The new release from Nicky Schrire Freedom Flight is arguable one of the finest jazz releases across any sub genre imaginable for 2012. My review:
Nicky Schrire was gracious enough to field some questions concerning her new release which hits the streets 05/22/12! What follows is the first of a three part interview. One would be hard pressed to find a more impressive debut release!
Those that know me well know as a critic sometimes it is rare for me to get a little "jazzed" about a debut release that in reality sounds pretty much the same as about 25 others hitting my desk. Freedom Flight is different. Freedom Flight touches me with an honest realism coupled with an amazing talent. Tell us about the release and how it came to be and how your mentor Peter Eldridge helped you and perhaps the most important lesson learned from this experience?
N.S. - "Firstly let me just say how incredibly happy it makes me that you enjoyed the album-that’s the most important thing that’s been reiterated during this adventure. Music is supposed to make people feel something. It’s that simple really. So thank you!
I graduated from the Manhattan School of Music a year ago and, because I’m South African and my student visa only extended for an extra year, I made clear goals for that period of time. I had also accumulated a good amount of material whilst at MSM that was “asking” to be documented/recorded. A lot of it had been arranged or written while in the masters program at MSM and much of it had been played and developed over those two years. So I had this material and putting it on one album made sense-it was a very logical, natural progression.
I had also found musicians that I loved playing with about six months prior to graduating and they shared my musical aesthetic and made my ideas come to life in such a beautiful, easy way. It’s very important to me that I play with musicians I genuinely like. The social aspect of playing in a group is absolutely linked to the musical atmosphere that’s created. The two go hand in hand.
So, I had songs, musicians that I adored, and after a month or so of research and meeting with mentors, musicians, and producers to accumulate as much knowledge as possible, we went into Sear Sound and recorded the album over two days. I’ll be forever grateful to these people who were so generous with their time and knowledge.
Peter was my teacher while I was studying at MSM and our teacher-student relationship matured into a mentor-mentoree relationship and friendship. Peter will forever be a cherished friend and his opinion will always mean the world to me. I can’t say enough good things about Peter as a person, a musician and a teacher. I was fortunate in that we share a similar musical aesthetic and our ears tend to gravitate towards similar sounds, harmonies and ideas. So it was a treat to learn from someone who’s own music I loved so much; I definitely think his stylings have seeped into my writing and arranging. And I’m better for it! We arranged “Shower The People” together and it was a wonderfully easy, satisfying experience. That seamless experience mirrors our friendship and dynamic pretty accurately.
It’s difficult to pinpoint one lesson that stands out from this mad and magical adventure. I’ve learnt a ridiculously huge amount about the music business and the timeline that goes along with recording an album - lining up a publicist, factoring in time for press, booking a release gig, using social networking effectively, etc. I’ve also shuddered often at the shear narcissism of the task. And although you may be surrounded by the best in the business and people who support you 150 %, you are very much alone (in a self-produced endeavor). You can gather up opinions until you’re blue in the face, but ultimately you make the final decision regarding repertoire, artwork, track listing, mixing engineer, studio, musicians, payment, etc. However, while it can be unavoidably “me, me, me” a lot of the time, I have learnt so much about myself. I think I might have learnt more over two months of album production than I did during two years of grappling with graduate school hurdles and challenges. For that reason alone, it is without a doubt worth recording an album."