Raul Midon talks Monterey Jazz Fest and upcoming new album

Raul Midon
Photo credit: Mack Avenue Records

Often referred to as a one-man band, musician Raul Midon has been wowing audiences across the world since his 1999 debut album, Gracias a la vida. The 49-year-old native of Embudo, New Mexico, is one of the most versatile artist in music today with his ability to play a number of different genres including blues, folk, jazz, R&B and more.

Currently on tour with the Monterey Jazz Fest, which also features Ravi Coltrane, Nicholas Payton, Gerald Clayton, Joe Sanders, Gregory Hutchinson, and Kendrick Scott, ro recently caught up with Midon to talk about the tour and his upcoming new project.

What do you love most about Chicago?
Chicago is such a great to be in and experience, It reminds me a lot of New York but with a much more intimate feeling. The people are so warm and open. Don’t get me wrong, New Yorkers can be helpful … but Chicagoans will invite you in.

A couple months back you put out a video on your YouTube page covering John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” that’s been getting a lot of buzz. Tell us about your cover of it and the importance of that project to you.
I’m probably one of the few people who can play and sing “Giant Steps”. My wife insisted we videotape it before some 12-year-old comes along and does it. I’ve actually been doing this piece for years as something of an exercise. It’s not really a project. It was more so just a moment to record something unique.

You’ve been on the road with the 2016 Monterey Jazz Fest tour since the top of the year. How has the experience been?
Man, it’s been a blast. Nothing but good times with these guys. Working with jazz icons like Nicolas Payton and Ravi Coltrane as well as up-and-coming greats like Gerald Clayton has been very satisfying. You know the saying about how iron sharpens iron? This whole tour has been something along those lines for me. It challenged me to write for the group and we were lucky enough to record and put some stuff down while on a stopover in NYC.

Finishing things off in Chicago on the 13th, what can fans expect from the show?
In short … great music played by some of the best musicians in the world today, period. With it being the last show, you can probably expect just a little extra umph. Of course we haven’t taken anything away from our other shows, but the last one is always just a bit more special, ya know?

What’s next for Raul Midon?
I’m working on my next project for Mack Avenue, a follow up to my latest album, Don’t Hesitate, that was released last year. I’m also on tour all over the world through June 4, which ends with the Capital Jazz Fest in D.C. Then, once I finish up the new album, I’ll go back out on the road.

For more information on Raul Midon, please visit, www.raulmidon.com.

The 2016 Monterey Jazz Fest wraps up in Chicago on March 13. For more information, please visit www.montereyjazzfest.org, Check out the remaining tour dates below.

3/11 – College of DuPage –  Glen Ellyn, Illinois
3/12 – Krannert Center at U of I Urbana-Champaign – Urbana, Illinois
3/13  – City Winery –  Chicago

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