Could you take us through the creative process that has yielded your new release, "John Swanson's rent Party"?2
This project is a musical gumbo. The project started with Jimmy Hamilton, Victor Hill, and me (John Swanson). Together we developed songs that I personally found appealing and fun. Next, I handpicked Gap Band members, Billy Young (keyboards), Raymond Calhoun (Drums/percuss ions), Ronnie Kaufman (drums), Roman Jackson (keyboards), Fred Jenkins (guitar), and of course Jimmy Hamilton (keyboards, vocals), and Victor Hill (bass, vocals) to lay the tracks. At intervals, I took the crew to Paramount Studios, Hollywood, where the tracks were laid. To put the icing on the tracks, Raymond Calhoun encouraged me to use saxophonist Cal Bennett to play the melody parts. Once this was accomplished, I mastered the work and it was named "John Swanson's Rent Party," because the Cd concept was mine.
What elements do you look for (or create) in a song that makes it especially satisfying for you to perform?
I look for original material with yesterdays passion, today's sounds with contagious hooks.
What’s the most creatively fulfilling part of what you do as a musical artist?
It's creatively fulfilling when your music is appreciated by others.
Who currently is drawing your attention as artists you’re excited about?
Artist I'm excited by are Badu, Boney James, Jill Scott, and Maxwell.
What most important piece of advice would you impart to a young musician just starting out in the jazz/smooth jazz arena?
I would tell a young musician to remain loyal to his craft. Be creative and don't be afraid to try new things.
How would you like to see this Smooth Jazz format evolve from this point to remain vibrant for its base, yet still attract new fans?
Continue to take the fans on a musical journey. Remembering, variety is good.