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"Jazz Monthly Feature Interview" Marcus Coleman

marcus colemanSmitty:  Well, when you talk about great keyboard players, you must include my next guest.  He’s got a fantastic CD out, it’s self-titled, and let me tell you, when I heard this record, my immediate response was “This is elegant funk.” Please welcome the incomparable MWC recording artist Mr. Marcus Coleman.  Marcus, how ya doin’, man?

Marcus Coleman (MC):  I’m great, thank you.

Smitty:  All right.  Hey, man, this is a great new record you’ve got here and I’m really digging the vibe. In fact, everyone that I’m around that have heard this record, are just raving about it, and you’ve gotta be proud of this music.

MC:  I am, man, it’s just a combination and a melding of a whole bunch of different influences and a whole bunch of different types of music that I actually like.

Smitty:  Yeah, absolutely.  You know, when I heard the first song from this record….I heard it on Steve Quirk’s “Fusion Flavours” radio station out of Manchester, England.

MC:  Great.

Smitty:  And I heard “Feel Inside,” and it got my attention as I was doing working on a project….and I said “Man, I like that song,” so I went about my business and the following week I heard another track off this project, and I think I heard “Mood Reflections.”

MC:  Okay, yeah.

Smitty:  And I said “All right, who is this Marcus Coleman guy?”

MC:  (Laughing.)

Smitty:  You know, I said “This is some funky stuff.”

MC:  Yeah.

Smitty:  So I had to talk to my boy Steve Quirk in England, and I must thank him because you and I would not be talking today if it wasn’t for him.

MC:  Oh, great.

Smitty:  He’s a good friend and does a lot of great things with his show.

MC:  Yeah. He contacted me and was just like “Send me the record right now.  I need to play this on my radio show right now.”  (Both laughing.)  The response that he’s been getting, it’s been great and he’s kinda telling me about what’s going on.

Smitty:  Fantastic.

MC:  The record….hey, I tell you what, the record is a record for people that love music, and if you love music, you’re gonna identify with it immediately.

Smitty:  Absolutely, I truly think so, I think you’re right because it’s got that groove and the melodies throughout the record, and it’s got dance tunes, it’s got some chill, laid back tunes.

MC:  Right.

Smitty: ….and it’s just got that bebop, head-boppin’ thing working.

MC:  Right.

Smitty:  It’s just got it all.

MC:  Yeah, I mean, that’s kinda the sensibility of what I was trying to accomplish, was to put a record together that had all of the sensibilities and all the influences and nuances of music that really has color, has dynamics….it keeps your attention. It’s unfortunate because music nowadays doesn’t really do that.  It’s a really big commercial machine that thrusts this music onto people, but it really doesn’t have the depth or the scope where music came from or where it could possibly go.

Smitty:  There’s some out there but not as much as it should be. I know what you mean.

MC:  And I just think that, for me just being a music lover first but then a musician, I like to hear musicians actually play music that really takes music to that level where it really speaks to your soul.

Smitty:  Yeah, and this does. It definitely does. How long have you been playing the keyboards, man?

MC:  I’ve been playing since I was two years old.

Smitty:  Two years old.

MC:  My first recital was when I was (laughs)….I think I was three.  I think I was three at my first recital at El Camino College in Gardena, California. And I’ve been fooling with it ever since.

Smitty:  Man, that’s amazing. You’ve come a long way. The chops are there!

MC:  Oh yeah, it’s been a long journey, a lot of stuff to learn, a lot of people to listen to, a lot of stuff to study.

Smitty:  Yeah. Talk about some of your influences along the way.

MC:  How it really got started, there was a school….when I was in junior high school, I was trying to find this thing in my head that just kept saying “music, music, music.” My mom used to listen to all these records, adult contemporary stuff, like Anita Baker, Luther Vandross, stuff like that and then she was into old school stuff, but what happened was I went to school one day….and the principal called me into the office and she says “Marcus, I want you to walk down the street here to this other school.”  Now, you’re not supposed to be walking out of the school campus when you’re in junior high school.  So she says “Walk down the street,” and I go down the street to what they called the R.D. Colburn School of Performing Arts. And it had a very big affiliation with USC at the time. They had a bunch of USC students that come in and out of there for rehearsal purposes or whatnot, so they gave me a full scholarship to attend their school until I turned 18, so I guess that was 12 to 18.

Smitty:  Cool.
 

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