The opportunity to interview Jimmy Jam evolved by surprise, and was tentative until the last minute. I pulled some questions together for the short (10m) window, with the intent of running through some or all. What happened was pretty magical. The first question was whether songwriting or production was king. The second was whether producing Alexander O’Neal was to help his friend, or if in fact he and Terry Lewis saw a gem in the making. JJ answered the question straight up, then rolled into his special relationship with label owner Clarence Avant. Avant happened to be one of the topics on my list, so we rolled right into that. We moved to the longevity of the Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis partnership. By this time, 10m were up, and I wanted to hold to the promise. We had some precious overtime when Jimmy closed by explaining why the upcoming Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival performance has special significance. This excerpt is below. I’ll have the rest of the conversation produced for you in the coming weeks. Enjoy.