Genre: Alternative / Jazz / Nu-Jazz
Location NEW YORK, New York, US
Profile Views: 82221
Last Login: 5/12/2013
Member Since 4/29/2007
Record Label Intuition
Type of Label Indie
BioJim Beard began his pro active journey with music at the early age of four during which time he spent many hours lying in front of one of the speakers of his fathers home built hifi system listening and dreaming to Herb Albert’s “Whipped Cream and other Delights”. The yearning to play tuba, drums and saxophone quickly followed and he often asked for permission to leave the dinner table early so that he could go to his room and listen to Beatles 45s. Piano lessons soon followed. Clarinet, tenor saxophone and string bass lessons also followed at age nine, thirteen and fifteen respectively. His piano teacher for twelve years was Mary Anne Rietz and she entered Jim in various classical piano competitions. He won the Pennsylvania Tri County competition performing Alberto Ginastera’s piano sonata at age fifteen. He mastered many of the classics: Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin scherzos and etudes, Haydn, Debussy and gave his first classical solo piano recital performance at the age of fourteen. All through his classical piano study years (age 7 – 18), he listened with great pleasure and enthusiasm to AM pop radio: Motown, Magic Bus, Mongo Jerry, Elton John, Beatles, 10CC, Hall and Oats etc. When Jim was 13, his brother gave him Thad Jones/Mel Lewis’ “Potpourri”. This was pivotal. At the age of 14 he was introduced to George Shearing through fortunate though what proved to be a year later, uncomfortable circumstances. Mary Anne (his classical teacher) took Jim to Chautauqua to study with other classical teachers (Ozan Marsh), and suggested that he attend a clinic being given by George. Jim immediately fell in love with George’s touch, sophistication, harmonic mastery, subdued funkiness, humor and overall musicality. The next year, Jim went back to Chautauqua with the primary purpose of attending George’s classes. Jim got up the nerve by the end of the week to play a song (Whisper Not) with George’s rhythm section (Andy Simpkins and Rusty Jones) to be critiqued by the master. George proceeded to rip Jim to shreds pointing out all the things he was doing wrong. Jim felt humiliated but enlightened. George, being blind from birth, didn’t realize that Jim was only fifteen years old. The rest of the class was older professionals and semi professionals and included Natalie Cole. Lois Clymer brought Jim’s age to George’s attention and he apologized for being so hard and invited Jim to New York for private lessons. Jim took many trips to New York in the subsequent years taking George up on his offer. During his waning teen years Jim had short but passionate piano/jazz love affairs with Oscar Peterson and contempo McCoy Tyner (70’s), the manly excitement of these two monsters being irresistible. It should be mentioned here that Jim had an unexplained intense interest in Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters group when these albums came out when Jim was 13. Also, Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life” struck deep. This was during a period when Ashkenazy and Corelli were also very important to him. There’s much here that can’t be explained. Jim’s early collegiate period consisted primarily of intense acoustic hard bop worship. Miles (58 – 65), Trane, Blue Note (Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Hutchinson and more..) Bill Evans and even Sun Ra. Herbie Hancock now became Jim’s jazz piano God. Herbie helped Jim truly understand Wynton Kelly and Red Garland and many other preceding piano greats. Jim’s colleagues during school then (Indiana University) were Bob Hurst, Edgar Meyer, Jon Herington, Shawn Pelton, Kenny Aronoff and Chris Botti. Chick Corea’s “Mad Hatter” and Herbie Hancock’s “The Prisoner”, two records nearly a decade apart really peaked Jim’s interest in composition and arranging. Jim entered a life changing phase by joining a bar band that played oldies and current pop (1982 at the time). This new musical activity had Jim performing in packed clubs full of rowdy drunk college students in a loud band playing a keyboard rig consisting of a Fender Rhodes, Hohner D6 Clavinet, Micro Moog and Crumar String Machine. Jim found this all rather enjoyable and quite different than practicing bebop. He continued to be diligent with his jazz pursuits but did not let go of his newfound appreciation of ‘pop’ [this, in a nut shell, is the seed of a dichotomy he has toiled with for the rest of his life]. He went on to do piano gigs in the Indiana area with players like Red Rodney and Slide Hampton and also drove 200 miles to buy a Yamaha DX7 when they first came out. Jim worked on a cruise ship (SS Norway) for a year before moving to New York with the intention of saving money for that big move. He didn’t save any money but moved anyway. The ship experience proved valuable. It employed 42 full time musicians including a big band, pit band for Broadway productions, lounge trios and more. Jim bought his first multitrack recorder (Fostex 4 track) during this time and he spent many hours experimenting and recording to this machine with his DX7, Jeff Walter’s Juno or one of the ships grand pianos. Jim finally moved to New York in August of 1985. Needing money and contacts, he practiced the ‘YES’ policy. Club date? Yes. Jam session? Yes. Accompany tap dance classes? Yes. Sight reading at vocal auditions? Yes. He had his tux on and his DX7 in a carrying case waiting to be picked up for a New Years Eve gig when he made a resolution to himself. “I will not say yes to everything anymore. I am an artist! I did not get into music to wear horrible tuxes and play ‘Like a Virgin’. I’d rather flip burgers!” Upon returning home (Brooklyn) early January 1st, 1986, Jim threw his ugly tuxedo out (he owns a nice one now but doesn’t wear it for music gigs). This was not so much dissatisfaction with the music on this type of gig, rather a disgust for the corporate pawn role-playing needed to succeed in this area of the business. Within six weeks of this symbolic evening, Jim was working in an independently creative fashion with Steve Kahn, Mark Egan, Bill Evans and Mike Stern amongst others. He had met Bill and Mike at some of the ‘yes’ jam sessions a couple months earlier. Mike invited Jim to play a weekend in Boston with a band that included Bob Berg, Jeff Andrews and Adam Nussbaum. Jim’s most memorable moment from that gig was when Adam was taking a drum solo and shouted to Jim on the bandstand that he needed a screwdriver. Jim went to the bar and got Adam a screwdriver (vodka and oj). Adam meant the other (tool) screwdriver. Oh well… Bill Evans had gone to Italy to record with John McLaughlin around that “New Years Eve thing” and took a copy of a song Jim had been working on with his Fostex 4 track. John heard this song and wanted to use it as his album opener on “Adventures in Radioland”. This song was “The Wait’. John needed a keyboard player for his summer/fall Europe/States 1986 tour and called Jim having heard his work on the song demo. The States portion of this tour was a co-bill with Joe Zawinul’s Weather Update. The two groups performed every night together and many strong friendships and musical associations formed. In the two bands were (besides John and Joe) Bill Evans, Danny Gottlieb, Peter Erskine, Steve Kahn, Victor Bailey and Bobby Thomas. Wayne (Shorter) heard Jim play with John (Mac) that summer in ‘86. John (Scofield) heard Jim play with Wayne at the Blue Note that same year. Michael Brecker heard bits of all of this and Jim was quickly on a multitiered path collaborating with many artists in different capacities. Jim enjoyed a fourteen year working relationship with Wayne Shorter. Writing, producing and performing with artists mentioned above and also Eliane Elias, Pat Metheny, Toninho Horta, Dennis Chambers, Jon Herington, Jon Albrinck, Michael ‘Patches’ Stewart followed through the 90’s into the 00’s. Jim continues to perform throughout the world and work for many entertainment labels including Verve, Blue Note, Paramount, Sony and many Indie labels. His music productions and compositions have been nominated for seven Grammy awards and Jim won a Grammy in 2007.
MembersTouring band members have included Bob Malach, Ralph Bowen, Jon Herington, Anthony Jackson, Matthew Garrison, Dennis Chambers, Gene Lake and Mino Cinelu
InfluencesHonesty, deceit, friends, enemies, genuineness, phoniness, beauty, revulsion, joy, sorrow, humor, cynicism, nostalgia, discovery, awareness, ignorance, finesse, brutality, crowds, solitude, the ordinary, strangeness, unaccountability, travel, fatigue, food, pain, pleasure, not religion. .. .. .. .. .. ..MySpace Trains.. ..MySpace Smiley Signs.. ..Dolls Generator.. ..Ascii Converter.. ..Dancing Lines.. .. ..
Sounds LikeCheck out www.jimbeard.com. Lots of listening examples!