The jazz maven and longtime assistant general manager of DeVos Place, DeVos Performance Hall & Van Andel Arena today reveals the records that have inspired him.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Local Spins’ ‘Albums that Changed the World’ series sometimes focuses on music that’s influenced movers and shakers in the music industry as well as musicians who trace their inspiration to key recordings that shaped their careers. Today, we showcase the albums that have shaped Grand Rapids’ Eddie Tadlock, a familiar figure for anyone who’s attended shows at DeVos Performance Hall, DeVos Place and Van Andel Arena.
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As assistant general manager of Grand Rapids’ DeVos Place, DeVos Performance Hall and Van Andel Arena, Eddie Tadlock may not be responsible for booking performers for public shows, but if a group wants some music for its meetings, he’s got a Rolodex at the ready.
Moreover, if there’s a jazz show in town, he’s likely in the audience or involved in some way. Maybe both.
Tadlock has served on numerous cultural and city boards and committees. A partial list: the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Festival of the Arts, Grand JAZZFEST, the City of Grand Rapids Ad Hoc Art Advisory Committee, Kendall College Equity Council, Rosa Parks/Ecliptic Conservancy Board, Confluence Steering Committee, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, the American Red Cross and the West Michigan Jazz Society. He’s emceed events and remote broadcasts and while he gave up playing music (trumpet and cornet) after high school, he maintains his fandom to this day.
Prior to Grand Rapids, he worked in Orlando and Seattle, where he was able to hear and, in many cases, meet some of his favorite performers. He is a self-described jazz junky, orchid lover, art collector, Kulture Vulture blogger and bibliophile.
While he has had professional opportunities to work in larger cities, such as Detroit, Chicago and Irving, Texas, Tadlock is comfortable where he’s at. “I like it here. I’m involved with so many groups,” he says.
He spoke with Ross Boissoneau of Local Spins about some of the music that inspired him and some he’s (still) listening to today. “This all goes back to 1978 when I got my first stereo, a Pioneer with a turntable and cassette deck,” he says. “I’ve still got it and still use it.”
1. Keith Jarrett, “At The Blue Note” (1994) – The majesty of technique on piano that Jarrett has. I had the opportunity to hear him in concert with Jack DeJohnette at the Carr Performing Arts Center in Orlando. He is such an extraordinary artist. I saw him in Seattle’s Symphony Hall. He played two-and-a-half hours straight, no intermission. It was breathtaking.
Listen: “You Don’t Know What Love Is”
2. Abbey Lincoln, “You Gotta Pay the Band” (featuring Stan Getz) (1991) – Her phrasing, her voice. She’s more than a singer, she’s a stylist. She was married to Max Roach back in the day. I saw her a couple times. I met her at the Earshot Jazz Festival in Seattle, a month-long festival in different venues. I asked her, “Who’s your biggest influence?” She said, “Little Jimmy Scott.” He started with the big bands in the ’40s and ’50s and his voice never changed. He sounded like a woman and was a master of phrasing. Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, they all said Little Jimmy Scott. I love the title of the album. Nobody wants to pay the band. They say you can get exposure. Well, a painter can get exposure. Come paint my house for the exposure.
Listen: “Bird Alone”
3. Al Jarreau, “Look to the Rainbow” (1977) – I was a fan for many, many years, starting in middle school. As he furthered his career he got more pop. “Look to the Rainbow” put me in his camp forever. I had the great fortune to see him many, many times in many settings – festivals, clubs, concert halls. When he performed live he kept to the tradition.
Listen: “Look to the Rainbow”
Currently Loving: Emmet Cohen Trio, “Dirty in Detroit” (2018) – I’m listening to three albums right now: Jim Alfredson from Organissimo, his new “Family Business,” and Lillian Lewis “The Henderson Sessions.” She’s one of those singers when her voice comes in you know who it is. Al, Gregory Porter – Lillian Lewis is that. But Emmet Cohen – he’s staggering in style and approach. He attacks the piano, yet is delicate. He played with his trio at St. Cecilia. They were so tight, but they hadn’t even rehearsed for that gig. You never would have known. There were no charts and they absolutely nailed it. Most piano players are close to the keys. Emmet Cohen was at arm’s length and just attacked the keyboard. I was with (local pianist) John Shea, and he was taking notes. He said, “He’s so aggressive. I’m amazed he can even do that.”
Listen: “Round Midnight”
ALBUMS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD: Eddie Tadlock’s Playlist on Spotify
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