Bobby Previte deserves to be called a visionary because he refuses to be confined in any role he adopts: composer‚ bandleader‚ and drummer. Visit his website and feast upon the diversity of projects he's been involved in just the past few years. From punk jazz with The Beta Popes‚ the electronica Dialed In to abstract jazz and a commissioned for music and visual art for The 23 Constellations of Joan Miro.
This is all an extension of the ambition Previte displayed two decades ago with the groundbreaking band Bump he put together in New York after receiving a formal degree in music education. His schedule has always included a variety of activities‚ both in the United States and abroad‚ yet in his dialogue with Doug Collette‚ Previte professes to be concentrating on his current project The Coalition of The Willing for the next year or so.
Nevertheless‚ even this single concept mirrors the dynamic flow of his career. It has already involved a changing cast of players including Marco Benevento and Robert Walter‚ not to mention all of those who contributed to the studio recording. Bobby is leading COTW with all the purpose and discipline he instills in his drumming and all his other work and he talks the same way: combining authoritatively with a no-nonsense attitude that still allows for some good-natured banter along the way.
Doug Collete: Well‚ you're a busy man. I can see by looking at your website how many different things you've got going‚ but I'm excited because you're doing some more shows with the Coalition of the Willing‚ because that album was one of my favorite albums of 2006. It was one of those rare things; when I first listened to it I loved it‚ and I was running around to people saying‚ "You gotta hear this‚ you gotta hear this."
Bobby Previte: Oh‚ that's all good.
DC: And that doesn't happen too often‚ but it's unified and so energetic. Did you envision it that way to start with‚ or did it just evolve into this single piece that just goes right into the stratosphere from day one?
BP: Well‚ every time I do a record I try to conceive of it all as a piece. I don't really like records that are kind of haphazardly put together‚ a piecemeal or snapshots of a band. You know-here's this tune‚ and here we play our ballad‚ and now we have this kind of a thing‚ and they're all kind of disparate. I really like when a record has a certain color‚ so when you finish it‚ you really feel like you've been imbued with that color.
DC: I agree with you. I love to hear an album from start to finish that seems to carry a certain sense of logic and momentum‚ and when it's over you go‚ "Wow‚ I was over there‚ and now I'm over here‚ and I like the way I got here."
BP: Well‚ that's what the best records do. That's what a record should do.
DC: I agree with you. How did you come to pick the players that ended up being on the album?
BP: Well‚ I've been playing with Charlie now for a few years in Groundtruther.
DC: Yeah‚ I wondered if this Coalition of the Willing evolved out of that.
BP: No‚ I've been putting bands together for 25 years and I had the idea. I wouldn't say it evolved out of Groundtruther‚ but since I was playing with Charlie a lot‚ I thought he would be perfect for it‚ so I asked him.
DC: I bet you didn't have to convince him to play electric guitar and slide and 12-string‚ because it sounds like he's really getting into it.
BP: At first I sort of did‚ but then he did get into it. It's fun for him because it's like a walk in the park after playing that big old thing that he plays‚ you know?
DC: I wondered about that at one point too‚ if he looked forward to not having to sit down and lug that thing around.
BP: Oh yeah‚ I think so. Anytime you have a chance to get away from your normal thing and it's something good that you want to do and it challenges you and its fun‚ all of us feel that way as musicians.
DC: Well I saw you and Charlie in June 2006 when you played as part of Discover Jazz Festival here in Burlington at Nectar's‚ and you guys seemingly have a good time playing off each other-high volume‚ high energy‚ and real simplicity. That's why I asked if the Coalition album evolved out of that‚ because it just seems such a natural extension of that‚ with a lot more texture and a lot more color and a lot more contributions.