THE DIXIE TRICKS
AHEAD OF THE DIXIE TRICKS LIVE AT THE AJC, WE MEET TWO OF THE BAND’S MEMBERS. WHAT DO THEY FEEL THE DIXIE TRICKS WILL BRING TO THE AJC? WHO HAS INFLUENCED ED’S PLAYING? WOULD YOU WANT RAPH OPENING THE BATTING FOR YOUR TEAM? FIND OUT AS WE MEET BASSIST ED BABAR AND TROMBONIST RAPH CLARKSON.
1. Are you looking forward to The Dixie Tricks at The AJC?
EB: Of course - it's always enjoyable playing to a receptive audience. It's great fun working with creative musicians and planning exciting concerts.
RC: Very much so! This style of music is so full of joy and exuberance; it's the kind of thing that really brings the audience and the musicians on stage together. Everyone has a good time!
2. Ed, this is your second time at The AJC. Did you enjoy Tara Minton’s night?
EB: Tara's night was fantastic. There was a buzz through the band from the first notes we played in the rehearsal, and it seemed to continue through the concert. Tara and Tim bought
RC: A selection of old-time jazz favourites and some newer tunes 'dixie-fied' - played with energy, passion and a smile on our faces.
4. How does playing Dixieland music differ from more modern styles?
EB: I think that the key to playing Dixieland music is keeping things simple and allowing the band members to interact ideas with each other. The concept of playing as an ensemble is key to the style and, as mentioned in the previous answer, it is important to play with a great amount of energy and a smile!
RC: In the context of the jazz tradition, I think that the improvising approach is much more focused on melody than later modern styles. As a soloist, I love the direction that this points you in; it encourages you to be playful with phrases that you like from the song or tune you're working off, and it often feels like you end up improvising a (new) melody in itself. Also, I think Dixieland needs such a strong group 'chamber music' dynamic, especially across the three horns, each playing a specific role, interacting and listening with care to the fellow front-line players; I think this happens in a way that's quite different to more modern small group jazz set-ups.
5. Who do you feel has influenced you as a performer?
EB: As a performer I have always enjoyed listening to classic bass players who produced a large sound and who could really swing. I love the recordings that Paul Chambers and Ray Brown made with various bands and I think Charles Mingus was one of the greatest composers of the last Century.
RC: In terms of the Dixieland, Trad Jazz and the trombone, I've really enjoyed learning from the records of Vic Dickenson and Jack Teagarden, although my first great influence was J.J. Johnson. I also love the music of John Taylor and Kenny Wheeler - much later contemporary jazz musicians (and not trombonists!), but I think their sensibility for melodic improvising and beautiful phrases is something that I've always tried to incorporate into my playing since I first heard them.
6. Who are you really enjoying listening to at the moment?
EB: At the moment I'm listening to the modern jazz projects such as Terence Blanchard, Robert Glasper and Lionel Loueke. There's also an amazing scene of young musicians playing their own material in London and I try to support as much of that as I
RC: Again two very different records and eras! I'm really
enjoying Nat King Cole's 'After Midnight' which is stocked full
of fantastic tunes and musicians - the violinist Stuff Smith
was a real find for me on this album!
Into the present day, and Tigran Hamasyan, the New
York-based Armenian pianist. His albums Red Hail, and new
CD Shadow Theatre, are absolutely mind-blowing!
7. Away from music, what other passions take up your time?
EB: Other than music and music education I am a keen
cricketer, although that has been slightly depressing over
recent months! I also have a love of travelling and try to take
an extended trip away every year. I am looking forward to
spending most of April in Cuba this year.
RC: I love travelling, and especially hill or mountain hiking of
any sort. I also love sport, and enjoy playing football as well
as cricket in the summer- I'm an enthusiastic but slightly
incompetent leg-spinner with no batting skills whatsoever!
some lovely arrangements and compositions along as well.