Blujazz Productions remains on the cutting edge of modern, mainstream
jazz with a 2018 CD release from California-based
drummer and composer Paul Kreibich entitled Thank
You Elvin. The ten track, 74 minute album of solid
bop jazz was recorded live in concert at the famous Lighthouse Cafe
on August 13th, 2017. For those just tuning in, Paul Kreibich has
drummed live in concert for a number of music legends including Carmen
McRae, Ray Charles, Mose Allison, Joe Pass, Kenny Burrell and in more
recent times he also serves on the music faculty of Cal State Fullerton.
The Elvin in the album title of Pauls new album is legendary
jazz drummer Elvin Jones, whose style of jazz is paid a kind of posthumous
homage on Thank You Elvin. A perennial favorite among fans
of seasoned vintage jazz, Elvin Jones and his unparalleled drumming,
especially his early 1960s years with John Coltrane, is still the
stuff of jazz legend. For Thank You Elvin, Paul Kreibich has
assembled a solid band as well as an impressive, action-packed live-in-concert
track list that features original music as well as covers of classics
from the pens of John Coltrane (Naima), jazz bassist Gene
Perla (Sambra) and song writing legend Jules Stynethe
latter feted here with a Kreibich cover of Stynes 1944 torch
song / jazz standard, Guess Ill Hang My Tears Out To Dry.
Assisting Paul's music and drumming on Thank You Elvin are
three gifted saxophone players including Doug Webb, Glenn
Cashman and Jeff Elwood along with bass ace Chris Colangelo.
Recorded live at the fabled Hermosa Beach jazz venue The Lighthouse
Café, Thank You Elvin attempts to recreate a similar,
sonic vibe of the 1972 Elvin Jones album Live At The Lighthouse.
As a native Californian, Paul, who was 17 when he attended Elvins
'72 concert, was so inspired so its only natural that Thank
You Elvin sounds as authentic as it does. In his informative CD
liner notes, Kirk Silsbee goes into remembrances of that 1972
Elvin Jones album of that same concert that Paul attended as well
as detailing the modus operandi of Pauls impeccably produced
live concert album. Echoing the excitement of Elvin Jones and the
great jazz drummers of the 1960s and 70s, Thank You Elvin
brings to life the timeless jazz Buzz-AT the fabled
Lighthouse Café and then some. Fans of jazz drumming heroes
giants Elvin Jones, Art Blakey, Philly Jo Jones and other jazz classics,
dont miss drumming maestro Paul Kreibich and the instrumental
live jazz groove on Thank You Elvin. www.blujazz.com
presents an interview with
Was Thank You Elvin inspired in part by the 1972 Elvin Jones
Live At The Lighthouse album? In his Thank You Elvin
CD liner notes Kirk Silsbee tells the reader that you were in attendance
for Elvins show that night and you were actually transcribing
drum patterns. That sounds very challenging for a 17 year old! Sounds
like you will always remember that concert.
Paul Kreibich: Yes, it was unforgettable. Actually Elvins
quartet was playing at the Lighthouse 5 nights a week for two weeks
and recording every night. I was there every night, so I got to hear
the band playing at top form for many hours. I was studying with a
great teacher, Bob Wrate, and did a lot of transcribing from records
and the great drummers I could hear live. Elvins rhythm patterns
were always changing, but Id try to jot down the basic beat
he was working from. His energy and dynamics were awesome, too.
mwe3: How did you choose the other players in your band for
the Thank You Elvin album and how would you describe the chemistry
of the band overall and especially that night you recorded Thank
Paul Kreibich: As far as the sax players, Ive known
Doug Webb since I was about 19. We came up playing together. He has
become one of the leading tenor players in the country. Glenn Cashman
I met in the Luther Hughes Cannonball-Coltrane Project. We worked
together teaching at Cal State University Fullerton until he moved
on to teach at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. Glenn is
a fine player and arranger and also plays a mean B3 organ. Jeff Elwood
also teaches at Cal State Fullerton. He is a unique and dedicated
player and teacher. A student of Jerry Bergonzi, he has written a
great book on improvising.
Bassist Chris Colangelo and I have worked together for years and hes
one of my favorites. Hes got the great time and the harmonic
understanding that it takes to hold together a band with no piano
or guitar like ours.
We did the recording live at the Lighthouse all in one day. The guys
played the tunes with a lot of precision. Everybody was firing on
How long have you been playing drums and how did your drumming sound
evolve over the past decades? Can you tell us about your kit that
you recorded Thank You Elvin with and do you use a different
sound live than in the studio?
Paul Kreibich: I picked up the sticks at age 7 and started
weekly band class in 5th grade. I had some really good teachers: Ken
Owen in Middle School, Earl Treichel in High School, and Dr. Charles
Rutherford at Orange Coast College. I started gigging 5 nights a week
at age 15 and have been going at it ever since. Pop and rock n
roll came first. I got into jazz at age 14 or so. Im known as
a jazz drummer, but I enjoy playing many styles. Going on the road
with Carmen McRae, Ray Charles, and the Woody Herman Orchestra turned
me into a professional and made me capable of surviving in the business.
At first I copied my favorites. The more years I played, the more
my own style developed.
I play a DW Jazz Series kit with 18 bass drum and Istanbul Mehmet
cymbals. I dont change the sound in the studio much- just some
tuning and muffling if necessary. If its a funk or pop session,
a 22 bass drum and bigger deeper toms are used and the snare
mwe3: Who were your main drumming and composer influences?
Elvin was a big one, so what other drummers, drummers who compose
and composers overall, made the biggest impression on you over the
years? Were you also influenced by rock drummers? Seems like the best
rock drummers were also influenced by giants like Elvin and cats like
Krupa, Rich, Blakey and more
Paul Kreibich: Some of my influences were: Shelly Manne, Buddy
Rich, Billy Higgins, Philly Joe, Mel Lewis, Jake Hanna, Harold Jones,
Jeff Hamilton, Paul Motian, James Gadson, Clyde Stubblefield, Peter
Erskine, and Joe La Barbera, to name a few
Ellington, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Monk, Charlie Parker, Horace
Silver, Wayne Shorter. Some drummers who compose: Denzil Best, Stix
Hooper, Jerry Kalaf. Earl Zindars was a tympanist.
I play and study piano and flute. That helps a lot with composition
and playing the drums musically.
As far as rock drummers, I like Mitch Mitchell with Hendrix, Levon
Helm, Richie Hayward with Little Feat, Russ Kunkel with Carole King
and James Taylor. Tris Imboden is an old friend who played with Chicago.
Hes a great rock drummer. We used to hang out, play, and trade
mwe3: Tell us about growing up and living in L.A. How would
you compare it with NYC and other cities for music making and concerts?
What parts of L.A. do you like best?
Kreibich: I was born in L.A. and have spent most of my life in
So Cal. As a young musician, I heard all the good drummers who live
here or came through town. On the road I played in New York and made
lots of friends there. I probably could have moved and done okay.
There was more jazz in New York, but there was a lot of everything
in L.A. and I was already getting established here. There are fewer
clubs in L.A. now for a variety of reasons, but in the 1990s,
after I got off the Ray Charles gig, I was working all the time in
and out of town and doing record dates.
At this point, I like the So Cal weather and lifestyle, other than
the traffic. And I get called for a wide variety of things, mostly
with great players, so I feel pretty good about staying here.
mwe3: Youve drummed for many music greats. What are some
of your favorite concert tours and recording dates over the years?
I realize its a lot but maybe a couple you could share? What
was working with Ray Charles like?
Paul Kreibich: Im lucky to have been around when a lot
of the first generation modern jazz giants like Red Rodney and James
Moody were still playing. Those cats learned the music in a different
way and had a more organic feel. I drummed with Mose Allison on his
L.A. dates for almost 20 years. He was fun to play with and wrote
the best lyrics. I played with Gene Harris for 5 years. We did nice
a recording on Concord, Alley Cats with Jack McDuff, Ernie
Watts, and Red Holloway along with Genes guys Luther Hughes
and Frank Potenza. Ernestine Anderson was great to play with. I did
Mitzi Gaynors tour for a few years and got some show chops together.
Ray Charles was famous for being hard on drummers. He was! It was
difficult to deal with at first. I hung in there and just tried to
give him what he wanted. Eventually it worked. The gig became more
fun. It was a full time job. As a whole, it was an experience like
no other. I learned a great deal about music and life and got to travel
worldwide. He played just about every style and the band was soulful
and swinging. Ray Charles was probably the heaviest musician Ive
met. He was a great pianist, singer, entertainer, and an arranger,
too. He knew every note in every chart. He was not an easy guy to
work for, but there were still a lot of laughs. It was well worth
mwe3: How many solo albums have you recorded over the years
and what can you tell us about some of your favorite albums as a band
member and album work / sessions.
Paul Kreibich: Thank You Elvin is my third album as
a leader. The other two were collaborative projects. Karen Hammack
is a good friend and a fine pianist and composer. We did a CD called
Lonesome Tree with all original compositions. Saxophonist Brian
Mitchell was on the Ray Charles band when I joined and later we started
a band called the Jazz Coop. We did a CD called Spiral Staircase
with the great Swiss bassist Isla Eckinger. Both are available on
I did a lot of recording for the Fresh Sounds, Candid, Hep, and VSOP
labels with West Coast jazz masters like Bob Cooper, Bill Perkins,
Conte Candoli, Claude Williamson, Herb Geller, and Frank Strazzeri.
Over the years, a lot of artists like James Moody, Clark Terry or
Lew Tabakin have used me on gigs or recordings when they come through
L.A. The pick-up rhythm section has been the norm in jazz
for many years. I actually like it because you have to speak the jazz
language and be able to jump in and make it happen on the spot.
What about the Muffbone web site? What is Muffbone and how and when
did you start the web site?
Paul Kreibich: The Muffbone is a simple bass drum muffling
device that I developed as an on the job solution to controlling
the ring of the bass drum. It was inspired by looking at one of my
dogs toys, a little bone shaped stuffed pillow. It fits between
the drum head and the bass drum pedal and allows free movement of
the footboard. It goes on and comes off easily. Go to www.muffbone.com
and you can check out the product and order one. Jeff Hamilton, Peter
Erskine, Roy McCurdy, and Joe La Barbera endorse it
mwe3: Can you tell us how you met up with Blujazz Productions
and with the 2018 CD release of Thank You Elvin? What other
plans do you have as far as writing, recording, performing and producing
music this year and into 2019? Would you consider a studio album or
is recording live too exciting?
Paul Kreibich: I have been doing some recordings with Doug
McDonald and the Jazz Marathon band. Its two all-star quintets back
to back live. The dates were recorded and came out in 3 volumes on
Blujazz. When we had recorded the Thank You Elvin project I
sent it to Greg Pasenko at Blujazz and he got interested right away
in putting it out. Greg has been great and were getting a lot
of good airplay and reviews.
This year Ive been doing some really fun gigs playing funk with
Maceo Parker and classic pop/rock with Don Peakes Wrecking Crew
All-Stars. Also, Ive been active in the retro swing scene with
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Lavay Smith and the Red Hot Skillet Lickers.
Im still writing songs and jazz tunes and want to record again.
After many years surviving in the business its a very stimulating
time where anything could happen when that phone rings. Im grateful
to be physically and mentally in shape to utilize my skills and fit
in to whatever the next musical experience will be.