Dwight Trible - Part 1: North Sea Jazz Festival / Horace Tapscott
“I’m no wine connoisseur,” he explains, “but this is nice”. He speaks in a calm softly spoken tone. “What’s on at Ronnie Scott’s?” he asks all enthusiastically. A change of scenery might be a good thing as he’s been speaking to journalists on the phone all day. I feared he wouldn’t be up for yet more questions. It was only the previous Friday that he’d been on stage at the North Sea Jazz Festival with the ‘Love Is The Answer’ Project.
I would love to do a duet with Björk. I love what she does, she’s so honest. I love how that comes across when she sings
“This was the first time that we tried this concept live. I guess we were all excited and hyped up. You know how it seems like everybody is just flowing from one stage to the next. Listen to a couple of tunes here and exit to go somewhere else. Like last year, when we were with Build An Ark. And the same thing happened with Andy Bey, I hoped this time people would hang and listen to it. Before we were about to play the room started to fill up and I’m like we’ve got people in here [happy giggle]. Wow! We’ve got people in here and more people started coming You know, and then more and more until it was packed and then people stayed after we finished, Carlos [Niño] and Lil Sci’ did a couple of tunes and after that they still didn’t leave, [more giggles] it was the most beautiful thing”.
Now, do you notice an enthusiasm here? A sense of disbelief that he was part of this “beautiful thing” that has happened since he first meet Carlos. But before we get to Carlos, you can click HERE to listen to the ‘live’ broadcast from the Festival and you’ll be able to read this at the same time.
Strangely, we started talking about musicians that were at the North Sea Jazz Festival that Friday when he was on stage [Paulus Potterzaal, 8.45PM]. So if he’d had been in the audience, he may have been one of those flowin’ from stage to stage himself!
He says of the type of material, “the only thing that would bother me is if I didn’t like what I was doing,” and we get onto the subject of hit records like, what happened to Bobby McFerrin [PWA Zaal, 8.30pm] after ‘Don’t Worry be Happy’? “I sing falsetto from time to time, but what happened to him? It’s skilful but we need to hear you sing brother? I always liked his natural voice you know”. Remember when he did, ‘Dance With Me’?
As next stop on the tour was The Dour Festival (appearing in the Dance Tent!), he tells me one of the singers in Zap Mama (Sabine Kabongo) is now singing with Joe Zawinul’s band [Statenhal, 8.15pm], “If Joe Zawinul is playing and I’m free, I’ve got to be there. I love what that dude does. He always has great musicians that can execute, it’s just a joy. When Joe Zawinul comes to town you better go and see him. [Dwight, clear your diary — see links below].
He tells me there’s two jazz clubs in LA, Catelina and the Jazz Bakery. He says Joe used to live in Pasadena and when he wasn’t on the road, he’d sometimes play at Catelina’s, “Can you imagine seeing Joe Zawinul in a room this size? [see web site link]. I’d sit right up there under him, looking at him, ‘cos I wanna see what this guy is doin’ you know?”
He says of his own piano playing that he can play a tune for ideas and to sing to but it’s not good enough to play out in public, “there are already enough bad piano players without me joining them.”
While Dwight has played with Pharoah Sanders, Billy Higgins, Charles Lloyd, Bobby Hutcherson and now his ‘guardian angel’ Carlos, he’s closely associated with Horace Tapscott’s Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra. He says, “The way I always describe Horace Tapscott to people, his style of piano playing was reminiscent of Thelonious Monk but like with a groove over it, like ‘My Favourite Things’ by John Coltrane. That’s what his sound is and style is to me. But you really had to see him live to appreciate his thing. When he played, ‘cos he was a tall skinny guy, and sometimes his hands shook like he couldn’t get to sleep or he didn’t’ feel well, but he was the coolest cat. He would go off to the side before he would play and summon his energy and when he would go and play that piano, man he would give his ALL! He would completely give his all. And to witness this man doing that was the thing that made me know when you do it, do it like there’s no tomorrow, all the time, ‘cos you never know.”
Horace died in 1999 and Dwight says, “Before one of the last concerts he ever played we were over here and his foot went out on him, you know like, he lost feeling in his foot, and he had a concert at the Kennedy Centre in New York where they were honouring him and all that stuff. I took him to the airport that day and I had this strange feeling in my spirit that, ‘Damn something is going to happen to Horace,’ and his hand went out on him, his right hand went out on him, you know. And they tell me he played the whole concert with his left hand so when Horace got back, we were sitting around and I asked him what happened? ‘I went around the Street from the Kennedy Centre and sat in the park, I just started laughing’ and said to myself “aint this a bitch.”’ And that was just like Horace, no matter what the adversity, he’d find a way to find humour in it. You know, and according to people, he played the whole concert with his left hand and he was giving it so much, people who were in there were crying. You know, he was determined.”
P.S. Just to show how difficult the North Sea Jazz Festival is to stay in one place, Seu Jorge was on at the very same time as Dwight!
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