Napoleon Maddox

We did an interview in April 2006, exactly five years ago. Since this time, many things have changed for you. Recognition is increasing, especially in France. What's happen ?

What happened since our first interview... I just keep working and planning ... practicing ways to improve my art and connection with people I meet... finding ways to be excited about life and touch people... sometimes its fun... and sometimes its hardwork...

When you started the music in Cincinnati, can you imagine that one day you could play with Archie Shepp ?

When I started... I think at that time I thought of the future but I was living so much more in the moment... I am sure I didnt anticipate 90% of what has happen since I seriously pursued music... sometimes I wish that I was more impulsive as I was back then... but contemplation and impulse are a tricky balance.

During the interviews, people often ask you how to make the transition from hip hop to jazz. You became an "official intermediary" between these two music !

To me its not necessary to make a transition from Hip-hop to Jazz .. the first time I heard Maceo Parker was on a Hip-hop record... the first time I heard Dizzy Gillespie was on a hip-hop record... etc. The disconnect people make between the two expressions is not about music really... the disconnect is about social status.

Why Nina Simone ? What was the audience of these concerts Riot called Nina ?

Nina Simone as an artist seemed to maintain a repetoire of music that she could ALWAYS perform with conviction... whether the song is about Love, social justice or personal struggles... her songs always mean something to hear .. and so it DEFINITELY touches the audiences... The audiences at theses A riot called Nina concerts are great because they recieve us.. and accept the give of Nina Simone thru us... even as we give new direction and birth to her songs by completely changing them... this project is intended NOT to be a safe, easy, predictabe tribute... It is something more natural and honest than that... and the audiences recieve that... and many people have told me they discover new parts of Nina Simone because of that

We talk a lot of about "métissage" in music. But should not we talk of contrast ?

We should talk about our feelings and how it contributes to the music... and then how the music contributes to our feelings... the mix and the contrast of sounds in music is as natural as the mix of elements in the atmosphere that keep makes it possible for us to breathe...

Someone who has never listened jazz wants to listen hip hop : which album ? Vice versa ?

Hip-Hop : Gang Starr No More Mister Nice Guy. Jazz : any Thelonius Monk album with an aggressive version of Epistrophy on it.

Quelques mots à propos de ces deux titres ? L'un par Kool & the Gang .. l'autre par Kenny G ... et

I am sure you know which I prefer... but its all about context... I know that there are creative people that can take the sound of the Kenny G record, sample it... and change the way we hear it forever... I dont know who it will be ... but I know this is one of the beautiful things about Hip-hop ... but Jazz was already doing this kind of thing before the development of Hip-hop (taking melodies from anywhere and putting them in a new context) .. so we are back to the beginning.

Interview by JAZZus

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