May 28, 2024

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Interview with Danny Simmons: The collaboration between Ron Carter and I is like a pretty perfect dream come true: Video

Jazz interview with jazz narrator Danny Simmons. An interview by email in writing. – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

Danny Simmons: – I grew up in Jamaica Queens NYC in the 50’s& 60’s in a family that was artistically active. Although not what they did for a living my father wrote poetry and my mother painted and I was always drawn to both. Subsequently years later I spend my creative time involved in producing new works of both … During an earlier period I infused poetry in my paintings. I often look back on my poetry and compare it with earlier works and challenge my use of words to evolve.

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

DS: – As for influences creeping in … i love them to affect my work..i often look through volumes of poetry to inspire me or kick start a flow of ideas.

JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2019: <Ron Carter & Danny Simmons – The Brown Beatnik Tomes – Live At BRIC House>, how it was formed and what you are working on today.

DS: – There was a natural flow between Ron and I just in general conversation … we met over dinner at his house at first around visual art but moves on to the poetry. I sent him the book the Brown beatnik tomes and he loved the words … soon after a set in a fantastic book store powerhouse arena was done where we book signed copies of our books … We found at that first set our synergy was fantastic and we followed each other’s cues effortlessly.

What strikes me most about this new album is how well poetry and Jazz come together. In this particular album it truly sounds like the music and poetry were composed for each other the worked and reworked to perfection. I love everything about The Brown Beatnik Tomes collaberation. It came together so naturally. And with the great Don Was doing the editing it came together righteously.

This collaboration between Ron and I is like a pretty perfect dream come true.

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

DS: – I love responding to the audience with inflection speed and tone when reading my poetry … you can feel when you and the audience are giving and when your not … if I’m losing them at any point I try to adjust my delivery. I think what I’m saying is important and I want them to take the message in.

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

DS: – I myself listen to a lot of classic rock first and Jazz second but I love hip hop. I knew that hip hop poetry was a way to influence the younger generation so the idea of Def Poetry was born. I was the originator of the idea along with my colleague Bruce George and along with my brother Russell and director Stan Lathan sold the idea to HBO… Deborah Pointer set up venues to kick start the brand and a whole generation was brought into the poetry movement.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Image result for Ron Carter and Danny Simmons

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