What other instruments do you play and how did you end up primarily on violin?
I started on the violin although, when I was a kid, my mom taught me some on the keyboard. Mainly, I was on the violin and I did get some private lessons so I was a little bit ahead of the kids in school. I noticed in middle school that the guys in the jazz band were pretty cool. The music teacher in high school knew that the guys in the stage band were behind the music building smoking and they wouldn't even get in trouble for it. They were jazzers. If I sat with my legs crossed in the orchestra, I got sent to the back of the section. So, as a classical violinist, I didn't like the treatment we were getting. It was so strict that it wasn't consistent with my personality. When I was in middle and high school, I took up the trombone and string bass so I could play with the jazz band. I never got really good at those instruments but early on, I was playing big band stuff and it got the jazz band stuff in my blood.
Is it difficult to hit and hold high notes? You seem to do it so often — it's impressive.
Thank you, you're very kind. The clarity that one plays in the high range is pretty telling in terms of the level of accomplishment of the player. As you get higher on the violin, as the notes get higher, the potential for screech is that much more, as you go up. It separates the pros from the non-pros. The amount of ease and grace that they can navigate around, particularly in the high part of the instrument.
Talk about how jazz and classical music are related and how it connects with Eddie South.
What's happened in music today is that things have become very compartmentalized. People have a tendency to think they like one style or another. Back in Eddie South's day, I refer to him as a crossover musician, but that's because of the description in contemporary terms. Back in his day, jazz was really developing and almost all violinists were either folk violinists or classical violinists. Folk, as in, "wherever you live, whatever the music is." You know, local. What ever the vernacular kind of music of your region. Or if you were studying the instrument, the only kind of organized study for string instruments was in classical music.