Tony Trischka says:
Pat Cloud is an elusive figure. Though some people know of him only by rumor, he is, in fact, alive, well, and playing locally in southern California. Indeed, he is one of the most strikingly original banjo players around. He combines bebop jazz lines with fiddle tunes, Django Reinhardt with Earl Scruggs, and places the entire mixture in a melodic flow that just won’t quit.
Aside from being a mind-boggling player, Pat is very articulate about what he’s doing, as the following interview demonstrated:
Tony: How did you get started?
Pat: I got into banjo because there was one on my wall at my stepfather’s house. I picked it up and played it witha pick for about three months with three strings on her until somebody told me to get two more strings and use fingers. I was listening to Flatt and Scruggs records. I learned all of the Foggy Mountain Banjo album, started listening to fiddle tunes, I went to a lot of fiddler’s conventions, a lot of things from Byron Berline. Started listening to old 78s of ragtime piano, swing, Bix Beiderbeck, Coleman Hawkins, Django Reinhardt, Benny Goodman, the boppers, and then wherever it’s at today.
Tony: How did you get into doing scales and jazz chord substitutions?
Pat: I just wanted to play banjo differently because I was getting bored by playing the same. I was not getting bored by the style. I like the music a lot, but you like different things to play. Music sort of overlaps and is adaptable in context.
Tony: Why haven’t people played jazz on the banjo yet? Do you think there are limitations of the banjo that prevent people from doing that?
Pat: It doesn’t have eight octaves like the guitar or piano.
Tony: What would you suggest playing to get into some of the stuff you’re doing?
Pat: Oh, learn all your major scales and learn all your minor scales. That includes harmonic, melodic, and natural. Every chord change can be painted by a scale. In bluegrass, I’ll say one or two scales, in jazz, three or four.
Tony: You do so much practicing – two and three hours a day.
Pat: That’s not true. I don’t practice enough, actually. I’m lucky if I get away with four. I don’t think it’s easy to do at once. You have to work up to it. You have to really feel it’s worth it. If you don’t feel your practicing is going to do any good, you aren’t inspired. It’s also a matter of getting over the trauma of sounding rotten. As Richard Greene once said, “You just have to play and sound rotten until you get the hang of it; not to be afraid and traumatic, and fall on your face a bunch of times.”
Tony: Do you have any other thoughts on breaking out of old patterns on the banjo?
Pat: We all have finger habits, and getting your hand in tune with your ear is the big trip. You hear a note way up there, you should try to hit it. Putting it on the spot where you want it. A lot of busy work. I’m not nearly as dedicated as I plan to become.
Label: Flying Fish
01. Higher Power (07:01)
02. At The Banjo Cafe (05:39)
03. Mynah Blues (07:12)
04. Blackwolf (03:54)
05. San Felipe (06:17)
06. In A Mellotone (09:31)
Pat Cloud, banjo
Harry Orlove, guitar
Jim Cox, piano
Greg Cohen, bass
James Hobson, drums
Dave Stone, bass
Barry Solomon, guitar
Bob Applebaum, mandolin
Jim Garafalo, bass
Del Blake, drums, percussion
eat your heart out alison brown.
mp3 ~320kbps vbr | w/ cover | 91mb