[JPL] Conversation with jazz pianist Joe Gilman
bopndick at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 19 23:56:42 EDT 2004
Conversation with jazz pianist, Joe Gilman
Joe Gilman talks about recent events in his career
as a jazz pianist, educator and his new CD, TIME
AGAIN: BRUBECK REVISITED, Volume 1 on Sunnyside
Records. Recently, Mr. Gilman won first prize in the
2004 Great American Jazz Piano Competition in
DC: Time Out in 1959 is considered a Dave Brubeck
Quartet classic recording on Columbia Records.
In the sixties, Take Five and Blue Rondo A La
Turk were featured on jazz radio stations and juke
boxes across the country and are still endeared by
many jazz fans to this day.
How did you get involved with Dave Brubecks music?
JG: I play with a band called the Capital Jazz
Project in Sacramento. We performed a thematic
concert on Mr. Brubecks music. Coincidently, The
Brubeck Institute was being established and the
director, J. B. Dyas attended the show and enjoyed
the performance. He invited C.J.P to repeat the
performance at the Brubeck festival in the spring of
2002. He then asked me to play and teach at the
Brubeck colony to a group of seventeen outstanding
high school sophomore and junior musicians from all
over the country . I was then asked to do a
presentation to the Brubeck fellows at the Institute.
The Institute chooses five to seven talented,
nineteen -twenty year old musicians to perform and
learn together on a full ride scholarship for one to
I spent a week teaching them Brubecks music.
Mr. Brubeck sent me a box of all his published music.
Reading though the tunes, I remembered how much I
enjoyed the familiar songs, and read some I was
unfamiliar with; solo work , some classical and
other jazz quartet music.
I was very impressed with two nineteen year old
students at the Institute, bass player Joe Sanders
and drummer, Justin Brown.
As we began to play the music, I realized because of
the different generations, Dave from me , and me from
Joe and Justin, that this trio created a different
DC : How do you mean?
JG: Its timeless, yet refreshing and open for
many interpretations, so I wrote the arrangements with
that idea in mind.
DC: For the album?
JG: In May 2003, we went into the studio and
recorded 17 tracks in 8 hours; multiple takes with
three solo piano tunes.
DC: You had it in the can, ready to go?!
JG: With the help of Glenn Ito and Bud Spangler
from the Bay area , we shopped various labels.
Francois Zalacain of Sunnyside Records liked what he
heard and released Volume 1 in March 2004.
DC: More to come?
JG: Volume Two with Take Five will be released in
DC: You sound like a Glenn Gould in your solo
performance of In Your Own Sweet Way.
JG: Thanks. Nice compliment.
DC: Im probably trying to say is you have great
command and technique. You also have an extensive
JG: I studied classical music at Sacramento State
University. Graduated Bachelors of music from Indiana
University, Masters in jazz and contemporary media
from Eastman School of Music-Rochester and a Doctorate
in education from University of Sarasota.
DC: Where are you from originally?
DC: Carmichael, California?
JG: I live in the same house I grew up in.
DC: The only person I know, who lives in same house
is Chicagos octogenarian saxophonist Von Freeman,
who still blows his tail off. I wonder if that
indicates a long productive life?
JG: I continue to find ways to challenge myself and
to grow as a musician, so I can be an inspiration to
DC Youve worked as a sideman for some great jazz
musicians over the years?
JG: Im a free lance musician and have had the
opportunity to play with Woody Shaw, Bobby Hutcherson
and Joe Henderson in San Francisco.
DC: Joe Henderson s one of my favorites. We attended
the same school, Wayne State University in Detroit.
JG: I was a struggling musician at the time of my
recording with Joe, thinking about studying law at
Hastings in San Francisco. However, I wanted to
record a CD with some of my favorite musicians and
through my college roommate,(Indiana, 1982-85) bass
player Robert Hurst. I contacted Joe Henderson and he
agreed to do the project. 12 years ago, we recorded
a CD called Treasure Chest with Joe Henderson, Jeff
Tain Watts and Robert Hurst.
DC: What label?
DC: Your performance on Blue Rondo A La Turk is
impressive and different on the TIME AGAIN CD, is this
an example of the timeless quality of this music?
JG: Yes, most definitely.
DC: I was intrigued by your arrangement of
Recuerdo. Whats the time signature?
JG: Its in three...six-four or three-four. Were
repeating that ostinato over and over again. Justin
then super imposes all kinds of rhythmic patterns on
top of it.
DC: Sounds like Justin Brown is performing a
JG: Its called a street beat. Many jazz musicians
stay only with ballads, different tempos of swing and
Latin. So we thought , lets try it in fives, with
brushes or in different grooves, like in Ahmad
Jamals, Poinciana. I said to Justin, play some
grooves. Be as creative as you want. Dont think of a
song as a meter, do anything you want. And I proceeded
to play over the top of them. Instead of the melody
and chords dictating, we started from the rhythmic
aspect, went backwards to find the tune, as if to ask,
what creative things can we do with the arrangement,
the harmony, the beat and the meter.
DC: What about Love And Anger, Tender Woman?
JG: They were solo piano pieces, we interpreted as
DC: And Darius?
JG: The intro was my own reharmonization, like
Alexander Scriabin. When we get into the ensemble
part , thats Brubecks conception.
DC: Joe Sanders and Justin Brown are very young and
talented, reminds me of a young Tony Williams and the
Miles Davis Quintet in the sixties.
JG: They just turned twenty years old. Justin has
been playing drums, since he was three years old.
Theyre both moving to New York City. Justin Brown
has been accepted at Julliard. Joe Sanders will
attend The Manhattan School Of Music. Theres always
a possibility of playing together in the future.
DC: Youre a college professor at American River
College. What are you currently teaching in your
JG: Main bulk of my load is traditional music
theory, starting with treble clef , all the way to
Bartok set theory and Schoenberg twelve tone rows,
from the 1600's to the present. I also teach jazz
improvisation. And at the Brubeck Institute, I teach
jazz improvisation, as well.
DC: Mr Gilman, congratulations on your full inner
life and your inspiration to next generation of jazz
musicians, your recent success with winning the 2004
Great American Jazz Piano Competition and your new CD
on Sunnyside Records, TIME AGAIN: BRUBECK REVISITED,
the most exciting new interpretation of Brubecks
music in over forty years.
JG: Thank you.
TIME AGAIN: BRUBECK REVISITED, Volume 1 is
available on Sunnyside Records
For more information, E mail Joe Gilman at
joe at joegilman.com
The Voice 88.7fm
4623 T Street, Suite A
Sacramento, Ca. 95819-4743
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