Continuing with part two of my interview with Randy Hoexter (Part One)
Was this release as much fun to make as it sounds? Are you afraid some people might not consider this as serious as they should? The band is hot but how did Jimmy Haslip and Dave Weckl come to be involved in this project?
R.H. "This music was a blast to record! I have always felt that sometimes jazz can take itself a bit too seriously, which can be off-putting to many listeners. Some people have tried to remedy this by simplifying and (dare I say it) "dumbing-down" the music in order to make it non-threatening. I am not sure this is the right approach, and might even be insulting to the listener. Instead, I think bringing a playful and fun attitude to music that is still exploratory and interesting might be what I am trying to do. If a listener can recognize something in the music, that might open a door to letting all kinds of colors and rhythms into their experience; it's all about the attitude.
I met Jimmy Haslip through my affiliation with the Atlanta Institute of Music. We have brought the Yellowjackets to AIM for teaching and workshops a number of times. Over the years we got to be friends and when this project came to mind, Jimmy was enthusiastic about being a part of it. He totally "got" the idea of it. His approach to bass is amazingly musical and intuitive. He is really one of the true originals in bass and it is a thrill to work with him.
My friend Tom Knight, who played most of the drums on this recording, introduced me to Dave Weckl many years ago, and he played a track on my previous recording "Radiant." I can't say enough about his talents and creativity. He really finds just the right thing to play every time."
Jazz has hit some bumps in the road with more sub genres being added daily. Is this hurting or helping? When it comes to pre-recorded music sales jazz ranks last...Why? is the industry not keeping up with the technology platforms or is jazz still hurting from an economy that is still on the ropes?
R.H. "Jazz, like classical music, has always been outside the boundaries of commerce. Honestly I don't think it is a matter of technology; I think it is just part of the changes we are seeing in the music business. For the most part, jazz and classical were write-offs for the major labels, and now they don't have that kind of profits. I do think the proliferation of reality TV shows and other shallow forms of entertainment aren't helping…
On a positive note, there are a lot of factors that allow creative styles to flourish more now, such as the affordability of recording gear, and the democratization of distribution created by Internet retailers such as itunes. This is probably why we are seeing more sub-genres, since artists can explore their own style. It's back to being a cottage industry. In the old days, if you weren't big enough or wouldn't "play ball" with the major labels, you had very little chance of getting your music out there, since they controlled the retail side of it. Now, anybody can sell their music, and get access to a smaller, but targeted audience. We probably wouldn't move a lot of product at Wal-Mart anyway."
I think this release was a roll of the dice that pays off big so what is up next?
R.H. "While there is a temptation is to do more "Fromage" projects, I think the concept might get less unusual with each iteration. Though I'm not totally against the idea, I wouldn't mind moving on to some other concepts. Composition is the thing I love the most, and I am writing some new material all the time.
I also have a long history as a teacher, and I have been building a library of instructional materials for my website. Probably any new recordings will be accompanied by "making of" videos and lessons; kind of a dual purpose."
Extra special thanks to Michael Bloom at Michael Bloom Media Relations, Randy Hoexter and everyone involved in this stellar project!