Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Jazz. What Else Would We Talk With Him About?
You had your own jazz festival in the 1970s. How was that experience as a jazz promoter?
Leonard Feather gave me a great write-up in the L.A. Times. I can still remember the review. He said, "Jazz scores with an assist from Jabbar." I did it at the Ahmanson. I was lucky. ... I didn't think it had to make sense financially. Fortunately for me, it was not a financial bust. At the end of it all, I think I made $2,000. People told me, "At least you finished in the black," but as you can tell, I didn't do it again.
My dad played. The people in my office arranged that. My parents came out for the festival, but I was never of the opinion that my dad was someone who people might want to hear play. It was not my idea. I should have known when I saw [his] trombone case, but I didn't put it together. He didn't embarrass me. That's all I was worried about.
What are you listening to these days?
I'm really enjoying the ascendance of Robert Glasper. It's just wonderful to see someone from the young generation, who appreciates all the music that I have enjoyed. He's aware of it and made his own take on it. He's still loyal to the tradition without distorting it. I think that that's pretty great.