John Douglas - Interview for BackStage Pass

John Douglas Quintet on BackStage Pass debuts Sunday, February 10, at 7 p.m. on WKAR-TV. Here's an extended excerpt from the BackStage Pass interview.

John Douglas Quintet
Credit w.r. richards / WKAR-MSU

John Douglas Quintet
BackStage Pass interview with
John Douglas
Interviewed by WKAR executive producer Tim Zeko
August 2012

How did John Douglas get started in music?
My parents made all my siblings play. I have seven brothers and sisters and they made us play. I just fell in love with it right away. So, I started when I was nine.

[My hometown is] Detroit Michigan. I played all through school -- George Ford Elementary, Brooks Middle School. I went to Cody High School for one year and then I transferred to Cass Tech where I ended up graduating.

I studied at the University of Michigan with Kevin Good. I studied, actually, classical, but... I was always pursuing the jazz thing all along. I'm 100 percent set on the jazz thing now. Even though I can still play some classical, I'm mostly about jazz.

About Michael Malice (keyboards)
I met him probably about five years ago, while he was a student at the University of Michigan. He was coming out to a Burt's Market Place. Eastern Market had a weekly sort of jam session. It was a performance, but it kind of turned into a jam session when the quality of musicians such as Mike Malice, will show up. And he impressed me even as a freshman, so I said I need to keep this guy around. So, I kind of kept him in the mix and have been working with him ever since.

About Chris Carzawa (guitar)
I've been playing with him probably a little bit longer than Michael. I don't actually remember the first time I played with Chris. But, we were working together for many years, probably six or seven years at least. And you know, he's a always liked the way he plays because he's a guitar player, but he breathes, so he takes breaths. I tell him he plays guitar like a trumpet player or, like he used to play trumpet or sax or something because you know, sometimes guitar players don't breathe when they solo. When he breathes, he stops and keeps going, so I like him for that. I try to keep him around.

About Ebreham Jones (bass)
I've been working with him probably the second longest out of all these guys. So, probably about a little over ten years. His father is a jazz trumpet player from Detroit, Phil Jones, so he brings a certain kind of accessibility to the bass playing that's very accommodating to the trumpet. I like to keep him around because he knows how to go with me when I'm trying to do something.

About Tiwan Butterhawkins (drums)
We call him "Butter." His background is as drummer in a bugle corps, so, another link to the trumpet and he plays like that. He's a very strong player and (has a) very nice swing. Proficient in all styles, brings a lot of energy, people love him right off the bat and I love playing with all these guys.

What is your band’s personality?
We're aggressive, we're sensitive, we're definitely grounded in the history of the music. So personality wise I would say probably, everybody is pretty understated in their demeanor, but when it's time to play, that's when you see the edge.

What's the best part about being on stage for you?
I don't know. Well, I guess in this situation where I'm the band leader, I guess it's calling songs, having control, being able to read the audience and try to roll with the audience a little bit. I just love playing. Any time I have a trumpet in my hand and I get a chance to perform, I consider it a blessing, so I get all fired up.