Yamaha Performing Artist and saxophonist with Dave Matthews Band Jeff Coffin rejects all labels and categories other than “music” and “musician” when asking how to describe his playing, writing and himself.
Jeff is an internationally recognized saxophonist, bandleader, composer and educator, and has been traveling the globe since the mid-90’s. He is a three-time Grammy Award winner with Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, with whom he began playing in 1997. In July 2008, Jeff began touring with Dave Matthews Band, and officially joined the group in 2009, following the passing of founding member LeRoi Moore.
We had the chance to ask Jeff a few questions about his involvement with JAZZ is PHSH, An All-Star Instrumental Tribute To Phish. The band plays 2 shows at The Cutting Room in New York on Saturday November 26th. Advance tickets for both shows are available for purchase here.
CEG: Hey Jeff – thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions ahead of the Jazz is PHSH gig this weekend. How did you first get involved in this project?
Jeff Coffin: Adam Chase had approached me about doing this project and I told him I would be interested as long as it wasn’t a ‘cover’ band type thing. I was interested only if it were going to be a re-working of Phish material in a creative and forward reaching way. Chris Bullock (of Snarky Puppy) and a few other friends were also involved and I agreed to play on a few tunes on the CD.
CEG: Have you performed with members of this weekend’s artist roster in the past?
JC: I have. We are all sort of in similar circles and it will be great to see everyone again! Felix Pastorius plays in my band, the Mu’tet, and we have been working together for many years. I’m especially excited to see him and make some great music together.
CEG: What does music of Phish mean to you as an artist? If not Phish, is their a band or musician you’d consider a powerful influence to you as an artist?
JC: It’s interesting because I have never really listened to a lot of Phish’s music. My musical taste has always leaned more world music and jazz. That said, I have met and even performed with Phish with Bela Fleck & the Flecktones years ago in France. Their live energy is incredible and their musicianship is off the charts. They are brilliant musicians and the music I have heard certainly reflects that. I performed on Jam Cruise with Fishman and the Everyone Orchestra a few years back and I actually taught him how to play alto sax on stage. He took a solo too! Love that spirit!!!
CEG: After Saturday’s show, what plans or performances are in store for you over the next few months?
JC: I have my own label, Ear Up Records, that I am releasing projects on and I have a bunch of stuff planned for that. As well, I do a lot of education work and tour with my own band, the Mu’tet. Dave Matthews Band is off until 2018 so I’ll be out and about making music with friends and traveling and taking photos and doing creative stuff in general. I’m looking forward to making music with JIP and all the folks involved. It’s gonna be a great night!!!
CEG: We don’t doubt that! Grab your tickets quick for this one and dance off that turkey. Gobble Gobble!