Chico Freeman Plus+tet makes their NYC Winter Jazz Fest debut on Friday January 6 at 10:20PM at the Zinc Bar, 82 West 3rd St. New York, NY 10012. Recently he gave some answers to some questions on the minds of a lot of folks.
Is social justice important to you and why?
Social justice to me is really justice for all human beings. Martin Luther King said it best. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
Have you been inspired by recent events in the world and here at home to make your music more political or socially-charged?
No I have not and that is because I believe jazz in it’s DNA is political and socially charged. My music is an expression of the times and my view of the world as I believe it is with most if not all jazz musicians and artists in general.
What does the word jazz mean to you and how is it different today in our modern era? Is it still relevant and how so?
I dislike the word jazz. However, for me the term as it is accepted today, it is the search for truth and that truth being who and what the artist is expressing at that and any given moment.
What does Thelonious Monk’s music mean to you? What does it spark in you when you hear it played or play it yourself?
Thelonious Monk’s music is innovative and just as compelling today as it was when he created it. It is an inspiration for me in my composing and improvisational skills. It is a challenge to play and a joy at the same time.