Jazz Monthly: Well, you made up for it with “Caravan.” It is just unbelievable. I must have played that one 10 times.
MS: Yeah, I wish that we could get out and play it a little bit because then I think it would even go in more of that direction.
Jazz Monthly: Yes, absolutely. This is just one impressive book of music that I am just so stoked about and I noticed that Russell made some contributions to the record, Russell Ferrante.
MS: Of course he did, yeah. My family and my friends have been so good to me through the years and, yeah, it was great. Russell did “Detour” and did “Somewhere.”
Jazz Monthly: Yes, and Cyrus Chestnut. I was using my visuals with him of doing some of the arrangements on this as well.
MS: Yeah. Had I had time, you know, because I’d met Cyrus also like I’d met Willie and Gerald, in just that moment that we just started working and it would’ve been great to put a little camera up and try to get some of this done. It went down so quickly but it was such a joy to be with everybody and get to know them and get to know their playing. Cyrus is a very talented man and a very sweet heart.
Jazz Monthly: Yes, you’ve got to appreciate that and maybe that’s why everything gelled so well and so quickly because when you have great musicians like that—
Jazz Monthly: And they have great personalities and just great human beings to start with—
Jazz Monthly: Things roll a lot smoother and we develop the same vibe quickly and we know what everyone’s expecting.
MS: Well, most of the projects that Venus does are instrumental and I think that they can run and put their boots on really quick with a three-day session and cut 15, 18 tunes, you know, and it’s all there. But when you throw a vocal in it, it’s different. It just changes everything and so it takes a little longer and it’s quite a bit to chew and to pull off. I think we did it most of the time, but the guys were really willing to try and I salute them for that because they didn’t know me very well.
Jazz Monthly: Well, they do now.
MS: But yet their playing was so generous and so open that by the time we were done we said that we hoped that we could play live together, all of us, to play some of these tunes because we wanted to play them more. I mean, you only get like two or three times at the most to go through the tune to do it and that’s including cutting it and then you’re on to the next tune, so you barely have a chance to really shape it.
Jazz Monthly: Yes, well, this is a little different doing everything in studio together.
MS: Well, we always do that. We always do it together, but we always have like months to do it in or two months to do it in and really have a couple of extra tunes so that if something doesn’t really come together, then you have something else that you can choose from and develop that tune too. But we always play all at once together and sing and cut the tune, but that’s over two or three days of just maybe if we cut five tunes in one day and five in another day and a couple more in the next and then you come back in and we fix solos and add maybe some percussion and there’s other things that you might want to do.
Jazz Monthly: Yes, it’s quite a bit of work, yet the results are just amazing, they really are.
MS: Yeah, well, and Ken Peplowski, he did a great job.
Jazz Monthly: Yes indeed. And I hear more and more how musicians are doing things across the country and long distance with computers and this kind of thing, but you always love that studio feel, you know? It’s just a beautiful thing.
MS: Yeah, I mean, you’ve gotta be willing to take a shot. You can’t judge yourself so seriously that it has to be absolutely perfect. It really doesn’t and it didn’t in the old days, and it just proves more about yourself if you can take the shot at it and risk a little bit, and I think it’s a good thing. It’s not so bad. But anyway, you do always want more time if you can have it, but if you can’t, when are you gonna get another shot? You may not.
Jazz Monthly: Right, absolutely. And it’s got that real deal kind of improv vibe that I always love because everything’s right there.
Jazz Monthly: It’s so instinctive, you might say.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, and I think that’s the real litmus of great music, you know?
MS: I think it can be too and other times you wish it had been different but, I mean, that’s just the risk you take.
Jazz Monthly: Right.
MS: But that’s okay too.