Deborah DeMoss Smith
A former Louisianan, Deborah DeMoss Smith knows about gumbo and a spicy interview. In fact, with a background in writing, TV news, radio hosting, and the author of two books, one of her greatest joys is interviewing. But don’t expect trite questions. Instead, Deborah likes to stir the pot with quirky queries. “One of the best ways,” she says, “to have fun and to learn something about someone is to ask unconventional questions. Recently I asked a jazz pianist, Are you a dancer’? He said he’d never been asked that before and he DID like to dance; he’d even competed! ” Deborah also has an affinity for early morning runs, yoga, movies, live jazz, and cooking supper for family and friends — especially gumbo.
Bassist Essiet Essiet says he's often questioned not only about jazz but about his name. Given to the first born son, the double name is a tradition in Nigeria, his family's homeland. The acclaimed artist offers more on his background and his affinity for jazz.
Young jazz musicians may have yet to make their mark, but they still have plenty of interesting things to share. Recently, I heard the award-winning Battle Ground High School Advanced Jazz Combo play. Afterward, I spoke to 16-year-old sophomore Steve Montecucco, trumpeter, and 18-year-old graduating senior Luke Nerton, drummer.
Jazz pianist Steve Christofferson says he was in elementary school when he discovered his parents’ LP jazz collection. Long an accompanist for singers (think Nancy King), he’s just at home with his own music. Recently, we chatted about his guitar-influenced playing and his desire not to be too polished.