Apr 23, 2009|
HK Magazine: Why jazz?
Howard McCrary: I love all sorts of music, but in particular jazz. Jazz allows a musician infinite freedom because it has no rules, and it has the ability to transport the listener to a different place. When ad-libbing during jazz performances, I constantly surprise myself by trying out new things and never doing the same things twice. There is no substitute to the magic of spontaneity.
HK: Do you prefer recording in a studio or performing live?
HM: Music created in the studio can be listened to over and over again, but live performances are recorded in the hearts of the audience who are there to witness it. It’s gratifying to resonate with those watching you perform and deliver something that is worth their while. It doesn’t matter if they listen to you for two minutes or two hours. It’s time they will never get back.
HK: You’ve talked about the importance of inner peace to performers.
HM: Only with inner peace is one able to achieve one’s full potential. As a vocalist, I find that meditating before performing on stage helps. And there will never be world peace if you don’t have inner peace. I’ve become more involved in such efforts, such as performing at the World Peace for Life concert in LA last year. As the world gets smaller and people get more connected, I believe it will be possible to have world peace.
HK: Does music run in your family?
HM: My mother played the piano and my father was a choral master, so I grew up with gospel and secular music. Now one of my sons is a recording producer and my daughter is a songwriter, so I would say the music gene definitely runs in the family.
HK: What do you think about Hong Kong?
HM: I’ve been in Hong Kong for four years and I love the city. People say it’s small, and yet there’s so much to explore. To me, the spirit of Hong Kong is the appreciation of effort and excellence. I’ve been fascinated by Chinese culture ever since watching Bruce Lee on TV at the age of 14. Dim sum is my favorite dish, and I would love to learn mahjong. My wife’s family in Hong Kong plays a fast and furious game.
HK: What makes a place a good venue for live performances?
HM: It has to have good vibes, and I think Dada is up there with places like Cotton Club and Blue Note in New York, and Ronnie Scott’s in London. It has the potential to be the premier venue for jazz in Hong Kong.