Thursday, October 24, 2013

Catching Up With Kevin Coelho - The Interview Part One!

 I was fortunate enough to catch up with organ phenom Kevin Coelho and his was gracious enough to field a few questions for us!

Tell us about the new record!

K.C. - " I wanted the new record to sound like a club. Something fun that you could put on and listen to any time of day, for any occasion, and it would just make you feel good. I picked organ standards, like Johnny and Georgia, because people always like to hear them and expect to hear them on an organ record, but I tried to do something a little different about each one to grab your attention. They aren’t just feel good standard renditions of organ tunes, they’re newer and fresher while still keeping that organ groove. Shadows and Zig-Zag are just fun for me to play, I hope that people enjoy listening to them as much as I enjoyed playing and writing them. As for the other tunes, I knew I wanted them to be funky, funky, and more funky. I picked them because they were fun to play, and there was so much I could do with them in the context of organ playing that it was a challenge for me to approach them, but I knew that they would turn out great if I gave them enough work. I’ve really been expanding my repertoire and trying to increase my vocabulary this year and last year, and picking those tunes was the start of this whole process that I’m in the middle of now. They are tunes that people would know, but may not have heard played on organ, which is cool for me – I want listeners to recognize the tune and say, wow, that’s “Come Together” but I’ve never heard it this way before. The organ groove is a whole particular thing, and I like to pick tunes that I can induct into soul jazz in a way that just works once you hear it in action."

In terms of the B3, can tell us about your influences and how they effect your performance?

K.C. - "Tony Monaco taught me how to play with energy, fire, groove, and how to be an entertainer. Dr. Lonnie Smith taught me how to play with space, and how to build a solo from the ground up. Joey D. taught me some killer lines and chords. Jimmy Smith taught me how to swing. Don Patterson taught me how to swing even harder. Jimmy McGriff taught me what soul is. Will Blades taught me how to hold it down. There’s so many great organ players out there and I pick up something different from each one. But they’re all together in the sense that they live in that groove that we all feel, and that I’m always trying to learn and improve."
Chemistry is critical as a key to success for an organ trio, can you tell us about how that plays out for your trio?

K.C. _ " Chemistry in a group is really important for playing tightly. Not only did I get to know Reggie and Derek better as musicians, I got to know them better as people. And that helped me play to their strengths and helped us become tighter in the studio. I also had more confidence to assert myself and clearly say how I wanted things to sound, which was a major problem with my first album. I sort of knew what I wanted, but I didn’t have the cohones to say it out loud. This time was much different – I learned the first time around that it’s always better to just say what you want and say what you mean. Things are more clear that way. And you don’t have to worry about the other musicians taking offense to it. There’s nothing wrong with being direct or clear. I could never have asked for better accompaniment than Reggie and Derek. They make me sound the best, and I hope I do the same for them. They’re truly incomparable and great musicians."