In 2011, guitarist Ross Hammond blew musical minds with his
multifaceted CD Ambience, Antiquite And Other Love Songs. Now
in 2012, he clearly fulfills the mission with his latest CD, simply
entitled Adored. Credited to the Ross Hammond
Quartet, the 8 track CD features Ross in full blown instro-fusion
mode backed up by top players, including Vinnie Golia (sax),
Alex Cline (drum set) and Steuart Liebig (bass). Almost
avant garde in scope, Adored at times sounds like Pat Metheny
jamming with Ornette Coleman and Tony Williams. Compared to the thematic,
ambient nature of Ambience,
Antiquite And Other Love Songs, the 2012
CD release of Adored takes no prisoners in its sonic assault
on your senses. Hammonds own guitar influences include all time
jazz favorites such as Wes Montgomery, Grant Green and Kenny Burrell,
but on Adored you can also hear how much he was influenced
by the free-jazz sounds of John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders as well.
Recorded live in the studio in L.A. in December 2011, and engineered
and mastered by Wayne Peet (who also adds in piano here), Adored
is Ross Hammonds latest CD masterpiece of sonically explosive
and tastefully improvised free style, guitar-based jazz. www.RossHammond.com
presents an interview with
mwe3: Ross, Adored is a great new album from you. How soon
was it recorded after the Ambience, Antiquite And Other Love Songs
album and how did the Adored music and CD release take
shape? Whats been the reaction so far?
HAMMOND: Ambience, Antiquite and Other Love Songs was mostly
recorded from a live show in November of 2010. I think Adored
was recorded about a year later in December of 2011. Musically my
approach to making the records was similar. I wanted to use some themes
from lullabies (Adored, Shes My Little Girl,
etc) and turn them into some launchpads that a group could use for
improvising. The difference was mainly that the Adored record
had some incredible improvisers on it whereas Ambience... was
a solo guitar effort.
After I finished recording and mixing the songs it was pretty easy
to get some CDs made and do a release. We had our CD release show
in February and the reaction has been great. The record got some great
reviews from the Downtown Music Gallery (NYC), Allaboutjazz.com, Something
Else!, free-jazz steffs blog as well as some good airplay from
jazz and improv radio. Im pretty amazed at the attention the
disc has received. Something Else! ranked it as one of the top jazz
releases of the year. Im not sure if thats true, but its
nice to get the nod.
mwe3: Where and when was Adored recorded and can you describe
the chemistry between you and the players involved? The album is so
well recorded it sounds like its some kind of avant prog supergroup.
What did you set out to achieve with the new album and how does Adored
differ compared to your other album releases?
recorded Adored in Los Angeles last December at Wayne Peets
Killzone Studio. The session was pretty easy, as the guys in the group
are pretty amazing improvisers. I just laid out a direction and showed
them the themes of the songs and that was it. The group took care
of the rest.
Ive been playing with Vinny, Steuart and Alex at different times
for a couple of years now and wanted to document that group. Its
kind of funny to me because the songs by themselves are fairly easy
with very singable themes, etc. Theres not a lot of complexity
in this batch, but I really think thats what makes the music
happen. The songs are simple but we can make them as complex and dynamic
as we choose to.
As for the difference between the other albums, I think its
pretty apparent how my songs have changed since becoming a dad. The
music feels more folky in terms of how Im writing. Most of these
songs were based on songs I sing to my daughter at naptime or on a
walk or something like that. You have a continuous muse as a parent,
and I think thats been the source of my songs.
mwe3: The last time we spoke you told mwe3.com about your guitars
including the red Danelectro reissue and the Fischer archtop. So what
guitars, amps and other gear did you feature on the Adored album?
Well, the Adored recording session was fun for me because
I was fairly limited in what I wanted to travel with to do the session.
I didnt take a lot of guitars, pedals, amps, etc. We micd
up my ZT Lunchbox and I plugged in the red Dano and tracked the whole
thing like that. The Distortion pedal I used on a couple of tracks
was a Zvex Vextron, and the delay pedal/looper was a Digitech Hardwire
DL-8. I think I had a Chiklet reverb pedal too, and thats it.
Most of the sounds on that record are Dano-reverb-Lunchbox and Im
pretty happy with how the guitar sounds.
That being said, as much as I like the Danelectro guitars I recently
upgraded to a Jerry Jones Neptune. Its the same kind of vibe
but its just a nicer instrument all around. I think Ive
used that for almost every gig since I purchased it in the Springtime.
That and the Fischer archtop are my main guitars, and for acoustic
stuff Ill use a 61 Martin 00-18 or a Hernandes 12-string
tuned CGCFGC. But as with anything, there are always instruments coming
in and out of the house. When a gig calls, my immediate response is
Jerry Jones guitar, Lunchbox amp and Im out the door.
mwe3: What are you hoping listeners will come away with after listening
to the Adored album and how about future plans moving forward
through 2012 and now looking at 2012?
RH: Well, it really is a nice thing to get some attention for the
music one makes. I think that this record really succeeds in taking
the spiritual, free-jazz/group-improvising music that I love and combining
it with simple, folk songs and themes. Thats pretty much what
it is, and I think that there arent a lot of records being made
like that. Its been compared to Sonny Sharrocks Ask
the Ages, which I love but Im not ready to compare my music
to his. If others say that, then great.
As for the present and future state of the music, Im involved
in a few new projects. Vinny and I are going to be recording a trio
with bassist Adam Lane in NYC in the fall, which should be a lot of
fun. Also, I have a new trio in Sacramento called Revival Trio
with Vanessa Cruz (drums) and Shawn Hale (bass). Its in the
jazz tradition, but were doing a lot of hybrids of jazz, African
Music, folk songs, etc. Were recording in August in Sacramento.
Aside from those two things, Ive been playing with singer/songwriter
Amy Reed, who sings a lot of originals as well as classic, Carter
Family-style folk songs. Thats been a lot of fun. Weve
been playing for a few months and are honing in on a sound before
we make plans to record. So those are a few things. Im always
trying to collaborate with as many different musicians as I have time
for, so if anyone is interested in keeping up with that just check
out my site www.rosshammond.com
Thanks to Ross Hammond @ www.RossHammond.com