Not all jazz is of a playing-inside-to-other-musicians variety. Jazz is also meant to please and entertain the listeners. Saxophonist Gregg Bacon has been doing that for three decades with his own style of groove and funk on pop, R&B and jazz tunes. Bacon is a musical communicator in the sense he wants to give his audience what they want to hear and not challenge their ears.
He has come out with a new CD, topically titled Our New America, which musically reflects an expanded reach for a wider audience that includes vocals for the first time on one of his CDs. The always-affable Bacon gave us this interview about where he's at today with his music and his new CD.
NUVO: Was the concept behind your new CD relevant to 9/11?
BACON: It all came from 9/11. I think the entire country was troubled about that and everyone took a stand toward patriotism, including all the members of my band.
NUVO: What prompted the inclusion of vocals on your new CD?
BACON: I had Mark Hill doing 'Route 66' because we entertain a 40-plus crowd a lot of the time and the Frank Sinatra era. That's something we do a lot of and we just got lucky enough to get that song on the CD.
NUVO: Are you changing your musical focus from what you have been known for in the past to a broader audience?
BACON: I would say that I have changed a little bit, I think. People ask for requests and I get an automatic poll daily about what the average people want. You know musicians generally play what they want to play. I try to give people what they want, opposed to what musicians want to play.
NUVO: How would you describe your musical personality?
BACON: I saw a guy who didn't play an instrument from the old days who sang 'Hi De Hi De Ho,' Cab Calloway, who was an entertainer. I studied the history of jazz and where music came from and a lot of the musicians were entertainers as well. They dressed well and to me that's the way we should be.