FB: What do you bring from the road to the classroom? What lessons what big picture things do you impart to students?
GH: Well, the road is a whole special thing.
FB: They can't get the road now.
GH: Well it's intensity. Intensity and it's repetition and it's creativity all in one. I do try to bring that to my performing groups here. I don't over rehearse them, I make them responsible for learning their own parts. And then I take em out, I get em out of the classroom. You can alwyas play in the classroom, with your friends you know. But you got to go out and play for people.
FB: So, what does that mean, not too much the way in local clubs necessarily but....
GH: Actually,taking my student band up to the Sahara Club in M/?? then we're gonna do a little tour in Cleveland. Then I always get them a gig in Riles. (FB: Yup.) And then we do concerts here. So it's a variety. And I've taken them of course to the jazz conventions the festivals and all that.
FB: That's a biggie, IEJ in new york GH: Yeah we've done that 3 or 4 times.) What are these summer festivals, or competitions?
GH: I don't do it in the summer. But we go out 4 or 5 times in the semester, it's good for them to get out of the classroom. Actually New England has some great jazz audiences. People that really know what it should sound like. They know the repertoire. You know, it's an aging crowd.
FB: Well it seems to me that...
GH: They're an intelligent crowd
FB: Well they've been brought up right because there are so many good high school directors. You know spread out through the suburbs.
GH: I don't mean the kids. I mean the audiences. The audiences are really smart here.
FB: But I mean a lot of them played in high schools and junior highs when they were kids coming up so they got the ears.
GH: Yeah but a lot of them were trained at the Stables, the old jazz clubs, the Hi Hat, the Merry Go Round room that Storyville, Mahogany Hall. Some of these people. They've heard Herb's band for years. So when I take my band out or my student band out hey can see the
FB: the progression
GH: They can see the relevance and the growth. But I don't make students write in the old style. I want them to write their ideas.
FB: How do you do that? I mean how do you...
GH: It's easy, they have so many great ideas. Just let em go. (FB: Ok.) We meet in the middle. If it's too much too ethnic or too rocky it's not gonna work with a jazz orchestra. It's got to meet in the middle, it's got to be a true melding of disciplines.
GH: I mean I love to play Ellington music, but you know I'm never gonna play it like Duke did. I'm never gonna play Basie's music like Basie. I think it's a great thing to learn. I think new music is the lifeblood of musicians. You got to have new music to play. You've got to have new music to listen to. That's kinda my thing.
FB: No matter how good repertory orchestras are, it's like been there done that and you'renot gonna beat the masters.
GH: Right. That's why everybody copied Charlie Parker. Beat your head against the wall. That's why Miles is so smart. I figured a way out of this. I'm gonna leave more space, I'm gonna be cool. I'm gonna play like Lester Young.
FB: Is there still too much emphasis on the John Coltrane style these days?
GH: I'm not gonna say too much of an influence, but yeah. I mean a lot of people never get out of that, they're just stuck there. I mean if anything now, I think the past 10 or 15 years is so conservative. I grew up in the 60s it was wild. People were trying all kinds of different things. We were writing 12 tone rows, modal stuff we were playing out of time. Of course they were doing that in the late 40s and it didn't catch on. John Laporta was part of the original Jazz Workshop with Charlie Mingus and Lenny ??? and those people they were experimenting with a fusion of classical ideas and jazz ideas. I guess they called it third stream. ?? coined that phrase.
GH: I think it was a little more jazzy. The way they did it in New York.
FB: It was then.
GH: And it was a very creative time end of the 50s beginning of the 60s with the modal thing and Miles's group. And of course you know through the 70s and 80s it was great. But then I don't know what happened. Now you have to go back.
FB: Yup. Well sometimes politics will influences the arts in odd ways. And you get ultra conservative governments and then they people go reign way in
FB: What's this what's the way out, can you see, envision a way out? Is it hip-hop?
GH: Oh yeah there's a lot of ways out. People are fusing jazz with a lot of different things and coming up with different approaches different There's different ways to solve the same problem
FB: I'm hearing a lot of interesting things... and there's the steady trickle of feedback in the third world countries. From Africa, from Brazil, from places like that that are kind of spitting James Brown and blues back at us.
GH: And the Latin Salsa influence, and then there's the tango influence.
GH: they're all wonderful ethnic musics. And they've embraced a lot of the jazz ethos. (FB: Yes. Indeed.) You're gonna get a different animal. Duke Ellington or Count Basie It's gonna be Pizola or Joe Beam or it's gonna be some of the new salsa things are getting looser and looser.
FB: Yeah and they're trying different applications. Is this kid ?? Monk who went here 15 years ago he'snow doing Astor Pizola's stuff.
GH: I had him in my class yup.
FB: He's doing it on tenor. He's got a piece on a new album. He's playing at the ?? theatre Saturday night.
FB: I'm sending two of my music journalism students out to cover it. He's playing Bandonian lines with bowed bass on the soprano saxophone. So it's a whole new spin on Pizola.
GH: It is.