Today I'm extremely pleased and proud to present a mini-interview with the great Adam Nussbaum!
He looks like this:
....And here's just a few things that he's done.......
Nussbaum grew up in Norwalk, Connecticut and started to play drums at age 12 after studying piano for 5 years, also playing bass and saxophone as a teenager. He moved to New York City in 1975 to attend The Davis Center for Performing Arts at City College. While there he began working with Albert Dailey, Monty Waters, Joe Lee Wilson, Sheila Jordan and he played with Sonny Rollins in 1977 in Milwaukee. In 1978 he joined Dave Liebman's quintet and did his first European tour with John Scofield. During the early eighties he continued working with John Scofield in a celebrated trio with Steve Swallow. In 1983 he become a member of Gil Evans Orchestra and played with Stan Getz as well. He later joined Eliane Elias/Randy Brecker Quartet, Gary Burton, and Toots Thielemans. In 1987 he began touring with the Michael Brecker Quintet. In 1988 they recorded the Grammy winning "Don't Try This At Home" During 1992 he was part of the Carla Bley Big Band and that same year John Abercrombie hired him to complete his organ trio.
Since then he has kept active in a wide variety of groups. Among them a recently formed quartet 'BANN' with Seamus Blake, Jay Anderson & Oz Noy, A co-op quartet "NUTTREE" with Abercrombie, Jerry Bergonzi & Gary Versace, The James Moody Quartet, 'We Three' w/ Dave Liebman & Steve Swallow, Eliane Elias Trio, 'Playing in Traffic' w/ Steve Swallow & Ohad Talmor and also busy maintaining an active freelance schedule. Adam has taught as an Adjunct professor at New York University, the New School and State University of New York at Purchase. He also does clinics and master classes around the world.
I'd also like to thank Adam for doing this interview while he's on tour in Europe. He's currently playing with The Impossible Gentlemen. Do yourself a favour and check out this band. Great music! Once again this is a case where the artist's responses are very much like their playing. Adam Nussbaum is known for playing in a direct, empathetic, and above all passionate way and his answers definitely reflect all those qualities.
Anyway, on to the questions......
1. Can you name a live performance and/or recording that has had a particularly profound affect on you?
Countless hours of listening to recordings and absorbing the music when I was able to be in the room with it and feel it.
Right now I can mention seeing Dizzy when I was eight. Hearing the original Tony Williams Lifetime. Digging Monk and so much great music at the Vanguard. Going to Boomers. Lots of great music in NYC!
2. As a younger player, did you do specific things to develop various types of feels (e.g. Playing on the back of the beat for some medium tempos) or did these things more develop through osmosis from careful listening?
Osmosis would be it. also playing with great players. I'm always trying to stay balanced with focus and relaxation. Intensity, not 'tense-ity'
3. Do you feel there are certain elements of the music that younger players of today might be missing?
There are so many adept young players now. If anything, with all the information so easily available there seems to be a lack and belief in the importance of some of the primary foundational basic elements.
4. How much preparation goes into the average recording session you do?
Sometimes you get a short rehearsal, sometimes not....
For example, did the band the played on Steve Swallow's "Deconstructed" get a chance to play any gigs before you recorded?
Yes. We were fortunate to have done a short tour before that date and it was wonderful to have that opportunity.
5. Do you have a favorite recording of yours and/or a recording you've done that you wish more people have heard?
This is a hard one to answer. I can't really think of one off hand..... mmmm.
Some have a had more visibility that others. I generally feel good about the projects that are musically honest valid statements. It's nice when the music, the band and the sound are all happening. I always try to do my best with what the music tells me to do. You have to play well with others (-:
I can't think of a better way to conclude except with some footage of the man himself.
Here he is playing in a killing trio with Dave Liebman and Steve Swallow. (If I ever win the lottery I'm hiring these guys to play at my birthday party!)