We are back with another installment of the Guest Artist Series on Tuesday January 26th 9:00pm @ Sonnys in Dover. This month, we feature guitarist/composer/singer/educator Jim Dozet. We are very excited to be presenting the music of Ray Charles. Inspired by the John Scofield record That's What I Say, Jim and the Po Boys have cooked up some exciting arrangements of some classic soul/R&B favorites.
As usual, we take this opportunity to interview our guest and provide a little background about Jim and his relationship with the music of Scofield and Ray. Enjoy!
Over the past decade I've seen you play in small jazz ensembles, funk/soul/hiphop groups, blues trios, and with your own band as songwriter and leader.
What was it that motivated you to dig in to all these various styles? What was the journey like for you?
I am certainly interested and passionate about a various and eclectic array of musical genres. I think part of what motivated me to dig into so many different styles was a distinct curiosity. I am very interested in the vocabulary of a given style of music. What makes that particular style what it is. I have always been intrigued by this question. I also enjoy listening to myriad styles of music which inevitably leads me to experimenting with playing those styles.
I began, as many do, strumming an acoustic guitar and trying to figure out and sing my favorite songs. After graduation from high school I took a few years off in order to find my direction. I always came back to guitar and music. My private instructor at the time, Mark Edgerly helped to prepare me for auditioning for the jazz guitar program at UNH. I also studied with David Newsam prior to being excepted while I was achieiving my associates degree.
Once in school I was surrounded by music and musical people. I was introduced to funk and hip hop through friends and began to dabble in those styles. After a decade of strictly guitar playing and sideman work I jumped back into the world of the singer/songwriter. I missed that aspect of music and performance and composition. I and to be completely honest I needed a way to get more work and make more money when the great recession hit and I lost a large percentage of my student base.
Can you share with us your thoughts on Scofield's unique voice on the guitar?
His voice on the instrument is certainly unique. He is one of those players that within just few notes you know it’s him. I think that having your own voice and sound on whatever instrument you play is critical to setting yourself apart. He has done that. He is also incredibly versatile stylistically and his influences seem to be vast. From bebop to funk and every thing in between, he brings his own uniques character to the music.
I first heard Scofield in a modern jazz context, playing with Joe Lovano. 5 Years later I saw him share the stage with Lettuce. He clearly has each foot in a few different worlds, so it's no surprise he would dedicate a record to the music of Ray Charles.
What do you think of his interpretation of Ray's music?
This is one of my favorite Sco records, no doubt. He covers a wide array of styles and his interpretations are original yet pay obvious homage to the creator, Ray. I like that he is not afraid to showcase other musicians and singers on various songs while he takes the role of the accompanist. I think that shows great humility and it is clear that his goal is to serve the song.
As a song-writer and soul enthusiast, what connection do you have with Ray and his music?
I have always enjoyed Ray Charles, since I was very young. It has a visceral affect. You can hear the life in his voice and the passion and pain in all of his music. I also love the fact that he took the music he came up on, gospel and church music and integrated it with mainstream pop and what would be rock and roll. I try to do that with my own music. I endeavor to infuse all of who I am as a musician and a person into my songs.