The Recording Academy played host to GRAMMYs On The Road at the Detroit Jazz Festival on Aug. 31 – Sept. 3 in downtown Detroit. GRAMMY.com conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists performing at the festival, including six-time GRAMMY-winning vibraphonist Gary Burton and GRAMMY-nominated pianist Fred Hersch.
Burton discussed his introduction to the vibraphone, his career trajectory, combining elements of jazz and rock, and his collaborations with Chick Corea, among other topics.
"[Chick Corea and I] played a short segment on the Berlin Jazz Festival and then went into a studio to record [our] first record," said Burton."That's when we discovered we had a real easy rapport playing together."
Burton formed his own quartet in 1967, recording albums that fused rock elements with jazz improvisation and sophisticated harmonies. That same year Burton received his first of 19 career GRAMMY nominations for Best Instrumental Jazz Performance, Small Group Or for Duster. In 1972 he won his first GRAMMY for Best Jazz Performance By A Soloist for the album Alone At Last. Burton has earned his renown in performing in a duo format with musicians such as Corea, with whom he has won five GRAMMY Awards. The duo most recently won for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual Or Group for The New Crystal Silence in 2008. His most recent recording is 2012's Hot House, another collaboration with Corea.
Hersch discussed his love for the piano, the influence of poetry and visual art on his music, the music J.S. Bach, among other topics.
"[Today] people listen [to music] while they're doing email, they listen in their car, they listen on the treadmill," said Hersch. "People don't sit and listen to [music] and I think that's an absolute tragedy because the experience of concentrating on music … is really good for your soul."
Hersch, who started playing piano at age 4, has recorded more than 45 albums as a performer, bandleader or duo partner since 1991. He has played as a sideman with artists such as Stan Getz, Joe Henderson, Charlie Haden, and Bill Frisell. Hersch released his debut solo album, As One, in 1984. As the leader of the Fred Hersch Trio, Hersch has received five GRAMMY nominations, his first coming in 1993 for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual Or Group for "Dancing In The Dark." His most recent nomination was for Best Jazz Instrumental Album for Alone At The Vanguard in 2011.
In addition to artist interviews, The Recording Academy also presented GRAMMY SoundTables featuring Detroit Jazz Festival performers discussing their music and careers. Participants included GRAMMY winners Terence Blanchard, Gary Burton and Joe Lovano.
Come back Monday for more GRAMMYs On The Road at Detroit Jazz Festival coverage.