Coming Events – A Love Supreme with Leland Baker
When Leland told me he was going to play the entire album of A Love Supreme, I knew I had to chat with him.
Tell me about yourself?
Well, I was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. Cultural diversity was something very big and important for me. Many of my friends were either 1st or 2nd generation Italians, Puerto Ricans, Colombians or Cape Verdeans. Having a sense and pride of my own cultural identity from a very early age also contributed greatly to my artistry and overall experiences. Being African American and Nipmuc Indian, I grew up in a household that was expressive and prideful of both. And so a lot of artist/music that I seem to naturally be drawn to pays homage to their cultural bloodline, so to speak through their music…John Coltrane is a perfect example.
What’s your next project(s) after grad school?
I just finished up grad school in December so I’m a free man in that respect hahaha…what’s next? Well, something is always in the making but for now I will continue to keep pressing on and say what I got to through my horn! I’ve been working on writing some more original material for an album sometime in the very near future. I been taking my time developing ideas because the music must be a sincere reflection of my experiences, beliefs and wisdom that I’ve received thus far through Christ…The biggest hurdle is finding the financial support, so I been working with a few people who have been a very big help in this process. Hopefully we can get this project off and running by the summer, so please keep a look out!
Why playing the entire A Love Supreme?
Well A Love Supreme has been an album that has kind of been off and on through my involvement in music, until more recently. I was 15 when I first heard the album. I remember being so lost and un-familiar with the sounds harmonically that I couldn’t take it anymore and turned it off before it even reached resolution the second track on the album. That was because I was still inexperienced and immature musically, spiritually and mentally. I feel like only a few people in our life time recognize greatness or even come in contact with greatness because it is so hard to be seen by the average “eye” in our saturated society….So the fact of coming back to this album and appreciating every note of it, and I mean every note, it is a blessing. I choose to pay tribute to this remarkable album because it has been changing lives for 50 years now, and counting one of them being mine.
What are some of your most memorable gigs you had/shared?
Although I’m not where I want to be yet musically, I have had many great opportunities thus far. Hmmm there are so many gigs/experiences I could speak about- I guess one recent one was being able to play at the Newport jazz Festival in 2013. The spirit on stage was remarkable; I felt like it improved my playing and there was just something I carried off that stage that stayed with my spirit. Another was back in 2010, when I went on tour in France with a brass band from New Orleans. This is when I was living in New Orleans. The experience all around was amazing and the people were so respectful and appreciative of the music…of course there have been so many others. I really enjoy a lot of the “little” gigs I’ve had with my own jazz quartet since moving back to New England; there have been a lot of memorable moments at the little hole in the wall places. Mike Dick who is a drummer and a grad student at New England Conservatory (NEC ); it’s been a pleasure to play with him over the last couple of years. I absolutely love the drums, and Mike has the ability to express so much “life” through them as Elvin did on the Coltrane albums and his own projects later on.
A Love Supreme: Leland Baker’s Annual Anniversary Tribute to Coltrane
Aurora, 260 Westminster street, Providence, RI
February 15, 2015, Sunday at 8pm
Leland Baker, tenor saxophone
Wes Majkut, tenor saxophone
Alex Tremblay, bass
Paul DiTamburi, drums
Special Guest, on piano