Your “sound” keeps changing over the years -- from folk
to jazz to rock. What makes you want to change your style?
“Well, I think most writers evolve and change naturally when they are
not interfered with, or don’t get in their own way. In my case, I guess
I have devolved from writing really complex jazz-based harmonies with asymmetric
meters and wild solos in the ‘70’s and early ‘80’s, back
to my harmonic and rhythmic roots – rock. . . .Jazz was an amazing learning
experience. It helped me learn the art-form of music; it allowed me to understand
piano and music theory on a deep level. So many of the best players on earth
are jazz players. I wanted to see and know what they did and how they did it.
But I never had a desire to play a book of standards. And fortunately my teachers
when I was in my twenties, Michael Cochrane and Art Lande, didn’t set that
as a goal for me. They were very unique teachers who also saw my uniqueness,
and liked my songs enough to even want to play on my records. John Scofield talked
me out of going to Berkeley School of Music, for instance. They all got it that
I was a songwriter first and foremost, and that I wasn’t wanting to fit
into a jazz format, or any format.
After years of studying, and writing songs from those studies, I decided to just
play and write the music that made me feel the most like me. Rock is that for
me. I grew up with The Beatles, Dylan’s Highway 61 and Blonde On Blonde,
Ray Charles, Clapton, Steve Winwood, Bob Marley, The Stones. But I also still
love Art Lande’s music, and Keith Jarrett’s music, and Oregon, and
Scofield. So I suppose my studies and my roots just keep taking me on a long
spirally trip through all those places.”