Performer Profiles: Jim Fryer

We are excited about offering a new Q & A Segment to the Website profiling our 2016 artists. As the countdown to the Festival begins, what better way to get to know more about the performers that enhance our festival. This month Jim Fryer.

jimFryerWhat/who are your musical influences? 
So many makes it so hard to answer! Of course, my first teacher, George Robinson. I loved many trombonists when I was learning jazz: JJ Johnson, Bill Harris, Jack Teagarden, Tricky Sam Nanton…so many! I first played professionally around Boston when I was a teenager, and local players, especially the trumpeter Dave Whitney, were a big influence. I fell in love with Billie Holliday when I was about 22, and realized that music meant more than trombones! I like all kinds of music, I love to be in someone else’s company and listen to their music; or when on a long drive, letting the “scan” button on the radio carry me to…wherever. Charles Ives, Imogen Heap, Salsa, Beethoven string quarters, Eva Cassidy (maybe the best singer ever), Glenn Gould playing Bach (and Pablo Casals playing the Bach Cello Suites). Professionally, I adore pretty much anything I hear from 1900-1940, with all the music of the 1920’s (jazz or pop, whatever you call it) always fascinating.

What have been your musical highlights/accomplishments over the last year? 
Still playing festivals in the west with the Titan Hot 7 (Sun Valley Idaho, Olympia WA, etc); many wonderful gigs with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, including the Newport Jazz Festival (what a thrill!); playing in schools in Connecticut with the Cool Cat Jazz Band; trips to play music in Britain with great musicians; and many, many gigs around NYC with so many wonderful musicians at so many great venues, not only clubs like Birdland with the Louis Armstrong Eternity Band, but various restaurants with “local” musicians; also, sitting in at Mona’s at 1am. Basically, for me, my favorite moment in life is the one the follows the bandleader saying: One, Two, One, Two, Three, Four…then life really starts!! 

Where do you see Traditional Jazz in today’s musical landscape?
Its influences & importance? Traditional Jazz will always have a place in the landscape, just as Steven Foster and Pete Seeger will. Its influence and presence and economics may wax and wane; but that just means we all have to keep working at it!!

What separates the North Carolina Jazz Festival from other festivals that you have participated in?
 The Thursday night concert is great! Also the school concert/demo, and the workshops with young musicians; and the jam session. Obviously, the very high level of musicianship among the players, and the wonderful variety of ages.

What similarities does the NCJF have with other festivals that you have participated in? 
The whole “jazz party” paradigm of a series of thrown together bands, while obviously functional and useful, get a little old. I like to hear bands that have worked out a special sound with rehearsals and arrangements. 

What has been your most memorable moment performing on stage? 
One great moment: on stage with 91 year old Doc Cheatham at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival, 1994. Never forget that!

Anything else you would like to add? 
Don’t get me started…really, I am just SO appreciative of what the organizers and workers at Wilmington, and at each and every event that I am privileged to be part of; what they all do, so that I can play music – thank you!!