Jazz Monthly: It gives me great pleasure to have this wonderful guest joining me here at JazzMonthly.com. She’s had such a real deal appeal throughout her career and case in point is her great new record. It is just stuffed full with sweet funky grooves. You are gonna love this great record. It is called Candy Store. Please welcome the amazing Ms. Candy Dulfer. Candy, how are you, my friend?
Candy Dulfer (CD): I’m great. Thank you so much. I’m doing good.
Jazz Monthly: Great, and you’ve had a great 2007 so far.
CD: Yeah, it’s been fantastic from the start. I first started with the Smooth Jazz tour with Brian Culbertson, and then I did a tour with my hero, Sheila E, the television program where I interviewed all my musical heroes. I did that throughout the year. I did a European tour with my band, we did an American tour, and now we’re gonna go back and do another Japanese tour and a U.S. tour, so I can’t complain. It was great.
Jazz Monthly: Yes, and like you mentioned, you’ve collaborated with so many great artists and it just had to be a blast to work with so many musicians and do your thing too at the same time.
CD: Yeah, it is because that’s what keeps everything fresh. I wouldn’t wanna be just a backup player for other people all my life and I also wouldn’t wanna be just a band leader for the rest of my life. It’s the combination that makes it so interesting and so I learn so much from it every time and it never gets boring this way so, yeah, I’m very lucky.
Jazz Monthly: Tell me about this television series. What was that all about?
CD: Well, it’s a series I—how do you say it? Thought up together with my best friend because we felt, especially on Dutch television, but anywhere nowadays, that there’s so little music and programs about music on television except for MTV and that kind of stuff, and I wanted to show people how many great artists that are there still out there that maybe aren’t in the hit parades all the time or haven’t got big hits at the moment but that are still really worthwhile checking into, especially for young people and kids, and the people that I chose were also people that I know and really think of as my mentors and my heroes.
So I went on and interviewed Sheila E, Maceo Parker, Mavis Staples, Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics, Van Morrison—that was great because he never gives interviews—and then last but not least, my own dad, Hans Dulfer, and, yeah, it had many sides. I wanted to show people how nice these people are because somebody like Mavis Staples, I mean, in the States, of course, so many people know her, but in Europe, only the people that are really into music know her and I think that’s such a loss for the rest of the world, so I tried to make a nice portrait of her. Same goes for the other people and, of course, Van Morrison is somebody everybody knows, but they don’t know him like I know him and I thought it would be nice if that side from him came across, so it was a beautiful opportunity and everybody was nice enough to give us two full days of filming and that’s really extraordinary, and it was so beautiful.
It was very meaningful to me, very inspirational, and almost everybody I interviewed are good friends of mine but still, because I had to be an interviewer and had to ask them stuff all the time, I heard things that I’d never heard before that I didn’t even dare to ask before, and now I heard them and I was like, wow. Sometimes really a revelation, sometimes like small things, but it was so interesting, so I came away from each episode of filming totally revved up, energetic, and that’s what I wanted to achieve with it. I want people to go and see it and think, wow, this guy or this lady, she’s so great, I have to buy this record, or I have to do like she does, like doing all these projects. They’re all people that are like a little older and are still very passionate about music, and that’s what I thought was really special. They can all go and retire, but they all play and still love music.
Jazz Monthly: Yes, sounds very inspirational, wow. Well, that had to be very cool.
CD: Yeah, it was wonderful.
Jazz Monthly: Yes, and I got to see you at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam and what a great show. Wow! You really rocked that crowd! We were bumpin’ N thumpin’ to your show. That was incredible!
CD: Yeah, that was a lot of fun because the North Sea is always special to me, although I’ve been playing there since I was 12 years old almost every year. Because it’s my home, my own country, but at the same time, that’s the audience that I most love to play for. They’re people that are interested in jazz but also look outside of jazz. On the same stage that night was me, Sly Stone and Snoop Dogg, and before that, Mike Stern, so you can see what a broad range and all those people were there and I love that kind of audience, so I’m always very psyched up about playing there.
And then because I know the organization now because I’ve been playing there for so many years, they allow me to do—sometimes they have special projects or these special things, and this time for the whole tour I wanted to bring on Rosie Gaines because I think she’s, after Aretha [Franklin], she’s one of the best soul singers of all times, but she sort of disappeared a little bit and not many people really know her. They know her from her work with Prince, but she seemed to sort of fade away a little bit in the background for the last couple of years, and I was so excited to bring her back and show people how fantastic she is, and also just to hear her sing next to me was really a thrill. And I got the chance to invite Althea Rene over, who you know very well.
Jazz Monthly: Yes.
CD: Which was also a dream of mine. I met her this January on the cruise with Brian Culbertson, and although I’m a female musician, I’m still blown away when I meet another female musician that’s really good because, well, first of all, it’s so rare, but second of all, there’s something that I have in common with her, I feel the same way, but I’m still, when she’s playing, when I saw her on the stage, she’s such a beautiful lady and she plays with such power and her musical abilities are so good that if you see it, you’re just overwhelmed.
Sometimes you have that with male players as well, but it’s just a beautiful combination seeing a beautiful girl that plays like any guy in the sense of like she’s so good that she could outplay any guy, and I was really excited to meet her and then we got to jam together on the cruise, and I thought we just have to find a way to do it again and then the North Sea was so nice to have her over there and have her as a special guest, so I was really, really pleased and I hope she liked it, but I think she did, and people loved it. They all go “Who’s she? Who’s she?” Because Althea is well known in the States and in Europe I think she would be if she was there more, so I hope this was the first of many gigs that she’s gonna do there. I know she’s been in Europe before, but the North Sea is a good high profile gig and I got so many reactions on her playing and they all loved her and her personality, so I would love to do it again.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, that was fantastic, I tell ya, and you two jell so well. The audience was so enthusiastic and loud. That was such a powerful show from beginning to end, and to have Rosie Gaines and Althea Rene there was just incredible with you, and your band, wow, it was mind blowing.
CD: Oh, thank you. Yeah, I’m very fortunate to be able to work with just the best people that I know. It’s incredible. I used to, although in Holland there are so many great players and I still play with Dutch musicians, of course, but I would dream about people like this, to have a drummer that knows everything, can do everything you want and still restrains himself and plays just the groove and knows exactly what tasteful thing to do the next. That’s so wonderful.