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09 Apr

Jack Dejohnette Interview

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Jack Dejohnette is one of the leading exponents of the jazz drum-set, a member of the Roy Haynes/ Elvin Jones/ Tony Williams school which dominated the postbop era. One of the most influential jazz drummers of the 20th century, given his extensive work as leader and sideman for musicians including john Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, Keith Jarrett, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Joe Henderson, and John Scofield.  George Voudiklairis has met him few days before his performance at Onassis Cultural Center with the Spring Quartet.

George Voudiklaris - It will be a great pleasure to have you back once again. We still remember your appereance with Ravi Coltrane a couple of years ago . This time you come back with this very impressive line up. Would you like to tell few words about this project ?
Jack DeJohnette - It is a cooperative group. Esperanza has been working with Joe for numbers of years  and Joe and I  worked together in  different situations and Leo has worked with Esperanza on her project. Leo is quite an amazing artist - He plays incredible piano, and he is a great composers – But we  never worked together as a group  so everybody really liked to respect each other’s plan.  Anyway we came together  and plan a tour in the state and in Europe.  You know the band is a sort of workshop cooperative thing.  Everybody writes compositions, we do spontaneous things and the level of the musicians is amazing they are so creative. We all do have a lot of fun. At each concert it grows and get bigger and better and get more cohesion too.

George Voudiklaris - You are always in a number of projects  in the same time. This has to do with the different aspect of your musical expression ?
Jack DeJohnette - Well , yes but also I just like to keep myself interested . This is what most musician currently do you know.  I like diversity with quality.

George Voudiklaris - I had the great pleasure last summer,  to watch you play in Paris with Keith Jarrett and Gary Peacock . Even after so long you seem to still have fun with this trio.
Jack DeJohnette - Yes, that’s my main object : to have fun with it .

George Voudiklaris – I like to go a long way back. I believe you are one of the few musicians that have played both with Cotrane and Miles Davis. How different those two men were ?
Jack DeJohnette – Miles was a visionary and Coltrane was a spiritual man who also. Miles liked changes. He wanted to keep himself interested. He was a man who knew how to get the most out of his musicians. People respected him.  He had charisma. Coltrane was very compelling.  I had to do with both of them and that make me  a richer person and a better musician.

George Voudiklaris – The record “Bitches Brew” brought new ground to jazz music. How much do you see that jazz music has changed with this record.
Jack DeJohnette -  I think more people who were not into jazz got in to it. Because it had grooves on it, you know. It was so different for that time.  It came out really great.

George Voudiklaris – You began having your own projects has a bandleader in 1968. Those projects were not always easy for listeners to perceive. Do you think you were maybe ahead of your time. 
Jack DeJohnette -  I don’t know about being ahead of my time I was just doing what I believed in and had no worries about it.  I was fortunate to have label that believed in it too and support it.  

George Voudiklaris – Speaking about label, last years you have launched your own label. Tell me a little bit about that.
Jack DeJohnette – I am not doing anything with that label anymore. This was for my special project that I did  - I actually won a grammy on the label – I was not sure if any label may had been interested in – it was meditation music, relaxation and some other project. 


George Voudiklaris -  About Obama administration. What do you think went well ?
Jack DeJohnette – I am not crazy about politics really  - Obama tried to get a lot of things done but he is got a lot of opposition . and what I don’t like about politics it is just too much money, I mean too much money in politics….  I think Obama is a good man and I think he did the best  he could

George Voudiklaris – You have been playing jazz music for almost 50 years. In which way do you think that jazz music is different today than it was when you started ?
Jack DeJohnette – Music business has changed. There are a lot of great players and a lot of great musicians which is good. But it is hard for a musician to make money or make a living with their compositions with all the download, free download, share and all those kind of things. But music has not change it is still going and musicians are still experimenting

George Voudiklaris – With all those people you have worked with, which one do you believe is closer to you musically ?
Jack DeJohnette – That is a hard one. There is a lot of people. One is obvious  …………  Keith Jarrett, Miles, Coltrane, Ahmad Jamal, just to name a few and Dave Holland, John Abercrombie and so many others.

More about  The Spring Quartet  :  http://www.jazzonline.gr/en/articlesinterviews/musicians-in-town/item/2488-the-spring-quartet.html

Interview by George Voudiklaris – April 2014


Last modified on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 13:51