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Podcast Episode

Alvin Brendan – Duets [EP.22]

On playing in musical duos.

On the Rhythm Changes Podcast, Alvin Brendan talks about playing in musical duos and releasing an album called Duets with Will Clements.

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ALVIN BRENDAN

Rhythm Changes Podcast topics

photo by Cory Weeds

  • What makes Alvin so highly regarded as an accompanist by his peers
  • The friends who got him going: Christopher Wong & Gavin Grochowski
  • How I got my mind blown at the Goldie’s Pizza jam (c. 2013) by Eli Davidovici and Mili Hong
  • How Alvin had a similar time recording The Boy Next Door by Will Clements, with Jodi Proznick & Craig Scott
  • Identifying with Ilhan Saferali’s reports of recording anxiety
  • The good feedback loop that powers a great duo
  • The concept of wishing for the chance to be ‘worst in the room’, which we use to power our careers

“[Will:] When you feel like you’re the worst player in the room, you’re grateful for that. [Alvin:] Yeah. Big time.

-Will Chernoff & Alvin Brendan
  • Alvin’s understanding of the accompanist role in a tidy statement
  • Playing outside of jazz with Tissa Rahim
  • My main duo partners: Madeleine Elkins, Gabriel Dubreuil, Kirin Lamb
  • The time around a gig at Frankie’s when Alvin and his friends got to know Terry Clarke
  • What Alvin learned from Peter Bernstein, at Cap and from knowing him a bit
  • The joy of learning jazz through YouTube clips of live gigs — an early-2010s phenomenon?
  • What a week looks like in the life of Alvin Brendan
  • Alvin’s love of not having a routine
  • Whether or not we’re already doing what we want to do with our lives
  • Framing our creative lives with gratitude
  • How the Duets album with Will Clements happened, and how the music captures their spirit

Top highlight

My top moment was right at the end, when Alvin reveals a funny first impression that he got from Will Clements. Stick around for that!


Find our guest on Instagram @alvinbrendan.

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By Will Chernoff

William Ross Chernoff—known as Will to friends and colleagues—is a jazz musician, podcaster, YouTuber, and writer. He records and performs under his own name, William Chernoff.