March 3, 2021
How about listening to WAYNE SHORTER talking about composition? You can have that rare opportunity right here in my 2003 interview for my series “The New Jazz Standards”. This is an excerpt from the show where Wayne also talks to me about Miles Davis and working with Herbie Hancock on their duo record “One On One”, so I suggest you click PLAY, and SUBSCRIBE – in that order!
“The New Jazz Standards” ©1998 Niles Smiles Music, theme song sung be Michael Ruff.
March 2, 2021
Guitarists and jazzbos will love this masterclass in improvisation from award-winning guitarist and composer MIKE STERN. Recorded in 2007 at his NY apartment, the floors covered in music, he talks working with Miles Davis and Michael Brecker, and demonstrates his concepts on his Telecaster, aided by the superb Janek Gwizdala on bass. I went to the Berklee College of Music with Mike 1971-1975 and he played in my Guitar Quartet commissioned by Pat with guitarists Mitch Coodley and Jay Azzolina. So this is a relaxed ‘hang’ that will be a valuable resource for students and fun for all.
I recorded this for my two BBC Radio 2 series “What is Melody?” and “Inside Improvisation.
“What is Melody?” ©2007 Niles Smiles Music (BMI) sung by Daisy Chute, End sting sung by Free Play Duo, Dylan Bell & Suba Sankaran
February 28, 2021
He may not be a household name, but Charles Calello has arranged hits for The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli, Laura Nyro, Shirley Ellis, Streisand, Springsteen, Engelbert Humperdink, Gloria Estefan, Barry Manilow, Dr. Buzzard, Kid Creole, Kenny Rogers, Glen Campbell and Frank Sinatra. In fact this interview contains what I think is the BEST SINATRA STORY of all time! A rare insider’s view of the history of popular music! Recorded originally for my BBC radio series “Manhattan – the most musical island on Earth” in 2003.
“Radio Richard Theme” ©2021 Niles Smiles Music (BMI) performed by Free Play Duo, Dylan Bell & Suba Sankaran
February 28, 2021
I interviewed award winning bass virtuoso & composer John Patitucci in 2007 for my BBC radio series “What Is Melody” in his basement studio in his home, after having a fabulous cup of espresso! I was assisted by my friend, bassist and pianist Janek Gwizdala. This is a masterclass from a true master of both upright and electric bass as John demonstrates his approach to melody on his two instruments. [Theme sung by Daisy Chute. End sting sung by Dylan Bell & Suba Sankaran]
February 26, 2021
I first worked with British jazz saxophonist CHRIS HUNTER when he was a London studio ace at 18. He then became one of the only British jazz musicians to conquer the New York jazz and studio scene when he was asked to join Gil Evans. In this interview, he demonstrates how he achieved his mastery on the horn and the concepts that have made him one of the most brilliant artists in music. At the end of the interview, I have included “Black ‘n’ Shiny”, a track from my album “Santa Rita” where he does to the alto sax what the Vikings did to the Anglo Saxons. Mark Egan, Bass, Steve Hamilton (keys), Danny Gottlieb, (drums), and Richard Niles (guitar).
February 26, 2021
In 2004 I did a series for BBC Radio 2 “Inside Improvisation”. Eliane Elias is an award-winning Brazilian pianist, composer and singer with many Grammy nominated albums. Her husband Marc Johnson was the bassist for Bill Evans’ last trio and has many albums as a leader. I asked Elias and Johnson to demonstrate the differences between mainstream jazz and Brazilian rhythms and their remarkable musical communication is a joy for your ears to behold. Apologies for the bad sound but we recorded this in a traffic noisy New York apartment.
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.