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Gerald Veasley - Jazz Base
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"Jazz Monthly Feature Interview" Gerald Veasley

Gerald Veasley Jazz MusicianSmitty: It's truly a pleasure to welcome one of the funkiest bass players in the business. This is a cat that has his own bass chords, he's Mr Velvet himself, he has just released a great new live album and you've got to hear this one, it's called At the Jazz Base. Please welcome Heads Up recording artist Mr. Gerald Veasley. How are you doing Bro?
 
Gerald Veasley (GV): I'm doing great. It's always great to hear from you.
 
Smitty: Thank you, it's always good to talk to you my friend. This has got to be an exciting summer for you, you've got this great new record out and man it's fantastic! You have taken the bass to another level. Talk to me about this exciting time for you, because when you've got a new record out there, it just really makes the summer much more exciting, doesn't it.
 
GV: I am so excited about the release of this record, and I'm just like a little kid because, you know I've done 6 CDs prior to this one for Heads Up, but this it the first live recording and it's kind of like the way it always should have been in one sense.

Because when you perform live you get so much energy from the audience, and they just give pure spontaneity and they can feel the enthusiasm that you have and they help us generate the excitement. And when you capture that on a recording, that is something special and different from a studio recording. So I'm very pleased with the way it came out.
 
Smitty: Oh yeah, everyone has been anticipating this one. Talk to me about why you decided to do the live record, and how long have you been thinking about this?
 
GV: Well, I've been thinking about it for a while, there are a lot of things I have to have before doing a live recording. First of all you have to have a label that's willing to do it. Dave Love, Heads Up, felt like now was the time, that we had made enough of an impact in the industry and now was the time to try something different. So I had his endorsement, that was great and you also have to have a great venue or venues where you can record on several nights and sort of submit the best stuff and that was something that was a little trickier to do. It's not an inexpensive project but, something special happened earlier this year and that was, I got my own jazz club. It's a club called The Jazz Base and we present music in Reading, PA. in the Sheraton Hotel under the name Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base. So here we had a great opportunity to record multiple nights and present people with the very best of what we do live. Oh, and the third component that I forgot to mention is, you've got to have a great band (laughing) and I've been recording my records since 1992 and I finally have a band that is really just a killer group of musicians and so serious, and accomplished and young at the same time. I mean, the resume, can you, will you just indulge me; let me give you the resume of some of the guys in my band.
 
Smitty: Sure.
 
GV: With Jill Scott, Alicia Keyes, Jeffrey Osborne, Maynard Ferguson, the list just goes on and on. These are young and accomplished musicians who bring a lot of experience and excitement to my music, so I had to capture this band live .
 
Smitty: Wow, that's quite a line up.
 
GV: That's a helluva line up (laughing).
 
Smitty: Tell me a little bit about what was happening when you first got into this project. Because I was very curious to know; were you trying to capture the essence of the live performance itself, or was it what you were feeling as a musician in front of an audience.
 
GV: I think it's the combination of both. What you are able to create as an artist when the audience is there, surpasses what you can do in a studio environment. Because now you are influenced and encouraged and are so charged by the energy that the audience gives you, that you can go to places where you never tend to go in the studio. So that was the first and foremost, and for certain we wanted to capture that for people to hear on the record. You know, I have experienced a thing over the years where people would come up to me after one of my performances and say 'yeah Gerald, that was good man, that was, where can we buy that!' (laughing) 'Your studio records are good but, man if I could take that home'. So I figured it was just about time to give people a taste of what we actually do while we are performing.
 
Smitty: Yes, you get the whole improvisational package too wouldn't you say?
 
GV: Oh definitely, a lot of times when you are doing contemporary jazz records, you have to think about the length of the tunes, the kind of tunes, how long the solo should be, what kind of solos, and you kind of make certain assessments that have to do with radio; And then there's the accessibility of your music, you tone it down, a lot of things that you do a little different for the studio than you would do live. And then, I'm not the only one, you see a lot of fantastic bands out there who make very fine records, but when you go and see some of these artists live it's just a whole other level. I felt it was time to get that 'other level' on the record where you don't have to be concerned about the length of the song, let the song be as long as it needs to say what you have to say, you know.
 
Smitty:  Yeah, You captured that man, I really think so.
 
GV: Well thank you.
 
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