I was fortunate enough to catch up with one of the finest guitar players on the planet in Chuck Loeb and he was gracious enough to field a few questions for us.
You contribute three tunes to the new record, “December Dream,” “Sonnymoon,” and “Logic of Love,” … Some of your finest work. How has joining Fourplay changed the way you write or has it?
C.L. – “Thank You! I am very happy with how my songs came out on Esprit De Four. Yes – the effect of being in Fourplay has upped the ante on my writing I think. Mainly because I am so inspired to think that they will be recorded & performed by these three icons of contemporary jazz; Bob James, Harvey Mason and Nathan East. But it also is because the guys have really encouraged me to take chances and push the envelope in my writing by always choosing the most challenging tunes that I bring in, and also setting a very high bar with their own contributions. The legacy of the band’s history also plays a role – as I feel like I want to keep the standard of excellence set by the earlier CD’s with Larry and Lee.
While you still release solo material, what is the best part about being a part of what is perhaps the last “super-group” on the contemporary scene?
C.L. – “Aside from the fact that I have the great fortune to be in the company of three of the baddest cats on the planet, we get to tour to every corner of the world and play for and meet great fans that spur us on to artistic heights. I think that I have also benefited in terms of my general reputation as a solo artist by being in the band. It’s great on a lot of levels, but these are a few that I would point out.”
The music business is just that – a business. How has the global economy impacted you professionally and do you think the music business has done all it can to keep up with the plethora of technology platforms or are they still playing “catch up?”
C.L. – “As with everything – there is a yin and a yang to the changes that have taken place in the last few years both in the global economy as well as the music business. The downside is obvious – people are struggling economically all over the world but I continue to be amazed that people still go out and hear concerts and support live music. I think this shows that music is actually something that people search out in tough times, and we hope it makes a small difference in their moments of struggle. In terms of the record business and the Internet, as they say – “when one door shuts, another opens up somewhere” and I think the advent of facebook, You Tube, Spotify etc…creates an amazing atmosphere for the continued development of music, and artists. It may be harder to see quick or large incomes, but if an artist is willing to make the effort, I think the opportunities are there, and maybe even better than before. I am amazed and very happy to see SO many people from so many different parts of the world get in touch with me and enjoy our music through FB, Twitter, You Tube etc. etc. So I try and stay active on the Net in return, so there is a give and take.
Your compositions on Esprit De Four have a strong lyrical dynamic while maintaining a deceptively complex harmonic foundation. As a searching artist with a broad based background what is the most important thing you have learned since joining Fourplay?
C.L. – “Your assessment of my music makes me feel proud, because that is a characteristic I have always searched for in my music. The thing I learned this time made the CD with Fourplay is NEVER underestimate the effect of each musicians contribution to a song. What Bob, Nate and Harvey added to my compositions go beyond anything I could have ever imagined, as do the efforts and contributions of our engineer and mixer, Ken Freeman.”
Finally, how easy or perhaps difficult was the decision to join Fourplay and what does the future hold?
C.L. – “When I was asked to join Fourplay it was very easy to say yes, as I had been (and continue to be) a huge fan of their music for the last 20 years. It also fit very well with where I was at musically at that moment.
I see a very bright future for the band, with the release of this new CD Esprit De Four as I think it will reach an even wider audience. Also- we have plans to pursue more orchestral arrangements, like the one we did in 2010 and I think that will be an exciting new path for us to go down.
Aside from that – we will continue to tour and record and bring our music to fans worldwide. Esprit De MORE!!!