Interview by Scott Preston
The Nth Power with Jonathan Scales Fourchestra
The Trolley Stop, 530 E 5th St, Dayton, Ohio
9pm show, show info
Since they first came together at a 3 a.m. jam at New Orleans Jazz Fest 2012, the Nth Power have been defying and redefining all the conventions of what a band can be.
This is a powerhouse quartet of world class players, ones who have powered the music of icons like Beyonce, Chaka Khan, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Big Daddy Kane, funk innovator Maceo Parker, Groovechild, jazz greats Ravi Coltrane and Matt Garrison to name a few. Their sound fearlessly crosses genres – marrying funky soul, rock, R&B, jazz, Gospel, folk and World Beat with improvisational chops that can match any collective on the jazz and jam band scenes.
Though a slate of nearly 150 gigs, The Nth Power has generated a huge following among open-minded music lovers, critics and the toughest of all audiences, their fellow musicians. (Bio from http://thenthpowermusic.com/bio/)
Cincy Groove: How did the band first get together?
Nikki Glaspie: The band got together at Jazz Fest in 2012. It was an impromptu gig with Jennifer Hartswick. Nick and I have also been in Jennifer’s band for a number of years. She had this gig and the bass player and keyboard player couldn’t make it. She asked me if I knew a bass player and I said “of course I do”. I told her it would all work out. We didn’t have a chance to rehearse. Although during sound check, we all kind of looked at each other and said “this is a band”. We started writing and recording almost immediately after the gig.
Cincy Groove: At what moment in your music career were you able to say that you didn’t have to worry about paying rent or wonder where the next meal was coming from?
Nikki Glaspie: That moment hasn’t come yet (laughing). I had some security when I was playing with Beyonce, but that could end at any day and it did. All good things must come to an end. There is no promise that you will eat tomorrow or pay rent. Hopefully by next year I will have 10 Grammys in my hand.
Cincy Groove: Tell me how your debut album came together.
Nikki Glaspie: The album went through many phases. At first we had 13 songs and we thought that was enough for an album. We didn’t think we were going to continue to write for the new album at that point. Then we pulled in a producer who is a really good friend of mine, Ira Schickman. He said right away that this album isn’t done yet. The reason I pulled him in was so I could get an outsiders perspective. Whenever you are working on something that is yours, you can’t objectively look at it. So we kept writing and I am so glad we did. Because we decided to keep writing, we came up with “Could It Be”, “Right Now” and probably my favorite on the album “Home”. We still have all these other great songs that didn’t make it on the debut album but will end up on the next one.
Cincy Groove: Do you get any writing done on the road?
Nikki Glaspie: Just a little, not as much as we would like to. It is something we hope to change in the near future. We were just talking about that very subject today. Once you get in the groove, everything really comes together. We did a small tour in the winter of 2013 and out of that a couple songs were born just from jamming in sound check. So writing on the road does happen.
Cincy Groove: You have had the chance to play with so many great musicians, were there any that you “geeked out” over when you played with them?
Nikki Glaspie: I have had several geek outs. I’m still having one now. I started playing with Maceo Parker last year. I’m playing with him this Saturday and then next week I’m going to Europe with him before The Nth Power’s March tour starts. Its really crazy for me to be playing with him because I grew up listening to his music. I feel validated in a way. The rest of his band are equally amazing. The bass player in his band, Rodney Curtis was in P Funk. For me to be able to just talk to them is amazing, but to play with them is an even bigger deal. Thats one of the greatest things about music is that you can play until the wheels fall off. With sports you are done at a much earlier age. With music you still a lot of times have a shot to play with some of your heroes. One of the greatest things, is just learning from them.
Cincy Groove: What do you have coming up that you are excited about?
Nikki Glaspie: This tour with Nth Power is extremely exciting because I think we will start to see some of the fruit of our labor. We will get to see how many people have caught on to our music.