MD: What inspires you now, musically or otherwise?
JH: Musically, some of the younger talent whom I have heard is just phenomenal, starting with Sergei Nakariakov, who isn’t necessarily too young now, but when I heard him he was still in his teens, playing some of the most incredible solo trumpet. Arturo Sandoval is another amazing talent who never ceases to amaze, in any musical situation. These days there are so many young musicians who are playing well above their years that it is hard not to be inspired by them. I can also go back to listening to Freddie Hubbard or Clifford Brown, and each time I hear them, even though I have their playing memorized, it is like hearing it again for the first time. There is so much good music available that at any given point in time, inspiration is only one listening away. As Ray Charles said, I like any music as long as it is good.
MD: What equipment are you playing on these days?
JH: Equipment has never been an issue for me because I hear so many great players playing all kinds of different setups. I have always said that anyone should play what is comfortable to them and sounds like they want it to sound. But if I have to say, for the last 20 years or so it has been a Bach 37 ML and a Bach 3C mouthpiece. I have always played a 3C rim, but had a Bob Reeves bottom made when I first came to LA. And I played a Calicchio for about ten years in the late 70's and 80's.
MD: If you could offer one piece of advice to young brass players, what would it be?
JH: Listen, listen, and then listen some more. Of course, everyone needs to practice, but once the level of proficiency has been attained, I think listening is the biggest aspect of being a great player. Also a very positive attitude always helps things work out, too.
MD: What's on your dance card in the coming months?
JH: I am mostly working with Aaron Zigman, a film composer, as his right-hand man. Aaron was a keyboard player/songwriter/producer who had written and produced many hit songs, and I had written some arrangements for those. Then in the mid 90’s, with the record business slowing down, Aaron decided to try his hand at film scoring. He asked me to be a part of his team and since 2000 he has done about 50 movies, so at times, I have been incredibly busy with that. At one point he had four movies going at the same time, and wrote for ten movies in that year. As far as horn arranging, it has been spotty, but there have been several good projects along the way. Recently we recorded for the Earth, Wind, and Fire, Mary J. Blige, a rock band called Theory of a Deadman, an English artist named Paloma Faith. I have a couple bigger projects in the future including a Seal CD with David Foster as producer.
MD: Over the course of your career is there anything you wish you could redo?
JH: Probably not. I have had a really good run at this and was fortunate to be in the right spot at the right time. Of course there are always things I thought I could have played a little better or written better, but that is just the perfectionist in me.
MD: What half dozen or so CDs would you put in a time capsule to capture the essential Jerry Hey? (I'm not sure I could limit it to that few, so feel free to expand on that number.)
JH: As you said, it is tough to limit it to a few, but here are my top picks:
MD: Were you a basketball fan during your IU days? Had Bobby Knight arrived at that point? Good precursor to becoming a Laker fan perhaps?
JH: Bobby Knight came after I left IU. But I was always a basketball fan and have followed IU ever since I left. But the Lakers are my sports passion. I try to never miss a game starting back in the mid 70’s when Kareem came to LA from Milwaukee. We had a little stumble this year, but I know the Laker organization will keep the Lakers at the top of the league again next year.
MD: Amongst brass playing oenophiles, you have a fairly legendary wine collection. How long have you been collecting? For those of us less knowledgeable than yourself, give us Jerry's picks for the best bottle over $100 (trumpet players) and the best bottle under $10 (trombone players)?
JH: I was lucky enough to have Don Piestrup start my passion for wine in the mid 70’s with his 8,000 bottle collection. He showed me which wines to buy, and one bottle that he literally made me buy for $200 is now worth at least $10,000. It's a good thing I got started in the crazy wine game early, because I couldn't afford to drink the good stuff at today’s prices. So for the trumpet players, I have way too many bottles over $100, but for the under $10 trombone players, I say drink Boone's Farm!! It goes well with pizza, right?
MD: Thank you Jerry for setting a standard of musicianship that gives us all something to strive for. Your playing and writing have been and continue to be a constant source of inspiration. I'm sure I speak for all when I say we are grateful for your amazing work.
JH: Mike, thanks for having me be the first of many artists on Bone2Pick. The lineup you have in upcoming issues looks tremendous and I am honored that you chose me to begin this venture. Good luck with it and I'll be reading all the interviews.