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.

Listen on Spotify button
Listen on Apple Podcasts button
Listen on Google Podcasts button


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.

People who liked this episode with Alvin Brendan also liked:

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.