East coast jazz and soul quartet, The Nth Power, formed in 2012, during a late night jam session at New Orleans Jazz Fest. Each of the members have long histories of serving in other groups, like drummer Nikki Glaspie who toured with Beyoncé, bassist Nate Edgar who was a member of John Brown’s Body, and guitarist Nick Cassarino who toured with Big Daddy Kane.
Ahead of The Nth Power’s upcoming show at the Boom Boom Room, we chatted with Glaspie about the misconceptions of jazz, the perks of working with skilled professionals, and what’s on the agenda for 2017.
The Nth Power play with The Sextones at 9 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 18, at the Boom Boom Room. More info here.
SF Weekly: What are some common misconceptions that people have about jazz and primarily instrumental music in general?
Nikki Glaspie: A big one is that people think you have to pay $100,000 to attend a university to learn how to play jazz. Another one is that people think it can even be institutionalized. Jazz is a freedom of expression. It is a representation of a feeling. People have tried to create a formula for it, but it’s clearly hard when they do. You can learn jazz in the streets. You can learn jazz in the clubs. I mean, that is where it was created.
SFW: What are the benefits of working with musicians who have previous experience being in bands and touring?
NG: One benefit is you don’t have to teach someone how to live on the road. We have very little personal space, being that we are together ALL the time. We’re in the van, we’re in the venue, we’re in the hotel, we eat together — you are never alone. That’s something you quickly find out if you’ve never done it before, which can be a hell of a rude awakening. It’s definitely something you have to adjust to. Musicians who have toured just know things about traveling that can’t be explained. Also the level of professionalism is different. They’ve already learned how to talk to band mates so you don’t piss them off before the gig.
SFW: Who are some artists that inspire you/the band?
NG: Earth, Wind and Fire is a huge one for us. Their message combined with the musicality is life changing. Bob Marley, Sly & The Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Kahn, Marvin Gaye, Leon Ware, The SOS Band, Tower of Power, Joni Mitchell, Quincy Jones, J Dilla, A Tribe Called Quest, Bob Dillon, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Led Zepplin, B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Pleasure… The list goes on.
SFW: What are you looking forward to in 2017?
NG: I’m looking forward to making a positive impact in the world. I’m excited especially now because we are faced with arguably the toughest time this generation has ever seen. I see all the trouble and heartache that our country is going through as an opportunity. THIS is when people need songs and messages of hope and peace. Now is the time for us to band together and love more. As daunting as our situation may seem, nothing is impossible. All things are possible if you believe. And The Nth Power BELIEVES.