What do kids’ musicians listen to when we’re not on the job?
Do we worship the Wiggles? Boogie down to some Barney? Relax to Raffi? Sip some Chardonnay on Sesame Street?
Get real. We’re grown-ups. We like all kinds of music (including, in my case, some Sesame Street).
Still, even I was stunned when fellow kids’ musician Tito Uquillas (of Hipwaders fame) and I got into lengthy talks about Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica. I mean, I know I grew up with that music, it’s part of my musical heritage, but somehow I didn’t think any other kids’ musicians were hip to it. Man, Tito knows his music, he’s way into getting the groove right, and his tastes stretch into the far cobwebby corners of pop. It’s really exciting talking with him, like high school days when my friends and I would sit around all afternoon and discover new music.
I recently did an interview with musician and blogger Eric Herman. We went on and on about about Zappa and other influences from our past. (I can go on and on when it comes to music…) Can you hear Zappa in either of our ‘canons of work’? I doubt it.
I’ve sat with Justin Roberts in his apartment, digging some mid-60’s Wayne Shorter. He spun some Kurt Elling and some new stuff I hadn’t heard. Now, Justin’s music for kids bears little outward signs of his appreciation of Jazz. But, the music that a songwriter listens to informs his music in ways that usually have more to do with quality and depth.
Do the Hipwaders sound like Beefheart? No, but you can hear the attention to groove and musicality. The appreciation of music is evident.
Lately I’m listening to mainly classical music. A ton of Mahler. Did it make me go all classical on my latest CD? No. Perhaps it did get me to pay even closer attention to orchestration/arrangement and interplay of voices. Or maybe not. The main thing is, I’m still thrilled to listen to music. Just about any music (except Barney or the Wiggles). You dig?