February 25, 2021
I interviewed Lyle in Los Angeles for my BBC Radio 2 series “WHAT IS MELODY?” in 2007. He talks about his first meeting with Pat Metheny and discusses the composition of their then recent CD, “The Way Up”.
I first met Lyle when he joined the Pat Metheny Group and had the pleasure of working with him on the American Garage album in 1979. I remember being in the studio recording a tune called “The Search” and I suggested that the guitar melody, played on a 12-string might sound great in 3-part harmony. Pat and I discussed it for a couple of minutes and by the time Pat said, “OK, let’s try it”, Lyle had written the arrangement on a pad of paper. Whenever there was a problem in the studio, he would immediately go out to the dining area where he had a travel chess set.
Lyle had both a breathtaking musical talent and a wry sense of humor (as you’ll hear at the end of this interview!) I feel very fortunate to have known him.
[What is Melody? theme sung by Daisy Chute. End RadioRichard sting by Free Play Duo]
February 23, 2021
I interviewed Nile Rodgers in his tasteful apartment in New York City for my 2003 BBC Radio series, “Manhattan – The most musical island on Earth”. CHIC was the galloping guitar of Nile Rodgers and the bubbling bass of Bernard Edwards. Their hits, including Dance Dance Dance, Everybody Dance, Le Freak, The Greatest Dancer,I Want Your Love and Good Times created a sophisticated, classy funk elevated by Rodgers’ inventive arrangements. Nile talks about his life, his influences and his productions of artists such as Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Sister Sledge, Carly Simon and Diana Ross. An invaluable look into the mind of a uniquely influential musician. #nilerodgers #interview
February 22, 2021
“I believe in the future”, says David Chesky, an internationally renowned composer/pianist respected in the Jazz and Classical worlds. He has written orchestral works, operas, ballets, chamber works many combining sophisticated compositional techniques with the urban sounds of New York City. He also runs Chesky Records producing audiophile recordings in classical, jazz and World music. This is one of the most fascinating interviews for my radio series “Inside Improvisation” in 2005, and David demonstrates his concepts at the piano. My theme song is performed by New York jazz chanteuse Katherine Gang.
February 19, 2021
The Carpenters are one of the best-selling music artists of all time with three number-one singles, five number-two singles, 15 number-one hits (Adult Contemporary) and 12 top-10 singles. They have sold more than 90 million records worldwide. Karen Carpenter is justly considered the greatest pop vocalists to grace a microphone, and perhaps less known as a superb drummer. In 2003, I interviewed producer/arranger/singer Richard Carpenter for my BBC Radio 2 series “Pop Arrangers” which later became my book “The Invisible Artist” (with a chapter on Carpenter). Here he discusses the arranging and production techniques used in the making of such hits as Close To You, Ticket To Ride, Calling Occupants, We’ve only Just Begun, and many more. Where else can you hear Richard Carpenter demonstrating his ideas at the piano? A unique look at one of the true masters of pop.
February 19, 2021
This short interview is a masterclass in drum technique and improvisation from a unique drummer. In 1998 I wrote and hosted a music series INSIDE IMPROVISATION for BBC Radio 2. I interviewed Grammy winning drummer Danny Gottlieb (the original Pat Metheny Group, Gary Burton, Mahavishnu/John McLaughlin, Blues Brothers, Randy Brecker, Stan Getz, Eliane Elias, Gary Sinese). This short interview is followed by a track from my 1988 album, Santa Rita. “The Seduction of Art” ©1998 Niles Smiles Music (BMI) features Danny on drums with the great Mark Egan on Bass, (Danny’s partner in their group Elements), Chris Hunter (alto sax), Steve Hamilton (keys) and Richard Niles (guitar).
February 18, 2021
In 2005, I wrote and hosted a series for BBC Radio 2, “Inside Improvisation”. The purpose was to explain the many facets of improvisation. I interviewed one of my biggest musical heroes, multi Grammy winning composer and trumpet virtuoso, Randy Brecker. This is one of the best possible demonstrations of how a jazz musician develops their skills, a unique masterclass by a masterful artist. In 2016, Brecker sang and played on “You Can’t Get There from Here” from my Bandzilla Rises!!! album (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lDYluRQNoY )
February 17, 2021
Trevor Horn is arguably the greatest record producer in the history of pop. I interviewed him when I was teaching at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford in 2009. This is an invaluable masterclass in record production, artist development and creativity. Trevor talks about making many of his hit records such as Video Killed The Radio Star, Slave to the Rhythm, Seal, The Pet Shop Boys, Frankie Goes To Hollywood/Relax, Faith Hill and many more.
February 16, 2021
In May of 2003 I was asked to become Musical Director, Conductor, Arranger & Guitarist for Michael’s concert, broadcast by Radio 2 June 16, 2003. I was writing some songs with Hamish at the time and asked if he would like to come along. I will post more of the concert later.
February 16, 2021
This was probably my favorite interview, only because I was sitting on a piano stool next to Michael while he was singing in my ear, possibly the most beautiful sound on earth.
February 16, 2021
This interview was done when Chick was on his way to a gig with his new group ORIGIN.