How the special men started; moving to Alabama; Jesse Mae Hemphill; difference in solo expression from group; fat possum; original material; John Rodley; Tuba Fats; Palmetto Bug Stompers; music development; the Rainbow Fanny Pack; Bruce Brackman; Robert Snow; choosing BJ's; quitting the piano; trance music; starting a new Mardi Gras Krewe; doom; meditation metal; heading to Lincoln Center; thoughts on change; Tim Green; moving forward with The Special Men; deal with Domino Records; recording at The Parlor; gig merchandising; is the hard copy worth anything?
Tim is an interesting figure in the New Orleans music vista. He plays Bourbon St. He is a survivor of that commercial zone and knows how to do it (or has the personality for it) in a way that doesn't limit him and has driven him plain crazy. Many have been driven in such a direction.
Many people ask questions about validities and viabilities involved in music on Bourbon St. Tim, from first hand experience over lot of years, engages these questions:-
What is Bourbon St.? How does that music zone operate differently and similarly to other parts of town? What are it's musical features and modes of development? Is there anything really good out there?
There is much more, however, to Tim and to this interview. Tim is an avid experimental/modern/"classical" composer and has moved himself through in-depth, mentored, study in that direction too. For those who may wonder what the relevance of Bourbon St. and "classical" music is to New Orleans music and whether he can really talk about it, there is more. He also plays guitar with Neslort (if you don't know then be sure to go), Amanda Shaw, and two very interesting comico-satirical-serious groups that started quite a while ago and feature a very biting and immediate viewpoint voiced by Robertson: Dirty Mouth and Hot Karl.
Enjoy the interview- there is a lot given.
The interview was conducted, 5/1/12, at the orange couch in New Orleans.
Part 1- Tim Green; Bourbon St. audiences; real bands as opposed to collections of players; how much playing time does he spend on Bourbon St?; how's the money?; how the material is selected and arranged; Tim's most important features of a good drummer; Tim's background and why he's in New Orleans; Mark Diflorio; John Bagnato; a cerebral player; at Duke University and dropping sports for music; fascination with music theory; Haydn scores, symmetry and structure; revisiting music from childhood.
Dan Oestreicher first hit the radar for this writer when he presented himself at a Naked Orchestra show at the Mermaid lounge and made clear that he should be playing with the group. He did that for the rest of that evening and for a long time afterward.
He played with many of the most forward thinking New Orleans musicians and frequently he is there right when they are looking the most forward. This includes the The Other Planets, The Magnetic Ear, 3 now 4, James Singleton, Irvin Mayfield's New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Roger Lewis's Baritone quintet (where Dan is playing Bass sax instead of his more heard, Bari sax,) The Naked Orchestra, The Jonathan Freilich group, his own group- The Diesel Combustion Orchestra, and more. He is seen playing some tuba and really tends to go very deep when he is exploring anything, but especially music. He also knows a good deal about saxophone lore and trade as well as the other end of the spectrum, analog synthesis.
As he is in Trombone Shorty's band, touring constantly, he is in a unique position to discuss the current meanings and associations in the idea of New Orleans music (if there is really such a thing at all) and improvisation. His perspectives are well informed and if nothing at all show a blazing mind for inquiry and a fearless and healthy statement of opinion. He could go anywhere from here. If you were into horse racing you might see him listed in the racing form as one to watch.
...Look to the end for heated debate.
Part 1- What Dan is up to now; the Roger Lewis baritone sax quartet+ bass sax; Roger, Tony, tim green, calvin johnson, shannon powell; jazzfest as a showcase for acts that aren’t playing around very much; “the guardians of the vault”; playing with Trombone Shorty and the perception of New Orleans in the world; ponderings about why Trombone Shorty is the current poster child for New Orleans music; the limitations of the idea of New Orleans music; bandleader, Trombone Shorty; Dan’s other musical lives in the past; New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and peoples’ perception of that in relation to the New Orleans music categorization; more on the liberations and restraints of being identified as a New Orleans musician; jazz in academia; musical priorities; the position of precise execution in the New Orleans instrument player’s aesthetic; brass bands and depth of rehearsal- Hot 8 Brass Band; Soul Rebels Brass Band.
I first met Dave Capello through Bill Milkowski. I remember Bill shouting out somewhere on Frenchmen St in the early 90's that I really needed to play with Dave. I'm glad that happened. I loved playing with Dave from minute one. It just made sense to me. He didn't waste time, behind the drums, trying to prove anything so you could more quickly move toward the possibilities of developing something organic. Before he came to New Orleans, he had been the drummer for the Bern Nix Trio. I was fascinated with that too because I was (and still am) under the spell of Prime Time (Ornette Coleman's electric band.) I was fascinated to try to talk about that in those days but Dave was really more intrigued with the New Orleans scene around him.
The earlier interview on this blog with saxophonist, Tim Green gives a rare look at the background behind the ideas and experiences that make up some of the forces in Tim's playing. Here is another very rare piece and, like the interview with Tim, much can be learned about Dave's music and the worlds it comes out of without being familiar with his work.
Some of the best work I've heard him on lately is trombonist Jeff Albert's records. Check those out at Jeff's site.
In this conversation, Capello brings up a whole lot of his experiences from radical cultural scenes in New York and Kansas City. Some have been scantily documented and Dave sheds some light on that, particularly the goings on in New York's lower East Side around free, conscious, creative music.
Part 1- Bill Milkowski; the Kansas City jazz scene when Dave was growing up there; the influence of his Father and his jazz records; Bird at St. Nick's; Roy Haynes; how he came to the drums and his first teachers; learning timpani; "bar-b-q jazz"; wrestling with technique; getting into writing early on and the decision to not specialize; writing poetry and analysis and history; interest in drama; leaving Kansas City and why; going to Northwestern;
Part 3- what music was being played in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in the late 70's; picking up first work in New Orleans; pressure to take up tenor and playing with Irma Thomas; when his career direction started to emerge; Gulfstream, The Stick Band and work in other little groups; Kalaamu Ya Salaam suggests Tim to Ellis Marsalis; comparisons between past and present audiences and the acceptance of original music; car and piano restoration, the value of self-reliance.
Part 2- Musicians' awareness of the importance of heir own work; when the decision to come to New Orleans was made; the pain associated with learning an instrument and the desire and drive to get past that; beginnings in playing music with others; desire for formal studies and starting at Berklee, 1978; problems with Berklee; meeting the 'passport' to New Orleans; serendipitous winning of trophy at the St. Patrick's Day parade in the French Quarter; deep lessons for a negligent saxophone teacher.
Tim Green is one of the most interesting saxophonists that you can hear in New Orleans. Occasinally he travels but most of his career has been within the city. Over the years he has played with many of the greats that people associate most with the city- Walter "Wolfman" Washington, Irma Thomas, Cyrille Neville, Mem Shannon and many legendary others.
His affection goes out most to original, creative, music projects. He is interested in so much music and has brought himself to a place where he can insert very creative ideas in almost any context without breaing the balance or excitement. He was a large figure in many explorational bands from, Gulfstream and the Stick Band in the 80's, to Michael Ray, Naked On The Floor, and James Singleton, Dennis Gonzalez, and others like Fred Wesley in the 90's.
Tim has a very deep linguistic or conversationalist playing style that really has its best place on stages for live audiences. Where the musical "moment" happens is where he strives to be and his best work is there. For that reason, you won't find records under his name. His genius and where it resides really emerge in this relaxed, and probably pretty rare, interview.
Part 1- Tim's start in music; intense musical awareness starting at age 4; growing up in Connecticut; starting an "underground" radio station; meeting many greats; start on soprano saxophone; hearing and meeting established greats in new York and Boston-McCoy Tyner, Mingus, George Adams, Stan Getz, Blue Oyster Cult, Earth, Wind and Fire, Tower of Power; early interest in 'Ethnic' music and friendships with musicians in other communities around Bridgport; meeting Grover Washington Jr and advice given.