A Fireside Chat With Vinny Golia
VG: Believe it or not, the same venues that do the other forms of jazz and improvised music, the Jazz Bakery has been very supportive to people who mostly come from out of town. Catalina's has also been supportive through the years of having people like Bobby and myself play and Horace Tapscott, of course. The newer places are the Eagle Rock Community Center. Alex Cline has been putting on a series there. And Rocco's has been very supportive in putting on events. He put on a week of 9 Winds artists at his club and some of the younger players have started a series called the Okiro Series which takes place on Sundays. It is unbelievable. They bring anyone from locals to Willem Breuker Kollektief. It is really fantastic. There are four or five venues where you can hear pretty vital music. And granted, some of the music will be at different levels because some of the people are younger and some of the people are more established. Part of the joy is to see younger players and keep checking in on them and see how they are progressing. It is also fantastic to see more established players and see how they are doing and how they have changed and if they've changed. It really is an exciting period in the music, especially for this city. There is quite a bit happening, especially spurred on by the younger players at the moment.
FJ: My hope is we appreciate the artists in their time and not lament them in death as we do with John Carter, Billy Higgins, and Horace Tapscott.
VG: Well, I am on the same soapbox for years. Guys like Teddy Edwards and Gerald Wilson are still alive and live here, yet the city doesn't really honor them in any manner or form. Musicians and clubs don't really seem to go out of the way to give tribute to those kinds of players. People have been in the trenches for a long time. There is so many people here and then when they die, everybody is sad about it and while they are alive, they ignore them. Johnny Griffin and Sonny Rollins are two of the other guys that come to mind. I know they don't live here, but people always talk about tenor player, tenor player, tenor players. Those people are still alive. Pete Christlieb is still here. Those are fantastic tenor players. I don't really need to hear a twenty-year-old kid play one when I can hear somebody who has been putting in his time really honing his craft for thirty, forty years. You get something else out of that. I can't really fathom why people say that nothing is happening here.
It is amazing that, in the case of Teddy Edwards, the guy has progressed in age, yet is still like a child, kind of inquisitive, a great player. It just boggles my mind that people don't write articles about him or just check in on his career making sure he is OK. Henry Grimes was just found here (Signal to Noise just printed an interview with Grimes). How bizarre is that? The guy is arguably one of the most creative and essential bass players of the Sixties and early Seventies, but disappears and he has been living in LA for thirty years. That is unbelievable. Sonny Simmons lived on the streets here. I am just saying that there is a certain neglect when people get to a certain point in their careers where it can be extremely frustrating. Lucky Thompson is another guy. All these people are alive, but yet, I am not saying you are supposed to build shrines to these guys, but they deserve a certain amount of respect for changing the face of music. That goes back to why the press is essential. You need to keep tabs on things. It is like an engine. If you don't keep turning it on, it doesn't run well. All the parts, recording, critics, the live performance, they are all essentials of the engine. It is up to everybody to make sure that everything is well oiled and running.
FJ: The most current crop of 9Winds releases includes your own Feeding Frenzy: Music for Woodwinds & String Quartet (pretty self-explanatory).