Smitty: It is certainly my wonderful pleasure to welcome to JazzMonthly.com a friend and a monster sax player. You know her from Sweet Saxations, The Perfect Love, Eight Days of Ecstasy, and now she has a great new project, it’s called Elixir, and I’ve got to mention the DVD, A Night With The Saxtress. Please welcome the incredible Ms. Pamela Williams. Pamela, how ya doin’?
Pamela Williams (PW): Real well.
Smitty: It’s great to talk to you.
PW: Great to talk with you too.
Smitty: You’ve got to really be excited about this new project. You’re not only giving us the audio, but you’re giving us the visual too.
PW: Yeah, that’s so cool. I was really happy when Shanachie approached me about doing a DVD. I was like “I think that would be a really, really good thing.”
Smitty: Which came first, the DVD or the new album?
PW: The DVD came first.
Smitty: What I like about this DVD, the artwork; you’ve got this great red outfit and you’ve got the hat workin’ and then you’ve got the white outfit, and I just love this whole layout.
PW: Oh, thank you.
Smitty: This was filmed at the Harbourfront Centre (Theatre) in Toronto, Canada?
PW: Toronto, Canada.
Smitty: What was that like? Talk about that experience there.
PW: Oh, it was beautiful in Toronto. Unfortunately, I was in and out to do the DVD, so I didn’t get a chance to really do much sightseeing, but from what I saw, what a beautiful city.
Smitty: Yeah, absolutely.
PW: Yeah, so it was fun. We got in there and did the DVD. I thought the DVD was gonna actually be in front of a live audience, when I got there, it was actually live, but it was live in a studio, but it was cool. I thought it came out really good. I was really happy with the DVD.
Smitty: Yes, and you’ve got the 5.1 Surround Sound working with this.
PW: Right, right.
Smitty: It’s a very hooked up DVD.
PW: Yeah, they did a really good job with it.
Smitty: I must congratulate Shanachie, it’s a wonderful idea.
PW: I think it was. I know Kim Waters had done one too.
PW: And also Chieli Minucci.
Smitty: Yes, I have those and they’re all great. So you’ve got some great label mates and you guys are just working the DVD thing.
Smitty: Yeah, I think it’s cool. Before we get started talking about the record, I just wanna talk about your days in Philadelphia.
Smitty: And what a great city to have grown up.
PW: Yes, it’s still a great city today.
Smitty: Talk about how that whole deep musical tradition there influenced you to want to get into music and to bring you to where you are now.
PW: Well, Philadelphia International Records was really, really popular at the time that I was growing up, there are so many legends who came to Philadelphia to record on that label and the radio was great when I was growing up. I mean, all the music was so good. Everything that they played on the radio was really good music and I think growing up in a city where you that was such a hotbed for so many different types of music; R&B and jazz and contemporary jazz. I think it did influence me as a musician because I got exposed to so much great music at a young age.
Smitty: Yeah, and radio was so friendly then, wasn’t it?
PW: Yeah, very friendly.
Smitty: And we got to hear so much great music, you’re right.
PW: It’s so different now. Back then, DJ’s had their own personality, they’d play whatever they wanted to play.
Smitty: Yes. It was good.
PW: It was very good.
Smitty: Another great musician that I just can’t get enough of is Grover Washington, Jr. What a great sax player. I know he had some influence on your career and your craft. Talk about what that did for you.
PW: Oh, man, Grover Washington is how I learned how to play the saxophone because people ask me, they’re like “How did you learn how to play this instrument?” “Did you have musical lessons?” I never really had lessons. I think I may have had maybe five lessons when I was starting out playing the saxophone, but really, even before I had those lessons, I learned how to play because once I got the saxophone in school, I was in the high school jazz band, and I used to put on Grover Washington, Jr. records and just copy everything he did.