CD: I always dreamed about that, to be able to ask people like that, or have Rhonda [Smith], who used to play with Prince. We were both in the band when we did Musicology. But even every day I would look at her on stage, even being on the same stage, I would just go wow and my mouth would just be open all night looking at her. And I never thought people like that I could have them in a band or something, but they are all so good—and I think our mutual love of music keeps us together. They are so in love with music that they will do tours. I mean, one day they’re playing with Prince and it’s all very luxurious and then the next day they come with me, which is, of course, a total different level, but they love it because they know that we’re gonna make honest and good music and that we try to do everything in our power to make it fun, and that’s why they come along, but I’m still very proud of that. I’m from Holland, hey.
Jazz Monthly: Yes, in fact, I had some time to just kind of kick it and hang out with the band while you were doing some other things, interviews, and they spoke so highly of you.
CD: Oh, that’s nice. (Laughs.)
Jazz Monthly: Yes, they just love being on tour with you, Rhonda and Chance [Howard], oh my Gosh, that’s my boy.
CD: Yeah, the funny thing is, I mean, I think we’re all in it basically for the music, otherwise we wouldn’t do all these things. That’s our life and that’s what everybody wants to do, and I couldn’t work with people who would be any way other than that, but I also think these great people, we all jell together because there’s no drama, you know what I mean?
Jazz Monthly: Exactly.
CD: It’s the same thing what I loved about Althea. When I met her, I thought, gee, she’s so down to earth, she’s passionate when she’s on stage, and that’s the same with Rhonda. She’s like a totally different person on stage when you see her, but outside of that, it’s no drama, it’s just the music, no egos, and there could be a lot of stuff like that because everybody has had high profile gigs and everybody knows what he or she’s doing, but there’s none of that and I think everybody appreciates it very much.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, that’s beautiful.
CD: And that’s really important, and it’s so funny to find people all over the world that have come to the same conclusion and go like “Oh, please, no drama. Just playing, having fun, enjoying and going with the flow,” but still it’s very rare, so I talk to people in other bands. They go like “Oh my God, it’s been terrible, we’ve been on tour and this has happened and this has happened.” We had nice dinners and we wanted to just to go out at night and we had great gigs, and that’s our experience and I think we’re all happy about that.
Jazz Monthly: Yes, and it carries over to the gigs. When you jell so well away from the gig, man, when you’re on stage, it just all comes together. That love and the passion just comes out and it’s just so evident.
CD: Yeah, and sometimes people don’t have a clue what really touring is about and they think, oh, it’s performing the best every night. Of course it is, but the traveling and I’m sort of half famous, so sometimes I get this really luxurious treatment and then the band does and sometimes we’re in these weird, really small ratty hotels at strange gigs in strange countries with minimal stuff there like lighting or equipment. I love that variation because it really makes you appreciate it when it’s all very well arranged and it also makes you think sometimes like life’s not all about limos and dressing rooms and stuff like that. But in the end, you can only do that with people that just go like “Oh, okay, whatever, as long as we can play the gig.”
Jazz Monthly: Yeah.
CD: And it’s amazing to have people that have done so much different stuff that can be like that, and Rhonda’s like that, Kirk’s [Johnson] like that, Chance is like that, and my two buddies, Ulco [Bed] and Thomas [Bank], are like that so, yeah, we found each other in that aspect, really.
Jazz Monthly: Yes, and that’s like you mentioned, very rare. It is something to never take for granted. I noticed that you’re sporting a different saxophone these days.
CD: Yeah, but I’m changing around because I figured at North Sea I’d play my new Inderbinen saxophone, it’s a Swiss-made saxophone, and it’s one of the few newly made saxophones that I like. I’ve always been in love with the Selmer. But in the meantime, people have built new saxophones and sometimes I couldn’t deal with the sound. It would be louder and it would be more in tune, but it sort of lost a little bit of the soul.
And then somebody, or actually, Tommy Inderbinen, who makes the saxophone, came to see me at a gig and he tapped me on the shoulder while I was sound checking and he said “I have this new saxophone.” And I was really not nice, I was a bit jaded, and I would say like “Well, whatever. Just give it to me and I’ll show you why I play my old Selmer.” I was just very grumpy, I don’t know, that day. I apologized later because when I played the first two notes, I was like “Ah! Excuse me, could I borrow this saxophone for a minute?” And at first I thought I had to eat my words. At first I thought, well, this is great to have a backup saxophone because that’s the fear of every Selmer Mark VI player when once it gets stolen or when it breaks down, you don’t have anything to replace it because there are no two saxophones alike in the old Selmers.
And so at first I thought that, but then I started playing it and I loved it so much. I have been playing it for the last one and a half years, or two years, and I just love it. I just have to go back to my Selmer now because it broke down, I dropped it somewhere, I’m terrible, but they’re fixing it now, so I’ll probably go back, and the Selmer’s great too. It’s just that the Inderbinen, it’s one of the few newly made instruments that are still made by hand like the Selmers used to be. It’s hand-hammered so, I don’t know, eight people are pounding on that thing for like four weeks. That’s why it takes a long time to get them in the shops because everybody’s asking about them and they never get any material because, yeah, it’s just a handmade thing. It’s like beautiful Italian handmade shoes. It just feels more special than one that’s made in the factory and there’s a lot of thought went into this and a lot of heart. You can really tell when you play it.
Jazz Monthly: Yes, and he’s a sax player himself, isn’t he?
CD: Yeah, his father is the owner of the Inderbinen Trumpet Factory and that’s a very famous factory for trumpets, but he just wanted to try and make a saxophone and he tried everything. I think he worked on it for years and years, and he finally came up with a model that he says is sort of a cross between the Conn and the Selmer, and then he made some adjustments to it which he would like as a player, and he’s dead right. It’s just the warmth of a Selmer and a Conn, but it has the power of almost like a tenor. I get all these guys that are jealous. They go like “Wow, but the bell is so big. You sound so loud.” And I’m like “Yeah!”
Jazz Monthly: (Both laugh.) Oh, wow, and it’s a beautiful sound, wow.
Jazz Monthly: And you’re gonna be doing a U.S. tour in October, right?
CD: Yes, yes. Please check on my Web site for all the updates. This is actually a tour that came together—we wanted to do a bigger tour next year, but there were so many people asking for us to come to these places that we couldn’t refuse. It feels so good to be asked, and we have our new album out, so this is like a short tour, but we’ll definitely come back also next summer and then we’ll do a longer tour, but this is really exciting and I’m going to a lot of places that I haven’t been before, so it’s gonna be nice.