Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Tim Price Bloggin' For D'Addario Woodwinds- Part 2- "Give me 5"- Mindi Abair -guest artist.

It has been my contention that the most valuable viewpoints come from those who do. Thus, it’s logical to assume that any saxist who is surviving in this field, and doing it with success, is doing something right. The energies we all put into our craft; The years of apprenticeship and life-struggle, and the never ending open tuition to the school of hard knocks is always balanced by the intense commitment to the horn, and the pure love of playing it.That is exactly why...Mindi Abair is doing Part 2 of these special info blogs of mine called- GIVE ME 5.

1 talk about your conception and how you envision the boneshakers prior to even the first rehearsals and gigs

MINDI- first met Randy Jacobs when I moved to LA. I didn’t know anyone, and I was asked to come play with this rock band by Oliver Leiber (Jerry Leiber’s son).  I showed up and the guitarist was literally doing backflips off the stage in mid guitar solo.  It was wall to wall people… the loudest band I’ve ever played with… and it was a party!  That guitarist was Randy Jacobs.  He had started his own blues/rock band The Bonehskakers.  It was born out of Was Not Was and Bonnie Raitt’s band.  She actually said “You guys are boneshaking!” and inadvertently named the band.  I’ve always been a fan.  Through the years we’ve both played on each other’s records for years. toured on and off together and remained close friends.  Cut to about 3 years ago when The Boneshakers were on Stage X and my band was on Stage Y for the Newport Beach Jazz Fest.  I went over to sit in with him… we’re family.  I stayed for the whole set… it was magic.. inspiring… it’s what music should feel like every night!  That day we decided we should join forces and become Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers.

We did 3 days of rehearsal for our first gig together up in Seattle at Jazz Alley.  We’ve done Valentines week there for a dozen or so years.  I had a friend record, as I thought the band had an intangible magic.  That became our live record that we released months later in Sept 2015.  

This is our first studio record together.  It’s powerful, cohesive, definitely blues/rock, and fun to the core.  The music we wrote showcases the talents and quirks and fun of the band.  We all really came alive in the studio and recorded everything in 5 days as a band.  It was magic, but this time it was a studio record!  

There was great inspiration all around.  We were at EastWest Studios and The Foo Fighters were in the studio next to us mixing their record.  My drummer would disappear into Dave Grohl’s car to hear rough mixes.  I’d see them out there flipping their heads back and forth to the music.  It sounded amazing.  And Justin Timberlake was in the studio next to us on the other side.  Justin would hang around and vibe on our songs and introduced himself and his wife to me near the end of our recording.  Wow, what a great guy and a great music lover.  He loved my track with Fantastic Negrito, “She Don’t Cry No More."

2- Mindi to me you've always been somebody who which the audience with your horn. In this band that is even more profound than ever-also you seem to have created a niche that I do not hear happening in other places these days. Tell me about it!

Mindi -I miss the days when saxophone was as integral of an instrument as the electric guitar.  Junior Walker, King Curtis…these guys were at the top of the pop charts.  Amazing.  We’ve lost that.

Saxophone and the genre of jazz is perceived now by many Americans as “Kenny G” and happy elevator music.  That’s not all that’s out there.  My band has grit, abandon, love, and power that they emote in every set.  It’s non-stop.  It’s great musicianship, it’s real, it’s visceral and heart moving.  I wrote a lot of songs to fit this line up well and exploit everyone’s incredible talents.  Randy Jacobs and I are just riding the wave of energy that we’ve written and cultivated with this band. 

3- I always found a vocal ability in your playing that goes back to old-school type values and also telling the story when you played. I've heard you play tenor and it knocked me out - there's times when you play alto with the boneshakers I hear some of that bleeding through and it's amazing. Do you know what I'm talking about elaborate on that for the people.

I definitely think as a singer.  And saxophone is the closest instrument to the human voice.  It has so much nuance and range of sound.  I grew up listening to Tina Turner and wanting to be her. Nancy Wilson from Heart had that cool leg kick during her guitar solos.  I thought Heart was amazing.  I started school band playing a saxophone because I’d watched my father play sax growing up on the road with his band.  It looked like he was having a great time playing it knocking his knees together and shimmying out notes.  When I was in college I practiced playing to records of singers… gospel ensembles, Stevie Wonder, etc.  I loved their phrasing.  I feel that saxophone is a beautiful extension of who I am.  It amplifies the emotion I can put out in every way.

4-what are some things that you expect to be happening in the future with this particular band and also the music. And also discuss some of the songs on the new CD and the directions they are headed and where they came from.

 This record is a blast.  It’s pure energy from every band member.  I wrote about 50 songs and pared it down to 11 for the recording.  We recorded at EastWest Studios in Hollywood.  We did 5 days with the Foo Fighters in the studio behind us and Justin Timberlake in the studio beside us.  Now that’s some great mojo.  My drummer would be listening to Foo Fighters mixes in Dave Grohl’s car on breaks!  It’s an amazing studio, and we had so much fun recording “old school” as a band for 5 days.  There were no fixes and overdubs.  If we went in to do a tambourine track over the top, the rest of us would go in and sing backgrounds and keep it a gang vibe.  It was all of the band all of the time.  So much fun.

5- is there anything else that you would like to talk about? I could ask you another 50 questions and I know you would have amazing answers. But this one's open to you. Is this something that you would like to add to all of this.?

I wrote a song for the record called “Pretty Good For A Girl.”  Joe Bonamassa came in and recorded it with us.  He was incredible.  The song speaks about my journey as a woman in a man’s world, and that phrase “Pretty Good For A Girl” has become a motivating call for me.. a mantra.  I built a website where we feature women that are doing amazing things http://www.prettygoodforagirl.net   There are so many women accomplishing amazing things in music and beyond.  We’re asking women to submit video clips to be in my music video for the song “Pretty Good For A Girl."  I think it’s great to uplift the women out there who are breaking glass ceilings daily.  I didn’t think twice about being a woman playing saxophone.  No one told me there were glass ceilings to break out there, but I think it’s pretty incredible to be a part of shattering some of those that are left.

There you have it dear reader Part 2 - Of GIVE ME 5 With Mindi Abair.

Please take note of her answer on question 2 and I quote-
 " I miss the days when saxophone was as integral of an instrument as the electric guitar.  Junior Walker, King Curtis…these guys were at the top of the pop charts.  Amazing.  We’ve lost that."  

From the mouth of a master player and someone who is out there and knows. Listen and learn!
I couldn't agree more- As  I say in the start of this blog -  " It has been my contention that the most valuable viewpoints come from those who do. Thus, it’s logical to assume that any saxist who is surviving in this field, and doing it with success, is doing something right." Mindi is laying knowledge out- listen and check it.

Her CD to me is a breath of fresh air- The very best music on today's scene and all the players in the " Boneshakers" are world class legends! Thank you so much Mindi for your time, soul and being you.  - Tim Price- D'Addario blogger.

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