Adam Nussbaum

Adam Nussbaum is a part of a vanishing breed of young jazz drummers: those of the bootstrap method. A voiding, for the most part, the more lucrative routes of fusion and studio craft, Nussbaum has avidly pursued a jazz direction. Had he, in fact, tapped into the commercial stream—the choice of his generation of bashers—Nussbaum might be a widely circulated name by now. As it stands, success is coming to Nussbaum in bold strokes and on his own terms.

Having played a potent role in groups led by guitarist John Scofield, Dave Liebman, and others, and actively working with the Gil Evans Orchestra, Nussbaum has, in a sense, arrived as a new drummer on the scene. Arrived, however, is probably too absolute a term for the self-effacing drummer; he might call it having joined the scene.

Tenacity, discipline, and a sensitivity to different musical surroundings seem to have paid off for Nussbaum, who came to the Apple ten years ago with the raw urge to make jazz. Though he was born in New York City on November 29, 1955, the family soon thereafter took to the calmer soil of Norwalk, Connecticut (the hometown ofHorace Silver, Nussbaum is proud to point out). The City eventually called him back, beckoning his drummerly pulse.

Nussbaum took the venerable, rite-of-passage approach to jazz acclaim. Filtering about the New York circuit, jamming, hustling, copping licks, and getting licks copped, Nussbaum was living out another day in the life of a jazz hopeful. And hope springs with an eternal repeat sign.

Listening to his work on the three albums by Scofield’s trio (with fluid bassist Steve Swallow), Nussbaum displays a keen restraint in an open situation, where others might rush in to splash around in the space. Cut to Sweet Basil’s in Greenwich Village on any given Monday; there is Nussbaum’s ensemble awareness again, a culling force in Gil Evans’ expansive, often free-spirited big band. Collectively stretching out over an Evans tune or a Hendrix-for-horns chart, the band often detours into terrain unknown. Nussbaum is there, keeping the beat, mutating the beat, or tastefully tossing out the beat altogether, but never skipping a beat.

Rather than flaunting head-spinning technique, Nussbaum makes his stamp of solidity. Historically conscious, with deft coordination and a sense of rhythmic duty, Nussbaum is a drummer a band can count on. He is ebullient and pretension-free in person as well. In discussing his apprenticeship on the mean streets of New York, he focuses on a term that somehow symbolizes his life and his art: that old “P.M.A.” (Positive Mental Attitude).

“People will fire you; cats will cuss at you on the bandstand; you simply must be tough,” Nussbaum says during a lunchtime interview down the street from Sweet Basil’s. “You’ll develop character and strength. I know a lot of great drummers who came to New York, and could not adapt to the intensity and pressure here.”

A grin consumes his physiognomy. “It’s mind over matter, boy. It’s quite similar to playing drums; it is one’s mind that must govern what one does, not one’s technique or hands.” Ultimately, Nussbaum’s mind may help him to become a singularly important jazz drummer of the Baby Boom generation—a rare bird who went about jazz the proper way: the hard way.

JW: It seems that your career is really clicking into gear at this point. Do you feel that happening?

AN: Well, last year, I was out with Randy Brecker and his wife Eliane with Eddie Gomez for two and a half weeks. Then, I was involved for a week with the Danish Jazz Federation doing a clinic in the northern part of Denmark. I came home on a Saturday, and then on Monday I went out with Gil Evans to Japan. It was part of a big Japanese program—”Live Under The Sky.” The band went over there with Jaco Pastorius, as guest spark plug.

JW: How did you like playing with him? Had you experienced that before?

AN: He subbed a few times with the band when Mark Egan wasn’t available. Jaco is a great musician. When the situation is right, he can deliver. He’s such a personality that, occasionally at that time, his ego got in the way of contributing to the whole of the music. When you don’t hear it, or he’s not putting it out like you expect to hear it, it can be disappointing. He’s a great musician, and you hope that someone of his magnitude will always keep developing and keep bringing forth whatever it is he has.

JW: It must be particularly frustrating for a drummer to have an unreliable factor in the bass chair.

AN: Gil made sure that Mark was along on the trip. Everyone had ideas that it might go a little haywire. The first responsibility is that the music has to be taken care of. My responsibility is to the band and to keep some semblance of order. When things started getting a little out of hand, I really had to buckle down. Somebody’s got to be directing the traffic up there.

JW: Especially in a big band context

AN: The responsibility isn’t any more than it is in a small band, except you have more people to take care of, so you have a little more responsibility in terms of keeping things in line. People ask, “What’s the difference between playing with a big band or a small combo?” I think, ideally, there shouldn’t be that much difference. Once the horn section is finished doing its bit, it’s basically a small band anyway. It’s the same thing in a small group; you still have to outline what’s going on within the composition.

Somebody said to me one time, “Oh, it’s like you’re the policeman in the middle of an intersection. You’ve got to prepare traffic to stop, let other traffic know that they can go, and make sure there aren’t any collisions. You’ve got to know how to set things up.” It’s really like directing traffic.

JW: Plus, you’ve got to be part of the traffic, too. Do you ever feel personally stifled by that specific role?

AN: Gil’s band encourages experimentation. It’s a great situation. There’s so much freedom, but at the same time, he’s got this magi- cal kind of force and control over it. It’s a combination of freedom and having the music to play. It’s unlike many big bands, where you’re really enslaved by the part. With Gil, the music becomes a vehicle for your own interpretation. As long as everyone’s listening and tuned in to what the music is about, you have that freedom.

JW: What is the working process like in the band? Gil seems to be a very benevolent ruler, not taking a very active hand in guiding things. Is that a fair assessment?

AN: He starts off the tune, usually by playing some figure on the piano. We hear that and know what tune it’s supposed to be. At this point, we can start playing it in whatever kind of feel we want. We may vamp out for a while, and the rest of the horns will be led in. He’s the ringleader for the horns. Gil calls what he does being “cheerleader” piano. He occasionally will stop a section or say something while we’re playing. He really lets it take care of itself, and somehow it’s got this spell on it. It sounds like everything is wild and on the yellow brick road, but he’s still in control. I really try to listen to the things he plays on the piano, because he’s feeding a lot of different ideas in there.

JW: When did you first start playing with him?

AN: It was almost three years ago. I remember that I was playing at this place called Grand Street, which used to be downtown. I played with a lot of different combinations of people, and Anita Evans came down there a lot. I would always say, “What’s going on with Gil? Let him know that, if there’s ever a chance, I would love to play with him.” I’ve always loved Gil’s music. One thing led to another. They had a gig opening up, and I got a call. I jumped at the chance.

The band has been developing. We’ve been playing mostly the same music. Occasionally, Gil brings in some new things, but because we’ve become so familiar with this stuff, we’ve been able to explore different areas through the music.

JW: I don’t know how much of this is programmed into the music and how much is your doing, but there are a lot of contrasting feels within the charts.

AN: That’s pretty much up to the rhythm section. Mark and I conspire when we’re up there. We could play the same feel for a whole tune, but with the band, often a tune can go on for half an hour. We’ll do two-hour sets, and we’ll only play three or four tunes. So, usually, we just change the feel to keep some variety happening, and to keep the soloists happy, too. Variety is the spice. Keep things changing. Certain players may want one kind of feel. Others may want another. We try to react accordingly. You just hope that it’s working out in a musical manner. You don’t want it to become schizoid, but on the other hand, it could become real boring if it just stays on the same thing for 45 minutes. So we pretty much have free rein to do what we want to do.

One time, I broke a bass drum head right after a melody. I live right around the corner from the club, so I went out after the melody, ran over to my pad—it took me three or four minutes—came back and put a new head on. Half the band didn’t even know I was gone. Gil said, “Oh, I thought you were just laying out.”

JW: That’s one impressive thing about the band, and Gil’s bands over the years. They’ve had a remarkable flexibility that you’d never expect from a big ensemble. It must be a thrill to be a part of that.

AN: Oh, yeah. He’s a rare individual who is an exception to the rule about what you think old people are like. Gil is 72. Most of the time, you have the idea that people, as they get older, get more narrow-minded and set in their ways. With Gil, it seems that, the older he gets, the more open and looser he is with things. I guess that, when you reach a certain age, you realize that this is a big world we live in, where anything and everything is possible, so you might as well be open-minded about it! He’s really an inspiration to all of us. He’s got this special quality—like a little kid discovering things for the first time. That’s such a beautiful thing, because to be 72 and still be one of the youngest people I know, combined with the wisdom of the years is magical. I can only hope that I’ll be like that when I’m his age.

I always look forward to Monday nights. No matter how I feel or whatever’s going on, there’s always something happening there.

Some Mondays, of course, are better than others, but it’s always different, and it always goes to some new zone or area that we never knew it was going to go to. It always seems to work.

JW: Would you describe the environment as being prone to a healthy sort of collective confusion?

AN: Sometimes there’s chaos, but it somehow always gravitates. Somebody will pull it in or do something, and we can jump and switch directions very quickly at this point. We’re very open to letting things go. We’re not afraid to lose it. If we lose it, we’ll use it.

JW: That’s a good motto.

AN: Yeah. Why panic? Just try to make something out of it, and make it happen. Take what somebody might consider a mistake, and use it so it’s no longer wrong. Use it as another way of expressing yourself, and let the band express itself. You can’t get stuck in preconceived ideas, especially in a situation like that. You’ve got to be able to just flow with whatever is going to happen.

JW: You normally play along with percussionist Manolo Badrena in the band, right?

AN: He’s in there. He’s got a great spirit and a lot of energy. He seems to have an understanding of all the more traditional aspects of Afro-Cuban, Latin music, but he’ll give it up. He’s not enslaved to the clave, which a lot of people are. I can understand that, out of their respect for the tradition. But in a band like this, which is so loose and so open, you’ve got to be able to go with it. So, to know about that tradition and still let it go—I like that. We have a ball when we play.

I’ve learned so much from listening to Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente, and music from Cuba and South America. I’ve tried to listen to a lot of that music to expand my vocabulary as a trap drummer. I find that there are certain people I’ve played with who are open and loose. We’re not playing straight Latin music in Gil’s band. We’re taking a lot of different influences and putting them together. You can’t be stubborn or play it exactly the way you would in more traditional situations.

JW: You’ve played in contexts of all different sizes, from the Scofield trio to the Gil Evans big band. Where do you feel most comfortable?

AN: I love the variety. Different contexts demand different approaches, but at the same time, there are always the ideals of musicality that you try to bring to each situation you’re in. I find that, in a big band, you’re just accountable for a few more people. In a trio, like the one with John Scofield and Steve Swallow, there were drums, guitar, and Swallow, who laid down a rich rhythmic and harmonic foundation. That gave me a lot more room to play in, because it was a very open context.

In a situation where, say, you have a piano, bass, drums, and maybe a horn of some kind, that’s a little different because you and the piano player have to work together supporting the soloist. I always try to inspire the people I play with, and at the same time, I try to make them feel good. That’s ultimately what a drummer has got to do. There’s that fine line of being yourself and playing what you want, but being a member of the band. Your responsibility is to the music. I keep coming back to that. The music is going to dictate a lot of how you’re going to approach it.

I recently worked with Gary Burton. That’s with vibes and piano. It’s a different context, too, because you have two instruments that are playing melody and harmony, and that are very rhythmic. Basically, it’s two other percussion instruments. So that’s another way to play. I try to be a little clearer in what I do.

You definitely play at a different dynamic level. Acoustic piano and vibes are very different from synthesizers and electric guitar.

JW: Do you find that it’s difficult to maintain that crucial level of intensity if the gig is less than edifying?

AN: I don’t care what the context is. Regardless of the gig, you still have to make the music the paramount ideal. Maybe you have to play a cha-cha. Well, play it to death; make everybody feel good. I think that, whatever the context is, you should just do it the best you can.

JW: It seems that you’re getting a lot of different kinds of jobs, though they’re all pretty much in the jazz idiom. Do you enjoy the diversity, or is that just the nature of the free-lance jazz scene?

AN: I do like being involved in a lot of different contexts. I don’t get called for the type of gig that someone like Steve Gadd would get called for. That seems to be another kind of scene altogether. Here in New York City, things really seem to be very cliquish. There are the people who do studio work, and who also get out and play. But the amount of people who do that could be counted on one hand. Then, there are the people who always work the clubs. There are the more R&B kind of gigs and the more straight-ahead jazz gigs. I’ve been called for a variety of situations. I like doing backbeat music; I think that’s a lot of fun. But I don’t get called a lot for doing that. Maybe I’ve been typed. That’s something that happens in New York City, where you have so many musicians. If you were in a smaller town, they’d call you for anything, but in New York, there are so many people who do things well, and some do things better than others.

I really like playing in a lot of different situations, because each one affords me the opportunity to play a different way. As time goes on, I hope that I’m developing my own voice on the instrument. You hear Miles and you know it’s him in a few notes. You hear Louis Armstrong—bam, that’s him. You can hear when it’s Tony Williams. I’m trying to assimilate my different influences, and I hope I’m starting to be who I am. I steal from everybody, and then, hopefully, it ends up being me.

JW: There was a good sense of rapport in the Scofield trio. What was the history of that?

AN: We started in late ’79 or early ’80. I know John had always wanted to play with Swallow, because they’d known each other from Berklee and through Gary Burton. The funny thing about John is that we both come from the same area of Connecticut. I was in a band with some kids, and their older brother had a band with John. A friend of mine took lessons with him. But I never really met him until ’76 in New York.

I lived on 26th Street, and he had some friends on 26th. One time I was playing over at their pad, just jamming. He came over and we played. I guess it felt good. From that point on, we got to know each other. We’d gone to Europe twice as a quartet with Hal Galper, one time with Stafford James, and another time with Wayne Dockery. And then John decided that he wanted to do this thing with Swallow. So we said, “Well, let’s try something and see what happens.”

Something special happens when you are in a group. There’s a spirit and a unity that happens. You develop intimacy and a trust. We had that same kind of feeling in Dave Liebman’s group. It just doesn’t happen when you’re out there free-lancing with different people.

JW: I know that, for John, the trio was something of a refuge from the fusion music that had first thrust him into acclaim—the Billy Cobham stint. Where were you at stylistically at that time? Were you pretty much a die-hard jazz drummer?

AN: Yeah, I’d say that was my first love. I love all kinds of music, but I found the most satisfaction and challenge involved in playing jazz. Here was a chance to be in a situation with electric guitar, electric bass . . . . It was like a power trio, but at the same time, we were playing changes. We had some great times. I don’t regret any of it.

JW: To back up, let’s get into your musical weaning. How did you first encounter music and drumming?

AN: My parents were involved in the arts, so I got encouragement from them. I started playing drums when I was about four and a half. I had an older cousin who had a drumset, and I would always watch him. One time he was going out at night, and he said to me, “Now don’t play the drums while I’m gone.” As soon as he left the house, I put a stack of 45s on, played along with them, and broke a drumhead. I don’t know how I did this, being five years old at the time. When he came home, I remember he said he had to get a new head, which cost something like $5.00. When you’re five years old, you’ve never even seen that much money. I thought, “Oh my God, what’s going to happen? This is so much money.” [laughs]

I didn’t get a drumset until I was about 12. I studied piano for five years. When I got the drums, I gave up piano, which I now really regret. At the same time, it gave me an increased knowledge in terms of melody and reading. I didn’t take drum lessons for a year or two. Then I decided, for myself, that I wanted to be involved in studying drums. So I learned the vocabulary of drums—the rudiments and things like that. I studied with a local teacher in Connecticut. I played with some rock bands that consisted of friends of mine.

JW: So up to this time, the fare was pretty much rock music?

AN: I was listening to rock ‘n’ roll, but at home, my parents always listened to classical music. My drums were downstairs and there was a speaker set up down there. So I would wind up playing my drums to Beethoven. At that time, it was pretty much playing with records and friends. I was playing blues, Mitch Ryder, and Jimi Hendrix.

I remember when Tony Williams’ band Lifetime was making the rounds, with John McLaughlin on guitar and Larry Young on organ. I saw them at the Capitol Theater in Porchester, Connecticut. Tony had a little, bright-yellow drumset, and this cat played more in ten seconds than I’d heard anybody play up until that time. He flabbergasted me. I said, “Wow.” I started listening to Miles, ‘Trane, and the whole bit.

I studied up in Connecticut with a teacher, who said, “I think you ought to go into New York City, and check it out.” I came down, and studied with Joe Cusatis and Charli Persip. I was jam- ming around a lot with people, but I was never in the high school band. The way it was set up, the people in the band from the year before had first dibs on getting in. Somehow I missed out. The big band, too, was playing Glenn Miller charts, and I was into listening to ‘Trane. I’d go in the band room, and they’d be talking about Maynard and Boots Randolph. So in a way, that wasn’t my element, but I was still a little bitter.

My parents said, “Are you sure you want to go into music? Can you make a living at it?” You know, parents are always worried about that kind of thing. So I went up to Emerson College in Boston to study communications, thinking that I could hang out around Berklee and find some cats to play with. But it didn’t really pan out, so I came home after a year and did the local circuit for a while. Finally, I said to myself, “I’m going to New York.”

I moved to New York in 1975 and went to City College for music. I met a lot of people who were up in Boston at the same time as I was, but I didn’t know where they were—Scofield, Steve Slagle, Joe Lovano. I couldn’t fight it. Music was gnawing at me. New York City is really the place. I had to get here. Although Connecticut is only an hour away, it’s very different. New York’s got an energy unlike anywhere else in the world, and I needed that stimulation. I didn’t want to be a big fish in a little pond. I needed to be in a place that would kick my ass.

I stayed at home for a long time, just practicing. I would go out to different clubs and listen. I wasn’t even thinking about playing with anybody. A place called the Tin Palace had a jam session with a great cat named Monty Waters. So one day, I sat in with Monty, who was doing a lot of playing with Joe Lee Wilson, the singer. He said, “Hey man, I’ve got this gig. Do you want to do it?” I said, “Sure, man.” I was missing school to do these gigs, because I just wanted to play. I also got to play with Albert Dailey, who was one of the unheralded greats on piano. I learned so much from him. And people like Wilbur Ware would come in with Hank Mobley.

Then I was playing with this pianist, Nina Sheldon, at the Village Gate, opposite people like Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sonny Rollins. I got to meet all these different guys and their drummers. That was a great learning experience. At the same time, I was haunting all the clubs and listening. I learned so much by just sitting in the corner behind the drums at the Vanguard.

Through John Scofield, I got a gig in Washington, D.C., with Dave Liebman, who dug my playing, I guess. He taught me a lot of stuff, too, because he could play drums pretty well. He’s worked with Al Foster in Miles’ band, and he’d worked with Elvin Jones for a long time. Then, John got his chance to go to Europe and asked me if I wanted to go. So at that point, I stopped going to school. I couldn’t see turning down a chance to do what I was going to school to learn to do.

JW: Was your move to New York a sort of inevitability? Did you set your sights on doing that even as a teenager?

AN: I never said to myself when I was in high school, “I’m going to become a musician.” It was just something I didn’t have any control over. The desire was so innate that it couldn’t be squelched.

JW: For a young drummer considering going that route, how would you characterize the scene now as opposed to when you first came here?

AN: I think it’s changed a bit, because when I came into town, there were more jam sessions around, where you could go out, play, and meet people. I don’t know if there are that many opportunities anymore. I don’t know where you go out and meet other musicians of your age.

Now, there are a lot more schools going on, where people are learning, and there are opportunities to play. But there’s nothing like being out there on the street. There’s that combination of knowledge you have to have. There are people who are school smart and people who are street smart. In this day and age, I’d say you’ve got to have a combination of both to get over. If you’re a hot-shot player first coming to New York City, you’ve got real delusions if you think you’re going to take everybody by storm. You’ve got to wait your turn. Nobody’s going to let the new kid on the block come in and take over.

Now, there are so many proficient young musicians coming up that I wouldn’t know how to do it again. If you’re coming to New York fresh out of school, make sure you’ve got some bread and are able to be cool for a while. Maybe you’ll have to do some club dates or a day gig for a while. The percentage of young, good musicians is increasing and the situations for working are decreasing. I don’t want to sound like a pessimist, but it’s getting increasingly more difficult. I’m lucky in a sense that I’m not really involved in that much commercial work, so I’m not threatened by the drum machine taking my gig.

JW: I don’t think you could get a machine to do what you do.

AN: I hope not. At this point anyway, a machine is never going to be able to react. A machine can never be spontaneous. As long as people will be out there wanting to hear live music, there will be the opportunity for me to work. There is nothing like being there when something is really happening. I don’t have anything against that electronic stuff. Lord knows, if I could afford it, I’d stock up on a DMX, a Simmons set, and a LinnDrum. But as it is, I don’t get calls for that kind of thing. Still, I like to stay open-minded about it.

JW: One of the disturbing aspects of the electronic revolution is the loss of the physical muscle involved so crucially in playing drums. Do you find that a problem?

AN: As technology progresses, they’re developing means for the electronic drums to be more touch sensitive. But as a musician on any instrument, you spend years trying to develop your sound. Here’s a machine that you hit, and no matter who you are, it’s going to sound the same. The great thing about natural instruments is that you could get ten different people, give them the same drumset and cymbals, and they’re all going to sound different because of the way they hit the instruments. It has nothing to do with tuning, but just how you hit.

The thing about drum machines is that a machine has never lived a life. We all have to go through experiences in our lives, and that makes us who we are. A machine cannot relive those experiences. When you’re playing an instrument, you’re expressing your ideas. Along with the process of expressing those ideas comes who you are and what you’ve had to deal with in your life. A machine never had to work in a coal mine, paint houses, pump gas, or whatever. Just the same, I have no negative feelings about somebody who wants to use machines. That’s cool.

JW: What is your equipment setup at present?

AN: Ah, the nuts-and-bolts question. I’ve always used Zildjian cymbals, both Avedis, K’s and the old K’s. I really like the dark sound. I’ve been using Gretsch drums pretty much. I’ve had the same drumset for about 15 years.

The snare drum I use is a 5 x 14 Gretsch, but it was modified by the Professional Percussion Center, when they were still in business, and converted to basically what a Radio King is, having extended snares. I put Slingerland rims on it, too, which are thinner and lighter than the Gretsch die-cast rims. I wanted the snare drum to have a little more pop and snap to it. It brightened up the sound.

I’ve got an 18″ bass drum, 12″ tom, and a 14″ floor tom. I also have 13″ and 16″ toms that I use once in a while. But seeing that I have to move my stuff around town, I try to do the most with the least.

I like to be able to ride on any of my cymbals, so I usually use a 20″ or 22″ ride, and usually a 17″ or 18″ crash. In my ride, I usually have two or three rivets. I like that sound. Sometimes I use a flat cymbal, and I use a Chinese cymbal now and then. But usually when I’m out there on the road, I just use two cymbals and 13″ hi-hats—a K on top and a Brilliant A on the bottom. I try to vary my sound by my attack on the instrument.

I’ve also got an old Gretsch snare that Mel Lewis gave me. In addition, I’ve got a drumset that used to belong to Charlie Smith, who played with Bird, Dizzy, Ella, Billy Taylor, and Erroll Garner. They’re ’50s Slingerland drums, with that champagne-sparkle finish.

I’m a firm believer in wooden drums. I like the warmth. I generally use Ambassadors on the top and either clear Ambassadors or clear Diplomats on the bottom, because I like the sound to ring—an open sound. I used to use calf heads on the bass drum and on the snare, too, but with playing in Gil’s band—all the electricity, man—calf can’t stand up to Con Edison. So now I use Fiberskyn on the bass and an Ambassador on the snare.

JW: How do you approach tuning? Is it just an intuitive thing, or do you have a formula?

AN: I primarily get the bottom head at a pitch that I like. You first of all make sure that the head is in tune with itself. There’s usually a range in a drum where you can’t go lower or higher than a certain tuning. I try to get the drums to speak. I used to try to tune the tom-toms a fourth apart or sometimes a fifth. As long as I hear the drum having a certain resonance and quality of sound that make me feel good, I lay with that. I like to get as long a tone as possible. I guess I like legato sounds. People come up and say, “Oh man, an 18″ bass drum, and it sounds so good.” It’s all in the way you tune it.

JW: Stickwise, what do you like?

AN: I like a wood-tipped stick. They don’t hold up as long; the bead usually deteriorates a lot faster. But I find that, because wood is not as dense as plastic, you get a warmer sound on the cymbal. I’m playing a lot of jazz, so the time continuum is coming off the cymbal. They’re a little bigger than a 7A and a little smaller than a 5A.

JW: Do you foresee a time in the near future when you’d like to be more out front—to take the role of leader?

AN: I wonder myself when it will happen. For me to want to put my name out front, it will have to be something I feel very strongly about presenting. I wouldn’t want just to go out, do something, and have it be the same old thing. If it’s going to be that, I’d rather have somebody else’s name out front, and I’d rather be a sideman. At this point, I enjoy being a sideman. I’m very glad to have the opportunity to play with the various people I work with. And there are a lot more people I’d love to work with, too.

JW: Does anybody in particular come to mind?

AN: Of course, everybody would love to play with Miles. I’m not different. Wayne Shorter is great. I love his music. He’s really got something special. Herbie Hancock—if I mention people, there will be others that I’m going to forget—Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw. I’d like to play with everybody to see what I could do.