Brass bands in other parts of the United States; the "mythical" Congo Square; the role of formal musical education in the development early jazz artists- Buddy Bolden; brass bands around the world; jazz funerals, 2nd lines, benevolent societies and their roles in solidifying the place of people of color in the city- the taking of it; why brass bands in New Orleans have outlived the traditions in other cities; political needs for brass bands; more on cultural mentorship, cultural capital, social capital; the relation of brass band music to other musics in the city; Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Nicholas Payton- their start associated with the brass band tradition; being able to speak collectively; Trombone Shorty; the difficulties of talking to music press and their false ideas of what audiences will find interesting; the maligning or ignoring of intellectual sides to musicians in the press; coming out of depression after Katrina; the way that Brice's identity was used and became a caricature after the storm; going to the University of Alabama; telling the story of real New Orleans music, and the 200 year history of brass bands, honestly; the indignity of the reduction of all narratives of people of color to slavery; the influence of personal understanding of history on personal identity development; final comments- retelling your own stories.
Jeff Albert is more than a musician. Like a few others interviewed here he has contributed to the New Orleans music scene through the Tuesday Open Ears series at the Blue Nile. The series allows an open forum for a wide variety of musical performance. It is a rare night where one can witness any sort of musical exploration. Through improving the breadth of what is presented he has contributed to the formation of musical groups and associations of musicians that otherwise would not have a place to develop their playing and ideas. It also brings in adventurous groups from outside New Orleans. Jeff has developed his own expression and his self- understanding steadily over the years. He has learned a great deal from his own associations with musicians and gigs and he shares a lot about those experiences here. There is also interesting information about the trombone and electronic music.
More on Jeff and the Open Ears Music Series can be found at www.openearsmusic.org
Part 2- musical aspirations as a starting trombone student; becoming conscious of jazz music; decision to be a musician and go to Loyola University over University of North Texas; J.J. Johnson; Clint Maedgen, Coltrane Live in Japan; studies with Dick Erb; early rewarding professional gig experience in horn sections; Pedro Cruz and latin music scene experiences; the feeling of being a professional musician and enjoyment of the lifestyle; urge for self-expression bubbling to the surface; comfort with computers and meeting John Worthington, the computer guru; becoming aware of the greater relative power of emotional playing; UNO for a masters degree and improving composition; learning strengths and limitations.
Rex Gregory is an extremely talented, but also very disciplined, instrumentalist. He plays with a wide variety of people around town in a number of styles, many of them not fixed genres. Part of this comes from a great talent for getting with the "conversational" style that emerges when groups of players get together to improvise. Basically, he's quick! He's also young (27.) He plays flute, all the saxes, and clarinet and last year he released his first album as a leader, An End To Oblivion. He is very comfortable dealing with ideas both "intellectual" and in music. He enthusiastically tackles areas where he has no understanding and he is quite well read as a result. If you check his blog at http://rexgregory.blogspot.com/ you can see he writes confidently too, whether you are in agreement with his opinions or not. I felt this was an entertaining interview simply because Rex is comfortable with shooting off opinions. His website is at http://rexgregory.com/ The last section of this interview got into some very interesting areas that show a lot of the inner symbolic possibilities that are available in the basic elements of music.
This conversation happened outdoors so there is some wind noise. On the other hand it seems comfortable and you get the sounds of the Marigny on a pleasant late spring day.
Part 2- how Rex started on saxophone, background in Texas and music in his family, university selection, what was serendipitous about University of New Orleans instead of New York, herd mentality in New York, tribalism, influence of the previous generation of jazz musicians from Texas, Robert Glasper, Claudia Quintet, studies with Ed Petersen, studies with Brice Winston