Interview with Alison Crockett: I am both intellectual and emotional: Video

Jazz interview with jazz singer Alison Crockett. An interview by email in writing. 

JazzBluesNews.Space: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

Alison Crockett: – I grew up in a suburb of Washington, DC. My father was a pianist and I grew up listening to music all the time. I loved the piano and always wanted to play as a kid and when my mom got a piano I couldn’t wait to play.

JBN.S: – What got you interested in picking up the jazz vocal? What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the level of playing you have today? What made you choose the jazz vocal?

AC: – I heard all sorts of jazz vocalists growing up; Nancy Wilson, Sarah Vaughan, Al Jarreau, Dianne Reeves were my favorites. I studied classical voice in highschool and college. But my teacher at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Davey Yarborough tapped me to be the first jazz singer with his big band. So I sang and played for their gigs sometimes. I loved the sound of singing jazz. I love the playfulness and the personal stamp you can put on the music.

JBN.S: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?

AC: – My sound has changed because I have aged and have developed experience with knowing life, so that comes out in my voice. I first developed my sound through study and practice. I listened to a lot of different genres of artists even when I grew up, so I have a mix of styles and influences.

JBN.S: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?

AC: – I am a horrible practicer. But I work with music so much that I get in some of the things I need to learn through teaching the concepts. But I do practice vocally regularly. I constantly move my body to rhythm.  I walk in time, vaccum in time … I utitlize my daily life as a study of rhythm and sound.

JBN.S: – Which harmonies and harmonic patterns do you prefer now? You’re playing is very sensitive, deft, it’s smooth, and I’d say you drift more toward harmony than dissonance. There is some dissonance there, but you use it judiciously. Is that a conscious decision or again, is it just an output of what goes in?

AC: – The person who is playing on the ep “Obrigada” is Felipe Silviera. He is an astonishingly great player. He has a wonderful ear and is very sensitive about creating a harmonic bed that allows me to do my job as a singer. I also play piano, so I have an idea of what I’m looking for.  We work extraordinarily well together.

JBN.S: – How to prevent disparate influences from coloring what you’re doing?

AC: – I don’t. I allow what I like to influence what I do. It all comes out perceived as “jazz” but I like soul, R&B, gospel, even musical theater and opera to some out as I’m singing, playing and composing. It makes the whole experience fun.

JBN.S: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

AC: – The balance is let them both be present in as much as is needed for what the music calls for. I am both intellectual and emotional.  They both feed into each other in the music.

JBN.S: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; you’re okay with giving the people what they want?

AC: – I have found in my shows that people want to hear the diverse amount of songs and genres I bring to the table. I love for people to really enjoy their experience and what I do is primed to be enjoyable. I just believe you don’t have to sacrifice musiciality to get that enjoyment. PJ Morton seems to be doing the same thing.

JBN.S: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

AC: – As I was rehearsing O Cantador for the first time in Brazil, I thought I knew how to do the song without really doing any study. The guys, Felipe Silviera, Thiago Alves and Vincente Paulinho, told me no no no, that is not right and started singing this section for about 20 minutes as I struggled to learn and follow and eventually get it. I then spent about 2 hours that night listening to the song over and over again by different artists. It was a beautiful learning experience that I carry with me. I can’t know everything, even if i have aptitude for something.  I am always learning.

JBN.S: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?

AC: – Young people are all over youtube transfering modern songs into swing feels, which means they have  a knowledge of standards. We just need to keep playing them and morphing them into different things. One of my favorite artists is Jamie Cullum. He is intense when he plays standards. Just like you would at a Rock concert.

JBN.S: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?

AC: – That’s a big question. I can say that we are here to learn and experience so that we become one with the path of learning. Music is a path that teaches you and gives you experiences, both as a player and a listener that expand your consciousness. The meaning of life is to grow. We grow through defining experiences that teach us to perservere and prepare us for what is for us in the world.

JBN.S: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

AC: – That is would be a bit easier sometimes. LOL. Actually that’s true. There are so many jobs and things that must be covered. The artist is the business/product and has to be supported by so many different types of people. That’s just the way it is. But it would be nice if it was a bit more streamlined. But it’s not.  It’s just a hustle to create the community to buy in to your “product” which is you and your music.

JBN.S: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?

AC: – I’ve been listening to PJ Morton, Elis Regina, gospel artist Marvin Sapp, brazilian artist Joyce, Djavan, Ivan Lins, Terrace Martin, Gregory Porter, Whitney Houston.

JBN.S: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?

AC: – I would goto the the 70s because I would be interested in seeing the intersection of jazz, rock, funk, soul … new electronic devices and how the artists came up with the music they did. But other than that, there is no time I’d like to goto but now. Now is the best time, because it’s the only time we actually have.

JBN.S: – So putting that all together, how are you able to harness that now?

AC: – I’m able to harness my intentions and goals to affect people in a positive way. I’m looking to create music that moves me and hopefully moves others. I do this by turning things slightly upside down. Not completely, just a bit. I want the world to see some music differently, not just by style, but by how it makes you feel. I’m an emotion wrangler. That’s what I do …

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу Alison Crockett

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