10 Fingers: Tomeka Reid

By Hannah Dexter

Tomeka Reid

1) What music do you listen to when you’re feeling thoughtful?
Violinist Michael White’s Pneuma record from 1972. I love the whole vibe of the record and the positivity it speaks.

2) What is your favorite music to dance to?
That’s a tough one as I actually really love dancing. I still do pretty much the same thing I did when I would come home after school in junior high/high school. When I get home I usually dance around the house for about 30 minutes!! LOL! I love late 90′s hip hop, Earth Wind and Fire and high life music! And of course House music!!

3) What’s a profound moment you had teaching/receiving a lesson or in a class?
Really understanding that you have to try. And learning to embrace outcomes whatever they maybe. But that you always have to try. Some things might work. Some things might not. In either case you will learn something valuable as it’s often more about the journey to the goal than the goal itself.

4) Who is a young musician that we should be looking out for?
Tyshawn Sorrey! (This is the second time someone has said Tyshawn in our interviews!)
Ingrid Laubrock!

5) What music from your childhood has stuck with you?
Wow. LOL! I would have to say the Smiths and Elvis Costello.

6) What was the first album you bought with your own money?
Ravel‘s Bolero. I was obsessed with this piece for a while in Junior high!

7) What song did you have stuck in your head today?
Changes by Jimi Hendrix. Totally blasted it in the car on the way to doing my errands this morning.

8) What’s your favorite basement chilling album?
Can I list 3?!?! Jeff Parker’s Like Coping, Digable Planets’ Blowout Comb, and Anything by Jimi Hendrix.

9) If you could see any 5 musicians perform, alive or dead, who would they be?
I’m going to only include people I have never seen: Abdul Wadud, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, Mstivslav Rostropovich, and Sun Ra.

I just realized these are all men. But they were honestly the first that popped into my head. I have been fortunate seen many of the female artists that I would have wanted to see though! And I have had the opportunity to play with many great ones too…Nicole Mitchell, Dee Alexander, Mazz Swift, Silvia Bolognesi, Katie Young, Ann Ward, Ingrid Laubrock and many others!!

10) Who is your favorite musician to play with?
That’s another tough question. I feel so blessed to play with all of the many amazing musicians that the universe has put in my midst that’s it’s kind of hard to say. I know that I would really love to play in a group playing the music of Henry Threadgill some day. I love his writing!

Until next time,
Write sisters, write!
– Hannah

10 Fingers: Antonio Hart

by Ella Campbell

After we talked to Marcus Strickland at the Dave Holland Big Band concert in Ann Arbor, we talked to Antonio Hart.

1. What was the first record you bought that you couldn’t stop listening to?
I don’t remember the name of it, it was a Johnny Griffin record. And then I bought The Best of John Coltrane, that had Naima, Giant Steps and all that on there. The Sugarhill Gang, because I grew up in the rap generation you know. Winelight, Grover Washington Jr. That’s the stuff I started listening to.

2. What music was in your household while you were small that you grew up listening to?
All the Motown music. Marvin Gaye, The Spinners, The Temptations, The Four Tops. Not jazz. Not at all. Gospel music.

3. What’s your favorite music to dance to?
Whatever makes me move my body.

4. What’s your favorite music to listen to if you’re hanging out with people?
I like to listen to Bob Marley and Afrobeat. It really depends on the mood, I could listen to some traditional jazz or a nice vocalist. When I’m chillin in the club having a glass of wine or just relaxing, something else.

5. What music do you listen to calm down?
I do a lot of Tai Chi so I listen to a lot of Chinese music, which is geared toward the martial arts that I do. It depends, I might put on some Debussy, I might put on some Prince. Hm. Who else do I like to listen to? It depends on the time of the day. Sometimes I don’t want to hear jazz at all. So I’ll listen to Mary J Blige

Ella: “Have you seen the double bill she’s doing with D’Angelo?”
AH: “I know some guys that are in the band, I’ve heard it’s happening, Did you go? How was it?”
Ella: “I loved it.”
AH: “I mean, I like all of it. We play jazz but, really, we’re musicians. I’ve played with Common, I’ve played with a lot of different people. All of us have played,” he pointed to Mark Gross, “he played with Mary J, with D’Angelo and those cats. We all played a lot of everything, you know? You have to.”
Ella: “That’s what I want to do. I want to play a lot of everything.”
AH: “You just gotta prepare yourself. Practice. It’s about making communications and all about relationships. You could be the best saxophone player in the world but if you don’t make relationships with people you’ll be sitting and not working. You know, you have to be careful too.” He looked at Christen and I, “You both are beautiful women, so you have to be really careful about the way you present yourself. Present yourself in a professional way so that guys know you’re not some chick that’s gonna let them get in your pants. You have to be very very serious, because once you get that reputation, with this guy or that guy, it’s over for you. Over. I mean, you pick and choose your battles. But to be respected as a professional musician, you have to present yourself in that way. Be able to read the music. Show up on time. Everything that’s expected of anybody else to do. And if someone talks to you in a way that’s not appropriate, you shut it down right away. Right away. And if they don’t call you again, that’s good. You know what I mean? That’s the best advice I can give you. I’ve been in New York for 20 years. I want you to be successful, and I want you to be happy. Because guys are gonna try, I mean, they’re probably doing it already.”
Christen: “yup.”
Ella: “yup.”
AH: “I mean, that’s kind of what we do. Just be careful. Keep practicing. Make relationships. Be a good person. Put energy out there. Pray, and ask for that. It’ll come to you. You’ll get a chance. But you’ve gotta have your eyes open. If you keep looking at what somebody else is doing, you might miss your opportunity. So keep your eyes open for opportunity, keep yourself on your horn, and study as much music as possible. Different kinds of music. That’s it.”

Until next time,
Swing, brothers and sisters, swing!
Jazz Girls