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  May 2007
"Jazz Monthly Feature Interview" Slide Hampton

slide hamptonSmitty:  With a collection of music that tops most bestsellers, my next guest has established himself as a true living legend.  He has released a wonderful new project and I call it a “hold onto your hat” project.  He does a great tribute to a fantastic artist, Mr. Antonio Carlos Jobim.  The record is called Slide Plays Jobim. He’s one of my favorite musicians. Please welcome the incredible Mr. Slide Hampton.  Slide, it is an honor, my friend. How are you?

Slide Hampton (SH):  Doing really well and very happy to have this opportunity to spend this time with you.

Smitty:  Thank you! The pleasure is mine as well. I’m just so excited about this new record and when I listen to this record and your many other recordings as well, I say to myself, you were just made for Bossa Nova.

SH:  I love the Bossa Nova.

Smitty:  What a great project.

SH:  Oh, thank you. I’ve always loved the music of Jobim.

Smitty:  Yes, now, you first heard Jobim at a very early age, right?

SH:  Yes I did.  I enjoyed it so much, I never tried doing it, never ever tried to play it or write it, I just listened to it and really loved it, and then I finally decided to do this CD Slide Plays Jobim.

Smitty:  Now, when you decided to do this project, it must have been a treat to work with John Lee on this project.

SH:  Yes. John is always listening to his music a lot too and I’ve listened to it for many, many years, and John had some friends that are Brazilian musicians, so he came up with the idea to do the CD and I did all of the arrangements and played on it, and we really did have a great time with it.

Smitty:  Yes, you did, and you could tell that everyone really had a great time playing this great music, and the arrangements are impeccable, talk about how you came up with these arrangements because we still hear Jobim, but you were so fluid on the trombone and all these great musicians supporting you, they were just such a perfect fit for this project.

SH:  Well, they were enjoying it so much and there was a big inspiration with what the whole thing was based on, the arrangements came so easily because of the beautiful compositions that Jobim had composed.

Smitty:  Yes.

SH:  When I started writing, everything just came naturally and it flowed, it came out very quickly.

Smitty:  Yes, and when you think about this whole project and just the whole idea of when a musician has such an admiration for another musician, it really has to be some serious inspiration and a serious admiration to do a whole project with someone’s music to that degree, you know what I mean?

SH:  Well, see, the thing that really always is just inspiring to us is someone that has a great natural sense of harmony like the Brazilians do and has written these very beautiful compositions just one after the other, and you listen to this music and it’s just so wonderful to listen to and it’s so inspiring to actually play it or write any arrangements on, so it’s just really a great opportunity to have had the chance to do this kind of arrangement on a recording.

Smitty:  Beautiful, and your trombone fits so well with this music.  It’s such a no-brainer.  I just love the arrangements and how you blend the trombone so well. 

SH:  Well, the whole thing about the trombone is—the tradition of the trombone is to develop the most beautiful sound that you can, starting all the way back with Tommy Dorsey and Johnny Young, all the great trombone players, and even before that, the classical trombone players.  And so this is the thing that—in fact, it seems like the Brazilians, they’ve always been kind of partial to trombones also.  They did use a lot of trombones in their recordings.

Smitty:  Absolutely. Talk about what it meant to have the vocalist, Maucha Adnet, there.

SH:  Oh yeah, Maucha, she worked with Jobim.

Smitty:  Yes.

SH:  And she knew all of this music, man, and she taught us the thing that we didn’t know.  She taught us the melodies and the freedom of the way that she actually expresses herself when she’s interpreting the music and it was just really a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with her and hear her sing.  She’s really something special.

Smitty:  Yes she is and I just love her voice and the way she weaves so effortlessly through the tracks.  Track 4, “Voce Vai Ver [You Will See],” you just get so captivated and caught up in such tunes like that.

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