In the orchestral world, the bass section is often underappreciated, being relegated to the back of the ensemble and assigned the vital yet rarely glamorous task of setting the foundations for each different piece. In jazz, however, a bassist has the opportunity to explore a greater range of style and sound. The best jazz bassists are not just talented, but versatile – two words that happen to perfectly describe jazz bassist Christian McBride.
Throughout 2017, Pepper has joined the musical world in celebrating 100 years of recorded jazz. An integral part of our national history, jazz music is ingrained in the American DNA, leaving its mark on our culture in a way that few other art forms ever have.
Ten-time Grammy winner Arturo Sandoval has seen his beloved Latin jazz rise from local tradition to worldwide sensation. Pepper was honored to speak with him in conjunction with the Longwood Gardens Jazz Series. Longwood was kind enough to let us use their music room to interview Mr. Sandoval, and we were treated to a sampling of the wealth of knowledge he possesses.
“God gave everybody a little bit of talent. What are you going to do with that little talent that God gave you?” – Arturo Sandoval
The year 1917 was monumental in jazz history, but not just because it was the year of the first official jazz recording. Some of the most famous names in jazz were born that same year. These musicians would stand on the shoulders of their predecessors, helping to make jazz the most significant American cultural movement of the century. To celebrate their centennials, Pepper is featuring a few of the most iconic songs from these jazz legends.
Stylistically and culturally, jazz music has had an enormous impact on American music, influencing many of the most beloved musical minds of our time. In preparation for the 100th anniversary of the first jazz recording, Pepper has taken the time to ask many of the musicians we’ve interviewed about how jazz has influenced their lives. No matter what their preferred style, they all had something to say about the importance of jazz.
Jazz is widely considered the first purely American musical art form, and with good reason. Nothing epitomizes the nature of our nation quite as well. Jazz is a mixture of the many cultures that resided in the United States at the turn of the 20th century.
Jazz has long been known as the first all-American art form. It is, in many ways, both a metaphor for and an example of the blending of culture and knowledge that has taken place in the United States over the course of its history.
Pepper had the privilege to speak with Latin jazz legend Paquito D’Rivera in conjunction with his latest honor. We were asked by the Jazz Education Network to film his acceptance of the LeJENds of Latin Jazz award, and of course we were thrilled at the opportunity. The award is in its third year, having gone to Poncho Sanchez and Candido Camero in 2015 and 2014.
On September 10, 2015, Pepper welcomed world-renowned saxophonist David Liebman, the latest music legend to take part in our Jazz with Pepper master class series. Ever dedicated to the cause of music education, Liebman shared with those in attendance many insights into his playing style and musical philosophy.