“I wanted to push myself to present something different, something that echoes not only mine, but so many other guitar players’ rite of passage, listening and copying Wes”.
I love guitar, it has the ability to convey an incredibly rich range of textures and sounds, and has a history of amazing players. However, when I choose collaborators, it is often based on the individual: Lionel Loueke and Kurt Rosenwinkel are both unique voices on their instruments, and aesthetically, I felt they were a great match for the respective projects I was working with.
The Cookers is a learning experience for me. I will always learn and get my ass kicked by these guys. It might not always be a pleasant experience to get one’s ass kicked but it is an important part of one’s growth as a musician and I’m very lucky to be in this unique situation performing with and learning from some of the best and ones directly tied to when this music was at its apex.
I have always loved horns and a big band sound so I wanted to inject that into the project. I also had to have piano because of the colour it provides. I was looking for a slightly theatric bent as well.
I told my Dad about it and he was so happy to hear that [Bill Frisell and I] would be working together. I said something like, “Hey Dad, I’m a jazz cat!”
“I’m not a big fan of the word fusion, because it feel binary to me, and I’m trying to achieve a sound that is multifaceted and fluid. And I think this sound reflects our world today, one which is increasingly more complex and interdependent”.
“How I’ve evolved as an artist is parallel to how my life has evolved: new experiences, new friends, moving countries; I think that all changes the way I play in some way”
“I want singers to dig deep into their potential, to strive to be the greatest musicians they can be, to sing with integrity, unapologetically into the world”
“I wanted to surround myself with musicians that made me want to play. I would have been happy just to sit back listen to them play together in that setting. Apart from how easy I find it to make music with them, they all have strong personal voices and I wanted them to put their own mark on my tunes, which they did”.
“Everything I write has an element of jazz in it. It’s a flavour, it’s spice, it’s warmth, it’s colour that no other music can give. Jazz is probably what I’ll still be able to do if I ever lose some of my other faculties.”