JIM YANDA TRIO
(Corner Store Jazz)
Iowa born / New Jersey based guitarist Jim Yanda recorded his double CD set, Home Road in 2014 although it didn’t come out till 2016. For fans of Jim’s excellent guitar skills Home Road is time well spent. On the double CD set, recorded by Jim Yanda Trio, Jim receives backing from his trio mates, Drew Gress (bass) and Phil Haynes (drums). On Home Road, not only does Yanda shine as an improvising jazz guitar instrumentalist but the album also shines a light on his compositional skills. All the tracks were composed by Yanda except for a trio cover of “My Ship”, written by Kurt Weill to which Jim adds, “It’s a beautiful, poignant song that can be interpreted in myriad ways.” Asked about comparing his post-modern, mainstream jazz sound with harder rocking fusion music, Jim tells mwe3.com, “I want everything I play to swing, regardless of the context or style of music. It’s wonderfully hip and exhilarating to swing over straight rhythms.” Like a colorful scenic sonic journey spread over two CDs, Home Road embraces a range of musical attributes to which Jim adds,”I’m interested in deep-folk traditions, modern classical music, new music, early American music, and world music. Those are some of the sounds and styles I want to incorporate into my playing.” Not exactly fusion and not quite hard bop jazz either, Home Road takes the jazz-based and modern guitar instrumental genre into deep yet calm sonic waters. Also recent on CD from Jim Yanda is a 2017 CD release of his trio album Regional Cooking, recorded in 1987. Guitar fans into timeless, jazzy improvisations will find much to like about Jim Yanda and Home Road. www.cornerstorejazz.com
mwe3.com presents an interview with
mwe3: Can you tell us where you’re from originally and where you live now and what you like best about it? Can you compare growing up and studying music in Iowa with moving to the tri-state area? Seems like you’ve been in the NY/NJ area for over 25 years now. Does the city still have the same magic and lure it did in the early 1980s and what area do you like best in the NYC area?
Jim Yanda: I was raised in the small Midwestern farming community of Anamosa, Iowa. It is incidentally, the home town of the famous regionalist painter Grant Wood. I came to New York after college, lived in Brooklyn for some years, then moved to New Jersey, where life is a little more relaxed but still close to New York.
It’s wonderful that nearly any sizable town now has some kind of jazz scene, if only a handful of players, and so it was in Iowa back in the 1970’s and 80’s. Jazz was clustered around the college towns, Iowa City (U of I), Cedar Rapids (Coe), Cedar Falls (UNI), and Des Moines (state capital). The better musicians were teaching at the colleges, as university jazz programs had begun to flourish. There were a few gigs, and you sometimes had to travel a good way to hear someone great who was passing through. We used to car pool to a club in Ames where I heard Jim Hall and John Scofield. It was an incalculable measure of good fortune that the great trumpeter and teacher Paul Smoker was on the faculty at Coe College where I somehow got accepted into the music program. He changed my life completely and I became thoroughly immersed in music because of him.
New York seemed almost like a different country to me. It is so hip and vibrant, with abundant art and culture, and so many of the great players are drawn there. There’s so much fine music happening daily, it is a paradise for a jazz lover. There were a lot of musicians in my Brooklyn neighborhood and we were always having jam sessions. I would go to the clubs and hear the greats and meet them and try to get lessons from them. It was a fantastic experience and remains so today. I’m still learning.
mwe3: You started up your company Corner Store Jazz way back in the 1980s in Brooklyn. Tell us about your idea behind starting Corner Store Jazz and how does the label / web site operate these days? Are you happy with the way the internet has changed music, both information wise and sales wise and what do you feel could be done to improve sales of CDs online and how about the impact of music streaming, mp3 and downloads and now the resurgence of vinyl? Continue reading interview on Music Web Express →