Blowin' the Blues Away: Performance and Meaning on the New York Jazz Scene

By Travis A. Jackson | Go to book overview

Appendix: Excerpt from an
Interview with Steve Wilson

2. March 1995

Wilson: I guess just, um, as a, as a listener, what do you, when you go to hear music, when you go to hear a jazz performance, what are you … do you bring anything to the performance? Do you …What, what do you bring to the performance?

Jackson: What I bring in is, um—I was talking to Bruce [Barth] about this before, um—like when I was, when I was in school, when I was coming up, you know, I was listening to a lot of funk and a lot of soul, um, a lot British rock music, um, at least in the early part of the ‘80s ‘cause, you know, I was born like, I was born in 1969. And so, I had all those things, and I was playing in bands and stuff like that, playing guitar. Um, and I didn’t start listening to jazz until I was about fifteen or sixteen. My grandfather brought me Charlie Parker, Charlie Christian, Thelonious Monk, you know. So I started getting into those things then. And, like all throughout college, you know, I was trying to learn how to play and do all this other stuff, so I bring to it basically, like, um, you know, having a bunch of favorite records, a lot of favorite performers, um, you know, like all those ‘50s Miles Davis recordings, ‘60s Miles Davis recordings, John Coltrane, um, um, and then, you know, Horace Silver, Art Blakey, um, a lot of listening to Duke Ellington and Count Basie. And so basically knowing the history of the music and knowing a lot of performers and also knowing people who are active now.

So when I come to a performance, I’m listening to … First I’m listening for like the heads for the compositions. If it’s material I don’t know, originals, you know, just listening for the way the compositions are put together, you know. So like when I saw Stephen Scott the other night, he was playing some really heavy compositions, you know. And I dug the fact that he had all these compositions with like all these metric changes, tempo changes, you know, and this other stuff

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