Colbert: Our next guest is a multi-talented musician who has made quite a splash lately. The NY Times has called her the future of jazz. Here to play the title track of her debut album, Breathe, let’s welcome Cassandra Sommer.
(Audience is ecstatic. Band plays Breathe)
Colbert: We’ll be back to talk to her after the break.
(Outro from Breathe)
(Intro, the band previews a little bit of Aftershock)
Colbert: I’m back here with my guest, Cassandra Sommer. So, Cassandra …
CS: Cassie, please. Only my mother calls me Cassandra.
Colbert: So why the trumpet?
CS: I like shiny things. (audience laughs) I started playing piano when I was about five, but when I was given the opportunity to play in the band in fifth grade, I chose the trumpet, ostensibly because it was silver and shiny.
Colbert: I see you don’t wear any jewelry, though.
CS: No. I’m a minimalist in that sense.
Colbert: I can see that. (audience laughs) A little birdy tells me you are taking a lot of flack over your wardrobe.
CS: I think that bird is a big fat turkey, by all accounts. (Colbert chuckles)
Colbert: Is it true that sometimes you wear even less?
CS: Well, yes, comfort is important to me when I play. That’s why I don’t wear shoes.
Colbert: That’s not all you don’t wear. Is it true that one night a month, you play commando.
CS: I’ve been told by my agent to stop that, but yes, we have a Commando Night at Jimmy’s in Chicago where we are the house band. Military get in free, with discounts off drinks. I dress commando.
Colbert: But that’s not all, right?
CS: Yes, I wear a mini skirt and a camisole. That’s all. I usually play piano on those nights, but it gets a little dicey when I play trumpet. I have this habit of dancing a lot when I play. That’s a recipe for accidents.
Colbert: That brings me to my next point. You play trumpet, piano, sing, and you dance, too, when the spirit moves you.
CS: Which it often does. I’m a founding member of a funk band called White Chocolate, and I’ve been known to boogie from time to time.
Colbert: It’s funny you should mention that. We just happen to have a clip … (audience laughs in anticipation) … apparently it’s from only a few weeks ago.
CS: I was waiting for you to say that it was from when I was 14.
Colbert: We’re still working on that one. Let’s roll the clip.
(WC playing Pick up the Pieces with CS twerking out front while playing trumpet)
(audience laughs hysterically)
(Stay Human picks up the song. CS twerks a little for the audience.)
Colbert: Gotta love that catsuit.
CS: That’s my secret identity. I’m a closet exhibitionist.
Colbert: (gestures at my outfit) Well, you’ve come out.
(audience laughs, someone shrieks with delight)
Colbert: So, your new album.
CS: It is actually Gus’ Ferrotte’s new album. I’m just part of the band.
Colbert: But you have equal billing. How did it come about?
CS: Gus asked me to sub for his pianist. The tenor player in my quartet studied with him, so we knew each other, but we hadn’t played together until a few weeks before the session. I don’t know why, but at the last minute, they changed the other personnel and gave us all equal billing. The night before the session, Gus asked me to bring along a couple of my charts. I thought that one might make the album, but they chose all three.
Colbert: And even added a trio version of the title track.
CS: We recorded that a week later, when we were doing retakes, just because we had extra studio time. It’s actually edited. The full length version wouldn’t fit on the disc.
Colbert: Hopefully, we’ll get to hear it at some point. We’ve asked you to play another track from the album before you go. You are playing both trumpet and keyboards on that. Must be difficult. (audience chuckles)
CS: I do occasionally play both at the same time, but there I played piano in the rhythm section first, scatted my solo, and then overdubbed on trumpet.
Colbert: That must have been hard to remember. It’s my understanding that you have perfect pitch as well as eidetic memory.
CS: Not quite. One of my classmates in high school called it photogenic memory. (audience laughs) It’s good enough that I can remember enough obscure details that appears impressive. I see everything in sound and images. You might call it photographic memory.
Colbert: So you can remember what you had for breakfast on say, the 21st of November?
CS: (laughs) Scrambled eggs and bacon.
Colbert: What’s so significant about that particular breakfast?
CS: You just happened to pick a rare morning that it was cooked for me. Let’s just say that was the last morning of a very brief relationship.
Colbert: You mean a one-night stand? (audience laughs)
CS: (blushes) It wasn’t intended to be. (applause)
Colbert: Well, before you go, we’ve asked you to play one more song from the album. Would you be so kind as to introduce it?
CS: It’s a piece that I wrote on the same day as Breathe. It’s a modern bop that I call Aftershock. It’s almost too fast to dance to, but I’ll give it a go.
Colbert: Well thank you very much for coming (shakes hands), and while you are setting up, I’ll just say that Cassandra Sommers’ new album Breathe came out last Friday. She plays with DeRon Johnson at the Empire Club in New York City from Thursday to Saturday this week and next.
CS: One …. Two …. one, two, three, four …
(band plays Aftershock)