8 months ago

BassPlayer 2017-05

BassPlayer 2017-05


F SCOTT COLLEY My second year at Cal Arts, Carmen held auditions—which was odd, because auditions usually don’t happen in the jazz world. One thing I got right when I auditioned was that I had studied how she accompanied herself on piano when she sang. At one point in the audition, she had the rest of the band lay out for a bass-and-voice duet. She had an incredible sense of time, and she could phrase way ahead or way behind the beat with her voice. I knew I should keep the center of the beat very strong, because she would stretch the time. After I moved to New York around 1990, I was still able to tour some with Carmen. You played many years with Jim Hall, a guitar player of enormous depth and musical maturity. What were your experiences with this jazz master? I can’t express how important Jim’s influence has been on my music. I’m fortunate to have been able to play with him off and on for almost 22 years. What I enjoyed most about playing with Jim was his empathy and generosity of spirit. He taught me to stay silent when silence is the most powerful thing to do, and not be afraid of silence. Then, when you put something inside the space, it has much deeper meaning. How did your work with Jim Hall differ from some of the other bands you’ve worked with? Playing with Jim was always a surprise. No matter how many times I would explore a particular song with him, he could always come up with some direction that would be different. He could play very softly at times, and I was conscious that the range of dynamics was not reduced, it was lowered. This taught me that creating drama in music does not come from volume, but from contrast between soft and loud, sparse and dense, long and short. Andrew Hill was a pianist, composer, and bandleader who made an indelible imprint on the Blue Note modern mainstream sound from the ’60s onward. What was it like playing in Hill’s Point Of Departure band in the ’90s? As a composer and arranger, Andrew was a unique voice in music—the most inventive musician I’ve ever played with. He would always try to break whatever formula he thought you were setting up. He would make sure you’re in the moment and responding to what’s happening right now, rather than having something polished or sounding rehearsed. One time, we did a duo recording live at Caramore—we had never played in duo before. As they were announcing us, I asked him what we were going to play, and he said the “Tough Love Suite.” I had never heard of the “Tough Love Suite,” but we went out and he just started playing … and it became an album. Another time we started a set, and he told the rest of the band that just the piano and bass would start. He started playing solo and played a long opening tune—just solo piano, and I was trying to figure out the form and the changes. When I played my first note, he smiled this beautiful smile, got up and walked off the bandstand over to a table and sat down with his wife. This was the first tune of the night, packed house, and we’re a sextet—but I’m the only one onstage playing a piece I had never heard before. I learned to jump into the unknown, not only in the obvious ways, but with curiosity and a sense that something is going to happen that’s very different, unique to this moment. You also worked with Herbie Hancock, another jazz legend from the South Side 40 / may2017

of Chicago, like Hill. What is it like to play with Herbie? With Herbie’s groups, we would have certain songs in mind, but very often we would not have any fixed sense of what was going to happen. The trio playing was very open. There was a version of “Dolphin Dance” where he opened up each section of the i INFO song for other events to happen. The key was that one of us would eventually give a cue to move on, and each section was a deconstruction of the piece. Sometimes “Dolphin Dance” would be ten minutes long; sometimes it would be the entire concert— it would take us two hours and 45 minutes just to play the one tune! What did you learn about music from the piano masters Hancock and Hill? Andrew and Herbie are two people who don’t think about music like most mortals do. It’s all about learning to listen and respond. How I respond on one day is different from how I would respond on another day. The key thing is to stay in the moment and be present, so that I hear everything that’s going on. BP See music sidebar, page 42 LISTEN EQUIP CONNECT Scott Colley, 7 [2017, Artist Share], Empire [2010, Cam Jazz], Architect of the Silent Moment [2006, Cam Jazz]; John Scofield, A Moment's Peace [2011, Emarcy]; Chris Potter, Imaginary Cities [2015, ECM]; Pat Metheny & Gary Burton, Hommage to Eberhard Weber [2015, ECM]; Julian Lage Trio with Kenny Wollesen, Arclight [2016, Mack Avenue] Bass 1950s Andreas Morelli Amps Wayne Jones preamps and speakers Strings D’Addario Orchestra Medium Microphone Schoeps CMC6 (with supercardioid capsule) Pickup David Gage Realist Become an integral part of Scott Colley’s latest album release, 7, through your participation on ArtistShare. Join in Scott Colley’s ongoing project with Benjamin Koppel and Brian Blade on ArtistShare. Check out Steel House, Scott Colley’s collective trio with Ed Simon and Brian Blade. THE LOGICAL EVOLUTION OF BASS TECHNOLOGY WILLCOX SABER VL5 | TRANSPARENT NATURAL High quality woods and components, acoustically advanced design and boutique craftsmanship, combined with industry exclusive LIGHTWAVE OPTICAL PICKUPS, creates an instrument like nothing you’ve ever played before. Powerful and concise low end. Clear, sustaining highs. A vocal and detailed midrange... the true voice of the instrument at your fingertips. Come and HEAR THE LIGHT for yourself. Learn more at / may2017 41

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