May 28, 2024

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Interview with Bill Easley: I let my mind wander and get in touch with the universe: Video

Jazz interview with jazz saxophonist Bill Easley. An interview by email in writing. – Before we jump into anything historical, can you tell us about what we can expect musically this evening?

Bill Easley: – I grew up in Olean NY. Started playing professionally in my parent’s band in 1959. The band started in 1928.

JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?

BE: – My sound is still evolving. I am a multi instrumentalist so even though I use to be able to put one horn down and pick up another. Now I have to change heads when going from horn to horn. I swear by my vodka soak for reeds but no longer try to convince others and no longer have an interest in drinking the vodka.

JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony?

BE: – It is all about one note to the next. I am just starting to scratch the surface, Beetoven wrote a whole symphony starting with two notes. He was a pretty smart guy. As far as harmony I have to admit that I am openly illiterate but I have pretty good ears. Nine chances out out ten the listener does not know a flat 5 from a ruptured 19th.

JBN: – How do you keep stray, or random, musical influences from diverting you from what you’re doing?

I want everything and everyone to influence me in one way or another. I have very little idea of what I am doing so it is not a big problem.

JBN: – How do you prepare for your recordings and performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?

BE: – I let my mind wander and get in touch with the universe. One thought leads to another and the next thing you know, you have a finished product. Good or Bad.

There could be talk or advertising about your CD

JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

BE: – I am much more soulful than intellectual but some of my best friends are intellectuals.

JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?

BE: – My job is to make somebody feel good. If I do that, I feel great.

JBN: – Can you share any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions over the years?

BE: – Yes I can and do often. Many times people run when they see me coming. Here comes that story teller!

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

BE: – Eddie Locke use to call me every day to talk about the then and the now; ” Thees young cats today can’t even play Sweet Georgia Brown !!!!” I would remind him that the tune was 100 years old and that possibly they were playing something else? Personally I love the American Song Book and will continue to play it. Someone will find value in it as old as it is. I like old wine too.

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

BE: – As I may have mentioned earlier, In the beginning was the note and then came the word to keep us confused. The universe is a big place and eternity is a long time.

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

BE: – I don’t have the power to change much and I pretty much live in my own reality.

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

BE: – My Wife.

JBN: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?

BE: – That we are all different and that is OK.

JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine: where and why would you really want to go?

BE: – In the universe and in the human brain, past, present and future all exist simultaneously.  The only reason   we make a  distinction is to sell clocks and calendars.

JBN: – So far, it’s been me asking you questions, now may I have a question from yourself…

BE: – Why would you torture yourself like this Simon?

JBN: – 🙂

JBN: – At the bottom line, what are your expectations from our interview?

BE: – To make you laugh. Laughter is the only thing that will cure your insanity.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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