Interviews

HEART TO HEART... THE LINDSEY WEBSTER INTERVIEW

Thursday, 03 November 2016 20:33 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altOne of last year's best, proper soul albums was LINDSEY WEBSTER'S album, 'You Change'. The set was Ms Webster's sophomore long player and it won acclaim right across the soul spectrum for its stately, smooth, sophisticated take on modern soul. Lindsey has just released her third album.... another acclaimed set of tunes, 'Back To Your Heart' but despite the success of 'You Change', not too many people know too much about Lindsey Webster, so to rectify that we tracked down the lady. Of course we wanted to know all about the latest album but to get started we asked Lindsey to fill in the key biographical details......

I grew up in Woodstock, NY, and for those who are not familiar; it is a very artistic and musical town. Many of the most famous musicians we know today sought out Woodstock as a creative place to be. So, I consider myself very lucky to have grown up in such a forward thinking town with progressive parents (aka hippies). My parents had a vast collection of records. They were really into stuff like Todd Rundgren, George Harrison, Elvis Costello and a lot of other classic rock. When I stared buying my own albums, though, it was Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston and singers of that nature. I really enjoyed hearing the acrobatics of their voices and melodies. The passion and soul that they emanated took me over.

You attended LaGuardia School for the Music, Art & Performing Arts, I believe, tell us about that...

Well, as a high school student, I unfortunately didn't make a lot of time for classes if they didn't involve music. So, whenever I made it there, it was just for orchestra (I was playing Cello and wasn't singing as much at that point). My second semester there, though, I did take a voice class. About half way through that semester, we ended up moving back upstate, so although it was short lived, I had such a great time experiencing NYC and the hustle and bustle of it all. I actually still have friends who I met there, too.

Last Updated on Friday, 04 November 2016 15:06

 

A Little Night Music - MICHAEL WOLLNY talks to SJF ahead of his London Jazz Festival appearance

Thursday, 03 November 2016 08:06 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

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With his long,  tousled hair and boyish demeanour, German pianist MICHAEL WOLLNY - who bears an uncanny resemblance to a young Andre Previn, perhaps (for those that can still remember the veteran German-American maestro) - looks remarkably younger than his years. He'll celebrate his thirty-ninth birthday next year but he still has the appearance of a teenager. But as we know, appearances can be deceptive and the music that Michael Wollny makes with his trio evinces a maturity that denotes  a master rather than an apprentice at work.

Like Previn, the Schweinfurt-born pianist took the classical route to jazz, which he discovered and was inspired by in his teens after hearing Keith Jarrett's 'The Koln Concert' album. He made his recording debut in 2005 when he joined producer Siggi Loch's German ACT label and since then hasn't looked back, releasing several acclaimed albums. Though he's recorded and performed in varied musical configurations during the last decade - for instance, his latest recording venture is a duo album called 'Tandem' with French accordionist, Vincent Peirani - his forte is playing within the piano trio format. Wollny's drummer, Eric Schaefer, has been with the pianist since the very beginning but his bassist, Christian Weber, is the newest member and the replacement for original trio member, Eva Krause, as well as the more recent stand-in, Tim Lefebvre.

The trio have rightly reaped a plethora of accolades and plaudits from the critics for their last two studio albums, 2014's 'Weltentraum' and last year's 'Nachtfahrten,' which staked Wollny's claim as one of the most exciting and imaginative young pianist and composers in jazz at the moment. Wollny, who's not averse to inserting a couple of rock and pop covers alongside original material in his set, performed at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival in 2015 and now returns to the UK with his trio to play at a venue called King's Place on Saturday 12th November as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival.

Prior to his visit to London, the pianist - who speaks impeccable English by the way - spoke to SJF's Charles Waring about his impending UK visit as well as his latest project, 'Tandem'...

Last Updated on Monday, 07 November 2016 20:36

 

Call Me 'Mr ECLECTIC' - versatile pianist/composer RANDY KLEIN talks to SJF.

Wednesday, 02 November 2016 10:38 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

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RANDY KLEIN is a jazz pianist and movie composer whose name should also be a familiar one to soul music fans that avidly peruse album credits - he co-wrote 'Looking For Love' for Candi Staton (which was a 1980 hit single for the southern soul siren on Warner Bros) as well as songs for Millie Jackson (including 'This Is Where I Came In,' 'Not On Your Life,' 'Go Out And Get Some (Get It Outcha System)') and ex-Labelle member, Sarah Dash ('After Love' on the singer's 1988 album, 'You're All I Need'). He also co-wrote and co-produced the 1983 electro dance hit, 'Watch The Closing Doors,' by I.R.T. on RCA Records. Since then, Klein has gone on to become a noted composer in the field of music theatre and documentary film scores. He is also the president of Jazzheads, an independent record label devoted to improvised music.

Here, he talks to SJF's John Wisniewski about is life and music...

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 November 2016 16:06

 

Droppin' Science - Saxophonist and MC Soweto Kinch talks maths and music...

Saturday, 22 October 2016 08:36 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

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"Really, this album is about unity in the face of division," says double MOBO-winning saxophonist, MC, DJ and radio presenter, SOWETO KINCH, explaining the concept behind his latest long player, 'Nonagram.' It's the Birmingham-based jazz man's fifth album and the follow-up to 2012's  epic double CD, 'The Legend Of Mike Smith,' which, incidentally, is soon to be revived as a travelling stage show. But 'Nonagram' finds this former Oxford scholar (he studied Modern History) exploring the relationship between geometry and sound.

"Essentially, it's about the connection between numbers, music and healing," states Kinch, "and the fact that you can't see music or numbers but you get the sense that they're there. There are sonic and fundamental laws that govern how we feel: that make us on edge or at harmony or peace. That was something that I was keen to explore on this album. Also, in this age of division and polarisation based on race, class and gender, there are some really fundamental, universal truths that I think that numbers and sounds hold for us."

While the main thrust of 'Nonagram's' conceit sounds a tad abstruse, perhaps, to the layman - especially those not conversant with geometry and mathematics - you don't have to be cognizant of the theorizing behind the music to truly appreciate what Kinch is doing. Just in terms of its listening appeal, Kinch has produced a very direct, down-to-earth collection of songs where post-bop jazz improv of the highest order and socio-political, 'conscious' hip-hop intersect in an accessible yet meaningful way.

In a revealing interview with Charles Waring's SJF, the 38-year-old Mercury Music Prize-nominated musician and radio presenter of BBC Radio 3's Jazz Now programme talks in depth about 'Nonagram' and other aspects of his career...

Last Updated on Saturday, 22 October 2016 08:53

 

SAXSTAR - DONNY McCASLIN talks about his new album, 'Beyond Now,' and his experiences of working with the late David Bowie...

Thursday, 13 October 2016 12:59 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

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As DONNY McCASLIN will no doubt attest, once you've played with David Bowie, your life is never going to be quite the same again. Just twelve months ago the 50-year-old Californian saxophonist and woodwind maestro (who already had eleven albums to his name) was known only to a relatively small but dedicated band of serious jazz heads but that situation changed irrevocably in early 2016 with the release of the late David Bowie's critically-acclaimed 'Blackstar,' which McCaslin featured heavily on. Consequently, the Santa Cruz horn blower found himself in the unremitting glare of the mainstream media spotlight. Of course, they were more interested in his association with the recently-departed 'Thin White Duke' but as a trade-off for their attention,  the modest and unassuming McCaslin has benefitted in that his own solo career and artistic endeavours have received a welcome jolt. As a result, he has a much larger audience eager to follow his next move. Frankly, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Or a more talented one.

Accomplished multi-reed man Donny McCaslin has been making albums since 1998 but it was in 2010, when he released 'Perpetual Motion' on trumpeter Dave Douglass's Greenleaf label that he began experimenting by fusing jazz improv with electronica and creating a new style for himself. It was the beginning of a sonic journey that would eventually lead him to join forces with David Bowie in 2015.

Given 'Blackstar's' phenomenal success, expectations for McCaslin's new long player, 'Beyond Now,' are understandably high, especially as it features the same rhythm section from the Bowie record.  SJF's Charles Waring recently caught up with the American saxophonist while he was on tour as a sideman for pianist Florian Weber in Germany. He talked in depth about his new album, 'Beyond Now,' and also shed light on his work with the man who gave the world Ziggy Stardust...

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 October 2016 13:26

 

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