The Gold Coast: Sounds of the North
Spinning a Webb
A critically acclaimed composer and the chairman of the National Academy of Popular Music, Grammy winner Jimmy Webb is also a Gold Coast resident. Here he chats with Hamptons about his musical roots and influences.
HAMPTONS: How old were you when you first discovered music?
JIMMY WEBB: My father was a Baptist minister when my mother first put me on the bench of a piano at age six. By the age of 12, I had fulfilled her wildest dreams by becoming a church organist.
H: To what do you attribute your versatility in music styles?
JW: I have an interest in many different musical dialects; I played jazz in college, haunted folk clubs, welcomed the British invasion and idolized writers like Bacharach and David, Goffin and King. I dreamed at the same time of someday writing a Broadway show, working with Sinatra or Elvis—and beneath it all, my favorite music was, and still is, classical.
H: What is the most memorable recording you have heard?
JW: The record that truly rocked my world as a teenager was Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music by Ray Charles. The orchestrator was the legendary Marty Paich, who later became a mentor and a dear friend.
H: What is your favorite place to perform?
JW: The Bottom Line in the West Village was once my favorite place to perform—mixing, as it did, the ideal combination of sophistication and funk with one of the best acoustic and technical facilities in the city.
photographs by jim lennon (bohlsen); jessica walker (webb)