7 years ago

Volume 13 - Issue 7- April 2008

OD: You are a dazzling

OD: You are a dazzling pe1former andyou appear remarkably comfortableon the stage. But earlier this year atthe lAJE Conference you reminiscedabout your knees buckling whenCharlie Parker called you to the mic.How have you dealt with performanceanxiety over your career?JH: Well ... I have the natural stagefright of every artist. I don 't think youever get over that. I think what you do isget used to having it and you put it towhatever use you can. I' ve always beenterribly afraid of going on stage but then Igot to the point where I was supportingmy family, in the depression- and when Isay my family l mean I had a family:twelve brothers, three sisters, my motherJon Hendricks, Jane Bunnell, and members of theArt of Jazz Community Voices choir.and father. Eighteen people, and I was supporting all of them, youknow, so I had to go on stage. l was the meal ticket! And l guess l justkept going after that.OD: You have been singing since childhood. Tell me a bit aboutyour early musical training.JH: My mentor was Art Tatum, and he was blind, so he couldn't talk tome about reading. He said LISTEN. That was his word. LISTEN. Andhe would play these arpeggios, and l would sing them and he wouldplay the ones I missed. That was my training. Turned out that l got thebest possible training a jazz singer could have. It was just incredible.OD: I'm guessing you have rarely receivedbad press, but if you have receiveda bad review what was your reaction?JH: ln my youth, l would be devastated.Thinking that I should commit suicide, say"farewell, cruel world" and all that stuff,you know, with the exception of the factthat all my brothers and sisters were dependingon me, and sol couldn't do that. Sothen [ began to ask, " What is the criticismthat is rendered on me?" Sol would readthat and say okay, "shows nervousness", soI got more bold and full of verve and nerve.l manifested those things and it got methrough.OD: At what age did you decide to become a writer of lyrics?JH: l was born an intellectual. l gotA's in English from the first gradeto the end of university. I got the only A in Creative Writing in sevenyears at the University of Toledo, and the professor, Milton Marks,wrote the textbook that's used in Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Princeton,all the big colleges. He called me down to his office and he said, " Iguess you're wondering why I called you down here," and l said " Wellyes, I am wondering." He said "Well, you got an A. You know, I don'tgive A's. " I said, "I know this." He said, " You got an A because there'snothing else I can teach you about writing." And l cried, you know,tears came down from my eyes. I' ll never forget that as long as l live.So writing has always been in me.seasons tocelebrate!2008.2009 Season SunPrese nting Sponso r Life FinancialWWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM APRIL 1 - MAY 7 2008

OD.· You are a Distinguished Professor of Jazz at the University ofToledo, having started your teaching career in 1964 at StanfordUniversity. How would you sum up your teaching style?JH: My teaching style is simple: there is only one lesson that mankindever needs to know. That is, the truth. If you are going to call yourselfa teacher, you need to learn what is true and what is false. And so youcome to find out that the truth is always right under your nose, just infront of your eyes, waiting at the back of your ears, in the touch ofyour hands, in the emotions that course through your body, you are thetruth when you start to search for the truth. Your every breath is thetruth.GREAT CHAMBER MUSIC DOWNTOWNCECILIA QUARTETOD: Does singing at your age come as naturally as always ordoes it have its challenges?JH: It comes even more naturally because everything is always justthere. I don't have to look for anything or search for anything. All Ihave to do is take care ofmy vehicle, my body. So I eat only organicfood, I drink only bottled water. I try to think only high spiritualthoughts so that I don't descend into any illness. I think illness comesfrom thoughts ... as you think, so you are. My thoughts are only onGod, on the creator of the heavens and the earth. Talk about genius.Do you realize that the Earth spins on its axis at I OOO miles per second?Do you dig that? That's heavy. And that's been going on since thebeginning of time and nobody knows when it started and nobody knowsif it ever w ill finish. I don't think it ever wil l finish.OD: What are you working on these days?JH: I'm working on my autobiography, which is .. . really hard to describe.I've had some amazing adventures in my life. I can't reallydescribe right now any further than that, but you' II get to read it soon Ihope. Otherwise, I've been working on classical- although I mustadmit I don't like that term, classical, because I think jazz is classical.So let's call it symphonic music. I' ve already lyricized the third movementofRimsky-Korsakov's " Scheherazade" . I wrote it in ElizabethanEnglish. My Vocalstra- sixteen voices- performed it at the Sorbonnein Paris, for the opening of their jazz program. More recently, !justfinished Rachmaninoff's Concerto # 2. r wrote a great lyric to thatabout the Russian love ofland. The Toledo Symphony is going to do it,and I want some choreography added to it as wel l. I think that wouldbe perfect. Open with the symphonic strings doing Lambert, Hendricks& Ross's greatest hits, then an intermission, then Scheherazade andRach 2. It's going to be a great concert.OD: Thanks to the Art of Jazz team, you are going to be back hereperforming at Roy Thompson Hall on April 24, along with the Artof Jazz Community Voices, a choir comprised of 240 Toronto students.What can you tell me about the experience of working withthese kids?From Toronto to the world stage -Next stop, Osaka!Beethoven, Kevin Lu, Bartok, SchumannThursday April 3 at 8 pmTickets just !BELCEAQUARTETBritain's newestsuperquartet makesits Toronto debutHaydn and BrittenThursdayApril 10 at 8 pmST.LAWRENCEQUARTETalways sensationalDvorak, Hindemith,BeethovenThursday May 1at8 pmJH: Oh! I can' t wait for that concert. These kids, they ' re incredible.These chi ldren are so gorgeous, they' re like ... flowers. Flowers thatyou harvest in your garden ... beautiful bouquets in fine vases, that'swhat these children are like. Every shade, every branch of humanity,every ethnic and cultural group in the world, and they are so beautiful.If you didn't believe in God, ten minutes with children and you wouldbecome a disciple. Absolutely. There's too much beauty going on there.Children are the hope of the world. I'd devote my life to them if Icould. They are just what we wish we were now. A six-year-old, that'sa good guy. I always try to be six years old, that's my ambition.Tickets to the April 24 concert are and can be purchased atthe Roy Thomson Hall box office or by calling 416-872-4255.tore nt dartsbounci I.o.narm·, 1eng1nDodyo11n•C1l,' .comatBfe, Canada Council Consell des Arts~ lotlheArts du CanadaPA ONTARIO ARTS COUNCILJ'-\ CONSEILDESARTS ~[ONTARIOJane Mallett TheatreSt. LAWREI\IC E CENTR E~~~ ARTS416-366-7723 • 1-800-708-6754order online at www .stlc.comAPRIL 1 - M AY 7 2008 WWW. TH EWHOLENOTE.COM 13

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