Oral History Interviews

Greg Collier

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“I always tried to be a little bit of a perfectionist, and so I had to criticize my own work. Every night I would record my own work just to see what I could do. And when I’d leave the club I’d play it back so I could critique my own self. Hear things I did that I liked, what things I didn’t like, what things I played that I shouldn’t play, things that… and that sort of thing. So it became more of a study guide for me. It was a way of reviewing my work.”

Roy Brooks: Drumist 1938-2005

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Not a drummer, but a drumist Growing up in a Detroit with pianos in every house, Roy Brooks found the beginnings of his self-described purpose: to create a musical truth. Though Brooks received guidance from several of his more well-known contemporaries — Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane among them — he chose to forge his […]

Kenn Cox: Guerilla Jam Master 1940-2008

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 There Was Music Everywhere Detroiter Kenn Cox (born November 8, 1940) was a jazz pianist, composer, mentor, leader, and performer. In this oral history conducted by journalist Larry Gabriel in 1989, Coxx describes his upbringing in Detroit as a young musician and his then current approach to performance and recording. He cites major influences […]

Barbara Martin

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“As my grandma said whenever we did something of accomplishment, whenever she was very proud of us she would say, ‘I feel right rich.’ … I liked it when my grandma said that about me. If we don’t maintain this heritage all the connections of our musical ancestry then… we won’t have that feeling. As one who has had it, I don’t want generations to come, not to.”