FB: And today we have none other than Joanne Brackeen. Hi, Joanne! JB: Well, thank you! I'm very happy to be here. FB: We are certainly glad to finally get you in the hot seat. Even if we've reversed our seats. Because -- we've been trying for a year to find the right date. JB: Well, I can't say that the hot seat is in Boston. It's so much colder here than in New York. FB: Um, we were talking about fashion: that's a great place to start. JB: Um well, this is my Banana Republic outfit; half of it was already in the dressing room from someone left before. I couldn't have found this. Anyway, I know Esperanza [Spaulding] was, um, if you went in to buy online, there was a big picture of her and the Banana Republic for a while. FB: That's right. That's right. She was on the back of a couple of magazines. JB: Yes, and I just saw her at the Mary Lou Williams Competition, where there were five women pianists. Usually they choose them from all over the States, but it turns out that four of them were either my current or past students, and only one I didn't know... FB: ...of the five. JB: So it was very interesting. Yeah, and then. Dr. Billy Taylor and I kind of coached them. FB: Sweet. Who were some of the people playing? JB: Now I need the last names. You didn't tell me you were gonna ask this question. FB: That's okay we don't have to go there, as long as you know them and they know you. Did people play Mary Lou Williams’ compositions? JB: They also played their compositions, yes. FB: Did they play any stuff by Mary Lou? JB: Yes, they did; the first day they had to. FB: Cool. JB:And no, there were two, now there was another group there, that did a concert the second night, I was there. That was Deedee Bridgewater. FB: Oh wow. JB: Who, um, Grace Kelly the horn player. FB: Yeah, oh yeah. I had her in class last year. JB: Esperanza, and Terri Lynn Carrington, and Geri Allen. And so they played a whole set of Mary Lou Williams. FB: Brilliant! JB: It was. FB: Geri is a knock out! JB: She's just great; and as for their group playing, you can't beat it. FB: That's true. I've seen her take the piano seat in a jam session. JB: … and the empathy or something. She just does all the right things that you wanna hear. FB: Absolutely. Back to fashion. You've been noted for your great collection of clothes, and it's almost been like a trademark for you to wear something dazzling. JB: It's gotten greater since I discovered that Banana Republic had a Tall Department. FB: Really? JB: Yeah, because I'm 6 feet tall, so, I took advantage of that. FB: Mm-hmm. I saw a Monk video recently where some German critic said, you know, “Monk, you have this big hat collection: does it make you play differently?” JB: My hat collection. Well, if I'm wearing a hat, I really feel like wearing a hat, yes, I feel like everything goes into your playing. It's the energy, I mean, the energy flowing through you is what makes you -- or me -- feel like wearing a hat or a dress or a skirt, or whatever. It’s also the same thing that makes me feel like playing the piano. So, it seems connected. FB: How does this, where does this energy come from? JB: I don't know. I would assume it comes from our breath, ‘cause if we don't breathe, well... FB: You mean, inhale / exhale? Yoga stuff? JB: Well, just human. We have to breathe. FB: Is that part of your pedagogical... JB: I feel everything comes from the air, yes, I always tell people. They say, “How did you learn to play the piano?” And I just say, “From my breath.” Because when you breathe, you connect with every other being. At least on earth, where else? I didn't look into that. I guess that's for astrologers but I felt like I would get, I get information from all different countries, long before the Internet happened. FB: Whoa! JB: I don't know what life would have been like if I was born in the last five years. I think it’s just fantastic! FB: You approve of the interconnectivity that everyone has? JB: Who knows if I love it just because it’s something new? We always like something new, or if, I don't know, it’s exciting. FB: Some people are saying that ah, excessive interconnectivity, or having so many electronic toys keeps people from being out in the moment, and withdrawn into screens instead of observing life around them. There was an interesting story in the New York Times. JB: Well, they just need to go and take a little vacation in Rockport, and don't take your computer with you. Ha-ha. That's what I do. FB: Yeah. So you have to balance it out. JB: Yeah, That's what I do. I like to be really quiet and just hear the birds. And, well you know, Marco -- I have to think of his last name -- Pignataro, he took a bunch of us to Pueblo, New Mexico, and then we went to see the pyramids at 10,000 feet. FB: Oh boy! JB: And when you are there, the air is so clear and when the birds sing, you hear another kind of a song. FB: Absolutely true. JB: Even though there's beautiful Boston, and Rockport, and New York bird’s, it’s another kind of sound. And also the light up there is dazzling. FB: I haven't been to Pueblo New Mexico, but I have been to Tikal in Guatemala, went to the Mayan ruins there, and from the tops of the temples we heard the most amazing bird songs. And I'm really into that stuff, like Messiaen, you know. JB: Well, that's music. FB: It’s very... JB: The way they phrase. I know you had Tom [Plsek] here before, but Stephanie [Tierney]'s a good friend of mine. Well, they have six birds, but the famed bird is Bobby Bird, and he sings these songs. He'll do like a song, and if the atmosphere is right, he might run around on the floor, and sing an improvisation of the same song, to each person a different one, in a different mood for each person. FB: What kind of a bird is that? A mynah? JB: Now he's a little bird, a cockatiel? FB: Is he all white? JB: Do I have the right name? No, he's grey and yellow and red, and he's about like that. FB: We'll have to ask Tom and Stephanie. I'm curious. JB: Oh, he improvises. FB: I have a little parrot but she just squawks and sometimes she'll say “hiii..”. JB: This one says “hi, bobby bird” and maybe you could make out some other birds. FB: So is it safe to say that this is one of your -- JB: It's amazing music.