The last time I saw Jibrail Nor, he was playing drums with one of his bands (BR & Timebomb) at Club Groove in Greenwich Village, New York, as part of the Legros Cultural Arts’ Women in Arts Series, in March of 2013.
They were the house band backing several different female vocalists, singing in very different styles (we heard everything from a Fats Waller cover to classic R&B to French pop), as well as performing their own work.
Club Groove, by the way, is really a great place to see live music, as it’s small enough that every seat is a good one, and it’s easy to chat with the musicians between sets. (Also, the happy hour can’t be beat, at $4 for all drinks and bar food.)
We were all quite happy to be there celebrating SWAN day (Support Women Artists Now).
Jibrail and the band are big-hearted musicians who spend a lot of time and effort giving back to their community and supporting other artists. Check out their music here: http://www.brandtimebomb.com/
Did we mention that we like this band a lot?
They combine R&B, jazz, rock, and classical influences to create original hip-hop music, and feature a violin and trumpet, in addition to bass, drums, and guitar.
I caught up with Jibrail for dinner at the Washington Square Diner, a cozy 24-hour eatery beloved of NYU students and musicians, which has apparently been frozen in time for a few decades (décor, menu, price point, and all). Here’s what we talked about:
Our Q&A with musician Jibrail Nor
Name: Jibrail Nor
Date of interview: September 25, 2014
Birthplace: Middletown, CT
Current town: Brooklyn
Occupation: drummer, freelance musician, afterschool program director
1. What’s the funniest or saddest thing that’s happened to you this week?
One of the administrators in my school is pregnant, and a little girl told me, “I just saw a really big belly!” She went on to inform me that sometimes belly buttons really stick out.
2. What’s your favorite movie?
Pulp Fiction. I’ve seen it 80 million times.
3. What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in life?
Quitting the NYC Parks Department (I worked there for eight years) to pursue music full time. I’d just turned thirty, and was starting to get disillusioned with my life and what I should do. Someone I respect gave me the advice to do what I love, and I love music. If not then, it would likely be never. I was still pretty young, not married, no children.
Now I’m not doing music full time any more. I think if I’d had better luck, or been better at networking, maybe…but I like eating, and living indoors.
4. If you could go back in time and do one thing over, what would that be?
I’d be less stupid in several relationships. I have a bad habit of remembering dumb things I’ve done.
5. Tell us your favorite joke.
From Mitch Hedberg: This shirt is dry clean only. Which means it’s dirty.
Another one of his I love: I don’t have a girlfriend. I do have a woman who would be really upset if she heard me say that.
6. What’s something that most people don’t know about you?
That I was born in Connecticut. I’ve been in Brooklyn almost my whole life.
7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever heard?
Get a job you love, or at least like a lot. You’ll be there more than home and see those people more than your friends and family.
8. Who’s your favorite celebrity and why?
I live with my sister, who watches a lot of reality TV, and I like T.I., a rapper from Atlanta. His family seems kind of normal, and I think they’d be okay as neighbors. And I like his music.
9. What’s your strangest phobia or superstition?
I am afraid of getting lost in the suburbs. It all looks the same. The streets aren’t on a grid.
10. What’s a book everyone should read?
I haven’t done nearly enough reading, but X-Men: Mutant Massacre is a good one.
11. What musicians should everyone check out?
I like a lot of genres. Lately I’ve been listening to Queens of the Stone Age, Bjork, St. Vincent, Run the Jewels, and Ruben Blades.
12. Last, but not least, is there anything you want to pitch, promote, or discuss?
Yes, besides BR & Timebomb, I’ve been playing with the Youngbloods on Saturday nights at the Five Spot Soul Restaurant: http://youngbloodsjazz.wordpress.com/ Come and check us out.
And I play in an electronic funk band called Comandante Zero: https://www.facebook.com/C0Music
Lead-In Image Courtesy of Suri: http://www.photographybysuri.com/
Jibrail Nor Portrait Courtesy of Michael Evangelou
NewsWhistle’s Laura LaVelle is an attorney and writer who lives in Connecticut, in a not quite 100-year-old house, along with her husband, two daughters, and a cockatiel.
Laura can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org