Grammy-nominated alternative jazz drummer, producer, and rapper Kassa Overall has released “2 Sentimental,” a melancholic reimagining of Duke Ellington’s ballad, “In a Sentimental Mood,” which Overall has transformed into an anthem for musicians struggling to survive the economic upheaval of the post-pandemic era.
Enjoy the single, and check out an email conversation between Kassa Overall and Jazz88’s Sean McPherson about the tune below:
Sean McPherson (SM) What is the most helpful thing music lovers can do to support musicians who might be struggling financially?
Kassa Overall (KO): Of course, there’s a financial level to supporting your favorite musician that absolutely makes a difference. We need people to come to shows, buy merch and physical records. So do that, if you can, and feel inclined to do so. But you know what? People who spread the word and pass the music on to other people can have a quantum effect. Sometimes you don’t know who the music can get to, who can take things to a whole new level. So spread the word. A single person in a city who tells everyone they know, who talks to their favorite venue, who makes a lot of noise, can make a whole new wave.
SM: As a touring musician, what is the most common unforeseen expense in your day to day travels?
KO: Last-minute changes are the most expensive thing to deal with. Things come up all the time at the last minute. Somebody missed their flight. A musician gets injured. That’s something we’re dealing with right now. Rebooking flights at the last minute can be really expensive. Flights, hotels and rental cars can cost thousands of dollars more if you have to book them the night of, but sometimes there’s no way around it.
SM: We’ve seen a lot of musicians talk publicly about tours not breaking even in the last couple years, that level of honesty is new to me. Is it the economics of touring that has changed, or just the level of honesty musicians are ready to share?
KO: I have never made a lot of money touring. I’ve always looked at touring as a mean to spread my message and broaden my fan base. You might lose money to make money. There are other people with different business models, who have depended more on touring, who have been hit harder. But it is definitely a lot harder to get people to come out to a show in 2023. Covid affected everybody’s mental and social lives, and we’re all overstimulated with things to do and people to follow. It’s harder to cut through the noise than ever.
SM: Taking a step away from the financial woes. . .what is something that is hard about touring that you didn’t think would be?
KO: I never realized how hard it is to be a bandleader, to lead a group of people. You have to have a lot of patience and control your emotions, and then you have to get on stage and perform! I didn’t realize how much that took! I used to complain about touring, playing drums in somebody’s band, but by comparison, that feels like a vacation compared to what I’m doing now.
SM: What is something you love about touring that you didn’t think you would?
KO: I love the fellowship and camaraderie that comes from touring in close quarters, as we do in a van. I am very grateful for all the people who help on the journey, who make things come together. My band members put their lives aside every night to get on stage and give it everything they have. The spirit of generosity and personal passion for the project. They want to see things go right, and they invest in it. I’m often surprised after we have a long day, after a shitty sound check, and we are all feeling exhausted, maybe even angry at each other. When its time to hit the stage, somehow we all tap into a selfless energy and become unified.
SM: When you work with very well-known sample material such as “In a Sentimental Mood” as opposed to a very rare piece of music or something you recorded yourself, do you feel more pressure to do something unique within the production to change the context?
More Posts for Show: This Just In