June 13, 2024


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Interview with Sherrie Maricle: The intellect to create the technique and pathway to your heart and soul: Video

Jazz interview with jazz drummer Sherrie Maricle & The DIVA Jazz Orchestra. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Sherrie Maricle: – I was born in Buffalo, NY; Grew up in Endicott, NY. When I was 11 years old I saw Buddy Rich and his Killer Force Orchestra. After that all I ever wanted to do was play the drums, especially big band.

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

SHM: – When I was 11 years old I saw Buddy Rich and his Killer Force Orchestra. After that all I ever wanted to do was play the drums, especially big band. I studied with many teachers. Most notably Mel Lewis, Jeff Hamilton and Adam Nussbaum.

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

SHM: – I spent a lot of time developing my technique and touch, along with having a very definitive sound in mind for my cymbals (light and dry) and open drum tuning…in 4th’s & 5ths…in a low sonic range. I also use Aquarian, Modern-vintage drums heads that simulate calfskin.

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

SHM: – I consistently practice standard and hybrid drum rudiments along with various hand & finger technique. I am always looking for and studying varying approaches to technique. I don’t always apply it to my playing but it’s fascinating. I also practice these “things” on all of my drums and cymbals…hands and feet…never just on a pad or snare. “Rhythm” is such a broad term. I have studied from numerous books and used them in various and multiple applications. Ted Reed – Syncopation; Stone – Stick Control and more.

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?

SHM: – Well since I don’t create literal functional harmony my approach is to hear the harmonic movement in each tune and reflect that sound/feel/timbre in my playing.

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

SHM: – I’m not always successful in that regard but mainly I am always profoundly grateful to be creating music with others and I always try to be deep in every moment of music.

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

SHM: – The dream is to have it be mostly soul and heart driven but of course you need your intellect to create the technique and pathway to your heart and soul.

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

SHM: – ABSOLUTELY! It’s my ultimate goal and if you’re true to yourself, your art, your craft and musical “love” you can’t go wrong and everyone is happy!

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

SHM: – There are so many! But I will say when The DIVA Jazz Orchestra played Carnegie Hall in NYC, Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C and the Hollywood Bowl for the first time; when we had our first gig in Europe at the Pori Jazz Festival; when we were featured on our first TV Show (CBS Sunday Morning); when we were featured in the film The Girls in the Band…are all precious memories that transformed and lifted the band to new levels of artistry and accolades.

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

SHM: – American Songbook Standards are the equivalent of all the great European classical music in existence. The music is timeless. One can turn ANY tune into JAZZ. It is always the individual and group artistry/improvisation and originality that transforms the music, tunes (standard or original.) into something interesting and unique. Young people’s interest, hopefully will be driven by the performers… and through them, they will find joy in many songs from a variety of genres.

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

SHM: – The meaning of life and spirit? WOW! I think we are all souls or an undefined energy, living in a human body. In other words, spirits having a human experience. I think music connects all aspects of the human experience with our souls.

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

SHM: – I would like jazz and jazz musicians to receive the same respect, admiration, popularity, opportunities and finances that our Rock and Pop colleagues enjoy.

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

SHM: – I LOVE the Ray Brown Trio and Jeff Hamilton Trio and listen to them a lot. I also recently enjoyed Christian McBrides’ new big band recording. I also make it a point to listen to new music as much as possible…in different genres. I like having multiple styles inspire my playing.

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

SHM: – I would like to experience the 1930’s through 1960’s…experience the Swing Era flowing into Be-Bop, into Coltrane. I’m sure as a women I would have had a difficult time thriving in that time period…but it must have been amazing and energizing! Also there were more opportunities for JAZZ.

JBN.S: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself…

SHM: – What do you suggest jazz artists do to further their own popularity and success?

JBN.S: – 

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

SHM: – You have asked a lot of wonderful questions. I am going to continue to swing as hard as I can for as long as I can with players I love 🙂

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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