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An interview with Jeff Bova

By Patrik Andersson


Jeff Bova Born in Washington D.C. in 1953 Jeff Bova got his musical education at the Berklee School of Music, Boston and at the Manhattan School of Music, New York were he played keyboards and Trumpet.

In the 8th grade he joined his first group called "Corduroy footstep" after the bands original keyboardist had left for boarding school.

In 1975 he played in a Jazz fusion band called "Flying island" that also released their first album on Vanguard records that year. The band only recorded two albums, both on Vanguard records. DJ Shadow sampled a loop from Flying island on one of his most recent albums.

When did you first get involved in Petrus productions?

It must have been 1981. A friend of mine who played keys with Ashford and Simpson at the time recommended me.

Besides Change, BB & Q band and High fashion, what projects were you involved in during the time with Petrus?

I was starting to do record dates and jingles. I played on Robert Gordons Album "Are You Gonna be the One". Mostly local developing acts during that time. We were very busy rehearsing and touring most of the time.

What was your experience of Malavasi and Romani as producers and songwriters?

I came in to play my parts after basics were cut so I got to see how they developed arrangements from the Rhythm section up. They were a big influence on me. They both had a lot of energy. Very nice guys.

In your mind the best production during the years in little macho?

I was of course partial to all of Changes tracks. BB&Q Band I felt was great Pop/Funk. I was not as attached to High Fashion or the Ritchie Family. But all were from the same source, so it all had the same creative energy, just different concepts. We worked on different projects all at once sometimes. We didn't know at points what tune was going to be suited to which act. As a song developed it would become evident which group it would best suit.

When did Change became a real group?

Album was recorded with all the studio players. When it came time to promote it, Petrus had to put the actual touring band together to make it a real promotable entity. If I recall they did some gigs with the original lineup but it didn't work out for the long run. Between 81 and 82 they tried some live support of the record, recorded the 2nd album, organized the official touring group and members, then released it and the basic change that you know was unleashed upon the world! To make the band more group like was what promoters, booking agents (Norby Walters was ours) needed to get people to feel a connection to the band.

Was the tragic death of Petrus the main reason to that Change and BB & Q band didn't release any more records after 1985?

I assume so, but I was playing in Herbie Hancocks Rockit Band by that time so I was not around when that happened.

How was the climate between the members/producers during the Change years? Was there a good working spirit?

Yes, everyone had the same basic goals. Everyone was a hard worker, and professional.

Did High fashion release anything else after their 83 record?

I don't know. If I recall they had started another album but may not have finished it.

What did you do after the time with Petrus?

My next gig was playing with Nona Hendrix (La Belle). She had a great band with members of Talking Heads, Duran Duran's touring band members. I then joined Herbie Hancock's Rockit Band when Herbie toured to support his hit "Rockit". After that I had a long career as a Session player, playing with everyone from Cyndi Lauper, Robert Palmer, Tina Turner, Cher, Eric Clapton, Meat Loaf, Celine Dion and many others. I won a Grammy Award in 1997 for Album of the year as a producer of Celine Dions "Falling into You".

What are you doing today?

I am producing and Developing new artists. Remixing tracks also.

What is your point of view on music today on a whole? Are you open minded for new waves and constellations?

Always. That's why I am still in this business. Music moves through cycles but if you understand where artists are coming from based on their own experiences and how they choose to express themselves, you can understand what they are trying to say. All music to me is valid. It is a mirror of the time and place it's created.


A great thanks to Mr Bova for his open minded attitude through out the interview.

Interviewed on Patriks Soul Funk Special in june 2001 by Patrik Andersson. The interview has been edited. All rights reserved