For well over 50 years, Bob Cranshaw’s blend of groove and swing have been part of the public consciousness. He’s recorded alongside such master musicians such as Sonny Rollins, Lee Morgan, Wes Montgomery, Stanley Turrentine, Bobby Hutcherson and Grant Green, and he’s been the house bassist for Sesame Street for over 40 years. In this interview, Mr. Cranshaw reflects on his career and his main idea/motivation for playing — to make an audience (and his fellow band mates) feel the groove. In addition to having been in the Sonny Rollins’ touring ensemble since 1959, Mr. Cranshaw is a frequent sit-in guest at Smoke Jazz Club‘s (NYC) Tuesday evening performances with Mike LeDonne’s Groover Quartet.
Pianist and composer Matthew Shipp is an original voice on the modern improvisational music scene. Having been in the ensembles of noted improvisers such as Roscoe Mitchell, William Parker and David S. Ware, Shipp has enhanced his musical legacy primarily through assembling a string of his own intense and diverse musical ensembles. Recent recordings, “One”, “Un Piano,” 4D,” “Piano Sutras,” “Root of Things,” and, “To Duke,” are direct examples of Shipp’s tireless dedication to the art of improvising. It’s honest and direct music that commands attention. Shipp speaks about his origins, many of his lasting musical associations and the need for continually presenting diverse programming at festivals and concert series.
Jazzwatch is happy to present our extended conversation with drummer Damion Reid. His unique blend of traditional and contemporary elements of rhythm has been well-represented on recordings and in live performances around the world with an amazing cast of artists such as Robert Hurst, Steve Coleman, Rudresh Mahanthapa, Greg Osby and Robert Glasper. In this conversation, Reid shares wisdom from the late drum master Billy Higgins – an early mentor and advocate. He also reflects and provides insight on his role in the recently re-formed Robert Glasper Trio – a sound that continues to engage and inspire the current generation of musicians and listeners. As amazing as Reid is at recording, he is certainly one to experience live. Keep informed on his latest happenings and upcoming performances at www.damionreid.com.
NEA Jazz Master Lou Donaldson remains one of the foremost practitioners of swinging, feel-good groove music. He cut his teeth playing for original bebop jazz audiences as a sideman and bandleader appearing on the now classic, “A Night At Birdland” recording from 1954. For the next 20 plus years, Poppa Lou set out on his own to develop a touring route that would reach urban jazz audiences from New York to California. The crowd that he cultivated were major supporters and pushed records like “Blues Walk” and “Alligator Boogaloo” to radio and jukebox hits and best sellers. Several of his groovy tunes from the later 60’s and early 70’s saw new life as samples in Hip Hop productions by artists such as De La Soul, The Pharcyde, Mad Lib, Pete Rock and many more. Lou gave us some great wisdom in this conversation. Enjoy!
Mocean Worker combines his knowledge of real instruments with cutting edge technology to produce music that is catchy, groovy and points the way to the masters and legends that came before. He’s a bassist, he’s a producer, and as the son of producer Joel Dorn, he had first hand encounters with music legends such as Marcus Miller, Miles Davis, Les McCann, Eddie Harris, Luther Vandross and Art Neville.
Terreon Gully is one of the premiere drummers of our time. His comprehensive approach to music has mad him the drummer of choice for Dianne Reeves, Christian McBride, David Sanborn, Joe Locke and Stefon Harris. Drawing his influences equally from gospel, R&B, straight ahead jazz and Hip-Hop has given him a unique sound that influences today’s percussionists across genre.