Take Five With Todd Gordon
Your sound and approach to music:
Direct, honest, unfettered, and open to all sorts of influences/experiences.
Your teaching approach:
To open their minds and ears.
Your dream band:
Focusing on those alive today, there are so many great musicians I have (or have had) the opportunity to work with, but I'd love to perform with giants such as Monty Alexander, Tamir Hendelman, Joey Baron, Eric Gunnison and Alan Broadbent}.
Road story: Your best or worst experience:
There are several humorous moments that I savor, including the time that a lady came up to me after a show to tell me how much she and her friend had enjoyed the show, followed by, "In fact, my friend said you're just like Tony Bennett." Before I could say that was very flattering, she added, "Yes, she saw Tony Bennett perform last yearand he had really shiny shoes as well!"
Whilst it's been thrilling to perform in large concert halls, the most memorably intimate gigs have been in a tiny venue situated in the most northerly, and very remote, part of Scotland. It's called the Lyth Arts Centre and can seat around 60 people. It is very well-equipped, and boasts a beautiful Steinway grand and a great sound system. But more importantly, it is run with such passion by its owner, William Wilson.
Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
Probably the first duet I ever recorded. It's a version of Gordon Lightfoot's lovely song, "If You Could Read My Mind," with singer (and dear friend) Jacqui Dankworth. I have very fond memories of the recording session, which was produced by Ian Shaw.
The first Jazz album I bought was:
Duke Ellington's Latin American Suite (Fantasy Records).
What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
I hope that I am introducing rarely-performed gems from the Great American Songbook to listeners who are unfamiliar with relatively obscure numbers. And reacquainting people with standards, whilst trying to give them a fresh yet respectful treatment.
CDs you are listening to now:
Carmen McRae, Can't Hide Love (Remastered) (BBR);
Annie Ross, Everybody's Boppin' (CBS);
Rufus Wainright, Want One (Dreamworks);
Helen Humes, Let the Good Times Roll (Black & Blue);
Harry Connick, Jr., Harry for the Holidays (CBS).
Desert Island picks:
Alberta Hunter, Amtrak Blues (CBS);
Sarah Vaughan, Sassy Swings The Tivoli (Polydor);
Ella Fitzgerald, George & Ira Gershwin Songbook (Verve);
Frank Sinatra, Songs for Swingin' Lovers! (Capitol);
Carmen McRae, Great American Songbook (Atlantic).
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
New, enthusiastic and younger audience members.
What is in the near future?
Worldwide release of the new big band album I have recorded with the Royal Air Force Squadronaires. It features several duets and its UK release has been reviewed on All About Jazz by Ian Patterson and Bruce Lindsay.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
"Portrait of Mahalia Jackson,"by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra, from The New Orleans Suite. And perhaps, as the last song, "I'll Be Seeing You."