Jeff Curry – Mini Interview

1. Where are you from and how did you first get into jazz/music?
I’m from Lewisburg West Virginia USA. How I got into jazz is kind of a long story and I can tell you I did not like jazz when I first heard it. At first I was really into rock, r&b and heavy metal but being from a very small town we did not have access to a lot of music outside of what was on the popular radio stations. Over time I began to grow tired of my record collection and the common form of popular music. Then I discovered public radio way over on the side of the dial that most people never dare to tread. There was a late night show named Music From the Heart of Space that played super ambient new age music. I really liked that so I started listening to other programs on that station. I finally got around to the jazz show and I was shocked at what I heard. I did not understand it. Mostly the drumming threw me off. I could not hear any form and hearing all those chord changes fly by made the music sound really random and kind of mad. But I stuck with it because it was different and slowly I started to get it then one day I heard Milt Jackson playing some minor song and it really clicked with me. From that day it was jazz everyday.
2. Why did you choose the bass and who were your first influences?
I just really loved that low sound. When I was a kid I did not even know what a bass was. I was probably around ten years old and was going through some of my sisters records and found the record with the coolest artwork I could find. That was the band Kiss and the record was Destroyer. The song Detroit Rock City played and I loved it. I asked my sister what does this guy play pointing to the coolest dude in the band. Thats Gene Simmons he plays bass. Whoa whats bass? So I figure out what bass is and was just drawn to it. I guess I really liked the fact that you have to work a little bit to hear the bass. It does not just pop out like drums or other instruments. That made it really mysterious and cool to me. So at the age of twelve I made my mind up that I was going to be a bass player. At the age of thirteen I finally got my first bass and its been all down hill from there! Ha ha! Early influences would would be Gene Simmons, Billy Cox, James Jamerson, Flea, Marcus Miller, Jean-Yves Theriault, Geddy Lee and Willie Weeks. When I got into jazz I really liked Percy Heath, George Mraz, Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, Scott LaFaro, Christian McBride, Charlie Haden, and Charles Mingus.

3. How did you first come to Japan and what were your impressions of the jazz scene here?

I first came to Japan on a whim back in 2001. I sat in at a couple of jam sessions and went to a few gigs and was blown away by how much music was going on in this city. For me it was a no brainer, I knew Tokyo was for me. I moved here in 2004.
4.What are your current and upcoming projects?
Right now I’m working on a progressive metal band named Ebonvoid. I used to play that kind of music a lot before I moved here so I really began to miss it. We just released our first EP and we are currently recording and writing more songs. I’m a member of Tokyo Groove Alliance a contemporary, original world music and jazz quintet. I arrange music for a jazz singer named Eiko Solaris and of coarse my long time project is The Jeff Curry Band. We play a lot of original funk, jazz, and blues.
5. Three favorite albums
Milt Jackson, Bags Opus
Charles Mingus, Mingus Mingus Mingus
Voivod, Nothing Face