This is an adaptation of an email exchange I had with a very gifted young bassist who played in one of my groups. I thought it would be of interest to any aspiring bassist. His name has been changed to ensure his anonymity. The following is his question (which took a lot of courage to ask) and my response, both of them edited to be more coherent than an email exchange and to protect the innocent.
This interview by freelance journalist Jerry Karp is the best and most comprehensive Michael has done. It is posted on Jerry’s website and was the basis for an excellent profile Jerry wrote about Michael for JazzWest.
Fly out of SFO at ungodly hour. With props to Dennis Miller, why are all the flight attendants so damn surly now? They sure seemed nicer back in the days of sexist and misogynistic America (even my ultra-feminist wife Carla, along for the ride, agrees.) In these times, “Hi, I’m Cindy, fly me” has been replaced with “Hi, I’m Jack, and to hell with you.” And Jack doesn’t look as good in high heels...
Saxophonist Michael Zilber notes the changing of the jazz guard, and how the lineage has shifted from the age of the jazz master to the age of the entrepreneur.
Question: Other than being jazz musicians, what do Louis Armstrong, Freddie Hubbard, Charles Mingus, Sarah Vaughan, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane, Stan Getz, Pharoah Sanders, Bill Evans, Max Roach, Dave Liebman and Coleman Hawkins — just to name a few — have in common?
I pledge allegiance to the America which holds these truths to be self-evident:
We must be judged on the content of our character and not the color of our skin
on the content of our character and not the God(s) we do or don't worship
on the content of our character and not our places of birth
on the content of our character and not who we choose to love
on the content of our character and not the contents of our bank accounts
where we do unto others as we would have them do unto us