Gerald Albright is a unique musician, possessing a variety of instruments, known throughout the world primarily for its excellent playing saxophone. This is a true master of jazz, recognized among musicians of the highest level. Equally comfortable feel on stage and in the studio, Gerald many years of his successful career playing the saxophone Cannonball, which exclusively represents in Russia the chain stores “World Music”. Specially for the fans of Gerald and the stunning sound of his Cannonball, we have prepared a translation of the interview with the legendary musician.
Last year you have released a stunning new album, which is called Slam Dunk. What ideas embedded in the concept release?
I’m a multi-instrumentalist. For many years, during which time I played many different instruments, almost all of them except for the saxophone were in the background. Everyone knew me as a saxophonist. They didn’t know I was a bass player, a flutist and even a kind vocalist. This time we decided to release the brakes and push these previously discriminated tools to the fore. We wanted to make a classic album of Gerald Albright, but with a different texture and a different energy on the background of previous albums. I think we did it very successfully. And you’ll hear on this album is the bass solo bass melody, choral singing, solo. We just had a great time and brushed the dust off some tools from which people had never before heard solo. I put them to the fore.
You usually represent as an artist in the direction of smooth jazz, while you have roots and traditional jazz. Are there any advantages or disadvantages to be considered representative of a particular direction in jazz?
I consider myself a contemporary jazz because I started much earlier than smooth jazz has come to the forefront. Of course, I made a name for himself mostly in smooth jazz, but in reality, I’m a musician and contemporary jazz, which means more energetic R&B that combined with the traditional sound you’re talking about. I think a traditional jazz musical background creates a very fertile environment. Listening to music of my mentor Cannonball Adderley has really helped me to think in different directions, instead of only listen to musicians in the style of smooth jazz. I think anyone who has decided to assume the mission to play instrumental music should listen to more traditional jazz, to feel what a real freedom in music. And it will only help to make music, to smooth jazz, to contemporary.
Have you worked with many famous musicians? Among them, Patrice Rushen, Anita Baker, Ray Parker Jr., Lola Falana and other great performers. Many of them are playing different genres of music. How as a musician it was difficult to switch between different styles while maintaining its own personality?
Excellent question. I think that the ability to balance between these two genres, which you say comes from the experience that I gained as a session Studio musician hired different artists. Sometimes I was a member of the brass section, and sometimes played solo. Thanks to the enormous amount of Studio sessions in the past, now I am very comfortable in the role of a chameleon who adapts to any genre. It really was very lucky to play with so many top performers on the West coast. So you naturally become an effective musician. And then you just connect it with the pursuit of knowledge of different types and forms of art. And in this light sweep of decades of endless passion.
If you had the magical opportunity to go back when your career was just beginning, what would you advise young to yourself?
I would give the younger self the same advice that I give to some of the young students we work with. In 20 years, to impress on the listener, you’re bursting with irrepressible energy to blow out your pipes absolutely all possible notes. I would say a young about the need to communicate more with his tune and realize that sometimes “not play” is more effective than “play”. The element of silence, you turn in the melody, in some cases it can tell much more attempt to fill in a bunch of notes each beat of the bar. You just need to find a middle ground between what you need to play and what to play is not necessary. I wish that I had this understanding in the old days.