Blue Note boss Don Was: 'Jazz can't become synonymous with pop again'


'Journeyman' is a term often used to describe Don Was. At 66, the Detroit-born bassist and producer charted in the 1980s with his funk-fusion duo Was (Not Was), DJ’d at the legendary New York disco club Paradise Garage, and produced for Bonnie Raitt’s Grammy-winning Nick of Time in 1989, Bob Dylan’s Under the Red Sky the following year and multiple albums for the Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop, Elton John and many more. He even won a Grammy for best musical album for children with 2009’s Family Time – a collaboration with Ziggy Marley.

Now president of the label Blue Note – historically home to Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk, as well as contemporary artists such as Robert Glasper – Was finds himself at the helm of the American jazz legacy, seeing the label through its 80th anniversary this year.

Read the interview in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 20/05/19]