The first time I sang with John Miller and John Reischman was in 2006. Rosemary Campbell selected the three of us to perform together at the faculty concert in Sorrento where we were teaching in Swing Camp. Since that summer we have spoken of playing music together once again and now finally, approximately 10 years later, it’s going to happen. Tuesday, January 3rd in Vancouver will be the 4th concert of the Joy Of Jazz Concert Series on the Cottage Bistro Stage and this will be a rare and wonderful opportunity to come and hear us perform as a trio. http://www.joyofjazzconcerts.com
John Reischman (mandolin) is typically busy touring with his acclaimed group The Jaybirds. The Jaybirds have a new recording coming out in 2017. John is a Juno–nominated and Grammy–award winning artist and is regarded as one of the truly great mandolin players of his generation.
John Miller (guitar) is truly versatile musician playing music that includes incorporates swing, country blues and latin jazz styles. He is a prolific composer, a highly respected teacher and he performs regularly in several ensembles in the USA.
These two gentlemen have been playing and recording together for over 20 years. They have recorded three CD’s together. Seeing them perform as a duo is a truly inspiring experience.
I don’t know these two musicians very well but what I do know after spending time with them and in seeing them in various settings with others, makes me admire and appreciate them; not just their musicianship but how they carry themselves as true gentlemen. They are indeed gentle and funny and thoughtful. How lucky I am to get to sing with them both!
Here are the 10 questions I posed in early December when we had our second rehearsal for the “Winter Moon” concert coming up in January 2017.
Do you enjoy the winter season and do you celebrate Christmas or Hannukah etc?
John Reischman ~ I do enjoy winter. Not as much as autumn or early spring, but it is nice to slow down for a bit and spend time with family at Christmas.
John Miller ~ I truthfully do not enjoy every aspect of winter. I’m not a fan of it getting dark around 3:30 or 4:00 PM, and feel much better once we get past the Winter solstice. Look out for those pedestrians! I like cold clear weather. I do celebrate Christmas every year.
Have you a favourite song or instrumental piece about winter?
J. R. ~ I really like the Vince Guaraldi sound track to a Charlie Brown Christmas. Gordon Lightfoot’s Song for a Winter’s night is really nice. I also like the traditional song A Roving on a Winter’s Night.
J. M. ~ I have lots of favorite hymns. For secular songs, I really like “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “Here We Come A Wassailing”.
What do you like about playing music with each other after all these years?
J. R. ~ I still enjoy the same things about playing music with John Miller that I did when we first started. He has a fantastic rhythmic feel coupled with interesting and usual chord voicings, and he is an endless source of beautiful original tunes. Plus he is a great friend and funny too!
J. M. ~ I always feel like playing with John Reischman is like attending a concert as well as playing one, it’s such a treat to hear what he does. Plus, it’s good to spend time with a good friend
Do you play music every day?
J. R. ~ I’m sorry to say that I don’t. Life gets busy so there’s not always time to play. I do have instruments hanging on the wall to make it easier. Last year I was able to get into a routine of playing/practicing everyday and I hope to get back into that routine.
J. M. ~ I think of myself as playing every day, but I suppose there are occasional days when I do not play. I should play every day, certainly.
Are there names of any upcoming artists in the world of instrumental music in any genre that you can recommend to listen to or watch for?
J. R. ~ One of the younger musicians I play with from time to time name is Molly Tuttle. She is a triple threat; singer, instrumentalist, and songwriter, and she excels at all three. She is known in the bluegrass world, but her music crosses over into Americana and folk. I’ve known her since she was a little kid so it’s great to see her come into her own. Her first solo recording will be released early in 2017.
J. M.~ I think that musicians I think of as up and coming have often been around for a while. I really enjoy Classical pianists Alexandre Tharaud and Igor Levit and Jeremy Denk.
When you are performing concerts, do you have any pet peeves about certain things that you think shouldn’t happen while attending a concert?
J. R. ~ Well, it’s always annoying if you are playing a concert and someone is talking.
J. M. ~ I don’t like it when the sound person plays either a recording by the artist(s) performing the show on the sound system between sets, or plays some other music, completely at odds with what the performer does, between sets. I much prefer the only music sounding at a show being what you hear being made on the stage as it happens. Having music going non-stop de-sensitizes us to it.
Other than the instruments you play, what might be an instrument that you are particularly drawn to?
J. R. ~ I love the fiddle, and the tone that some get from a clarinet. Uilleann pipes are very cool.
J. M. ~ The piano
What is your favourite place to visit when you are on vacation?\
J. R. ~ I love the west coast of Canada and the US, from the ocean to the mountains, so I’m happy I live where I do!
J. M. ~ A place I can feel relaxed in–I don’t want to be tense on a vacation.
Do you enjoy composing your own music and how do you typically begin that process?
J. R. ~ Yes! I’ve had a bit of a dry spell lately, but I have some ideas recorded on my phone that I have have been reviewing. I think there is some potential there. About twenty years ago I had a lot of melodies come to me when walking. I still walk, but the tunes have not found me!
J.M. ~ I do enjoy composing but don’t have a set routine in how I go about doing it.
Do you enjoying teaching others?
J. R ~ Yes, it’s something I’ve been doing more of in recent years.
J. M. ~ Very much
Thanks to both of you for answering my questions. I look forward to making music in 2017!