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In & Out Jazz Interview With Logan Richardson



LOGAN RICHARDSON (1980, Kansas City, Missouri) Saxophonist, composer, bandleader, and producer.

Escrito por Begoña Villalobos




Logan Richardson (1980, Kansas City, Missouri) is an alto saxophonist, composer, bandleader, and producer.

In 2006 Logan released his debut album, Cerebral Flow, with Fresh Sound New Talent.

Richardson is related with Max Roach, Shirley Scott, Jimmy Heath, Clark Terry, Kenny Burrell, Marcus Belgrave, Richard Davis, Joe Chambers, Butch Morris, Christian Scott, Stefon Harris, Ambrose Akinmusire, Greg Tardy, Pat Methenv, Nasheet Waits, Michelle Rosewoman, Billy Hart, and Jason Moran.

He has recently recorded his fourth album as a band leader entitled Blues People featuring Richardson on Alto Saxophone, and effects; Justus West, Electric Guitar, & Vocals; Igor Osypov, Electric Guitar; DeAndre Manning, Electric Bass; and Ryan J. Lee, Drums.

Roy Hargrove & Logan Richardson @ Gregory’s Jazz Club

In&OutJAZZ: Musicians often seem to live a life that might appear ‘crazy’ to others; how do you find a balance in your life?

Logan Richardson: When I reflect on the amount of time that I have been in the industry and being a performing artist as well as a composer and rights and business holder, I’ve learned a lot, and part of what I’ve learned is that a performing artist in particular is one that has to live their life in a way that is not very beneficial for the quality of life as a human being, in particular for a jazz artist. And so I wanted to find a way to adapt other ways to do high-level business and high profile things, and yet be able to have a very recluse artistic life. 

Whenever you put out a piece of art it is a big deal. Visual artists can do just one piece and it’s there forever and they can put it out all around the world. An artist [does not have to do] an entire album or 15 different songs, there is another way to live and honestly with mechanical royalties and intellectual royalties, etc, you are constantly able to make money; it doesn’t only have to come from performance, it can come from all the other avenues that are associated with owning music or writing music or publishing. And if your music is placed in a movie or in a commercial then you get paid, and it is these things that allow a kind of balance.

Tony Tixier Quartet feat Logan Richardson & Scott Tixier – CALLING INTO QUESTION

In&OutJAZZ: I understand you were born in Kansas City (Missouri)?

Logan Richardson: Yes, I was born and raised in Kansas City, in Missouri. I started playing the saxophone when I was 14. I was pretty obsessed even before I started playing and then when I got one I was playing all the time. By the time I was 16 I was pretty decent, so I started working. My first job was playing gigs so I’ve been doing this type of thing in some form or other since I was 16, and I’m 39 now; so a little while. I guess I’m still relatively young but at the same time I’ve experienced a lot so I am trying to do a better thing, to make it. I’ve always loved playing the saxophone and obviously being from the same town in which Charlie Parker was from… I discovered him when I was 14 or 15. For me it wasn’t necessarily about jazz at first, the saxophone was the reason I found jazz, because I just really wanted to play the saxophone. Jazz was where the saxophone was played but it had really nothing to do with the music, it was for the instrument – if there was never jazz I would still play the saxophone.   

In&OutJAZZ: What is your opinion about Christian Scott’s new project in relation to Godwin Louis´s project?

Logan Richardson: I haven’t heard the Godwin Louis album, Global, yet. I’ll definitely check it out.

In&OutJAZZ: What is your opinion about Christian Scott’s new project?

Logan Richardson: I think to move forward we need to search backwards to understand where we are going. To be ready for whatever is discovered. It is like an archeological project where you are rooting for source, and resource, to understand the root, branches and the leaves. He is coming with this mantra at the core. I think there is a different language being established a bit like there is a different sound, he calls it Stretch Music, but I think it is a great social-political statement against everything that is wrong in this society.  

In&OutJAZZ: What type of music are you most comfortable with?

Logan Richardson: Everything, just playing. I put the same love into improvising as I do playing the melody. I just love notes.

In&OutJAZZ: But your tone might sometimes be described as crazy…

Logan Richardson: A lot of times the idea is to have all of this to happen [Richardson does a circling motion with his hands]… then a lot of times you are soaring above, but everything is still very specific. As free as it can seem, it is actually like super-specific.   

I spend a lot of time checking out. I equally could be like a straight avant-garde … just play that, but for me, I like to do everything, so, it’s a better place to exist – no limits.

In&OutJAZZ: Where do you live now?

Logan Richardson: I lived in Paris for like 5 or 6 years, and then Italy for 2 years and now I have a base, a home with a studio, office and three bedrooms, in Kansas City, which is actually the former home of Charlie Parker. He lived there between 9 and 12, so the place ties directly into jazz history. The energy is super-relaxed, creative and chill, it is right in the city center but it is quiet. It is cool.

In&OutJAZZ: Do you have family?

Logan Richardson: I have a brother, sister, and mother who live in Kansas City and I have two other brothers and an older sister. One of my brothers and my sister live in Kansas and my oldest brother he lives in South Carolina. 

My parents split up when I was about 16; I haven’t talked to my father in many years but he lives in Washington DC and I still have grandparents – my father’s parents live in Pennsylvania, they are 90 years old but that is still pretty young! Then my mother’s mother is still alive, she lives in Kansas City. I don’t get a chance to see everyone as much as I’d like because I am always moving around. 


In&OutJAZZ: What are your own projects?

Logan Richardson: Well my first project was Cerebral Flow in 2006/7 and then my second project was on Inner Circle Music label, which was entitled, Ethos, and that came out in 2008/9. Equality with Nasheet Waits, and Jason Moran with Fresh Sound Records Level. The Next Collective project I was involved in on Concord Records was in 2012, and then in 2015 was when I released Shift, which was on Blue Note, and then Blues People was released last year in 2018 on Ropeadope Records and Universal music, and this year I am doing another project with Blue Note that could be coming out next year, I am not sure when I will drop it out, but that hints at my fascination with this kind of thing. Then I have a new Blues People project which is coming out next year too, and then I’m on Nduduzo’s new album, I’m playing a bunch on that, and also Gerald Clayton’s live album… and then Krishna has another album coming out next year so, at least for me, I have at least five different projects coming out next year so it will be pretty busy.

As for my own projects I am very excited, having the opportunity to do more Blues People – that’s all I really wanted to do right now.

In&OutJAZZ: Why?

Logan Richardson: Well, for me, I got the name and really the inspiration from a book entitled Blues People by Amiri Baraka; the book is amazing, I think if you haven’t read it you’ll love it. This book was the basis of the idea of how you draw on your genetics, like, not knowing where you come from, and I liked the idea, with the band’s name being Blues People, of showing that we come from a tribe; because this is a group that is captured from many different tribes that is captured in many groups of folks, the first people that situated here. This idea of sci-fi 1980s rock, kind of mixed with heavy jazz influence or jazz – you hear the name but then when you hear the music, it is not what you think when you see the name; I like a contrast between the two.

In&OutJAZZ: And are you recording?

Logan Richardson: I am still working on the new album now, I can send you a preview of it if you like before it comes out for sure.

In&OutJAZZ: How would you describe your process in your life and your music?

Logan Richardson: That’s a deep question. 

In&OutJAZZ: (Laughs) yes, because I am a psychoanalyst…

Logan Richardson: Oh, I didn’t know that. 

I feel like I am here for a purpose and so I have decided to re-assess things, things about which I was not even aware, [such as] my inhibitions that are always kind of there. 

But you can’t write about this, this is off the record. I just think I’d like to save that for another interview. Is that ok with you?!?

In&OutJAZZ: Oh, yes, yes, no problem.

Logan Richardson Quartet al Teatro Parenti

Logan Richardson:  …at the core I feel like I am a fairly wild person, a risk-taker, a ravisher almost, but I am a Leo, so I have this kind of energy. What is your astrological sign?

In&OutJAZZ: My astrological sign?!!? It is Virgo, why?

Logan Richardson & Begoña Villalobos.

Logan Richardson: I was just curious, because for me it comes from that. I think there are a lot of jazz musicians that from a societal perspective have ‘issues’ but from the animal world you’d say are ‘normal’. It is all about perspective, I’m more like a hippie, but I do believe that if you go the route of marriage then… yeh, don’t do it, it doesn’t really make sense. It is all so very frustrating, don’t you think so?

In&OutJAZZ: Yes, it can be if there is a disonance between what you do and what you want to do. 

Logan Richardson: I think so, because you don’t get to do what you want to do. 

Escrito por Begoña Villalobos

10 de Febrero de 2020

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