Feature Friday with Jeremy Pelt

Feature Friday with Jeremy Pelt

Fourth of July is right around the corner! How are you celebrating? Barbeque and fireworks? Going to the lake house? Long weekend out of town? I don’t know about you, but to me, it sure feels like I have been craving a vacation for a while now, so I am really looking forward to a long weekend with family and friends. We could all use a break to relax and recharge, and what better way to get the festivities started than with a Feature Friday?

This week we are speaking with one of the most preeminent young trumpeters in the jazz world—Jeremy Pelt. Voted by Downbeat Magazine as a rising star on the trumpet, Pelt has performed with some of the biggest names in jazz, like Cliff Barbaro, Keter Betts, Bobby “Blue” Bland, and Ravi Coltrane. His latest release is Soundtrack, which Apple Music calls sublime and soaring in its harmonic imagination.

Now, you’re lucky enough to get to learn a bit more about this fiery and lyrical trumpeter …

What motivates you?

That’s a hard question to answer, as my motivation changes daily.

 What games did you play when you were a child?

Monopoly.

 What was your first job?

 My first job was a student! Alongside that, I was very entrepreneurial and to that effect I had a car washing business in my neighborhood where I would travel with a pail and sponge and wash people’s cars. I called it “Jeremy’s Jolly Car Wash.”

 What was your most beloved song as a child and why?

I didn’t have any beloved songs in my childhood but, interestingly enough, there are old songs that I hear to this day that take me back to my childhood, and then that’s when I remember the songs fondly. But it’s filtered through an adult lens.

Feature Friday with Nicolas Bearde

Feature Friday with Nicolas Bearde

Sometimes the week just flies by smoothly by without a hitch! The weekdays blur effortlessly into the weekend, just like the fuzzy white poplar seed pods floating around in the air.

Those hazy days of summer have officially begun and what better way to melt into the encroaching sea of bliss than with a Feature Friday? Today we are chatting with the lovely Nicolas Bearde, whose silky baritone draws in crowds from all around the West Coast!  

Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, award-winning vocalist Nicolas Bearde has always loved listening to music with his mother, and now, he has recorded six CDs, the most recent of which peaked in the Top 20 on the Jazz Week Charts. Bearde also has experience working as a music educator at the California Jazz Conservatory.

If you are not playing jazz, what is your favorite music to play?

R&B and hard funk! Or something like Caribbean-Soul… so much to choose from!

If you were a song, which would you be and why?

I’d likely be something out of the Stevie Wonder catalogue—he goes so deep. Or more likely—at this point in my life—probably “Here’s To Life,” which is an Artie Butler and Phyllis Molinary composition. I think it speaks to where I am in life right now—I seem to be in a period of constant reflection… 

Do you have a favorite place to vacation?

Hawaii is one of my favorite places on earth! I don’t get there very often, but I feel a deep connection with the green-ness of it and the constancy of the ocean-song.

Who is your dream collaboration (living or legend)?

It would be interesting to have spent time with composer/songwriter/arranger like Duke Ellington or the songwriting team of Gamble and Huff. 

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

Treat others as you would be treated… a golden oldie you might say, but it works in every culture! 

Feature Friday with Wayne Escoffery

Feature Friday with Wayne Escoffery

What are your plans for the weekend? Maybe you’re going hiking, or kayaking? What about the drive-in movies? With the nice temperate weather we’ve been having lately, the possibilities are endless! Whatever your plans are though, we at Night is Alive, hope you enjoy yourself as much as we enjoyed sitting down and chatting with jazz saxophonist Wayne Escoffery!

Born in London and now based in New York City, Escoffery has experience performing with a multitude of musicians, such as Carl Allen, Eric Reed, and the Mingus Big Band. And now, we at Night is Alive are lucky enough to have collaborated with him on three albums: Christmas Ain’t Like It Used to Be, Old New Borrowed & Blue, and most recently, My Ship. In the latest release, My Ship, Escoffery’s vibrant sax is sure to make you want to move and groove!

Now, time to learn a bit more about Wayne Escoffery:

If you are not playing jazz, what is your favorite music to play?

I’ve always enjoyed playing Funk music a la James Brown, “Soul Jazz” a la Eddie Harris and Fusion a la The Yellow Jackets. Unfortunately, I don’t get to play those styles as much as I would like. 

If you were a song, which would you be and why?

A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke. It’s timeless, and will make you feel happy, sad, hopeful, and sexy all at the same time. 

Do you have a favorite place to vacation?

At the moment, Portugal and Mallorca are at the top of the list. But, I think it’s ultimately more about the company you are with and your state of mind during the vacation that is most impactful. 

Who is your dream collaboration (living or legend)?

Miles Davis.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

“Be patient, you’ll get ‘em next time.” –Jackie McLean 

Feature Friday with Lorca Hart

Feature Friday with Lorca Hart

Are you finding your eyes drooping at the end of a long, challenging week? Don’t worry—you’re not alone. With the schoolyear ending and summer right around the corner, I think that many of us are feeling the heat and are more than ready for Memorial Day weekend! 

And what better way to kick things off than with a Feature Friday? Today, we’re getting to know one of the West Coast’s most esteemed jazz drummers—Lorca Hart. Growing up in a musical family in New Mexico, Hart began performing in high school, then attended the California Institute of Arts and is now part of the wonderful Lorca Hart Trio! 

Drum roll please … 

If you are not playing jazz, what is your favorite music to play?

That’s a tough one—probably R&B.

If you were a song, which would you be and why?

Firm Roots by Cedar Walton. There’s something so positive and uplifting about this tune—I love the melody and it’s always a fun song to play!

Do you have a favorite place to vacation?

Maui.

Who is your dream collaboration (living or legend)?

Herbie Hancock.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

Don’t get so caught up in planning for the future that you can’t enjoy living in the present.

Feature Friday with Josh Nelson

Feature Friday with Josh Nelson

I don’t know about you, but this week seems to have gone by very slowly. The constant weather changes can really put my body in a funk, but alas, it is finally Friday! We made it! It is finally the end of the week, and hopefully, the sun is shining, and the rain will go away. But even if dark clouds come your way, don’t worry, we have something that’ll brighten you weekend … a Feature Friday with pianist-composer-bandleader Josh Nelson!

But first, a little more about Josh. Born and raised in Southern California, he produced his first independent album at only age 19. And he didn’t stop there—he went on to produce seven more albums. One of his latest albums, The Sky Remains,blends narrative and music to tell a story about the city of LA. Nelson has also worked with many famous musicians, like legendary vocalist Natalie Cole, with whom he toured worldwide for six years.  

Now, time to learn some more about this talented and fascinating artist …

If you are not playing jazz, what is your favorite music to play?

I also enjoy playing R&B, classical, and Brazilian music.

If you were a song, which would you be and why?

Probably “The Age of Not Believing,” which is a Sherman Brothers song from the 1971 Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks. It’s a classic song to me—wonderful melody, lyric and harmony!

Do you have a favorite place to vacation?

Palm Springs, California!

Who is your dream collaboration (living or legend)?

With visionary Herbie Hancock; he inspires me so much. 

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

You can always make more money, but you can’t get the time back, so use that wisely! 

 

Interview with Alan Rhody

“The tunes for Night is Alive’s newest album “Christmas Ain’t Like It Used To Be” were selected with the hope of bringing new meaning to a genre of music that is so near and dear to many. A mixture of classic favorites and modern hits, this album includes nine tracks of vibrant holiday music. Diving into the stories behind the songs, Night is Alive presents an exclusive interview with Alan Rhody, co-composer of the tune “Christmas to Christmas”.

Multi-award-winning songwriter and touring solo artist Alan Rhody has written countless songs and released multiple albums over his notable career. He has made dozens of network appearances in the US and Canada and written songs that have been career-changing hits for artists who are now household names.

“Christmas to Christmas” was penned in 1985 by Rhody and hit songwriter, Ron Hellard. The duo has written about a dozen songs together and remain very good friends, still co-writing occasionally. American country music singer-songwriter Lee Greenwood first recorded the tune and used it for the title of his Christmas album and television special.

“I was very excited and pleased when Night is Alive chose this song,” said Rhody. He has often wondered why the tune hasn’t been recorded by more artists in genres other than country, since he doesn’t consider it a ‘typical’ country song and the intro is set for jazz.

Sony had the publishing rights at the outset, with Rhody reclaiming his half of the song in 2017 retaining SonyATV to administrate, which Rhody believes is a good partnership. 

“I’m hoping more artists will continue to record the song,” mused Rhody. In fact, Night is Alive is the fourth, with soulful vocalist Andromeda Turre. The other artists thus far include Lee Greenwood, Tanya Tucker and Toby Keith. 

As far as his writing process? Rhody said it was Ron Hellard who brought the title idea to their session that hot summer day they created “Christmas To Christmas” in Rhody’s kitchen. Once he and Hellard finished the chorus, they “knew they had a winner.” He also feels it is one of their very best collaborations.

“It’s very personal when I write songs of this nature. whether alone or with a co-writer.” He said his wife Kathy’s presence is always there inside, with those.

So what did Christmas look like for Alan Rhody this year? It was a small gathering, just their two daughters and two grandsons, who all live in Nashville. Their son and his family live in New York City. Rhody and his family have lived in Nashville since the fall of 1977. 

You can hear Night is Alive’s version of “Christmas to Christmas” on “Christmas Ain’t Like It Used To Be”: www.nightisalive.com/christmas-aint-like-it-use-to-be

Interested in learning more? Sometime in early 2022, Alan Rhody will join the Daily Dose podcast, posted regularly 

on Night is Alive’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-yE-rSEiOYWEnIC9F6VXIw

Friday Feature with Drummer Tim Horner

Piano would be my next choice and I wish it had been my first, but I do absolutely love playing drums. After piano, I wish I played my violin (which I already play) better!

I honestly can’t say I have that one inspiration but so many great classical and jazz composers for me are very inspirational, from Ravel and Bartok to Duke and Gil Evans. As far as Drummers go, pick one of the greats and they inspire me. Freddie Hubbard inspires me, Pharoh Sanders inspires me, Bill Cunliffe and Martin Wind inspire me. I love most music and the musicians that play it well.

I’m not sure I have a great answer for this one as I’m on the 14th Floor in a 2 bedroom apartment with no terrace. It’s been quite tough, but I guess I’ve been trying to reflect on my life, my past, my future, what am I going to do if our industry doesn’t return, how to make a living. I’ve written a little bit of music and have been practicing some everyday but I’ll be honest, some of that has been tough. It’s easy to sit and play but much of the pure enjoyment of music for me has always been the free association with other musicians, ensemble playing, I really love and miss that!!!

Right now, wow anywhere!!!! Right when the lockdown hit, I was supposed to be going to Pakistan and Lebanon for the State Dept playing concerts and teaching. It’s safe to say I was really looking forward to that.

I wouldn’t mind having a small dog right now, but one that’s been trained, no training for me. I’ve had cats all my life, I’m allergic to them although I love them. If I had a bigger place with a backyard an Elephant or Water Buffalo would be nice lol.

Tim Horner,  and The Bill Cunliffe Trio can be heard on Night is Alive’s holiday album “Christmas in the Dog House”, available att https://nightisalive.com/shop/ and all major online music platforms.

5 Quarantine Questions with Jeff Rupert

Everything from Frank Sinatra to Harold Mabern.

Well, my hobby is yachting, but that’s on hold for a bit. I’ve just been practicing, writing new music for an upcoming album, and reading a lot.

I just smoked ribs for the family today. I enjoy cooking quite a bit. I like cooking a rib roast, and my boys love grilled lamb, and a creamed spinach dish. I recently started making filet au poivre that the family likes.

The chance to be a credit to society.

Billy Strayhorn, or my Dad.

Jeff Rupert has a new album, The Ripple, with fellow saxophone legend, George Garzone, available now!