldn't help, but many in the south will be able to have money and a girl who was not from Louisiana. She wasn't prejudiced toward me like the other kids. So I just asked her why you don't have the same hatred of the people here. And she said, oh, I'm from Montana, we Indians.
So I'm thinking, damn.
And then as we as we were going to we will go to schools. Always make pretty good grades. At one point I had another kid in our class told me, he said, well, I think I think you're just as good as me. I said, Do you think I think that you're as good as me if you look at me. We both started to laugh because everything was not always about fights and about we had we knuckled up. We had a lot a lot of negativity.
Man, we fight. We had a lot of stuff that I could tell you about would be good stories. But we also left this stuff, too. And we I to when I asked him that, we both started laughing and I teased him. I said, you need to take that math grade up. And, you know, we came and we laughed about it. Later, we remembered a lot of us. We got older. We remember all of these things that happened when we were kids and we didn't have a sense of world.
So, yeah, by the time I was in sixth or seventh grade, I started to think about it. You know, it's a game being run, all right?
Because just because when you have those moments of laughter and connection and you sort of see past that, the sort of black, white, left, right thing, you realize like, well, we're all people. Why is this working? Why does this guy walk away with a different point of view?
And, you know, it just is that you fall into systems that with my with my friends that I've had since that time and now with middle age, we have kids that are grown white kids, people that I knew when we were kids. We say to each other, as we've gotten older, can you believe this shit is still like this? And it's the nature of our conversations are very natural and real is just as basic like people who know each other.
It's not is not demographic conversation. And I've always been very clear about my position to about black and white issues. I've never had to have that kind of handkerchief here. Everything is cool. I'm just going to my work my way through this. I was never that type of person and they know me to not be that way. And it liberated them to not have to fall into a role too. Right. So I think a lot of what's in it funky is that kind of hustle is on, on, on, on.
But it's so well thought out and sort of lyrically played through. I mean, the libretto itself is like twelve pages and it's tight and, you know, it's very specific in a way, and there is a humor to it because of this character. But but the insights around, you know, even around technology and around freedom and around enslavement and around power and money, I mean, this seems like a almost like a life's work.
I mean, I don't know a lot of this stuff you've done, but this seems to utilize this satirical character, this, you know, dark clown at the core of this thing, to really sort of hone in on this stuff in a very specific and an aggressive way was a great was a great device. And like, how long did it take you to what was the inspiration for that guy?
You know, not not it didn't take long. Just a. I mean, I grew up in the area, we were always teasing and joking around and I mean, that's what we did in New Orleans. Yeah. And, you know, all the characters like Dolemite and this stuff in the 70s just I mean, it's silly, but it was just what we do.
Stagger Lee, all those stories, the great Titanic, we draw the things that we've memorized as kids. And my little brother Ellis, we call him the Oracle. He and I talk about this kind of stuff literally for 30 years. He's a person who reads his studies all the time. So he read so much, study so much that I start writing down stuff when I would talk to him. His nickname is look, I call him the Oracle.
We call it a symbol. Tell me about this. That little start talking. I start writing stuff down and then all of my long pieces have like a kind of core thing that I'm trying to say about our central humanity. I think this is most connected to a piece I wrote in nineteen ninety nine entitled All Rights and All Rights was about all of the kind of nations of the world come together, speak a common language. And I was dealing with kind of clauses and things that we all have in common that a big choir and it was with us in the New York Philharmonic and the Morgan State Choir, and we later recorded it right after 9/11.
We were actually the first group to start playing a live concert after 9/11 with the Philharmonic. And it just makes an orchestra and a combined Northridge state choir and the longest state choir. And so this piece is connected to that is just this is more, more focused and localized and I guess it's more satiric.
Yeah. Yeah. Is this the most satirical? We had another one call from the plantation to the penitentiary that I did in 2007, but that was a small band that has a lot of satire in it, but not like this is a person talking. So, you know, he's he's he's a carnival barker. Yeah. Now the stuff is going on. And I always say it's not just the president that has been going on for a long time now.
It's actually so satirical itself. The truth is. So that is almost hard to make a satire because people think you're being for real. Right.
The farce has become not funny. It's like, oh, this really happened. Yeah, yeah. No, no, it didn't happen. I don't know. It sounds like it could have happened, you know, man, I made that up. No, it happened. Yeah.
You know, my, my little brother calls it reads a. reasons. He says, you know, anti reason is always fighting with reason. He said you have to be careful with anti reason because once you start to defend anti reason, you find yourself on the back side of your position. So you become more addicted to Artery's and then your own health is safe and well.
Yeah. And also sort of like it's it's a perception cancer. Like, you know, if you walk into a. reason that you'll disable your ability to see any sort of truth.
That's right, acuity, right, your acuity said that well. Well, the thing is, this guy is a carnival barker, but he's also letting you in on the trick, which is the ever funky lowdown, the breakdown of all of these systems that you talk about when you get to the bottom line.
He's revealing the secrets. He turns around like his thing is he's run this game for billion. Yeah. And he thought he thought this group of people was going to be different. So in the end, he got angry and he said he sold because he gave you a wild card. He gave you something to help you defeat the game. You still you didn't really remember who to welcome. It was like it didn't do any good. So he got angry and he said, listen, this game is not even about them.
So he says, I gave you all the clue now, but just reveal the game. Right. And so he flips around from being kind of an anti-hero and just he couldn't take it. You couldn't take another iteration of the game.
Well, ultimately, what it comes down to is that you earned the right to do nothing. Right. We'll go take care of everything. And you just sit there nothing. You just sit there like a dummy and eat your ice cream and watch your thing, right?
That's right. You only do things that will benefit you. Right? Right. If you don't get it. I read that.
I read that in a speech that Abraham Lincoln gave in the Lincoln Douglas debates where he was talking about the perils of democracy, that people would only do things. That is the end of this paragraph. And he says he used the word self-interest, that people would get to a point where they only served their self-interest. So that's actually where that concept.
Well, it's interesting. I like I realize that now, you know, that that the idea of tolerance and the idea of empathy are our choices.
Right. I mean, you can be naturally empathetic, but that doesn't mean you have to honor it. And, you know, and tolerance without tolerance, democracy doesn't work well without without without an overview and embrace.
You know, like when I went to school, I remember I would always, as you called me a name, I was going to fight you. So I got into a lot of scrapes. But this is not a movie. So one person is not really going to beat five. You're not going to. So at one point after two or three years of that, one of the people in my class, one of the big guy in our class, German guy named John, he said, man, you're going to fight everybody if they use the N-word on the.
Yes, and it's the South.
And the 60 people you said earlier said he said next time you next time they jump on you, I'm jumping into. And the next time he did so, it was just something you couldn't you couldn't predict on your side. Had the other side knew he was on my side, he jumped in with me and him. And no matter what I was, I accepted that I don't accept. What was it that you accept? You got to do something you do.
Yeah, well, that's something that, you know, Mr. Game repeats a lot.
What was it?
When you do something, which is what you do is what you will do and that you do makes it true. Yeah. Yeah. What is that.
That you what you do. Yeah. Yeah. What you do is what you will do when you do something you're going to. Right. And that you do it makes it true. That's coming from a friend of mine is a police officer in Chicago. He's retired now. I was the best man is what he told me. He hate to go on domestic violence calls. He said he will going home and it'd be like a brother killed another brother, a husband and a wife or a wife.
And he said and almost every time he would walk into that home, he would he would tell them it will be almost in shock. You will say, man, you committed a crime. You know, you you killed them. You have to bring them back to Earth, he said. And they would always say, but I was just but but it was just I didn't understand. Sometimes the rage overwhelm them is the seven years of anger builds up.
And I was always struck by how he because he would be fact that he had seen it, of course, tens, if not hundreds of times. And he said that he would have to bring them into the reality of the moment. So that's why I had Mr. Gaines say that you do makes it true. But, you know, when you when you act on something, it becomes even if it's not real, even if like even if Adolf Hitler said Jewish people had tails or they did this and he did that, none of that is true.
But you killing them and putting them in concentration camps, that's true. You putting people on ships and boats, selling them, sleeping with with women who you owned, you all the things you did, maybe none of what you did. It was true. But that you did. It is true. So that's what Mr. Game is trying to tell you. He's trying to bond you. Right. You took him. Right.
And I thought I thought that the section in on the record that I really got, like there's a couple of pieces that really stood out to me, the stuff you wrote in the libretto about, you know, causing division within the domestic situation, the death of romance, the death of intimacy, you know, in the name of of it wasn't property transaction transaction.
I thought that was great. And but what I really liked was like I you know, I can see the whole history of how you play music on these records and I can see all of it. I don't know if I can identify the classical so much, but was but what was interesting to me was that the yes no.
When you get the yes no, that was that was the only time it was specifically like fucking bebop. Right.
Like, you know, doing that thing, that back and forth, like that argument we're doing those blastin those kind of hard bop riffs and shit. And I was like, now there's that. That was the only time on the record.
Well, you know, the music, the music is as a counterbalance to the word. And with the orchestra, we play so much music. That's actually a lot of improvising. Tidmarsh, right, is playing the alto and Chris Crenshaw's playing the trombone. So I got them. We in the background, they're all playing these kind of violent hits in the score progression in him and Chris. They go on for this thing and they both have very, very kind of free way of playing the way of hearing music.
So they were perfect for that all.
But all I had to do was say fight. Yeah, they got it to the right.
But like I it just felt structurally that was one of the looser parts.
Is that is that possible? Yeah. In terms of the music. Yeah. That's like that was like. Yeah. You know. Yeah no question.
Well I mean but I guess what I'm trying to figure out about you is the decision because you started as a classical musician.
Right. No, I started playing jazz and funk, but my dad is a jazz right, and I'm from New Orleans, so I started playing just tunes like Jazz Jams and and the first band I played in was Fairview Baptist Church Marching Band when I was eight. We play stuff like that. Just close up with the right just a little while to stay here, you know, New Orleans tunes. Then the second gig, real gig I play was of all kind of pop music at an elementary school dance when I was a little high.
And that was stuff that was on the radio. Stevie Wonder. Sure. And then, you know, I was always trying to play modern jazz. Then I met a guy who turned me on to classical record and I want a concerto competition to play hide and trumpet concerto. Then I was 14, but during that time I was playing punk band when I was just turned 13 and I was always trying to play with my father. We just couldn't play good enough.
We always sitting in with him, but we jazz. It was too hard for us to play.
But my brother Branford and I still get out there and try to play with jazz band. We always try to play with it, but we couldn't. The changes to stuff were beyond what kind of stuff was he playing your dad?
He wrote he wrote a lot of music. James Black, great drummer from New Orleans. A lot of music is a funky low down. Oh, yeah. They they had their own original tunes and they played any tune into jazz like stuff that I remember. The first song he ever put out for me was something my parents will come. You wrote out miles of solos, check this solo out and a man just the changes if you don't know. Now, of course, man, that stuff was hot.
Sonny Rollins. Yeah. Charlie Parker's material like confirmation, John Coltrane, Giant Steps Countdown. Real difficult to play. You know, all the all the stuff in the jazz canon. My father always played it to very limited audience and people. I will go to his gigs all the time. There's never a lot of people out, but he and Elvin Bettys thing that make you sad. Now, I know because I grew up seeing that.
I mean, I knew people didn't like that style. Yes. So it was I thought, man, they believe in this music and they didn't complain about that. But I mean, my father, he believed in the music when I got old.
I would ask if you ever think about some people want he is a man and I'll be sounding like, yo, he was, you know, a bit about it. I would tease him a lot, like he played the piano. He played the channel once in the Hyatt Regency and people would just talk with him. So maybe that was fifteen or sixteen gigs like Professional probably at that time. And I said on it's still with him at the piano.
I looked at him, I said, you don't get tired of people. Talking all over you when when you play it, just not listen, you play a little bit except maybe said do you get tired of it?
Like this is for you to eat your food, you better shut up and city.
And so, you know, my dad, he was funny.
Like, what do you think it was like, you know, when you think about it? Because I mean, that really is the thing about the journey of jazz for some people, because it did remain relatively unpopular during large chunks of time.
So the people that were playing it must have had, like what you say, a belief in it.
But they were on some sort of journey. I mean, what is it when you got it?
You have to have education. And to understand the music, it means that I grew up with it. I didn't like you know, I was always here is just they understood the implication of music, the spirituality of it. And as a group activities men play, jazz is the most cathartic thing. If you got a good swing in rhythm section because you creating these ideas and you just keep going and other people in the group are developing them. But if you're an audience member and you don't, you're used to listening to kind of stuff on the radio.
You might be hearing 30 seconds of music repeated over and over again and the six to ten minutes of it has a lot.
Yeah, because I said too many nights you're in a play being like audio playing, but something happens that you hear it one day, right?
Yeah. Yeah. Do you remember what what was it that made when did you hear it.
You know, I think I was like eleven going into twelve and me and my brother was joking about, about the fact that the people on our albums held on while costumes look stupid and the people are dead, is out there on suits and stuff. They look like they had since we just left the plane. So we put on one of the reckless giant steps. You know, that's like the first time because my father had a picture of him with Coltrane and James Black on the on the wall.
And they love Train Train to come to here and play in the nineteen sixties, nineteen sixty two. So he had a picture of them with train. I know how much they missed the train. So train was dead by this time. So I said I'll put that record on the next day. I put train up the giant steps and you know, I started liking it. I said well then I started this train play with miles and miles and miles and Miles started with Dizzy.
I checked out Dizzy and then I met Dizzy and then all the people I kind of knew from being around my daddy. Whenever people come to New Orleans, they play with you and. Then from there, I kind of got into the music. Yeah, from now got into the music and I started to be kind of obsessed with it, then I start wondering if I could learn how to play. Yeah, because the kind of music we were playing, we call jazz, what really jazz was like.
Instrumental pop music and funk, which I like playing, had a great time. But I still was wondering if I could play with the same kind of thing like a brown and a play with, you know, and that's what started me come on the path of of trying to learn how to play the music.
So it was it was like you knew you had to study it.
There was no question about did you think you're going to make money studying it? But, you know, you you and you were going to play it. You know, even my daddy, I was visited with him sometimes and I had learned to have a circular breathe. That's where you can go. And it just never stopped raining. And then I do my breathing and I would go to my thing and I had to do with my own kids. And I just a lot of people just erupted in applause and hold a note for two minutes.
And my dad called me a couple of really like a manager that's already said that the circus is down the street and he would just douse the bandages.
But I would have to laugh because I know he was you know, he was getting on you because you were just showing off a piece of music. Man We met up there doing, you know, what you're up to in a nutshell, what would determine to him what would what would be playing music? What determines that?
You know, you create in themes, you have development, you're on your way to interacting with the group. You're doing all of that. Right. Right.
You're getting in that and you're concentrating on what you play. You're trying to touch people with the depth of what you're saying rather than a kind of external kind of kind of things. Like he called it the shiny suit, you know, put the suit on, you plug it in and the lights go to said, wow, look at those lights. It was more just it was basically communicate with people, man. They will follow you if you keep communicating with them.
But then I would tease there with you and communicate because they don't come up to see you when they see an iPhone. When we check that every. Yeah, yeah. But he wasn't against us. You know, he came and he sat in on our digs. I remember we played a dance at a high school senior high school. My father came and played we played a crusade, a song called Keep That Same Feeling, and it has a bridge section.
And one of us was a guy named John Limbaugh's nicknames. And he said, man, you can't you daddy sit in on this tune because of that bridge, said that section he's going to be able to hear that. I said, remember, there is only one time you going to stop. They play that bridge. The first time I did it a second time, he just played through it. And I remember my boy looked at me. He had never heard like something out of the people.
He looked at me, said, man, what is that shit?
He said, Well, because because we are we grow up listening to him. Yeah, we know. You know, what is the magic of of of planes being able to fly now when you put.
But that was sort of like you were you were kind of on the classical. That was going to be your thing, right?
No, never. I always want to play jazz. I loved it. I mean, and I still love classical music. No, that was never my thing. I always I came to New York to play jazz because I wanted to be like my father. Like, my essential thing was I wanted to do what they wanted to do, like they want my father wanted to come to New York. All the jazz musicians I met when I was growing up, Terry Sweet said I loved all them.
They were like uncles to me and I wanted to make them proud and I wanted to. But I want them to feel like I could play. That was my main thing. And it was like they'd be like, man, you said, When did you learn how to play? So I love classical music and I love playing it. And I was fortunate to be to get a little bit of reputation for playing it. And I practiced a lot.
And I still to this day, I love orchestral music. And the one thing I'm grateful for is my father was was not prejudice against me. So he always told me, man, this is Music Astudillo, check this. Anything even playing in the fall, which at first I didn't want to do. Then I was in love. My dad gave me. I play in the band.
So now the classical know the classical music like what do you carry? Because I know that I can feel that you just by listening to these longer pieces that you did in this one, the funky low-down that, you know, you put a lot in your perfectionist. You write this you write this stuff out that, you know, it's tight.
So is that something that you just is part of your personality or is that something you learn from classical music? You know what? I developed it.
I was playing classical pieces all through high school, so I was hearing longer form pieces I never forget. I played a concert of Mahler's Second. I was at the Easter Music Festival. I never left home in Greensboro, North Carolina in the final concert with my second symphony in such a big, massive piece with a choir. And but I couldn't because the forms was so different. But I had a kind of gift for just lyrics. So I was in three classes in high school.
I was going to tell the form of Beethoven's Symphony the form of flexibility, just a form of, you know, when you say to I just like the what is the.
Form exactly the repetition you get from A to B, you get from one place to make sense. Would you repeat this again? How do you what is the cycle? Everything is on the site and every day as many different cycles, the sonata form does this. Now, of course, the music is so wide open, how many types of composited forms. But it wasn't until I heard Jelly Roll Morton Library of Congress recordings. He was explaining how the pearls, all these pieces he wrote, how he constructed them with sections and transitions.
And then I noticed Duke Ellington was doing the same thing. And then when I was in my late twenties, I started to write long form pieces. Before then, I didn't know how to do it. And the first piece I wrote was called Blue. I think I was twenty eight, twenty seven somewhere up in there. And then I figured out how to, to, to have mathematic development a certain way and how to connect these forms and use grooves, then the kind of psychological these two grooves.
And from that time I've always worked on these pieces and they have a lot of outline. I spent a lot of time outlining of determining what keys are going, what I'm going to do. And so I became kind of obsessed with working on them like a puzzle.
Yeah, that's good. It's nice to have a compulsive hobby.
Yeah. I always tell people I left you right really focused. Obviously, if you want to waste a lot of time, do just man when you walk in past with dots and dashes in those spots until it's time because yeah.
You might have seven hundred and fifty thousand notes in a piece and you put in stuff all over most of those notes.
But like once you, once it comes to life it makes it all worth it. Right. Yeah. For me and for all of us, I'm fortunate because in our orchestra we have like 10, 11 arrangers and everybody composes and we all play each other's music. So for all of us, yeah, when we start working on our music, we get obsessed, obsessed with it, and we all play each other's music.
So when you got to New York, when you got to Juilliard and you want to be a jazz musician to sort of like honor your dad's dream in some degree, what was the state of jazz at the time?
What year was it? Does nineteen seventy nine.
Do you do you think about it that way? If people were playing with this show, had a great band, Betty Cordle's fantastic. She was, she was playing all kinds of music. I would go out every night at eleven o'clock at night and just go all over all the clubs. The Brothers have said that evidence of people playing in the Village Vanguard, a lot of it like Tommy Flanagan and people playing, they were playing all over the place.
You had a lot of the great musicians and you could go out of here. You could go out and hear people, jazz, many people struggling. The scene was, you know, it was a struggle. And I also played with some of the avant garde musicians. I play with David Murray. I played with Lester. Boy, the scene was scuffling in terms of the same, would not have that enormous amounts of people around it. But musicians were dedicated to playing the recorder.
So you played with some some of the avant garde guys?
Yeah, I played with hot trumpets unless the boy had trumpets associated with people. But I finally got a gig with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.
So that's how I learned how to play playing what was not fun played for what he played for like fifty years. Sixty.
Oh, man. He was the you never saw anything like that. And and that's considered hard bop, right?
Well, even in the fifties it was. But by the time I played with he was playing a lot of different styles, some that didn't have names. But he was he was a phenomenal man. He used as a as a person. And with his plan is musicianship and his belief in the music, his integrity. It's and we loved him and we all called him boom. It was like being in a family.
So when you when you get when he signed on with him, we were like twenty one. Twenty two. I was eighteen. Eighteen. Yeah.
And you're part of this Jazz Messenger legacy, man.
You know, you're, you're one of the guys that I when I was about there, but I was playing up to say I was part of the legacy.
Yeah, well I mean what you learn from him specifically would woodworking was about. Yeah.
And about and what a good rhythm section was about what he's actually swing, but he worked like he was about work and did. Where'd you guys to urge you to go around the world with people all over America?
I mean, we were struggling like a chitlin circuit wind event. And man, that first tour we went from New York to Detroit, played gigs, Detroit to Seattle, Seattle, Cisco, Cisco, Houston. I mean, we used to call ourselves jazz passengers. We understood something. He gave us a good, clear understanding what work it was better we did where people coming out.
You know, in some place where we're playing mainly clubs, people will come out. We've never we didn't play big venues. Yeah, people came out. But, you know, we will sometimes we will struggle. It's always been it's always been a struggle.
And when you try to maintain a certain integrity, it's a struggle in anything, in anything, in anything is it doesn't matter.
So so you got to New York in time to see a lot of people that were still around that have been around since the beginning of modern jazz. And then but there was also another contingent of people who were doing I mean, there seems to be this other world of Kenny G's and, you know, I mean, but that's that's more like instrumental pop music.
And that was not is it is played up like there's like some battle or something between us, but is not there was never one battle, but football collegiate even know who it was which won the football.
Yeah. Where did that happen. Who is some jazz. But it's like I always tell people, Ornette Coleman, let's just take that, for example, if you. All right. If you read articles sometimes Ornette Coleman, free jazz, this hard bop, this. Ornette Coleman in the nineteen fifties lived in New Orleans. He stayed in the home of of a trumpet player named Melvin Last, who we call Partite. Nevertheless, he was the uncle of Herlin Riley around drums with me for many years in the Fairview Baptist Church band that I played in eight.
Herrlin was playing trumpet at the time. He's about 13. Orleans, one of the greatest drummers in the world, and for many years, Harlem playing would be Ornette. Ed Blackwell, who played drums with Ornette on some of his earliest records, grew up playing with my father and he left New Orleans because of racism. His old lady was white and he went up to New York. He played with Ornette. So if I tell people, yeah, I saw I talk to I they think, well, you know, you went on it just Ornette was more like like a member of my family or something.
It was more like I grew up hearing about it. When I first saw talking on it, he said, your daddy and Betty's kids be in Los Angeles. They drove all the way from New Orleans to Los Angeles. And they could knock on my door and say that, would you say which was new in the late 50s? Yeah.
So a lot of times you don't realize kind of our our blurred it's is not is not the way it is depicted with a lot of strife in it. And that's just not the truth of it.
In terms in terms of the styles of jazz. Yeah. In terms of who we are as people and how we are, we interact with each other. Right. Right.
You guys are just you're doing what you do. But, you know, the bond is deeper than, you know, like he's doing free jazz. I'm doing this this. He's doing that. I'm doing this.
Nobody is talking about that in the people's house organ and fighting with them and all of that, no matter what argument. But it's not going to be about what style you're playing. And if you have an age difference between me and already great as he was again, I was trying to learn something when I saw him. I wasn't saying nothing, but how could I do this or could I do this? Mr. Coleman? I wasn't calling him on that.
I'd say, yeah, I guess I got older.
I realize the world is open and people come up with things. They have creativity. Great. It's kind of like when people ask me, what do you think about Black Lives Matter, which I say, you know, our problems are so pervasive and so widespread. I want any act that we go towards equality for everybody. I want as many of those acts as we have. Acts of corruption and acts of denying people is no one way to be corrupt.
So let all of the everything. Yeah, great people are doing stuff they want equal. They want to do this. Fantastic. You give some money. Great, you protest. Fantastic. You write an article. Great. You argue with somebody, a barbershop. Great. You know you need all of that you've been instead of well you need to do this. So this needs to be one way. It needs to be many ways. And there's one person's weight is not enough to solve the problem is too large, is too pervasive.
It's been around too long. It needs all of us to just be a part of it.
And it feels like in terms of the current moment and that you're releasing this record in what we I don't think you could have anticipated, you know, the the the chaos and anger that's bubbling up now when you released it. But it all seems to fit together. Right?
Right. Well, I wrote it in twenty eighteen, so I had no idea that just what this what a pandemic would happen. It would expose our faults. I could see our faults of course, because I mean I'm from our country and have been around the world. But I also see other people's faults too. So that's part of me not having that kind of us versus them.
I've had the opportunity to be in other people's countries and talk with them and see how they deal with the problems they and in at the end of, like in the record, you sort of choose to sort of elevate and focus on on Fannie Lou Hamer.
Yeah. Out of that period. What made you choose her? Her in. Packed. My mom loved her. Oh, she loves Fanny, Lou and Fanny Lou was the eldest of 20 kids. She grew up in the rural south. She had just a natural ability. She was a voracious reader in a place where you were kept from reading and she got involved in the political process late. But it was the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. She integrated party.
She brought to the convention. She ran for Congress. She didn't win. But she she she sang spirituals. She had a depth of insight. She fought that fought so fought that fight. She came back. She was beaten. She was shot at. She was tried to turn around. She never turned around. And she spoke the language of the people. She came the longest distance and she was was all about realizing what the Constitution put in front of us.
And then she went back to the community, started free to form, teach people how to have to deal with health to do with raising kids, small business organizations. She was a powerhouse man and my mother absolutely loved her. So I grew up knowing about it just because my mom was always saying, oh, boy, you need to listen to Fannie Lou. What Fannie Lou Hamer is the final word on everything she said.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Sort of.
So as a tribute to Fannie Lou and your mother.
Well, you know, I mean, Fannie Lou, my moments of the Fannie Lou, if anything, because Mr. Game said he would give you a freedom fighter. So I had to pick somebody that people didn't remember because he's going to make the point, this freedom fighter, and he puts them all, Harriet Tubman. He said all people did stuff you don't even remember. So yes.
And he said, yeah, I had to do I had to do a lot of homework myself. Oh, yeah. Yeah. You know, if it weren't for my mom, I wouldn't know that she was now.
And when you OK, I guess is a bigger question in terms of the impact or, you know, how these ideas I mean, these are ideas that you have all the all the ideas you have about music is here, all the ideas you have about about power in the world.
It is in this is in this piece you have about religion, about technology, about freedom.
And then underneath it is all your music and the people you got singing and doing all the other things.
So because for me, I listen to something like this, it's like everybody should hear this. Everybody should understand what this is talking about. But you're still up against the fragmentation of the media landscape against, you know, like what is it jazz?
Is it where does it fit in?
So how do you kind of crossette how how do you accommodate that idea that you put all this working with these these great ideas that they're put in a way that people can understand and it doesn't get out there as much as you want it to?
Well, everything is a continual. Mm. You know, you just part of a long progression and a process. Yeah. And I'm happy to be a part of it. Like I mentioned, our artists that we all work on music.
And we are serious and need the pandemic has made us want to use our organization is serious. When we when we recorded it, our carpenters, our stage crew built the stage for us. You should have sold it. They built our studio. Yeah. I mean, you can't make people want to be a part of something. The music is great and we've been a part of it. And I'm happy to be a part of the music. And you can't you can't determine where, when, when people will be in music or whether they will like it.
Or all you can do is make it be as good as you can possibly make it.
And, you know, I'm dedicated to it has been a blessing for me. My father was dedicated and all the great musicians in of my band are dedicated. So you hear the way they play the music on the record. We recorded that in nine hours. We did a session in a day and three hours. I was thinking, man is 50. Something is going to take us a long time to record that the was like, no, it's not.
We coming in here to play man take care business. And that's, that's how they've been for that for the last 20 years. You know, all these years that for me has been a blessing.
Doing the Lincoln Center then has been so much of a blessing meeting people, not just an orchestra board members, people. I don't nobody in this kind of stuff, man. I'm a guy from Little Farms, Louisiana. And to look around to see all the people who participated and what they've given to it. Yes, it's moving my singers when they finish all of us, it's because they're like the age of the oldest of us. They're like the age of our daughters would be that age.
Yeah, man. We were getting for thinking about the amount of work they put in, how great they sound. They did an unbelievable job because a lot of airports are really hard. It doesn't sound well.
I mean, I think that speaks to also, you know, what the power of it is about getting back to, you know, realizing when you were a kid that your father, what drove people was a belief in the music and then the understanding of what it's like to be in the community of musicians or to be engaged in a piece of music with other people where the where where the dialogue is happening.
Right? That's right. And that's why I believe in democracy. It seems stupid to see it now. People think, oh, man, you know, you I never have been like a handkerchief here. And it caused a lot of problems with critics. I never was like a person. You just go along whatever white folks that you need to go along with as never my vote, even when it was was behind the scenes at stake. So now I'm too old to be in that mold is not a kind of mindless optimism.
This is a system that requires participation. And if we allow. Ourselves to be duped. And we don't realize the possibility, especially for those in lower economic classes, which is which is firmly where I come from. Though I'm not there now, I firmly come from there. I understand the importance of participation because I'm a jazz musician. If I stand up on the bench and play all the solos, music is not going to play that way if I'm dictating every moment.
The music is not going to sound good when you open the music.
When our band started, everybody arranging, we play to one percent because we're playing each other's music. We start to have ownership of everything. Then you develop trust. You're not the only one who can do something. A lot of people can do things. That's one of my father's sayings. A man is a lot of talented people homeless. He talked to a homeless person a long time that we should talk with this dude about that. This cat used to be an architect.
He come back to tell you the whole story. He's a man.
It's a lot of talent all over the world. Don't be fooled. And I think what we learned in our artist, in our group was when you open up the floor, if you have a much better time, you don't want this. Doesn't yourself play all night?
I always noticed that the last time I went because the guy. Greg, great show. Yes. Yeah, yeah. He's great.
You know, he hooked me up when I go to the city, you know, because I would just go the last time when it was Marcus who is the bass player from Electric Miles, Marcus Miller.
Marcus Miller has a good do, too. Man called. Oh, yeah, I saw him do. Oh yeah, he did.
A night of it was just like some pieces from from that period of miles. Right. From electric miles. But like in any jazz I got when I watch the old footage in terms of the democracy thing, there's something amazing about when one guy's soul and and then there's a couple other guys just standing around you going to see you wouldn't be listen, you'd better be listening to what they are playing.
You've got to continue with them. Will play. That's that's what they're doing. Yeah. You better listen, man, because the music has got to be continuous, so you got to really follow them.
So when what were some of like just looking back real quick in terms of because I know you recorded with Dizzy Gillespie, you did you did a record with Dizzy Dizzy yet.
And you've worked with a lot of guys that you grew up listening to.
Yeah, it is. Is that is that about the biggest thrill in some ways yet to get to know them because they've so soulful.
Yeah. Even the ones that didn't like like Betty Carter never really liked me, but she had so much integrity. Man, I love to talk country to foreign Germany one night and she was singing so good. And she has so much belief in the music she taught young musicians. I think she wrote arrangements for me and I got into one night I finally got tired of being cast out and she looked at me. She said, if some of that passion will come to your hand, we might actually hear your song.
And I love the way that they were.
You know, I love Sarah Vaughan. I was playing with her and I learned this one obscure Duke Ellington song tonight. I just put with a smile on my face, but I didn't really know all the chords, so I messed up the bridge. How many people in the world knew that song? You know, this woman sat down to the piano and played the hell out of the entire song because I didn't know at the time. She played second down with Billy Eckstine and truly could play when she finished playing all these flourishes that she looked at me and said, You have to learn these songs thoroughly.
Do you take that bridge together you need? Here's the progressive. She showed me the progression before she's making faces and she said, you got to keep what? So I just started laughing as if I was twenty one at that time. And so, you know, John Lewis, I tell you another story, but I was complaining to John Lewis, great piano player, the music director of Modern Jazz Quartet, about some critique. I was mad about this.
All of us into be patient. After a while, he looked at me, he said, you know, he said he said too much. Complaining even about an insult given to someone is really a form of a veiled form of egotism. Can we rehearse this music?
You know, they were always full of stuff, you know, and great.
We said, isn't that so many stories of being around him so much?
Did you have a relationship with Miles at all? I did, but it was very rocky because when when I came up, Miles, you know, you stop playing electronic music, I was like, man, I'm playing jazz. When I first met Miles, I had a darbee on in a polyester suit that he looked at me, could tell I was country. So he said, so beautiful, Lisa. So I went to her. I said, what does he tell the police?
He said, Bennie, me you to come to clean this shit up. So we still left that. You understand what you saying? Then he starts saying jazz wasn't nothing, but I was just I that so I started to bite back and then then I jumped on his best and that made him really mad. And it took him one night in Vancouver. I was sitting in the thing with my band and it was like, man, I heard on the radio saying, you wanted to Daddy, what is it?
You got to deal with this. So we I've made a bet with that massive man. I'm a big jump on him tonight. And I went out there and jumped on the band off. He was really mad. A so after that me and him had.
Real, you know, he didn't like that he to be the only one picking on you like to be picked back on. But I still learned a lot from him before that he is three or four things he told me that I thought were really insightful. And you could see why he was the genius that he was. He just had another type of intelligence. I mean, one question. He asked me what was interesting. He said, how did you figure this out?
And I knew what he was talking about because what my plan, because I could play it like a gauntlet of misinformation that you have to see your way through to figure out what plan is and is more about just acuity. And he actually understood that it's hard for older person to understand what a younger person has to face in their generation.
Hmm. Very difficult. Now, I know that I'm much older. It's very hard for me to look at a 20 year old person and understand what all the obstacles in their way. Right. Where's he could he was thinking about that and could see.
And what else did you learn from him? About some.
I asked him something about sound and he said, you know, nobody can teach you nothing about sound. The sound is so deep within within what you're playing. If you want to develop your sound, you don't get a progression like you do. If you work on all scales, you've got to go deep inside and stay in there for a long time and then it starts to evolve. And he said, Dizzy, you told him to hold on the notes and he told me when you sold one hold on the notes, he said, and then you have to be comfortable when you risk to hear your sound.
So if you play, you don't have risk. Then he told me, as long as you play with people as playing loud, you're not going to develop yourself and be left because they were playing loud on his bands, the electronic hip. Then I understood what you were saying and things like that. We were smart conceptually to about other musicians. He talked about Fats Navarro, but this disease playing who Duke Ellington was, he had a lot of information and he seemed to be able, as time went on, to really surrender stage to other musicians.
He didn't seem to be that egotistical on stage, but then he wasn't placed chops.
He wasn't that much. Yeah, I mean, by that point. But he was always like that. And I lot of great musicians. He loved train. He loved he had the greatest bands. He is very smart. So in addition to like his ability, he also understood a lot about the fundamentals of music. He understood who Louis Armstrong was. He knew how to break his ensemble up and he knew how to give musicians face. And he inspired them to play because he believes in the music.
Yeah, because I talked to I met Herbie Hancock briefly at a thing I I hosted a conversation with him around that Blue Note movie.
And, you know, it just seems like, you know, Miles had a profound effect on how he conceived of how to play.
And I and I had to, like, sort of start to get into Herbie. And, you know, it's sort of astounding. That guy's astounding musician.
Yeah, he is. And he was playing with Miles Young. He was twenty three. Playing with Miles. Yeah. Tony Williams was was seventeen. Yeah. When you hear him play the kind of clarity play with now I had the opportunity to play with Herbie Won and Tony when I was 19, I went on a roll with Herbie Hancock Quartet and man I had no idea what they were playing.
And the first time we played a song called The Sorceror, I never even heard chord structures like the two years from New Orleans playing a funk band man. They start playing. And one caller told me before the first gig we played in the Playboy and in the Hollywood Bowl. Yeah, I was ready to get back on stage with them. And I was thinking, man. We only at one rehearsal. I have no idea what in the world I'm doing up here with these musicians around tapped me on my leg.
He say, listen, man, if if you get lost, just listen to me. I'm a bee. I'm a bee.
You and don't worry about shit out there. And I can't tell you how that made me feel. You have no idea that nervousness is one thing to be nervous. You're going to mess up a part is another thing we have to improvise or something. You have no idea what to a place.
But that was that was a deep moment for me just to kind of love.
He showed me in that moment and you knew what he was saying and he did it. Oh, man.
Definitely. He looked at me like I was his son or something standing up. There's no question. No question about it.
That's just. And everybody was nice to you, right? Yeah. No, it was nice. Yeah. Yeah. I go herbes like go. He's nice to everybody. Buddhist's you know I was always complaining about the money I was making to her. Yeah.
I'm nineteen men. I'm not really playing that much on my own but I'm complaining man. I'm getting paid so and so and so her before we go out on a gig here because hey man look out into the audience. And he said you see those people. He said if you don't walk out on the stage. Nobody is going to leave, I don't walk out. Everybody is going to. That's why you take what you're being paid.
Let's go out, man. Let's go. So, you know, the jazz musicians, they like that band.
It just is matter of the fact. Right?
And it's been and you've been around them your whole life. Yeah, I grew up with a lot of musicians. I knew what I was in New York like Art Blakey, Dizzy. I met all of them for my place. Dizzy, my dad gave Dave said, hey, this is my son Whitney, now 15. And this gave me his trumpet. You said you play the trumpet, you get in his mouth, really shout it from my mouthpiece to play something.
Yeah. When I play solitaire. So he looked at me. He was trying to figure out what to say. He said, you know, practice, motherfucker.
So we start laughing.
And how long you been how long has been jazz at Lincoln Center?
How long's it been since nineteen eighty seven. Yeah. And that's home. Right. That's the point. Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
We, we sulphurous our staff board. Everybody's real me. They showed me so much in this, in this fandom because it's such a hard time for us and we never, we can't, we don't have any revenue coming in. My people are still dedicated, they still work with putting all kind of stuff up online, getting recordings out of the positions that we're putting on summer camps. We got staff members calling, calling and people everything is moving, actually.
Think about what they're doing in this time. And, you know, we still have a long way to go. Yeah, yeah.
Well, I mean, it's a struggle on all levels. And I think that this new record was like it just great. Like, it really blew my mind. And it's definitely a speaking of struggle. It is an assessment of the of the reality of the situation that is pretty, pretty dire and pretty focused and even funny in a way.
But but dark and beautiful man is great is a great, great record.
Man. Thank you so much, man. Thank you for talking to me. Yeah, man, it's great to great to see you too, man. I'm glad we got to see that. Yeah, me too.
When we get through this plague, I'll come by the place and watch you play. Yeah, come to rehearsal. Yeah. Thanks man. Take it easy when.
Love. Respect. I enjoyed that I learned things, I was a little nervous, I tried not to pretend like I knew things I didn't. The new record, Ever Funky Low-down is available that you can get at store dot jazz, dawg. And don't forget, with simply safe home security, you can protect your whole home around the clock. It's serious, lasting protection and all it takes is a simple 30 minute setup. You even get a free security camera when you protect your home today.
This is simply safe dotcom crash, WTF and get a free security camera. Plus a 60 day risk free trial. With any new system ordered, there's nothing to lose. People simply safe dotcom. So we're not going to try to do a folk hybrid electric blues riff that I got the rhythm of kind of. There you go. That's a strong recommendation. It's almost good. Listen up. Boomer monkey with a fond. Live in the hearts of us all.