Joe Gilman


Time Again: Brubeck Revisited, Vol. 1

Time Again: Brubeck Revisited, V.1Conversation with jazz pianist, Joe Gilman

by Dick Crockett

Joe Gilman talks about recent events in his career as a jazz pianist, educator and his new CD, TIME AGAIN: BRUBECK REVISITED, Volume 1 on Sunnyside Records. Recently, Mr. Gilman won first prize in the 2004 Great American Jazz Piano Competition in Jacksonville, Florida.

DC: "'Time Out' in 1959 is considered a Dave Brubeck Quartet classic recording on Columbia Records. In the sixties, 'Take Five' and 'Blue Rondo A La Turk' were featured on jazz radio stations and juke boxes across the country and are still endeared by many jazz fans to this day. How did you get involved with Dave Brubeck's music?"

JG: "I play with a band called the Capital Jazz Project in Sacramento. We performed a thematic
concert on Mr. Brubeck's music. Coincidently, The Brubeck Institute was being established and the
director, J. B. Dyas attended the show and enjoyed the performance. He invited C.J.P to repeat the
performance at the Brubeck festival in the spring of 2002. He then asked me to play and teach at the
Brubeck colony to a group of seventeen outstanding high school sophomore and junior musicians from all over the country. I was then asked to do a presentation to the Brubeck fellows at the Institute.
The Institute chooses five to seven talented, nineteen -twenty year old musicians to perform and
learn together on a full ride scholarship for one to two years.

I spent a week teaching them Brubeck's music. Mr. Brubeck sent me a box of all his published music. Reading though the tunes, I remembered how much I enjoyed the familiar songs, and read some I was unfamiliar with; solo work, some classical and other jazz quartet music.

I was very impressed with two nineteen year old students at the Institute, bass player Joe Sanders and drummer, Justin Brown.

As we began to play the music, I realized because of the different generations, Dave from me, and me from Joe and Justin, that this trio created a different sound."

DC : "How do you mean?"

JG: "It's timeless, yet refreshing and open for many interpretations, so I wrote the arrangements with
that idea in mind."

DC: "For the album?"

JG: "In May 2003, we went into the studio and recorded 17 tracks in 8 hours; multiple takes with
three solo piano tunes."

DC: "You had it in the 'can,' ready to go?!"

JG: "With the help of Glenn Ito and Bud Spangler from the Bay area, we shopped various labels.
Francois Zalacain of Sunnyside Records liked what he heard and released Volume 1 in March 2004."

DC: "More to come?"

JG: "Volume Two with 'Take Five' will be released in 2005."

DC: "You sound like a 'Glenn Gould' in your solo performance of 'In Your Own Sweet Way.'"

JG: "Thanks. Nice compliment."

DC: "I'm probably trying to say is you have great command and technique. You also have an extensive

JG: "I studied classical music at Sacramento State University. Graduated Bachelors of music from Indiana University, Masters in jazz and contemporary media from Eastman School of Music-Rochester and a Doctorate in education from University of Sarasota."

DC: "Where are you from originally?"

JG: "Carmichael."

DC: "Carmichael, California?"

JG: "I live in the same house I grew up in."

DC: "The only person I know, who lives in same house is Chicago's octogenarian saxophonist Von Freeman, who still 'blows' his tail off. I wonder if that indicates a long productive life."

JG: "I continue to find ways to challenge myself and to grow as a musician, so I can be an inspiration to my students."

DC: "You've worked as a sideman for some great jazz musicians over the years?"

JG: "I'm a free lance musician and have had the opportunity to play with Woody Shaw, Bobby Hutcherson and Joe Henderson in San Francisco."

DC: "Joe Henderson's one of my favorites. We attended the same school, Wayne State University in Detroit."

JG: "I was a struggling musician at the time of my recording with Joe, thinking about studying law at
Hastings in San Francisco. However, I wanted to record a CD with some of my favorite musicians and
through my college roommate (Indiana, 1982-85), bass player Robert Hurst. I contacted Joe Henderson and he agreed to do the project. Twelve years ago, we recorded a CD called 'Treasure Chest' with Joe Henderson, Jeff 'Tain' Watts and Robert Hurst."

DC: "What label?"

JG: "Timeless."

DC: "Your performance on 'Blue Rondo A La Turk' is impressive and different on the TIME AGAIN CD. Is this an example of the timeless quality of this music?"

JG: "Yes, most definitely."

DC: "I was intrigued by your arrangement of 'Recuerdo.' What's the time signature?"

JG: "It's in three...six-four or three-four. We're repeating that ostinato over and over again. Justin
then super imposes all kinds of rhythmic patterns on top of it."

DC: "Sounds like Justin Brown is performing a marching beat."

JG: "It's called a street beat. Many jazz musicians stay only with ballads, different tempos of swing and Latin. So we thought , let's try it in fives, with brushes or in different grooves, like in Ahmad Jamal's 'Poinciana.' I said to Justin, play some grooves. Be as creative as you want. Don't think of a
song as a meter, do anything you want. And I proceeded to play over the top of them. Instead of the melody and chords dictating, we started from the rhythmic aspect, went backwards to find the tune, as if to ask, what creative things can we do with the arrangement, the harmony, the beat and the meter."

DC: "What about 'Love And Anger, ' 'Tender Woman'?"

JG: "They were solo piano pieces, we interpreted as a trio."

DC: "And Darius?"

JG: "The intro was my own reharmonization, like Alexander Scriabin. When we get into the ensemble
part, that's Brubeck's conception."

DC: "Joe Sanders and Justin Brown are very young and talented, reminds me of a young Tony Williams and the Miles Davis Quintet in the sixties."

JG: "They just turned twenty years old. Justin has been playing drums since he was three years old.
They're both moving to New York City. Justin Brown has been accepted at Julliard. Joe Sanders will
attend The Manhattan School Of Music. There's always a possibility of playing together in the future."

DC: "You're a college professor at American River College. What are you currently teaching in your

JG: "Main bulk of my load is traditional music theory, starting with treble clef, all the way to Bartok set theory and Schoenberg twelve tone rows, from the 1600's to the present. I also teach jazz improvisation. And at the Brubeck Institute, I teach jazz improvisation, as well."

DC: " Mr Gilman, congratulations on your full inner life and your inspiration to next generation of jazz
musicians, your recent success with winning the 2004 Great American Jazz Piano Competition and your new CD on Sunnyside Records, TIME AGAIN: BRUBECK REVISITED, the most exciting new interpretation of Brubeck's music in over forty years."

JG: "Thank you."

TIME AGAIN: BRUBECK REVISITED, Volume 1 is available on Sunnyside Records.

For more information, e-mail Joe Gilman at

Dick Crockett
"The Voice" 88.7fm
4623 T Street, Suite A
Sacramento, Ca. 95819-4743