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We recently had the privilege of talking to the remarkable jazz guitarist Pete McCann, whose musical prowess and creativity have garnered admiration from audiences worldwide. With an impressive career spanning decades, Pete has established himself as a true virtuoso, exploring various musical landscapes with his versatile playing style. His upcoming new album, Without Question, set to release on August 4, 2023, promises to be another testament to his artistic brilliance. We’re thrilled to have him here to discuss the album, his musical journey, and the much-anticipated record release performance at Zinc. 

Welcome, Pete, and congratulations on your upcoming new album Without Question. We’re eagerly looking forward to its release on August 4, 2023. Let’s delve into the album and your musical journey:

Charles Carlini: Without Question marks a significant moment in your career. Can you tell us a bit about the album’s overall sound and the musical direction you took with this project?

Pete McCann: This marks my seventh album as a leader, and once again, I’ve opted for the quintet format that has been my go-to since my fourth album, Extra Mile. One thing that truly resonates with me is the magical fusion of alto sax and guitar, playing enchanting melody lines in unison. I took this delightful pairing and dedicated a track, “Lovely Thing,” to the legendary Lee Konitz, showcasing the beauty of their harmonious blend.

As for the musical direction of the album, it exemplifies my genre-blending writing style. Here, you’ll find an exciting mix of compositions – some are a pure embodiment of bebop, others delve into a fusion-inspired soundscape, while there are also some mellower, slower tempo tunes that beautifully feature my nylon-string guitar. It’s a journey through diverse sounds and emotions, staying true to my artistic expression.

CC: As a jazz guitarist with a diverse repertoire, what aspects of your playing style and creativity do you feel shine the brightest on this new album?

PM: I can sense that my improvising and composing skills are steadily improving. I strongly believe that listeners truly appreciate the dedication and effort it takes to grow as a musician over the years. Among the vibrant music scene of New York, I have earned a reputation as a versatile guitar player who can effortlessly delve into various styles and create unique sounds for any gig. My records beautifully showcase the richness of this diversity in my musical expression.

CC: Collaborations often bring out unique qualities in an artist’s work. Were there any particular musicians or contributors involved in the making of “Without Question” that you found especially inspiring?

PM: The musicians I perform with and those featured on my records continue to be a great source of inspiration for me. Their unique talents motivate me to compose music that brings out the best in them. Although I wrote the music for this record, I must give credit to Henry Hey (pianist) for his invaluable post-recording contribution in creating a wonderful mix for the project. With his tremendous ears and vast experience in mixing, I entrusted him to bring the album to life in the best possible way.

CC: Your record release performance for Without Question at Zinc sounds exciting. Can you share with us who will be joining you on stage for this special event, and what makes performing at Zinc significant for you?

PM: Having previously performed at Zinc Bar as a sideman, I’m absolutely thrilled for this upcoming opportunity to lead the show! It’s an honor to be part of the legendary Guitar Masters Series, hosted at one of the finest jazz clubs in NYC. Sharing the stage with me will be a lineup of incredibly talented musicians: Steve Wilson on sax, Henry Hey on piano, Matt Pavolka on bass, and Donald Edwards on drums. Together, we’re set to create an unforgettable musical experience!

CC: Your previous works have been well-received by fans and critics alike. In what ways do you feel Without Question represents growth or evolution in your music, and how does it resonate with your artistic journey up to this point?

PM: Without Question stands as yet another significant milestone in my journey as a player and composer. I’m continually pushing myself to improve and explore more complex and challenging music.

For any true musician, the path of artistic growth is an ongoing and lifelong expedition. There’s always room to evolve and reach new heights in the pursuit of musical excellence.

Thank you, Pete, for giving us insight into Without Question. We’re eagerly anticipating its release on August 4, 2023, and can’t wait to experience the musical magic you’ve created at your Zinc record release performance!

For more information about Pete and his upcoming release, visit https://petemccann.com/. And be sure to mark your calendars for his Zinc record release performance on Tuesday, August 21, where the jazz virtuoso will undoubtedly deliver an unforgettable musical journey! Click here, to book your tickets now.

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