What inspired you to record a Coltrane tribute at this point in your career?
I have had so many record labels suggesting I do a Coltrane tribute recording. I said, “Everytime I play it is a tribute to John Coltrane, as well as many other of my mentors.” Finally, I thought it was time to do the recording, but on my own label, OYO Recordings. John Coltrane was moving in the direction of ownership for musicians, so it was a tribute in more ways than one—musically and business-wise.
How did you go about striking such a great balance of reverence (giving the material its due) and relevance (putting your own spin on it)?
As an artist, I try to channel things in a way that is not a copy. I wanted the recording to sound as if it was a Coltrane recording that you might have missed.
How has playing with McCoy Tyner affected your appreciation for Coltrane and his music?
Having played with McCoy since the late sixties, I learned how it felt when Coltrane was working on different ideas that he had every day. I try to apply my ideas in a similar fashion. It made me even more appreciative of his work ethic.
What's your next project going to be?
There is a second Coltrane Rules in the can. I couldn't explore Coltrane's music in just one recording. I am going to release a live recording from 1986 with Woody Shaw. It was recorded in Baltimore at The Closet. I am working on a Charlie Parker project and an Ornette Coleman project. Also, a gospel project, even though, I consider Coltrane Rules
as a gospel recording.
And where are you living, these days? What do you miss about Baltimore?
I have been living in South Jersey for about 20 years now. I miss my friends, family and crabcakes.