THIS MONTH’S TWO FEATURED ARTISTS,
TOM KENNEDY AND NICOLAS MEIER,
SHOW THE JOYS OF BEING A SIDEMAN ,
AND REVEAL THEIR SECRETS
CHECK THEM OUT IN THE INTERVIEW SECTION
Match the artists below with their scheduled
shows on the left!
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!
DEDICATED TO THE LOST ON MEMORIAL DAY
I WANT TO BE A SIDEMAN
“He who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” Luke 14:11
One of the paradoxes in life is the idea that in order to be a leader, you must first be a servant. History has proven this statement of Jesus Christ to be true, even though every cell within us says otherwise.
We all want to be noticed and appreciated, but the fact is that you become indispensible by offering to people something that they cannot have otherwise. That is the role of a servant . Most movies and songs exalt “standing up for yourself” and “making yourself known,” but once the beauty of being a true servant comes out, it makes self-exaltation look cheap and shabby.
A classic movie, Gungha Din, based on the Kipling novel, is a perfect example. All through the movie, the lowly servant Gungha Din does all of the menial tasks for the army. He ultimately gives up his life to save the regiment, at which on reflection Kipling writes the classic poem,
“Though I’ve belted you and flayed you
You’re a better man than I, Gungha Din”
That is the effect of true servant-hood, to which this month is dedicated.
Two holidays this month reflect the idea of humbling oneself. The first, Mother’s Day, allows us to appreciate the woman that brought us into this world and gave up her own desires to raise us. Which is more praiseworthy, a mother who gave up her selfish dreams and sacrificed for her children to make their world better, or one who abandons her kids and family to “find herself”? Most people learn real humility and sacrifice from their moms.
The second holiday, Memorial Day, honors those who have given the ultimate service for their country. From the Revolutionary War, through the Civil War, through two World Wars and the many conflicts since, men and women have given up their lives in order to keep our own country safe. One day of honor is not enough, but at least it’s a start.
What does this have to do with jazz? Ask any musician who they’d rather pl ay with, one who wants to be in the spotlight, or one who serves the music and the band? Even the musicians who have risen to the top at one time were lowly sidemen, to which this month is dedicated. We’ve interviewed two of today’s top side men, and allowed you to get a glance what attitude it takes to “play well with others” as they used to say in elementary school.
I’ve always been a sucker for the sideman in a big band session, watching them sitting back, reading the charts, waiting for the right moment and jumping into the section with a hip team effort, or having him or her patiently counting off until he or she gets a chance for a 1-4 chorus solo, then sitting back down with sublime satisfaction.
I wanna be a sideman
Just a highly qualified man
A real professional pride man
And that is the true lesson of life; by being attuned to what others want, and serving their needs, you become necessary for them and therefore, you lead by serving. As a teacher once joked to me, “I don’t mind you calling me a servant; just don’t treat me like on.” It takes true humility to “honor others above yourselves,” but it is the one thing that gives true satisfaction, and makes it easier to look in the mirror every day.
KEEP WRITING US. HERE ARE SOME RECENT COMMUNICATIONS…
Just wanted to thank you so much for the wonderful interview/article. And it was so great chatting with you, as well…. thanks for an all around enjoyable experience!
Hope you are well. I just read your telephone interview with Nicolas Meier – very interesting! Nicolas and I have been good friends since he moved to the UK about 20 years ago – we also live very close to each other so we see each other frequently.
I think his latest album is his best to date – having Jimmy and Vinnie on it is awesome!
Also, I wanted to take the opportunity to see if you received my album ‘The Time Thief’ Redtenbacher’s Funkestra. I know you are very busy – just wanted to check that it actually has arrived for whenever you might have some time for it.
Thank you very much.
I’ve been enjoying your articles – as well as your support – and am wondering where you are based?
Thank you very very much for your review. I’m very happy that you enjoyed the music and the review is really nice and original. once more you showed a great attention to the music and I’m so grateful for that.
Let’s keep in touch and ALL THE BEST from Italy.
Mr. Gadd, you are a he’ll of a drummer. I listen to you when you where playing with, Grover Washington Jr. It’s so good to see that you are still playing!
I guess my Label sent you the CD. I would like to thank you for taking the time to listen to my music.The word you used really resonate with the way I perceive my music.
Thank you very much.Take Care
Funny enough after I was summarily fired from Verve Records back in ’97 I cooled my heels to get away from it all and moved to Sherman, CT. The real estate broker told me, ‘do you know Tommy Lipuma?” He’s your next door neighbor!” It was the house + barn where he recorded “Unforgettable.” Tommy had not taken over at Verve for another couple years and we somehow lived in peace, as he heard me in the distance banging my drums and driving my Ferrari at top speed (very loudly) on our rural roads in horse country. Super nice man. Love him. We even had Llamas next door too.
Thanks for the article,
I tuned in here to your writing to read a review of my latest disc, but instead I found an article on giving thanks, faith, and perspective. I been struggling in near every area of my life for nearly a decade. In my tight little family I faced cancer, drugs, lost faith, Alzheimer’s, and the prospect of supporting us on a musicians wages. I have been overwhelmed with my loss and how complete it seemed. Someone can say right thing to you at the right time and suddenly your life can seem so much better. Thank you for the article.
You inspired me to write the Thanksgiving Song !
Very good article, thanks
Dear Jazz Weekly,
I ran into your 2014 interview with Larry Carlton. I’ve been a Steely Dan fan for 35 years but never knew anything about Larry. I loved hearing that Larry is a man of faith, even after the gun shot incident. Thanks!
Really great work, George. That was one heck of a conversation with Kirk Whalum!
Peace, Love and Joy,
thanks again for this great review!
Great article. Thanks. I’Il share with the boys!
Philippe Saisse (Al Di Meola Band)