The bands Iíve worked with Ė Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Thad Jones-Mel Lewis, Jaco Pastorius, and the Yellowjackets influence my big band writing. All those sounds are in the mix. And I do a lot of listening to artists like Herbie Hancock who are big proponents of obscuring the four-bar phrase with overlapping and hemiola-like phrases. Itís nothing new, but itís interesting to incorporate such devices into large ensemble writing.
Whatís amazing is that a band like the Yellowjackets can last for twenty years, while keeping the music interesting and changing, moving forward, and keeping pubic interest alive. I think one way to do that is to re-invent what youíre doing periodically. When I joined the band there was a huge shift based on my background. The band was able to try some new things. Jimmy Haslip and Russell Ferrante, who are the nucleus of the original group, are very open-minded, forward-thinking people. Theyíre just amazing artists. Itís such a great experience to associate with them and be a part of a collective, democratic band where everyone has input as a player and composer.
Category: Music Quotes