How did the trio come about?
I was based in New York for 10 years, and then I moved to Berlin in 2008. I had a trio in New York. We started playing a lot in Europe and eventually I decided it would be easier to get a European rhythm section. Matthieu was highly recommended by a fellow musician in New York, and he insisted that Jerome be part of the band band. Even though we live in different cities, I find this combination the best. I can’t find any other group of musicians that work as well as them.
What is Cachuma? Why was it named that?
Everyone asks me that. It’s actually, I think, is a Native American word. It’s the name of a lake in California near Santa Barbara where I grew up. I forget if it’s a Navajo name or.. I don’t know.. I should do my homework! I wrote that song while I was at that lake with my girlfriend. It was a beautiful setting, with the lake and the mountains and it came to me.
You say that Cachuma marked a new beginning for you. Can you describe why?
It basically ended the relationship with my American side (I’m American-German) and embraced my European side. I live in Europe now and I have a European trio. We’re starting to do bigger events in Europe, touring Asia and Australia… It’s just taking off in a whole different way. It’s my fourth record. My previous trio members Robert Perkins and Derek Nievergelt, who are great musicians, really they put in their time. We traveled a lot in Europe. They helped me take my music to the next level. But it’s a new beginning in the sense that its more European-oriented.
Which are you favorite songs or cover songs to perform and why?
My favorite is probably Lola’s Dance, the second track on the CD, because of the melody and harmony. My favorite cover song is.. hmm.. that’s hard.. We play Jimi Hendrix, Bjork, Elephant Woman… Hard to say which I favor… But I can tell you this much. Whenever we play in a new country, every time we play Hendrix, we own the room. Everyone recognizes it and we just rock out. Gets the crowd every time.
The first time I heard about NBT was when I played at the Kota Kinabalu Jazz Festival in 2011. I was talking to some other musicians there and asked where I should play if I come to Malaysia again. The name No Black Tie popped up as the place for jazz. I have to say it’s amazing. Evelyn is very particular about sound. After travelling by 10 airplanes and arriving somewhere, the best thing you can have is a great sounding room. And also the piano… The minute you walk in, you can tell that there’s great respect for music. It’s not like that in many places. Sometimes you show up at some other events/venues, they have loads of money then you see their priority list and the last on that list is the piano. That doesn’t make much sense if you’re going to invite a pianist to play.