The songs that capture my attention
—the ones that really feel done in
the end—are the ones where
I have to really dig to find out
what it’s talking about.
on Me.” I got to know Jack from doing a
few gigs with Herbie Hancock. We hit it
off—just had a really beautiful rapport as
human beings, talking about music and
life. It was like, “Let’s do this—I’ll play
on your record [DeJohnette’s new Sound
Travels], and you’ll play on mine.”
and I’m going to play it.” It’s more like she’s
orchestrating around the kit, so it sounds
like multiple percussion instruments being
played at once. And yeah, Jack is the same
way. He’s not locked into patterns. He
comes up with the right combination of
notes and rhythms for the context of every
moment, and that’s really rare.
I talk about myself an awful lot, doing
so many interviews, and I’m just not that
interesting to myself! I find a lot of inspiration in the people I know and the world
around me, and if I’m going to spend all
this time that it takes to put together a
song that I’m happy with, it’s got to keep
me interested. The songs that capture my
attention—the ones that really feel done in
the end—are the ones where I have to really
dig to find out what it’s talking about.
“Cinnamon Tree” was a real challenge. Sure,
the metaphor was there first, this little nickname, but how to unpack that, turn that
little phrase into a song and a story about
Jack is such a musical drummer—it’s as if
he’s playing a little orchestra.
That’s something I really like about Terri
Lyne Carrington, too. It’s not like, “I
worked out a bunch of shit on the drums,
You take on some pretty potent topics, and you also do something very few
young songwriters do—you write about
stuff other than yourself.
You’ve been quoted as saying you write
songs and albums in fragments, yet your
albums hang together very nicely—
despite being stylistically diverse. How do
you pull that off?
Well, I make a record because the music
seems like it’s got something to tell.
Through the process of unpacking the
songs, step by step, you’re just trying to