"Sweet" Sue Terry

SR: Tell us your earliest memory of jazz?

St: My dad’s record collection. He had a lot of classic sides like Modern Jazz Quartet, J.J. Johnson, Billy Taylor and many many more.

SR: Of the living greats who would you most like to play with and why? Same question for anyone you didn’t get to play with that is no longer with us.

St: I would like to play with Hermeto Pascoal and Yo YO Ma, I wish I could have played with Astor Piazzolia and Miles Davis

SR: What is the driving force behind your creativity as a musician?
St: I hear beautiful sounds all around me and I want to make beautiful sounds too.

SR: What was it about jazz/improvised music that attracted you to it?
St: I first really listened to jazz when I was around 12- I didn’t understand how it worked but I loved the beat.

SR: Since jazz has evolved into various stages and genres, what is the most radical transition it has taken and what impact do you feel it had on jazz?

St: The bebop era was very significant, it expanded the jazz universe by extending the harmonic possibilities. Then Trane came along and found another modal dimension that we hadn’t known about. Then a couple of other spokes shot out from the hub: the pioneering work of Miles with his electronics groups, and movement to fuse other musics with jazz like Brazillian, Afro Cuban, Tango, etc. Jazz ia alive and well! I am in the midst of writing a book that explains Jazz music to listeners-stay tuned!

SR: If you could attend one event in jazz history, where would that be?
St: How about, Duke Ellington at the Cote D’Azur , or Astor Piazzola Central Park concert or Miles at the Blackhawk!

SR: Gilly’s caper CD was a treat from start to finish, I especially enjoyed Gilly’s Caper single for its straight forward delivery, and the rich sound of your voice in the “ Feel of Blues” I understand there is a story behind Gilly’s caper, would you share this with us?
ST: It’s about Gilly’s mission to track down the infamous “Seal of Solomon” and deliver it to The Commanders . You can hear the story on http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/sweetsueterry2
Listeners can hear samples of every song. If you click on “album notes” you can read the beginning of the story. Each song on the CD appears somewhere in the story, with the exception of one song, which is hidden on purpose.

SR: You are both composer and musician , describe the balance between both of them when making music.

ST: Since improvisation is “spontaneous composition”, and any improvising musician is also a composer. I find the process of creating formal composition on paper, however, also makes me the better spontaneous composer.

SR: Can you explain the difference between West Coast Jazz and the jazz that emanated from NY?
ST: Life on the West Coast has never been as frantic as that on the East Coast, and that is reflected in its music.

SR: You and Peggy Stern have performed on several occasions together and will perform again in March at the Palladium Theatre in Saint Petersburg, Fl. Tell us one of the memorable moments you have on stage together.

ST: Every time we play together it’s amazing. We have an incredible musical rapport. We are both familiar with the formal traditions of not only Jazz but also classical music; we both played a lot of Latin music, and we both dig free improvisation. We have a great time playing together and we respect each other’s musicianship. The audience seems to enjoy the fact that we are relaxed on stage, and endlessly creative. We also laugh a lot, musically speaking . What’s not to like ?

SR: What else can we expect from Sue Terry?

ST: My next two recording projects will be very different from what I’ve done so far: a recording of solo wood and clay flutes called “ Music for Tai Chi”’ and an album of keyboard music of mine that is spontaneously composed. As far as my book: the book I mentioned previously about how to listen and dig jazz will be out this year, as well as “ Greatest Hits of The Blog That Ate Brooklyn”, due out in April. I also write a regular online newsletter that covers all sorts of interesting subjects ! People can subscribe for free, and read all the archives, at http://sueterry.net/news.html

SR: What advice would you give a young aspiring musician coming into the music industry ?
ST: Study business and marketing. Stay ahead of the curve. Be true to yourself.

Thank you Sue for the interview and I look forward to seeing and hearing you at the Women of Jazz III concert on March 20, 2010 at the Palladium Theatre in Saint Petersburg, fl.

A night of great jazz featuring “ Sweet "Sue Terry, on sax, Peggy Stern, on piano, plus vocalists Rose Bilal and Theo Valentine, Anne Van Atta, bass, Sandi Grecco, drums and Patty Sanphy, guitar.
Produced by the Palladium at Saint Petersburg college, the Al Downing Tampa Jazz Association and Jazztorian.
For ticket information contact the Palladium at 727-822-3590

This is a concert you don't want to miss !

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Samantha Richardson