Ben Sidran’s Talking Jazz project

Updated on 4/18/18: In the list at the bottom, I added links to the few of the interviews that are available on YouTube. Also, here’s a link to a playlist of Talking Jazz Singles, which are 3-4 minute clips of many of the interviews.

About a year ago, I stumbled upon a collection of interviews on Apple Music called Talking Jazz by Ben Sidran. (As I write this, some of them are also available on Spotify.) From what I can tell, these are Sidran’s interviews with around 60 legendary jazz figures who were still active in the 1980s. (Apple Music has many of them, but not all.) Ranging in length from roughly 15 to 30 minutes each, they are organized into “albums” with cumbersome and inelegant titles like Talking Jazz Volume 04 Saxophone 01, featuring Phil Woods, Sonny Rollins, and Jackie McLean. Fortunately, the interviews within more than make up for the clinical sounding titles. 

Screenshot 2018-04-03 17.04.22
Vol. 04 as it appears on Apple Music.

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration at all to call these interviews an absolute gift to jazz fans and the American people. The mere fact that Sidran completed this project guarantees that future generation will be able hear the voices of the greats, telling their stories and letting their guards down, just a little. I can’t possibly recommend these more highly.

If you’re so inclined, Amazon carries a 24-CD box set of the complete interviews for an eye-opening $280.

As bonus, here’s an NPR interview with Sidran about the project from 2007.


And here’s the complete list, as seen on Amazon:

  1. Miles Davis
  2. Dizzy Gillespie
  3. Don Cherry
  4. Red Rodney
  5. Freddie Hubbard
  6. Wynton Marsalis
  7. Phil Woods
  8. Sonny Rollins
  9. Jackie McLean
  10. Johnny Griffin
  11. Frank Morgan
  12. Charlie Rouse
  13. David Murray
  14. Arthur Blythe
  15. Steve Lacy
  16. Branford Marsalis
  17. Michael Brecker
  18. Grover Washington
  19. Paquito D’Rivera
  20. Pepper Adams
  21. Archie Shepp
  22. Herbie Hancock
  23. Keith Jarrett
  24. McCoy Tyner
  25. Charles Brown
  26. Jay McShann
  27. Dr. John
  28. Horace Silver
  29. Les McCann
  30. Joe Sample
  31. Don Pullen
  32. Barry Harris
  33. Michel Petrucciani
  34. Art Blakey
  35. Max Roach
  36. Mel Lewis
  37. Tony Williams
  38. Paul Motian
  39. Steve Gadd
  40. Richard Davis
  41. Marcus Miller
  42. Jon Hendricks
  43. Betty Carter
  44. Bobby McFerrin
  45. Ken Nordine
  46. Dave Frishberg
  47. Donald Fagen
  48. Mose Allison
  49. George Benson
  50. John Scofield
  51. Steve Khan
  52. Larry Coryell & Emily Remler
  53. Kevin Eubanks
  54. intro Gil Evans
  55. Gil Evans
  56. intro Carla Bley
  57. Carla Bley
  58. intro Clair Fischer
  59. Clair Fischer
  60. Max Gordon
  61. Rudy Van Gelder
  62. Ben Sidran

2 thoughts on “Ben Sidran’s Talking Jazz project

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