(January 2003) - My first exposure to Adam Nussbaum came by way of New York jazz guitarist John Abercrombie recordings. I'm quite familiar with Nussbaum's work in a modern approach to jazz, yet his numerous projects explore the entire jazz spectrum. The musicians he has accompanied and recorded with reads like a book of who's who in the jazz community.
Nussbaum was born in New York and majored in music at Davis Centre, City College of New York. Nussbaum's family environment embraced a deep appreciation for the arts and he eventually involved himself in jazz.
- Mark D McKinley (Mark's Online Music Source)
Photo by Heinz Kronberger
mogswebsite.com: What becomes your primary focus when playing for a modern jazz guitarist such as John Abercrombie, verses a more traditional guitarist in a trio setting?
Adam Nussbaum: Each situation brings it's own specific requirements. I listen, feel and respond and try to supply what the music demands.
mogswebsite.com: Would you explain the distinction between using restraint and displaying a show of force in terms of setting the appropriate beat when accompanying musicians of varying styles.
Adam Nussbaum: My goal is to accompany in a manner that is appropriate for the music. By using a combination of my intuition, experience, ears, and being sensitive, I try to do the right thing.
mogswebsite.com: Do traditional jazz compositions or modern jazz compositions play the bigger role in making that distinction?
Adam Nussbaum: I think you have to be accountable to the music and it's participants.
mogswebsite.com: Would you offer some insight into the music of the Uffe Steen Trio?
BIG FUN!!! Uffe has a great sound and a very blues oriented feel in everything he plays. Lennart Ginman
plays bass in a very strong supportive manner that enables us to have a solid foundation and HIT!
I love that. We just played ........
mogswebsite.com: What other projects have you been involved with that combined elements of jazz, blues and/or rock?
Many. I'm a product of the times I've grown up in. A lot of situations have involved many fusions of different elements. The following artists all respect the jazz tradition, but have brought other elements to their music as well, Dave Liebman
, John Scofield
, John Abercrombie
, Bob Berg
, Mike Brecker, Randy Brecker
, Eliane Elias
, Gil Evans
, Mike Stern
, Uffe Steen
, Dalia Faitelson
, and others.
mogswebsite.com: What projects are you working on for 2003?
mogswebsite.com: As an artist, I occasionally focus on a select group of colors depending on the image I wish to achieve. As a musician, what determines your choices of drums/percussions as far as the setup you would use to achieve your goal?
Adam Nussbaum: I usually use a kit of traditional size drums and depend on my ears to determine my tuning and touch to achieve the sonic results that work in the context at hand.
mogswebsite.com: Imagining drums being your canvases, what colors would you begin with if you were providing [painting] the heartbeat for a performer such as Cassandra Wilson?
Adam Nussbaum: I would start with natural earth tone colors.
mogswebsite.com: Who are the new artists you consider to be innovators in jazz?
Adam Nussbaum: I won't name individuals. The world is getting smaller. We live in a time when everything is influencing everyone ........ Music has always been effected by the world around it.
mogswebsite.com: I'm sure there have been many performances that have left you inspired, but is there one performance that stands above the rest, involving exceptional improvisations amongst your fellow musicians?
Adam Nussbaum: Those magical moments have happened in a variety of situations. I can't isolate any one gig. Hopefully the next one!
mogswebsite.com: Let's talk a few minutes about drummers that really inspire you. Who are they?
Adam Nussbaum: The great ones. We all know who they are.
mogswebsite.com: Which is the greater source of their inspiration for you-- their technique of playing the drums, or their attitude toward the instrument?
Adam Nussbaum: The attitude. To quote an old saying .....
'It ain't what you do, it's the way you do it'
mogswebsite.com: What nontraditional instrument would you like to introduce into a trio format for the sole purpose of expounding on jazz improvisations?
Adam Nussbaum: Interesting question. I'm more concerned with what's being conveyed, than the instrument it's on.
mogswebsite.com: You've been involved with several of Jamey Aebersold's projects. At what music junction did your paths cross?
I initially met Jamey
in Australia, when on tour with Dave Liebman in 1980. I was involved in workshops along with him and a fantastic teacher, Ed Soph
mogswebsite.com: How has Jamey influenced your own thoughts on music?
Adam Nussbaum: I respect his devotion to helping spread the word of jazz.
mogswebsite.com: How do you balance the demands placed on your time and talents?
Adam Nussbaum: It's a constant challenge. Trying to play, trying to be with the family, and trying to pay the bills ........
mogswebsite.com: What interests do you pursue outside the studios and live performances?
Adam Nussbaum: I love my family. I like to read, enjoy the company of people, my dog ............. I'm fortunate to love what I do. It's a real challenge at times, but it's an ongoing ever-changing journey.
(C) 2003 Mark's Online Music Source
Photo by Heinz Kronberger