Chapter 5 AC: Jazz education, you were saying like, "how is it shaped Boston jazz?" I think the fact that there are so many great writers here. That people know their theory so well, have so much education in playing their instruments. There is a lot of very strong intellect and structural thinking and sophisticated playing that's come out of Boston. And of course Boston has fed, seems like, more than half of the successful jazz musicians in New York went to school here at some point. FB: One would think that with the diversity and the cross pollination between Berklee and the Conservatory it would raise the ante for what happens here and what we send down the pipeline to Manhattan. AC: Yeah, absolutely. I think it affects the whole international culture of, particularly I am talking about jazz and maybe fusion music. I don't know as much about Berklee's influence on recording technology. I know it's real and rock 'n' roll and songwriting I can name a bunch of sophisticated, interesting, creative people to come out of here in those fields, but I don't have the overview of it, but with jazz I know it intimately. You trace people back, ususally they play down their educations but it hard to come up with a list who didn't go to one of these two schools. Especially the more progressive, complex, thoughtful forms of the music, I guess. Which not a value judgement; I love basic, simple music and a whole range of things that go on. Chicago produced a different vibe than Boston, generally. Certainly they overlap, but Boston isn't the bluesiest city in the world, of course that's part of jazz all the time. FB: We're the closest to Europe. So you are going to get that. AC: It's very international. Going back to Serge Chaloff and Herb Pomeroy's earliest recordings and Boston Blow-Up and things like that, Charlie Mariano. There's interesting, tricky arrangements in those pieces. Dick Twardzik. You can go way back to the beginnings of Berklee and long before NEC had a real jazz department, like the one Gunther started. There was a popular music department and there was another school in town. But these are people who had many times been through a military band system, were already pretty good big band players and somewhat improvisers and then they came and really refined their thing and writing and theory and all that. FB: You know it's funny, just at the weekend, the Beantown Jazz Festival, Phil Wilson and Jeff Stout led a quintet Thursday night before the activities at the BPC. Bruce Gertz on bass and John Ramsey on drums. Ray Santisi was playing piano for them and they were recreating the book of Vick Dickinson and Bobby Hackett. But Ray was dropping all sorts of wonderful, cosmic, advanced chords that brought it way beyond the 50s. He grew up with it but he kept going and kept advancing. And you can hear it in his playing today. He embodies that stretch. AC: Even the idea that there is such a thing as advancing and that just laying it down isn't the be all and end all. That's a local flavour to Boston jazz. It's not only here. There is albums from Detroit in the 50s with Pepper Adams and Kenny Burell that have intricate counterpoint. And there's LA's Shorty Rogers and Buddy Collette and all these people... FB: Shorty Rogers was born in Great Barrier. AC: Well, that's the other thing. People move around a lot. People talk about west coast jazz and half of the people are from New York and Connecticut. Or they are trying to play like Count Basie and just comes out that way or whatever. I think that can be really exaggerated and stereotyped. Boston has been a magnet for people from all over. It's not the bluesiest town in the world. If you go to a night club to hear jazz, it isn't the same feeling that I've randomly gotten in Atlanta or Chicago or Phoenix, where the audience isn't expecting the same thing. But on the other hand, there are tonnes of musicians here from Memphis that made a big difference, Donald Brown, James Williams. They had their own roots that came through. They knew all the stuff that's taught here and had something else that they brought to it. All the people that we've mentioned, most of them are from somewhere else. Bill Pierce is from Florida, I'm from Arizona. Some of them are local, George Garzon, Herb. But just having this much education in the mix and the international student body, I think that has changed the nature of jazz here. An interesting thing is that the Berklee faculty, by and large, have been much more like local band-leaders and performers and internationally-known. Where the NEC faculty often are kind of hidden from the gigging scene. You don't hear, outside of the school, you never hear a George Russell concert, years would go by. Or Joe Maneri, for many years didn't perform at all. FB: That's the practical background of Larry Berk drawing in big band people in the 40s. These guys would hit town, they go, "I got a family to support. $8 an hour from Larry Berk isn't going to do it. Where are the pit bands? Where are the GB gigs?" They are out playing all the time. AC: So you can hear Greg Hopkins, who's absolutely a world-class player for the last twenty-five years, you could hear him play the trumpet, small groups, trios, octets, big bands all over New England. But to hear Ran Blake perform outside of Jordan Hall... FB:...hardly ever. AC: He might play in Rome more often than he plays in Boston. It's weird. FB: That's a conservatory versus a pit band, Berklee mentality. AC: But a lot of the Berklee people are doing artistic, hip jazz things. They are just more open to playing in night clubs. Jimmy Mosher and Mick Goodrick used to play at Casa Blanca for years. FB: Bob Winter, not only did he play Pops, but he played the Playboy club in Gallagher's and lots of little gigs with a guitar player. AC: That's honestly, when I was at NEC, as chair of the jazz department, it didn't really do anything for my gigging. Being an administrator is not great for your performing career, it doesn't have to kill it but isn't help automatically being in that role. Also at NEC, Dominique, my wife, is one of the rare exceptions in that she lives in Boston. She doesn't commute from New York these days, not since '96, and she performs frequently in the area with all sorts of musicians who live here and work here. In that way she is more like a lot of the Berklee scene. FB: I never see her. AC: Well, she performs a few times a year. As much as a singer can. FB: I would like to see her more. AC: She doesn't have a steady hotel bar gig these days, but she performs. FB: That is another issue, where are the gigs? AC: Yeah, it's not easy right now.