A.R.T.S.Y SPOTLIGHT: CASEY ABRAM
This is Casey's second record with Chesky, following Put A Spell On You, which debuted at #5 on the Billboard Jazz Albums Chart. On Jazz, Casey showcases his immense talent both vocally and on upright bass across 12 beloved Jazz & Pop standards. Casey masterfully reinvents "Why Don't You Do Right", "Hound Dog", and "One Note Samba", to name a few.
Tell us about your album and what influences you had while creating the project?
I chose each of these songs on this album BECAUSE they were very strong influences on me; Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Cannonball Adderly & Miles, Thelonius Monk. Early on, I was introduced to many of them by my Idyllwild Arts Academy Jazz teacher & mentor, Marshall Hawkins, who was able to show me his own deep love of the material and how to individually as artists express those works to others.
I wanted to lay back from the funk and roar I’ve had on other albums and when playing with my groups live. The Chesky brothers gave me the chance to find another, quieter pathway, where my bass and I are expressing together and having a rich little conversation with one or two instruments on each individual song, sometimes just me and bass alone.
It was a great album to make because I was in an abandoned church with great musicians playing songs pretty much everyone knows. Some of the takes on the album are the first takes, we didn't rehearse, we just DID. It was kind of pure. I loved that.
What song on your album would you say speaks the most to you and would to your fans?
"I Need Your Love So Bad" -- because I'd say it's the bluesiest of the bunch and makes me think of when I was hearing it in the car with my mom when I was 5 years old. A lot of my fans have followed me over the past 10 years since the American Idol days when I sang some jazz songs and brought out my bass. It was a big version of me then and it’s a big part of me now.
How do you keep motivated to master your skill?
The way I master skills is I guess something I’ve done for maybe the last 15 years. I’m never bored because I tend to play a different instrument or two every day. Piano, bass, guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, sitar, clarinet, accordion. Maybe that’s why I love jazz because this was my workout naturally from an early age - learning skills by making each song feel a little “like me.”
I’m constantly picking songs that I like, and love working out the way I could give them something of me. It’s a fun thing, to play with every melody that I hear. It’s almost religious to play this way. Where I feel the best, happiest.
What advice would you have for any upcoming Jazz musician trying to break into the industry?
My feeling is if you literally feel like you are communicating your insides by playing jazz, and it’s not a just a choice but a need to be devoted to this art, then you’ve got a calling to share notes with others. For me, I found out early enough who I was – that I could be a serious musician, but not necessarily a serious person. That’s how I’ve been handling a musical life.
Listen to Casey’s new album HERE