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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Welcome to Straight No Chaser, the Award-winning Podcast hosted by Jeffrey Siegel

Aug 12, 2014

The “Business of Jazz” grows increasingly thornier at almost every turn these days. One of the bright spots in the demise of major label signings and sold recording budgets is the ability of artists to take control of their projects and reach out to their fans for support, both artistic and financial.

PledgeMusic is one such “crowdfunding site”, a direct-to-fan music platform bringing artists and fans together to share in the experience of music as it happens. By making a contribution, fans can receive goodies that range from signed CDs and bonus download tracks to an Executive Producer credit.

Veteran pianist Kevin Hays has brought the recording of his latest project The New Day Trio to the fans via Pledge Music. Considered to be among the most inventive pianists and improvisers of his generation, Hays has released over a dozen albums as leader, and has been featured on over 60 recordings as a sideman. He has worked with some of the most prominent and influential musicians in Jazz including Sonny Rollins, John Scofield, Benny Golson, Roy Haynes, Chris Potter, Al Foster, Joe Henderson and Joshua Redman. His albums have made several best-of lists including The New Yorker Magazine, The New York Times, Musician Magazine and he is a winner of the French Charles Cros Coup de Coeur Award.

Kevin’s latest trio finds him moving to Fender Rhodes as well as his ubiquitous piano. He is joined by Rob Jost on bass and Greg Joseph on drums, along with guests like harmonica great Grégoire Maret and guitarist Tony Scherr.  After developing the material he plans to record for this new CD both through touring and a 2 year residency at NYC's 55 Bar, the trio will unveil a new set of Hays originals and arrangements of songs by Johnny Cash, 'Sugarman' Rodriguez, Charlie Parker, and others. The group is in the homestretch of a PledgeMusic campaign to help fund this new recording and with over 80% of their goal met and just days remaining, they are scheduled to head into the studio later this week.

Podcast 440 is my conversation with Kevin as he readied himself for a few last gigs before digging in to record. We discussed crowdfunding and his New Day Trio, as well as his upcoming dates with Brad Mehldau in Brazil. Musical selections from the new session are of course unavailable, so the interludes for this podcast come from previous Hays CDs, including  "The Run" from Go Round; the Hays tune “Elegia” from his collaboration with Mehldau Modern Music; and the title track from You’ve Got a Friend.