Friday, April 12, 2024

Web Extra: More with the Delray Jazz Collective

In our March issue, the four members of the Delray Jazz Collective (drummer Tom Regis, pianist Peter Primamore, bassist Hugh Burrows and saxophonist Ben Sparrow) share what makes their approach to this great American musical art form so different—an approach encapsulated by the group’s logo, in which dozens of disparate musical genres and artists swirl around their name. As these Web Extras show, the Delray Jazz Collective is dedicated to expanding the language of jazz outside of its traditional niche.

Hugh Burrows, on the importance of musical eclecticism: There are a lot of musicians who can really only play one style. … It’s a beautiful thing to be going from Joni Mitchell, and trying to capture her feeling and her vibe from the ‘60s and ‘70s, and then go all the way to Coltrane. And then in the middle of that, Tom is so great at playing salsa, and he has his own salsa band in Tel Aviv. And it goes with Peter. He can play rock, funk, jazz. They’re both great composers as well, and arrangers. So it’s a pretty amazing group.

Tom Regis, on the same: We see ourselves positioned generationally; that just happens to be what we were born into. We are uniquely placed, in that we were deeply exposed to classical music, jazz, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers, blues, R&B, Latin music. Not every generation we able to get deep into that stuff. Somehow we bring it to the forefront. That’s part of the responsibility and beauty of what we’re doing.

Peter Primamore, on the diversity of their audiences: It’s really amazing to see the response to instrumental music across the board. It’s a multigenerational thing—older people, kids and everything in between. They’re all digging the same sound. To me personally, that’s a huge victory, when we can perform this music and reach all those different types of humans.

Primamore, on the positive impact of streaming technology: When we think about, how do we prevent stuff, like jazz and world music and more sophisticated instrumental music, from going the way of the dinosaurs? We don’t have to worry about it, because these kids are finding stuff on all these various platforms, and going, hey man, have you heard this, this is cool. So for me, my job is to do the best I can in keeping what I know alive, and to make it vital and viable for a new audience to come in and dig. And this is what I think the DJQ is trying to do. We’re taking music that perhaps is in our DNA and we’re making it something new and fresh to a whole new crop of listeners. And in doing so, we’re honoring this, we’re keeping it alive, we’re watering the seed, and hopefully long after we’re gone, people will still be listening to this stuff, and doing new things with it, and inventing new permutations of this music that we hadn’t thought of before. Twenty years from now, maybe some kid that heard us is going to do something utterly unbeknownst to us.

Primamore, on creating “new standards”: On a macro level, in the same way that the early jazz guys from the ‘40s took Gershwin tunes and Richard Rodgers tunes and Jerome Kern tunes, and used those as the jumping-off point. … We’re augmenting and expanding the Great American Songbook. Lennon and McCartney, Jagger and Richards, Pink Floyd, Yes, Led Zeppelin. Why shouldn’t these things be incorporated into the Great American Songbook? As our chronology goes on, it didn’t just stop in 1958 with Frank Loesser. It kept growing, and amazing music was written. And those songs, which are so perfect in a platonic sense, are just waiting to be interpreted in different ways. That’s something that maybe we’re quite good at doing.

This Web Extra is from the March 2024 issue of Boca magazine. For more like this, click here to subscribe to the magazine.

John Thomason
John Thomason
As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

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