1) What/who inspires your funky sound?
"My sound comes from all sorts of areas. I have to say that artistically speaking, my 3 biggest influences are Prince, Jimi Hendrix, & Herbie Hancock. I am a conglomerate of the ones who came before me. The funky comes from Prince & cats like Sly Stone, Larry Graham, Parliament-Funkadelic. My blues & rock comes from Jimi; my jazz comes from Herbie.
Now, I am not a biter by any means, but, there are only so many sounds that the imperfect human mind can grasp, so we are all going to be a reflection - to a greater or lesser degree - of our influences. What makes me an artist as opposed to a guy who just regugitates sounds is how I blend my influences, how I channel those creative forces. When you hear my music, you will hear my influences, but that is not the dominant element. I was an artist & poet before I ever stole my brothers copy of Prince's Purple Rain album, or borrowed Jimi Hendrix Band of Gypsy's album from a high school friend, or received a cassette of This is the Drum by Herbie Hancock from one of my junior high school students. These 3 just became the conduit for me to say to myself: You're not alone; others are doing it, too.
Now, Jimi is where I got the idea to combine my music with my poetry. His lyrics are so beautiful & poetically rendered. Just check out songs like "Little Wing" or "Castles Made of Sand". He was more concerned with creating something than with just writing songs. My idea to learn every aspect of the music inside out - from playing multiple instruments to studio engineering to promotion, etc. - came from Prince. Why rely on other musicians when you can do it yourself? I have to thank my parents so much for that. My dad always taught me that "one monkey don't stop no circus", so he encouraged me to be that one man wrecking machine. My mom always told me: "you don't need a band; you are the band."
As far as jazz, Herbie Hancock's view of transparency in music affected me greatly. Here is a man known initially as a jazz pianist who then embraced the electronic world & all forms of music (hip-hop, rock, soul, funk, & folk) & integrated them into a jazz format. He really expanded my scope & view of what jazz is. Then, you've got my other influences like Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, & the great Thelonious Monk, to whom I owe an unspoken debt regarding my piano playing."
2) Why do you find performing live to be so fulfilling?
"It is the unmistakable energy that exists in the live setting: between the musician(s) & the audience. I have the theory that music should be recorded live or live in the studio. It just feels different. When I get access to a band live, it is very hard for me to listen to the studio versions for a long time afterwards. When I perform live, I connect with people on a very personal & artistic level. You have a captive audience & how can you do anything but give them your all?
This is why I call my live shows "experiences". I am always looking for ways to make the experience more complete. I want people to leave there knowing that they just experienced something very special. It takes real talent to get on stage & perform well & have the crowd dig it. It takes an artist to bring the show to you & make you feel like you were part of something greater - not just a good show, but an experience. The experience stays with you long after
the cats who put on good shows have gone to bed."
3) What music are you currently listening to?
"I have been digging quite a bit lately: Prince - Lotusflow3r, Esperanza Spalding - Esperanza, Cream - Disraeli Gears, Jason Pure - Seasons, my current bass player, Ramon Convia del Monte's album Invisible Light, & some new & old ML Caldwell stuff that may or may not ever get to be consumed by the general public. I am anxiously awaiting the new albums from Jason Pure, Soulganic, & Maxwell, though!
I would like to say thank J. Pure Digz Music for the opportunity to speak with you. You represent a wonderfully talented artist & I count it an honor to be a part of the J. Pure universe."
Thanks MLC! Please check him out at www.mlcaldwell.com!