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Dave Wilkes interview page 3

JazzMonthly: What is it you like most about working with jazz artists?

DW: When I work in jazz, I am most often among people who are intelligent, well spoken and interesting to have dinner with! It’s almost a mantra of mine that I wouldn’t want to work with an artist I don’t want to have dinner with! I relate best to people who are either formally or self educated and have the same values as I do and a level of sophistication. What’s the old cliché – if you want to fly with eagles, don’t hang around with the turkeys?

JazzMonthly: You started your career as the doorman at the Bitter End, wound up as manager and used your contacts to launch a career as an artist manager and then worked at various labels. Did you start out with a game plan or did you just do a great job where opportunity knocked?

DW: I had no game plan, or even an idea that there was a music business. I loved music and listening to albums and the radio, and when I starting hanging out in the village, I became enamored of that scene, met some amazing people and they started asking me to do thing for them. I was always driven by my passion for music. I was a little like Forrest Gump, stumbling upon amazing things and taking advantage of the opportunities. I guess if I had started with a master plan I might have had even more success.

JazzMonthly: What do you feel you have brought to the table with every artist and company you have worked for?

DW: Sensitivity to the great talent artists have, and the intuitive understanding of their greatness and being able to hear things at early stage before others heard it. For a long time, I didn’t think it was a real gift or anything that special. Sometimes it’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time. When I was at The Bitter End, I was on the ground floor of an explosive era in music history meeting great artists and creative people. When you are in the gold mines, it’s not so hard to pick up something shiny that might change your life.