Pop songwriter Jimmy Webb talks jazz

May 26th, 2019

.

.

 

.

.

…..The songwriter Jimmy Webb – best known for songs like “Wichita Lineman,” “Up, Up and Away,” “Galveston,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “MacArthur Park” – has collaborated over the years with pop artists like Glen Campbell, Linda Ronstadt, Joe Cocker, The Everly Brothers, Willie Nelson, Art Garfunkel, and The 5th Dimension.  But jazz musicians also revere his music – for example, the singer Cassandra Wilson and the guitarist Pat Metheny are among those who have recorded his songs.

…..In an April 28, 2019 post on Jazz Journal, journalist Mark Gilbert talks with Webb about his love for jazz music, and where it intersects with country music.

…..In this brief excerpt from the excellent interview, Gilbert asks Webb, “Do you think country music has anything to do with jazz?”

…..“Well, I’ll tell you this: My father’s favourite band, and an almost overly familiar sound around our house was Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, which they used to call Western Swing. Western Swing was nothing more or less than jazz. There are still bands around, like Asleep At The Wheel, paying homage to that West Texas style. Those old bands could play, and the fact that they’re riffing on steel guitars, which are notoriously awkward and difficult to play, and playing very fluid solos is quite marvellous.

…..“And you know, Glen Campbell comes to mind. He was such a highly accomplished virtuoso on guitar, and his favourite player and his inspiration was Django Reinhardt. It’s very hard to hear him play and not hear him occasionally quoting Django Reinhardt. He had a big painting of Django over the fireplace in his house.

…..“So yes, I think there are touchstones between jazz and country music. They don’t seem on the surface to be the same thing at all, because jazz in America has always been a very down, cool and mostly coastal New York and LA thing and it’s also been a left-leaning thing. And country music has been more of a right-leaning thing. The styles of the music are quite different in their pure state with this one notable exception, which is that improvisation is held in high regard in both jazz and country music. Players gain reputations and become legends in country music for their ability to negotiate the fretboard and to play quickly and come up with a good lick. Those two things are quite highly prized in both African-American influenced and country music.”

.

Click to read the entire interview

 

.

.

.

Share this:

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In this Issue

photo of Sullivan Fortner by Carol Friedman
“The Jazz Photography Issue” features an interview with today’s most eminent jazz portrait photographer Carol Friedman, news from Michael Cuscuna about newly released Francis Wolff photos, as well as archived interviews with William Gottlieb, Herman Leonard, Lee Tanner, a piece on Milt Hinton, a new edition of photos from Veryl Oakland, and much more…

Interview

photo by Michael Lionstar
In a wide-ranging interview, Nate Chinen, former New York Times jazz critic and currently the director of editorial content for WBGO (Jazz) Radio, talks about his book Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century,, described by Herbie Hancock as a “fascinating read” that shows Chinen’s “firm support of the music

Short Fiction

photo by Alysa Bajenaru
"Crossing the Ribbon" by Linnea Kellar is the winning story of the 51st Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest

Poetry

photo of Stan Getz by Veryl Oakland
Seventeen poets contribute to the Summer, 2019 collection of jazz poetry reflecting an array of energy, emotion and improvisation

“What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?”

"What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?"
Dianne Reeves, Nate Chinen, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Eliane Elias and Ashley Kahn are among the 12 writers, musicians, and music executives who list and write about their favorite Blue Note albums

Pressed for All Time

In this edition, Michael Jarrett interviews producer Nat Hentoff about the experience of working with Charles Mingus at the time of Mingus’ 1961 album. Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus — recorded for Hentoff’s short-lived label Candid Records

Art

"Dreaming of Bird at Billy Bergs" - by Charles Ingham
“Charles Ingham’s Jazz Narratives” — a continuing series

Poetry

Painting of John Coltrane by Tim Hussey
“broken embouchure” — a poem by M.T. Whitington

Art

photo of Chet Baker by Veryl Oakland

Jerry Jazz Musician regularly publishes a series of posts featuring excerpts of the photography and stories/captions found in Jazz in Available Light by Veryl Oakland. In this edition, Mr. Oakland's photographs and stories feature Yusef Lateef and Chet Baker

Interviews

photo by Francis Wolff, courtesy of Mosaic Records
Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, discusses her late husband’s complex, fascinating life.

Poetry

photo from Pixabay
“The Fibonacci Quartet Plays Improv” — a poem by Gerard Furey

Short Fiction

“The Stories of Strange Melodies” a story by Vivien Li , was a finalist in our recently concluded 51st Short Fiction Contest.

In the previous issue

Michael Cuscuna
Michael Cuscuna, Mosaic Records co-founder, is interviewed about his successful career as a jazz producer, discographer, and entrepreneur...

Contributing writers

Site Archive