Thursday, December 31, 2009

Disco and Cocaine.

Disco and Cocaine.

Wow! It's as if some Skinnerian marketeer in some high-rise office, somewhere IMPORTANT, said one day, "Let's see how goofy we can make 'em look". And the next thing you know, people start looking real stupid all around you. Mind colonies...mining psychic resources... pushing little buttons.

And the suckers were thorough. A totally absurd mediocrity of an environment was crafted in every detail. If 'hippie' was goofy because of an impossible mythos projected, at least it was largely a home spun effort. This was different.

Big box department stores and their pitchers rushed with the zeal of prophets, using unprecedented apparatus of persuasion to round up the young public big time. Moo... Baah. And before you know it legions of the young and restless have dorky blow dry haircuts sculpted to suggest glans of a penis, preposterous platform shoes, horrid polyester 'leisure suits' and they're sore afflicted with Saturday Night Fever.

And just below the shiny surface sat coke, blow, toot or schnoof the perfect skinnerian drug. Rats'll do it 'til they die. Reward reward REWARD REWARD!!!

Porn movie stars, John Holmes in particular, were as representative of the era's cultural hero's as anyone was. The trouble was, once unleashed, these forces are difficult to manipulate precisely and often develop a life of their own. It was quite an attempt though, harness a most compelling psychic force to the bleak mill wheel of consumption.

But, beneath the polyester surface squelching, squelching lay depths unprecedented.

Disco, from a humble milieu of urban blackwaters, decloseted gays and newly assimilated latinos grew to an expansive market blast reaching the furthest edge of the national mind flock. Mind colonies. New exploitations of meta-resources. Dim suburban white people pathetically sought a life, someone else's.

So hapless. So helpless. Why derive ones worth from a heartless market, an empty mechanism? That Skinner's quite a skinner. Look at all those hides hangin' on a corner without a self to call their own. The nation of green grocers notion stretches past snap point to point to a beckoning big chill.

In the Vietnam War aftermath of imperial deflation, magnanimity, (always a matter of surface anyway), withered and voters stood revealed in their naked potbellied selfishness.

And the layers of exploitation, the patterns of exploitation were amazing in their geodesic intricacy. First, scam the downtrodden for their little hope of a lifestyle. Then puff it up to a level of abject bloated ridiculousness and fill the airwaves and department stores with the results and reel in the anxious idiots seeking a roost. Attention K-mart shoppers!

Curious it was, to see 'the Hustle' displace the square dancing of my childhood as the main form of public school dance instruction in a belated pathetic pursuit of social relevance.

Funny it was, to know that, by the time of its introduction it was nearly as hopelessly anachronistic as the allemandes and dosey-do's it supplanted. Way to go!

And the way gone took quite a few turns toward chop line plies on an infinite array of mirror fragments, credit cards, polished stone slabs, desktops, spoons and whatever other smooth flat surface answered utilities cry.

Okay, the question. The trail of inquiry most obviously begs attention. Could this TV screen, magazine, full page ad, sixty second voiceover, billboard, sky written, flyer dropped blast of contrived anxieties about bad breath, dandruff, potbelly terrors have undermined a sense of self worth for large swaths of the public?

And when coupled with an artificially, needlessly grueling work pace in a shifty work place, could it drive unprecedented ingestion of an overpriced crystalline powder ripped from the erosion trashed guts of the defenseless Andes and their fucked over inhabitants?

Set aside the venal brays of hack politicians belaboring the obvious nuisance of drugs run amok. No one seems to ask how life got so distorted and toxic, that a comparatively dull heart race, tooth chew and bowel churn drag of a drug seems like a good time. These sad bag bearers in charge persist in maintaining that a cumbersome and sloppy police state is a viable alternative to the implosive disruption likely from a serious examination of the mechanisms unsound premises.

The economics of cocaine are ridiculous. The mania maker costs between eleven and twenty cents a gram to make and costs its fans fifty to a hundred dollars a gram to take in order to babble drivel, struggle with paranoia, decorate the heart with a lattice work of scar tissue, irritate mucus membranes, crave sex if a woman, fear sex if a man with a weave of jitters, idiocy and pomposity throughout.

In the 'burbs, coke was there to greet folks as they settled into stasis. In most period piece meat markets where coke held its heyday court, the jukeboxes froze.

In the altiplano, parameters of Latifundio exploitation shifted to new hazards for the locals to add to the parade of toxic routines visited upon them since Pizzarro showed up.

In the cities, tendrils of altiplano and suburb intertwine to channel a blow flow into the anxious nostrils of a burgeoning American dream horde an American dream whored.

Dreams of Big Time, Multiple Orgasm, Perpetual Conquests, Life of Parties Wild and Crazy danced in many heads. If you shell out enough dough, you can at least simulate it with substantially less effort and for no extra cost you get delusions of significance, paranoid psychosis, permanent facial tics and an impressive acceleration of the aging process, maybe even a heart attack or a lung freeze.

And, of course, there is the underlying sense of emptiness nipping at the heels as soon as the transient buzz fades away. The promise dangles briefly to be torn away in a blink. Matrices of stress crisscross and lattice like those heart muscle tissue scars begging for analysis.

Well, there are the impoverished Quechua in economically comatose Bolivia with frail altiplano mid slope soil. Bolivia doesn't even much tin left. All the silver left centuries ago to support profligate Bourbon family debts to English banks. It's been said a bridge of silver could have been built from Rio to Bristol with the guts of Potosi alone.

Conquistador's descendents, scrambling for a new way to disembowel the land had to settle for blow. And, being land locked after a war instigated by the UK in the late nineteenth century. Bolivian coquero's ended up arranging for Colombians and Cuban exiles to help with the shipping.

Colombia has its own sordid legacy of messy civil wars and ham-fisted repression. Years of coffee growing further narrow the base of its economy. The soil grows ever more tired. The streets know intermittent bomb blasts, drive-by shootings, kidnapping and threats. The people war with each other over stupid business with us. How many billions of blow dollars flow? What's a President's price these days, anyway?

Cuban exiles are an evil bunch. They often steal half the shipment while making the buyer happy to walk away alive. Memories of Batista's good old days and Pig Bay betrayal linger yet.

Finally, there are the ridiculous flamboyant gun toters who comprise the blow distribution hierarchy here at home.

New rounds of stress, transposition of conflicts to our alleys and sidewalks, tract homes and apartments with retinues of bimbos, soldiers and flash customers filtering money through laundering schemes. Muscle bound minds tiptoe around fringes of lethal psychosis armed to the toenails.

Work a way to the everyday coffee table with its mirror, its razor blade and straw where everyday customers rise to a creed's epitome. Hyperactive glances clamor for a piece of blather, clitoral and nipple swell, a sinking feeling of tale chasing tireds racing around the emptiness 'til self melts to drivel.

Squalid memories linger. Sara wanted to suck me dry while her dying boyfriend slept in the next room. She wondered if I minded the herpes on her lip and hoped it wouldn't discourage me from feeding her my sperm.

Actually, the dying boyfriend was better goad to impotence and I played dumb and walked home despite her eagerness to 'give me a ride'.

Sara's little sister Marcy was a slender blue eyed blonde elf nymph who would happily drive her splendid long tongue up any slobs marginally clean asshole for a night of endless lines.

Leslie and Andy dragged out a stack of Penthouses in their late night apartment wondering if paper muff and tit images might inspire my participation in a messy little heap. Gaah, I thought, and told them I was tired. Why were we looking at these things anyway?

Skeletal Bev wanted to blow me for a five-dollar shortfall on a pot deal. She's bleak. My goofy thug friend laughs. Her daughter was doing homework down the hall and the life she led with mom turned her away from men forever.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sea Birds. Todd Preston.

Sea Birds

That cottage on the marsh
Had a porch built for drinking
And watching the birds:

The Rug Stitcher's turquoise piping
And black mats of kelp

Dennis's Plover that seemed to scold
Each minnow before dashing
Their brains on the barnicled rocks

And the Gilgamesh Wren, with such
weird effigies of vomited mud

The Colander Bird, tailfeathers straining
Those marine tidbits

Shrill chirping chorus
Of Teedlepeets in red swarms each evening
To decimate the Piano Fly hatch
and signaled to me
it was time cut limes

these birds were my only timepiece
that horrible summer
with the phones corroded bell
clicking wetly

the sun mindlessly bleaching
the cottage to the color of bone

African Diaspora Boston.

This is something I've been working on for a while. The story is worthy of some neo Homeric approach if one can invoke its inner music.

Part 1.

When settled, it was an oblong tombolo at the southern edge of a deceptively wide estuary. Its river narrowed quickly upstream and meandered lazily and inconclusively back to its source.

A herd of pound cake drumlins could be seen looking homeward, dipping bases in the harborage to become a string of islands, Lovells, Georges, Nut, Grape, Peddocks, Great Brewster, Little Brewster and Bumpkin.

And a few Africans were there then.

It was a religious state ruled by Puritan mullahs and mujaheddin and the formation of towns was driven by a mandate to assign and build parishes that misery would be fruitful.

Being wary of water, their principle intake was an array of alcoholic beverages from ale and porter to hard cider, imported wine, brandy and spirits.

Oddly, this made them dour and they neither danced nor fucked much. They huddled against Atlantic gusts, bore continental snows and deluges,arctic fronts and dog days and eked a living from the sea and sparse cobble infested soil.

And a few Africans were at hand to help with the heavy lifting.

A rash of villages soon bloomed on the lands frail skin to one day harden into an obstinate eczema of mill towns and suburbs, cities and golf courses,shopping malls and junk yards, six lane highways, high rise condos and jet ports and a ubiquity of abandoned gravel pits.

Burgeoning greed landed like a cow bird to build its nest on top of religions roost and began to stifle old dour eggs with hatchings of its own. A huge vile triangle cast its arcs from St. Botolph's port to West Africa of ships laden with sundry trinkets and trade goods to exchange for a dismal cargo and thence along trade winds West Indie-ward to where the Cargo was swapped for sugar and molasses and left to hoe its dolorous row by an evil alchemy of exchange, human chattel was transformed into rum made in the Bay Colony.

And Africans who didn't enter into Caribbean bondage sometimes found themselves at Bostons quays. There was always heavy lifting to be done and for a lucky few, liveried full dress appointment to sumptuous Brattle homes as Calvinist austerity was elbowed aside by Georgian ostentation.

Greed fire roared as land face consumption quickened. Three little peaks of Tramountaine were reshaped into one to be called Beacon Hill. A relative of John Hancock had the dirt dumped into the Back Bay. More soil carted from Dedham eventually filled the entire area.

The under-laid clays would one day pose colossus problems when the sky began to be scraped.

Wrath rose from greed over dry goods tariff problems until musket balls met agitators on Boston Common. An African named Crispus Attucks was a recipient of the flying shot. Was he thinking of tariffs or of a distant village forever lost?

A cascade of agitations, retaliations and engagements washed over the land until, at last, colonial severance was attained.

Africans became African Americans and some picked up a familiarity with the fifes, drums and fiddles of the master’s race. And preachers from a herd of denominations sowed seed of new mythos to flower into a canon of uniquely sung songs, which would one day be called spirituals.

The millstone of coffled bondage in plantation lands ground inexorably on albeit slowed by laxing impetus. And, in what seemed like the twilight of its days, the forlorn hope was rekindled from light of a Connecticut tinker’s invention. Obstinate cotton bolls could now yield up their treasure and the fiber soon came to be King.

Along the Merrimac, a hedge of huge mills rose at river edge. The regions barons thrived. From soil watered with misery’s plenty, the abundant King held court on high ground overlooking a valleys looming Deus Ex Mechina served by masses of wage slaves. All ranks, from pubescence to senescence contributed their labor. Men and women lived subsistence lives in perilous, toxic conditions. African Americans also participated in this transcendent experience.

Even as this transformation bloated barons, the land grew lean as the Federal boundary raced westward.
The soil was poor here having been scraped by the Wisconsin Glacier. An annual harvest of rocks made their vertical migrations to field surfaces each spring to later lace boundaries with stonewalls. The best soil followed riverbeds and basins of extinct glacial lakes.

Word came of the properties of tall grass prairies and many a weary back turned away from the stubborn soil to replant place names like Weymouth, Newton Falls, Canton, and Sharon along the Ohio Valley and Great Lake shores. Spelling drifted too as Worcester became Wooster and Reading became Redding.

The abandoned fields gave themselves over to a riot of old and new herbaceous plants before passing through momentary canopies of birch and white pine before finally getting back to a robust mélange of oaks and maples.

And, for another time, these abandoned farmsteads left lingering ghosts posing as abandoned cellar holes refuse pits, cart tracks, dooryard lilacs and decrepit raiment of remnant wolf trees that once guarded cornfields.

Dogtown, in Rockport’s uplands, slid beneath forest carpet. A flood of spruce holdfast engulfed Peeling. An early infrastructure of barge canals soon gave way to roads of rails a further time would abandon.

Bondage began to be assailed from legislative and social directions. Bloody handwriting was left on the wall in Hispaniola as Touissant L’Overteur led the enraged to destroy their tormentors and launch a nation.

Prohibitions were imposed against further overseas slave trade. An experiment attempted repatriation to a vague homeland. The struggle to reduce or expand the jurisdiction of bondage, as the King marched up the Red River Valley and recently seized Texas, grew in its intensity in the Halls of Congress.

A wheeling dealing phase brought Maine into the Union as Webster negotiated its borders with Lord Ashburton. The price was paid in Missouri. A further barrier was made at the Ohio Valley and the northern border of Maryland as the awakening behemoths of conflict took on sharper definition.

An ongoing series of probes to fathom the lands true capacities further propelled migrations to places where bondage held little utility. A high febrile greed pitch sent a cascade of aspirants around the perilous tip of Cape Horn in Clippers built and launched along Chelsea Creek and emptied towns with its momentum.
King Cotton was hard pressed to compete with the power of Emperors Gold and Silver.

Interwoven with the bondage jurisdiction quarrel was another between Atlantic Coast financial interests and the increasingly productive commodities interests of the expanding Interior. Each was somewhat at cross-purposes with the other over the nature of the Federal Governments contribution to the growing demands for capitol improvements to infrastructure.

A further disagreement was over the advantages of specie versus bank notes. The national currency was in transition. The fall of Nicholas Biddle provided a demonstration of the Interiors growing clout and a partial repudiation of Hamilton.

The shaping forces of these disagreements came to roost on three contrary sets of shoulders from which minds rose to forge arguments. The South sent a pragmatic advocate of States Rights, befuddled somewhat by lurking paranoia over emerging disparities of wealth between regions.

The West contributed a shifty disingenuous champion of muddled compromise and New England launched a stern dour moralist with vast practical skills, who reflected a returning glimmer of Calvinist bygones reborn with new moral concerns as a midwife.

These three hemmed and hawed through several decades of variable Presidencies and a Supreme Court inclined to favor bondage as Dredd Scott would discover, to his dismay.

The conflicts dynamic centered on antagonism between North and South with West as coy fence sitter waiting to be wooed by whatever suitor threw the biggest bouquet.

Both sides had their propagandists. Douglass earned authority to hasten the end of bondage. Tubman set up safe houses along the Mystic in Medford, near Tufts. Sympathetic locals helped as the Underground Railroad extended its trunks and feeders North. Stowe captured minds with her wrenching evocation circulated by the day's entertainment media. Preachers thundered from their pulpits and fanatics on both sides made gaunt preparations to escalate.

Fosters’ sentimental plantation propaganda songs described pastoral bucollias idyllic simplicity as the slaves’ happy lot and the nations first flirtation with what Dr. Braxton calls “Black Exotica” began with minstrelsy.

What started as self-serving theater grew into a national entertainment trend. It was an early variety package with skits and musical numbers. The performers were usually white and played black roles using burnt cork smears as makeup. The kora of the Sahel became the banjo and joined motley of other instruments in the reviews. Occasionally, a freed African American would find employment in one of these reviews but bowing to convention, would perform with face as fully smeared as everyone else.

And, in the expansive West, African Americans began to find work playing saloon pianos or strumming guitars with the other cowboys. Enduring, persistent voices embroidered the ether with haunted song from The Sea Islands to the Continental Divide.

Austere resurgence of spirituality in Boston stoked fury around the demand to abolish. Transcendentalists steeped in Eastern arcana and resolute moralists on Beacon Hill joined the choir’s clamor for an end.

Transfigured words begot stabbing, shooting, lynching and pillage as rages rose from disputed ground. Transformed words begot a beating on the Senate Floor. Douglas thundered mightily on behalf of Expedience while Lincoln urged a thoughtful examination of the Long Haul.

Rage prevailed and in the Virginia Uplands, a small rebellion expired only to unleash colossal hellhounds to stalk, hunt and devour six hundred thousand or more.

African Americans stood in the maelstroms heart to flee, march, starve or serve ‘til the storms abating brought a new jurisdiction amid the blooming of dooryard lilacs. Uncle Billy gathered a substantial flock as his bummers ate their way through Georgia.

Both Sherman and General Sam happily crafted decisions on the spot to anticipate attenuation of malice. The Emancipator wanted thoughtful reconstructive winds to waft away any lingering hate reek.

But the Radicals would not have it be so. With freedom came African Americans first experience of being market fodder as swarms of hustlers hovered over the wrecked Southland seeking means fair or foul to turn a tidy profit from stunning opportunities. Scalawags from within and carpetbaggers from without were drawn to the easy pickings.

Odd bits of unintended good occasionally surfaced to be met with Ku Klux backlash. The Radicals eventually doddered away until the aftermath of the uncomfortably close Tilden-Hayes election brought reconciliation cemented firmly by the adhesive of class interests.

Both regions regarded the phenomenal growth of the West with increasing anxiety. The Dixiecrat was born and the connived alliance allowed decades of sturdy hegemony. For African Americans it marked a watershed reversal as Jim Crow came to roost on the shoulders of armed white men draped in white sheets.

Two steps back and a painful infant’s cakewalk traversed ninety years and lingers yet. Fed troops left the Southland. Home rule had a robust rebirth and the connivance cured and hardened.

The centuries ongoing flow of giveaways reached a boisterous grabbing flood crest as mineral rights, water rights, grazing rights, timber rights, rights of way bloated the greedy. Rights of wrongs or civil rights would have to wait their decade’s turn. At last, the screws turned a notch too tight.

Populist rumbling in the Plains drove Anarchist and Marxist frenzy to market in Eastern and Great Lakes cities. Sorely squeezed Labor was beyond desperate. Sit-downs, walkouts and riots met billy clubs and bullets of armed company thugs. The National Guard was thrown in on occasion to ensure allegiance to greed. Presidents fell, bombs exploded, innocents were condemned, and writers turned to grotesquerie of disparity and callowness billowing for stunning thematic material. Riis tackled the social conditions. Dreiser got a great run of novels. Veblen examined ‘leisure’. Bryan attracted droves of agitated farmers to the sound of the Cross of Gold. The frontier closed and exploitations focus shifted full gear from land to people.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Solstice. Todd Preston.


The hard dark rubber night
    Is relentless
 And my bikes reflectors
  Like the gibbous moon
mean nothing

 Orange spirals
     For heat and coffee
 And today my alarm clock
             Is a fat naked black man
Dead center in the street
        Howling a version of joy
That I can't condemn

And we ransom the stars
       For baked bean suppers
They decorate the mud
     And simple clouds
Are their baffle

So I carved infinity
     In the side of a potato
Then rolled the root
      In black ink on gift paper

And the one thing
  We can count on
Is that it will
   get dark again.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Rocks in the Sea" by Mario Rechtern and Eric Zinman.

Good old Zinman just sent me an essay he wrote with Mario Rechtern as liner notes for Rocks in the Sea, a release Cadence has agreed to issue later in the year. They would like to dedicate the piece to Linda Sharrock, their friend, who is ailing and may be done as a singer and on the final leg of her journey. Let us all keep her in our thoughts.


Mario Rechtern reeds
Eric Zinman piano
Didier Lasserre drums
Benjamin Duboc bass

Recorded in Paris, May 2009

"Rocks in the Sea" is like the classic stories we dream about: Jason and the Argonauts, Iliad, The Odyssey, Ovid's Metamorphosis etc.... There is no battle field, no competition.....only enthusiasm for our shared appetite and journey together.

There is an aspect of Benjamin and why Mario initially called him the 'rock in the sea', not all of us. He has this very firm way of making statements about anything that he says concerning his emotions or emotion evolved plans/projects, that does not allow contradiction or doubt.

Benjamin agreed and upon hearing the music he insisted it is "ROCKS in the SEA".

To some neither seems desirable..................neither the argonauts, who are led by Jason on a bootless journey, nor the sirens.........but if this "rocks in the sea" refers to our conviction and the way we yield and wield our interactive force by being clear in what we play and feeling the weight in the ocean as it moves around us then maybe I understand.

The sirens are a song that we hear after which we're never the same again. That's the way evolution goes and some people are damned afraid of growing ........ If the sirens are a consuming aspect of our desires as men are led to their death by this attraction, then like all journeys and investigations we develop strength and strategies against that which consumes us, filling us with more substance and weight of character in the struggles of life.

Men fear matriarchal power, perhaps this was the divide in civilization between the southern and northern Mediterranean."more sex than man can handle"is exactly the term written on patriarchal flags against matriarch powers embodied in the sirens and many nymphs, but can women handle this surplus of sexual power that they have?

Some describe the bodies of the sirens as faces of women with bodies of monsters with the bones of their prey at their feet while others describe the sirens as birds of paradise who sing with astonishing beauty and attraction. What is one's gold can be another's poison. .....The idea that when Orpheus sang his poetry, the trees and rocks bent and gathered closer to hear him .......shows that poetry once yielded great power.

That's where I want to go to.-- poetry has so much power that it can neutralize them fears about unknown powers of sexual sovereignty within these so called "scary" archaic women and neutralize means to give them a direction versus better and more subtle communication: the trees and rocks gathered closer to hear him!

That's what I call cooperation. And if the rocks gather closer it is rocks that open up. We musicians try to ply what is inside the rocks , not their outside shape. We try to get into the things and people. Inside the sirens are human as everyone else.

This fear of sirens by the Jason Argonauts has a racial and xenophobic quality: to trash them as bad and ugly and dangerous, what is unknown, strange and powerful and liquify it,"seduced by sirens or Circe or other nymphs to more sex than men can

These men might have been led to the need to control the sexual power of these
archaic mythological female figures and their own paranoiac phantasms about womanhood of ancient matriarch systems reaching into the Mediterranean world having parted on the trip to patriarch modernity of the Iliad,the Odyssey and the whole Mediterranean ancient Greek colourful half god heroes mythology (half gods- legends like Hercules etc ).

this incredible poetic output of these times which came to an end with the written text, originally only narrations traded from mouth to mouth, stand for,.....

Well it is not even that scary, as the "poor male" overwhelmed with so much sex he cannot handle, puts them to trash--these women-- to ugliness and insatiability: there is NOT MUCH SEX.

NOT MORE THAN MEN EVER COULD HANDLE, BUT AS MUCH AS these hopeless men without a solid centre are TRYING TO PUT into.Trying to grab for possession and being rejected/ eaten.Thats the clue of that story.

There is temptation to EROS (not necessarily sex) by these women,which must NOT LEAD TO SEX since Eros is life energy that stands against the death bringing energy of these Argonauts, protagonists of the coming patriarch wartime machinery which did not end up to these days.

This hippy slogan make love not war says it clearly and also the mistake: it is not about making love it is about LIVING, where love -not making love- is a red thread going through.- the stimulus and fruity juice of life.- the alternative of power, (Pentesilea tried to stop this power war man business by denying any sex as long as there is this war business since this is the only language men do understand.

When I remember what we heard at Benjamin's place, there is this thing in
my mind of this very excessive saxophone part while you were rolling in the ocean on piano and Benjamin was moving the beams of the ship and Didier was stirring the foams of the sea,threading its depth.... it sounded like the ship drowning any minute turning over and getting swallowed by the sea and its torments, breaking down,as the lines of the horn were going up and down and under but at the end coming out safely yet by surprise there where the sea suddenly calmed and straightened out, rescued by the sailors teamwork....the authentic Argonauts of the moments of the poetic dream....

So this is a perfect example of what I wrote already earlier on new language collaborative about drowning and rescued by drums cello piano and love . This is no program music , but these text visions are instant composition cryptics passing through my/our mind provoked by stories we tell each other before playing and which take possession of us, each one in a different way....

While playing and identifying with these energies we ride on or are possessed by being tuned in.- moments where i am so thankful of help and presence of you being companions sailing through the open music seas,to hold on me and hold me on with, for the vessel to pass its adventurous roll through the straits of sea (meeresenge) avoiding its rocks in the way by being the rock themselves made of hope and confidence in unison TOGETHERNESS ... etc etc the pirates still are onto these days to whatever the future may bring....". composed and edited by Mario Rechtern and Eric Zinman, additional editing by Lo Galluccio

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Transcendence Quartet Rises Above.

Ras Moshe: Transcendence.KMB 007

Now I'm a dingbat for taking so long to finish this piece. I sort of promised Ras I'd be done a month ago but I'm old and dumb too so my handle on all the work done by the new cohort of label owners and concert makers is pretty crappy from 12 years of digging ditches in Seattle.

So, at the time I hadn't much of a clue about Erics label nor did I realize Transcendence is one of its issues as I got it in a simple burn form Ms. Dulberger and got Ras to send me the cut line up.I never managed to add 1 and 1 and let him know I'm writing about it. Whee! the joys of encroaching senescence.

In Transcendence Mr Moshe evinces a gauzy gossamer of textured tone solely his own with island breeze warmth. It seems to come from some deep wide kettle and among the old Masters long gone, it recalls Wardell Gray, Ben Webster or Hank Mobley. And it has a winning collectivity in a Moshe method of leadership without bossiness. It is about alert friends having fun at some elevated plane. The array of capabilities Mr Moshe brings to the table of playing and shaping compositions are also lush and full of promise well fulfilled.

Dave Ross is another of the growing cohort of guitarists who make the instrument an honest part of ensemble practice rather than an intrusive showboat mess as was common in the days of fusion. He likes legato phrasing of melody, evidently revels in the intrinsic beauty of chord voicing and makes intensity out of a mighty shaking of partials, microtones, micro percussive sonics unimpeded by tonality and a striking capacity for sound washes through frequency range shifts.

Shayna Dulberger owns a vast bass estate she roams with alacrity as if the sum total of all who have passed before found a home in her. More detailed descriptives may be found here.

Charles Downs has few peers but many colleagues who use their whole four limbed selves in the service of a drum kit. And he is one of the originals having been an astute participant since the 1970s.

Transcendence has melodic stepwise one up one down phrases on tenor open with demure ensemble assistance gradually rising. Ms Dulberger walks the back and forth waltz lilt with chord punctuation from Mr. Ross amid Mr. Downs impeccable evocation of the terrain.

Mr. Moshe then steps aside as Dave Ross builds to a blurry flurry hurry
wringing rings of tiny bellish tones and partials whirring whirl welling. The ensemble subsides to Ms. Dulberger's plucky pluck of a singing solo before a chiming marks Mr. Downs entrance in the full regalia of free drum majesty of all limbs taking on a life of their own. Mr. Moshe then remakes the melody from its middle and leads to the close.

Far Sight finds Mr Moshe open opening straight out of the gate with ballad lushness as the ensemble rises around him closely accompanied by Mr Downs at first then a layering of Ms Dulberger and Mr Ros
s voicing bright plump chords and woven melody strum and pick in its answering ballad quietude. It is suite-ish and has a fine fanfare structure woven with balladry convened by a plucky plucked sing of a Dulberger solo attended by a gradual subtle rise of Mr Ross and Mr Downs to make an entrance entrancing of Ras Moshe horn sing to bring it home.

If You See Something,Say Something is a son of Sun ship memories. Tenor drum union opens with that readily notable seeking sense that is a central part of the music. Mr Moshe moves beyond the diatonic with a run of pulsed long tone smears before tha cathartic abandonment into sound flow before it stops on a dime.

Dave Ross contributed
Sun Room . It answers old school contemplative jazz strummery in a way better fit to its day. He opens with reflective day boundary stillness, daybreak or eventide porches of summer. Before long the tempo picks up and the ensemble arises to build on the gospel choir climbing from Mr. Moshes tenor. Mr. Downs fits the moment to a tee from a tom and cymbal center.

Flute Peace For Charles Lloyd has atmospheric flute serenity rest in a quiet celestial made of chime and Cymbal textures. That's it. Other worldly feel of rain forest pre-storm calm is their gift to a listener.

All Flow
offers a warm balladish feel with a fanfare opening. It is demure at onset and makes me think of longing. Ms. Dulberger is the leading solo past the opening and digs deep into the moment with Ross and Downs subtleties in attendence.

Much of it has the full ensemble. Mr Ross sings his part in duet in the latter part of gorgeous tone melody building to a miniature of complete array with a bowed bridge built by Ms Dulberger to carry the ensemble to its fully gathered conclusion.

Carol Not Christmas is the second Dave Ross contribution. A run of chords voice an opening with Mr Downs making a quiet framing of brush and cymbal. Long tone low end rises from Ms Dulbergers bow leading to Mr. Moshe to propel a small motif of a few tones into a flight of maximum texture with freedom from the diatonic with a fully revved ensemble before Ms Dulberger takes it home with a bow.

Interstellar Brooklyn is a companion piece to Flute Peace in that it is a duet of Mr. Moshe and Mr. Downs. The drums are alpha and omega. Mr. Moshe dives into melodic variation overdrive with texture darting out of the flow throughout.

Turtles All The Way Down is Shayna Dulbergers composition and opens with her, solo joined by Mr. Moshe after a moment in a still and quiet texture. Then a surprising eruption of the entire ensemble ensues of high density texture that washes away while Mr. Moshe begins with a slowed down longer tone ballad arc.

It is a stunning contrast like a serene Lester Young busker moment amid subway rush hour. Mr Moshe then steps on the gas and joins in the frenzy.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Koreana and the Zither Stream.

Korea has a very unusual array of sonic traditions and ways of thinking about sound. It has several systems for ceremonial court music. One is uniquely its own and could be a valuable resource for those who really seek to think outside of the sonic box.

The particular form which I ineptly remember involves metallic sounds and wood block sounds amid silences and a churning sense of surprise.

I had a Lyrichord cd of it but gave it away to Lola Danza as it is part of her heritage.

Now one hobby I have as an amateur ethnomusicologist is tracing phenotype patterns of instrument preference. Gongs are a big deal in the regions of Indonesia and the Phillipines moving up to Indochina where the Zither continuum begins.

In Vietnam the instrument is called a dan tranh. It becomes the guzheng in China, the koto in Japan and finally, the kayagum in Korea. More summer sounds, enjoy!.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Midsummer Harps and Marimbas.

The vast lands between the US border and Tierra Del Fuego are wealthy with sonic imaginations and discoveries. In Veracruz there are a number of ensembles that employ huge wooden harps originally brought by conquistadors and colonists to provide instruments for church services that were more portable than organs.

They eventually seeped into the secular worlds and come to us today as regional performance groups, of which, Conjunto Sones Jarocha may be the most prominent after they were recorded by Chris Strachwitz in the early 1960s.

They have one of the happiest sounds of any musical form and work well as a morning coffee listen on a sun soaked saturday porch.
Guatamala nearly makes a religion of marimbas as they have been used by Mayans for centuries.
The regions along the Pacific coasts of Columbia and Ecuador have a second , African derived marimba form made famous by Grupo Naidy.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Roads to Morocco.

Archie Shepp got the Gnaoua ball rolling again back around 2006 as I was preparing to leave Seattle. I got to listen to it over at his son Pavel's house along with a duet disc Archie did with Siegfried Kessler. He has his own label Archieball. He last worked with them in 1969.

He finally recovered from a nagging benign lip tumor a few years ago and is back in fine form as if he were in his 30s again.

Ornette got in the act more recently in London having his reunion of a collaboration he did in 1973.

And then there was an exhilarating if hazardous festival back in May in Rabat to show America how it's done. No Cut and Paste, Meat and Potatoes, all Joe Lovano all the time on the other side of the pond but then, they don't have to pander to middle brow boomer geezes.

All this Mahgreb excitement got me thinking about the Rwais, what ever became of them?

Phillip Schuyler did a definitive paper on them and all you recycled english majors and market copy writers who overwhelm jazz writing with fatuousness should read the thing as you'll improve your game a hundredfold if you learn how to write like him. This little gem about the imposition of professionalism as espoused by the IAJE is even better.

The Rwais are like the blues and come from some lineage that includes griots, Turkish asiks and troubadours. Robert Johnson and Skip James were American versions as was Bahamian Joseph Spence.

They liked to make up songs on the spot, sing the news and even sing the praises of Citroens or Renaults. I found a modern Morocco pop version of what they have become and have a query to Nick Fritsch at Lyrichord to see if I can get the story of the lost release.

The moral of the story for all the younger people befogged by Pudgy Dunce kingmaking and music knowledge parsing is just go do a pattern search like 'Berber Rwais Music' or any other thing that you want to find and just bypass anything that looks like it is from a 'Jazz Magazine' unless you have ones you already like and trust.

In no time at all you will be waaay better informed than those who presume to inform you for profit.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Appreciations from Matthew Shipp.

I first met Mr. Shipp when he was in music school in the 1980's and I knew then he's a man you don't meet every day. I have never had any reason to believe otherwise. Somewhere, the spirit of my honorary uncle, Frank Wright, looks down from on high and knows that this is good.


My basic concept is a melodic concept.That is a hard thing to define but I always go for a sequence of notes that I feel massage the brain in a good and pleasing way.I don’t want to be melodic in an affected ecm post-jarrett type of way.We don’t need any of that. It's bad enough having Jarrett playing that way let alone anyone else trying to go somewhere else with it. Actually, Bobo Stenson has figured out somewhere great to go with that .

My basic concept of the piano is as a cosmos. I control the space and time of the projectile concrete music object, which is the piano as played by me. it has nothing to do with jazz, even though I am a jazz musician and that is the language I use to paint my pictures. Rather my brain and the piano are one. If you scanned my brain and if the notes I played could be scanned the diagrams would be one. Like Sun Ra, I am a universal musician. I transcend their stupid fucking jazz.

Composition has everything to do with what I do meaning that my playing has way more rigor than a lot of people out here who are supposedly writing compositions. It is way more developed and has way more structural integrity than most of these so called composers even though there is such a heavy improv element to what I do. I defy anyone to say that what I do is not extremely sophisticated. Sonic design is evident in every note and choice I make on my instrument. This improv vs composition talk just needs to fucking stop.

A trio allows me to wear the clothes of a jazz pianist while what I do, syntax and otherwise, is completely another thing. But I understand the clothing of a so called jazz pianist and know how to effect that perception. It's fun.

The specific role of a trio, I don’t know,to have fun.I need to like the people I play with and really want to create something with them based on mutual respect.

My muses are so many and varied. Ive known some weird people in my life and had a very weird education. One of my most important influences was a philosopher and composer in my hometown, Wilmington Delaware, an Afro American named Sunyata, which is actually a Sanskrit word meaning emptiness. Three images he put in my mind as a teenager.

First, he talked a lot about his tai chi teacher and he use to always say his master would rather practice tai chi than eat. That idea was in my mind in the hours and hours of practicing and I always concentrated on focusing chi on the piano.

Second, he talked about an Indian musican whose music was so powerful that when he sang candles would light. I have no idea if that is true but the image was always in my mind.

Third, he always told me that Monk was the model in that he did not give a fuck what all these stupid mother fuckers out here thought. And he instilled in me that I had real originality and a real developed point of view and there would be a lot of stupid mother fuckers in jazz that would not get me. But keep moving forward like they don’t exist because the power of what you do will annihilate them.

In the collaborations I've done over the years, lets just say its fun to see how my piano playing fits into different contexts.There is really nothing else other than that. And also even though I have a completely developed style and a completely developed music that still does not mean that there is still not a lot to learn and everyone has something you can learn. So collaborations are fun and stretch your mind. Of course, at this point I am just interested in doing my own thing. Pianistic considerations don’t exist.It is more ambient considerations, what works in this context

I don’t want to play with anyone else except for the select group of people I play with. I just want to do my own music. I especially don’t want to play with any jazz people, other than the ones im playing with now, especially as a side man. I hear no one in the world with as developed and distinct voice as I have on my instrument for this period in the music.

So why would I play as a sideman for someone else whose music is not as important to this period and jazz going forward in the future as what I'm doing? I mean, who would I play with Wayne Shorter? Yeah, right, give me a break. You have one of those bags to throw up in.

Mr. Shipp will be at the Outpost on August 8th and his trio recording, Harmonic Disorder,
refuses to leave my old CD player.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Free Jazz and the Motherland.

(Dr. Nketia)

As much of the nation prepares for its annual festival of Exceptionalism with pyrotechnic ejacula across summer night skyscapes, I've been poring over statistics and chart porn and boy did I find some beauties.

I like to test assumptions with a bit of research and have been visited with some honest concern over whether all this effort to describe and summarize various inflictions on the idiom is just contributing to the perpetuation of malaise and an unproductive mythos of the artist constituents as perpetual victims.

I'm more optimistic than that and reflective as well so I just finished a search pattern, 'Avante Garde Jazz Problems'. It was surprisingly useful for a number of reasons and I gathered a fat pile of bookmarks to be used at some future time. But I didn't find much of a literature of malaise nor did I find much of any analysis that describes the collision dynamic of Boomer culture and Free Jazz. Maybe I can refine the searching patterns somehow.

The core conflation argument that did garner a number of papers and articles turns on whether it is an angry leftist political expression and I would side with those who would say no with a few qualifications.

The converging array of innovators from many corners of the nation were hardly monolithic and were of many minds but there is a general movement away from the structure stranglehold of interpreted versions of the Great American Song Book.

This was a major nuisance because ASCAP would demand royalties for anything remotely attributable to a standard. Moreover the energy given to mastery of the euro elements of music structure was not necessarily doing wonders for broader cultural acceptance.

And with the arrival of collaborators from other corners of the African Diaspora and the motherland following the creation of the UN and its location in New York, there was greater exposure to new areas for invention potential. It really began with Chano Pozo and Dizzy. The USIS State Department Jazz tours also seeded understanding and interest in the African side of African America.

There were a number of visits to Africa by these Jazz Ambassadors and the outcome led to collaborations in both directions. Art Blakey made a few recordings for Blue Note
that prefigured M'Boom after visits on his own dime in the late 1940s . The Dizzy connection is particularly significant because of his relationship to the Philadelphia community.

I first learned about all of this in U Mass classes with Archie Shepp and Marion Brown. Archie is from Philadelphia and he was brought to U Mass through the auspices of Bill Cosby, also Philadelphian, with help from Fred Tillis and Max Roach.

By the time I ended up floundering around there Profs Shepp and Brown had already prepared a fairly interesting and useful musicology that had the work of Ghanaian Kwabena Nketia as a centerpiece along with readings from social anthropologists such as Melville Herskovits and Social Historians such as Harold Cruse.

"Muntu" by the German scholar Janheinz Jahn was also an important text as was the work of John Storm Roberts.
Lee Morgan's 'Nommo' and Jemeel Moondoc's Ensemble Muntu are both acknowledgments of the value of Jahn's work.

Archie also recorded with Moroccans around the same time they came to the attention of Brian Jones from the Rolling Stones and Randy Weston had a school in Morocco.

The big picture element of African America and its music was provided by Eileen Southern.

The Nonesuch Explorer series launched in 1966 by Teresa Sterne also contributed significantly to creation of a diaspora musicology. The Lyrichord Label was another valuable source of homeland recordings. The ocarina-ish sound that is a feature of the Herbie Hancock hit "Headhunters" is derived from sounds on a Colin Turnbull recording of 'Rain Forest Pygmies'. And then there was an extensive catalog of field recordings from former jazz producer Moses Asch and his Folkways monument.

All the elements for a reconnection of diverse corners of the African Diaspora were thus readily at hand and a subject of keen interest among artists from every region of the US. This was never a secret and was hidden in plain sight from the glib corporate shill posse ever eager to market the whole thing as if it were Marshmallow fluff.

Thus a political element could best be described as an indirect outcome of renewed interest in the homelands and increasing proliferation of access and information between worlds.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mr Lavelle Sums It Up Well.

"Matt is the sweetest most dedicated to the music. Ask him about being the jazz buyer at Tower close to Lincoln Center. He booked players in that spot.

We talked once on a gig about the various mute styling of the Ellington trumpet players. He is a master put it into practice historian/21st cent. Experimenter practitioner."
John Voigt.

As with all of the people who participate in this profile project, Mr. Lavelle is a very deep, kindly human. The real intent of it all is to make that case one profile at a time.

Matt additionally is on a fairly interesting quest, mastery of two instrument classes that couldn't disagree more in terms of embouchure. (Note: for those unfamiliar with music tech, embouchure is the term for how mouths interact with instrument mouth pieces. Trumpetish things want a kind of kiss while reedish things need a kind of grip.)

What brought you to music?

"My grandfather had me sit and listen to symphonies with him as a child,and then playing trumpet in school.I was led to Louis Armstrong's "Back O Town Blues",and my course was launched. "Kind of Blue" came soon after.

Describe your role models, muses and mentors.

"Ornette taught me in person how to find my own musical dna,write my own sound language,and resolve my ideas.Roy Campbell taught me about what the trumpet is and can be in this music. Albert teaches the message about being true to yourself in today's world above all,then its all Coltrane for the spiritual meets the technical and Miles, space and use of dark power in music,(Pluto in astrology).Paul Gonsalves for heart.William Parker is a HUGE influence,then Duke and Mingus."

Describe your community of colleagues and audiences.

"My community is wide but not wide enough. My main partners are Ras Moshe,Francois Grillot, Chris Forbes, Andre Martinez, Hill Greene and everyone from question 2!. I play in NYC almost 90 percent centered around the Brecht Forum and Vision scenes. I'm traveling more and more and I have a small group of fans internationally.We're all like minded people,not afraid of the spiritual power in music."

What are the important elements you apply to your personal approach to performance, repertoire and composition?

"I'm all about telling a story,really, communicating specific spiritual messages and being as real and human as possible.A concert is a group climbing a mountain together,audience and musicians as one. It's a spiritual event.I just played with Sabir Mateen in Syracuse and people left uplifted. The bottom line is to reach the soul. William Parker:'You should only play if you feel you're about to change somebody's life.'"

What role does teaching have in your work?

"I don't formally teach,but have entered the hall of harmelodics with grandmaster Ornette Coleman.I have mos def paid dues as a sideman with Sabir, Steve Swell and William Parker. I myself am personally a metaphysical teacher of sorts and have written extensively about the relationship of music to spirituality."

How have changes in the economy impacted your work?

"I've had a 40 hour a week day job since 1988. I've never been able to survive off of my music, but I have tried!. I've recently started a job where I work for myself at my own hours in an attempt to direct energy towards my music. Survival energy can deplete you and you must be vigilant!"

If you perform beyond your region or overseas, how has that changed over time?

"I have been to overseas several times and its increasing which is what I'm fighting for.Its a totally different world, where EVERYTHING is better across the board.I don't desire to move there yet. But I get why so many of us have for so long."

How has technology and changes in the way music circulates impacted your work?

"I have almost no tech chops and no time and money to hook it up,needs improvement. Business wise,.I was the jazz buyer at Tower Records for several years in NYC. Almost like a plant or spy I pushed my community in front of the main stream and Lincoln Center until Tower went down in flames. Records meant something, cds less.

And now change is forcing all of us to relate to music in a different way. I really care and try very hard to make records that I feel will stand the test of time. I aim for masterpieces when everybody just churns out tons and tons of stuff,too much. I feel my Silkheart cd called Spiritual Power will stand the test of time as one of my definitive works."

Describe your current and potential future projects and collaborations along with things you would like to do.

"I need more time to compose! I just recorded a string quartet with a project called Stars Like Fleas. My main band at the moment is called Morcilla as I attempt to lead a group through my tunes and concepts discovered through spending time with Ornette Coleman.

I'm right on the bridge between Ornette and Trane,as ever. Working and being an important voice on trumpet and bass clarinet is number one.And I play all the time with a lot of people to foster that. Lastly, I'm a good friend of Giuseppe Logan and I'm doing whatever I can to help him,in his own words,'Go out playing!'"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jeff Platz Jumps Through Hoops.

It is so refreshing to get back to what I love doing with this thing, putting under appreciated strugglers out there for a place in the web2 sun. Slagging the jazz hogs is a handful but there are so many ways to do it. Don't worry, controversy fans, I have plenty of work on that too as the jazz hog crowd has made monumental messes that are endless fun to poke.

What brought you to music?

"I grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland Ohio listening mostly to country music around the house, Johnny Cash, Buck Owens etc. with an occasional Ray Charles and BB King. I really enjoyed listening to this stuff for the most part; it was all about the complete package for me, the music, the record cover, and song titles.

It was truly fantastic and exciting imagining where these people came from, and how the music was created. Eventually I bought a guitar, took some lessons here and there. In the mid 70’s growing up in suburban Cleveland, music was all about industrial working class kids getting together and making noise, anti disco, anti country, pre punk. We were playing in the shadows of greats like Pere Ubu, Dead Boys, etc. It was a very exciting time for sure.

Later I continued studying music in different Universities and privately, it was at this time I heard one of the early Ornette records purely by mistake! I was talking with a friend, dumping on “noodly jazz music” when he played me a few cuts off of “Dancing in your head” and I was completely blown away!

The guitars were strangely compelling, stark and beautiful, not to mention the greatness of the tunes themselves. This was certainly the beginning of my fascination and real pursuit of the electric guitar, composition, and ensemble playing."

Describe your role models, muses and mentors.

"I’ve always been impressed by artists from the avant-garde for the most part, painters, dancers, musicians, poets. That kind of self-expression has always been inspiring. John Cage of course, Stravinsky, Stockhausen, Schoenberg. I’ve always loved their concepts and artistic fortitude.

As far as actual role models? Wow, I guess I’ll keep that question musically based. I’ve been encouraged and mentored by several impressive musicians over the years either directly or indirectly. I studied guitar some years ago, a handful of lessons with Joe Morris. Joe is a great teacher and a passionately tenacious musician.

Recently I finished a recording with the multi instrumentalist, reed player Daniel Carter, now there’s someone with role model potential! Daniel’s a great guy and a great musician. He really emphasizes the beauty and spontaneity of the music and brings a sense of happiness and appreciation to the project.

Describe your community of colleagues and audience.

I’m currently located in the greater Boston area for better or for worse! There are certainly some great musicians in the area. Players such as Joe Morris, Allan Chase, Steve Lantner, Jim Hobbs etc. old school Boston free jazz improvisers who’ve been hammering away at their thing for years now.

Unfortunately Boston is pretty much user-unfriendly in the improvised music world in my opinion. There is really very little sense of musical community. This is mostly due to the fact that even though Boston boasts of being a music town it’s really more of an institutional music town. Plenty of places to study, very few places to play. Over the past three years I’ve held a yearly music festival, the Skycap Festival, in hopes of bringing players together, developing some type of musical community that might be recognized and focused on more seriously than it has been in the past.

The events were successful for the most part but, up to this point, haven’t really created any type of positive reaction or support in the Boston free jazz musical community. Suffice to say, Boston is a difficult place to survive as a musician., both spiritually and economically."

What are the important elements you apply to your approach to performance, repertoire and composition?

"I guess I’ve always been a big fan of melody. I like some structure in the music. The total free approach always seems to be hit or miss for me whether I’m playing or listening. I think that it can be very self indulgent and alienating for the audience as well unless the energy and professional ability of the players is spot on.

I do however love the idea of combining the two styles, a strong melodic motif that eventually evaporates into something else entirely, free and fully improvised using the original melody as the springboard. It’s a really interesting approach I’ve been working on for some time now. I don’t claim this as my own concept of course but I guess you could say that it is the basis of what fuels and challenges me musically.

I typically get inspired by bass lines, ostinato figures, and then build from there trying not to over complicate things too soon, not box things in or over structure the original idea. I find more often than not, people will generally comment after a live performance by saying that they like the third tune or the fourth tune, etc. There was something relatable that stuck in their ear. This is also a very important aspect of the music for me, creating something relatable to both the musicians and to the audience. It’s really what we all show up for in my opinion."

What role does teaching have in your work?

"I’ve never really taught lessons or had an interest in this. I certainly do not criticize those who do; it’s just not my thing."

How have changes in the economy impacted your work?

"It’s hard to say. Again, living in the Boston area, or any where else in the U.S. for that matter, trying to play experimental music is difficult enough with the lack of places to play, media support etc.

It seems like “paying to play” is becoming more common, renting the space, producing your own show etc. With commercial rents being out of control it’s almost inevitable that to present anything new whether it be music, dance, art, the artist has to expect to spend something to make it happen. The other issue is the rising cost of simply getting to the gig, eating, sleeping, and transportation costs leave very little if anything left for the players pockets."

If you perform beyond your region or overseas, how has that changed over time?

"I do perform overseas whenever possible. At this point I travel to Europe, usually twice a year, spring and fall. I’ve been co-managing a small label based in Germany for the past years, which has also helped me build some in roads to the improvised music scene in Germany and Europe. My personal feeling is that things are certainly better in Europe for improvised music than in the States. Of course there are some of the same problems, limited venues, money, etc.

And over the years things have gotten more difficult economically speaking for sure but the public interest, curiosity, whatever you want to call it is certainly greater in Europe than in the U.S, from what I’ve experienced. In Europe the arts in general are held in a much higher regard. The local media is involved and there is usually decent press around an event. I also feel that European towns and cities take a certain amount of pride in keeping current with what’s happening, and support more interesting and unusual performances.

You see this sense of support reflected in the musicians as well. Sure everyone still has the same bitches and complaints as in the States but the overall enthusiasm for projects, collaborations and events is much greater and much more positive. I’ve been fortunate to have played some nice festivals and been treated like royalty, by my standards, in some situations. However, I usually come home just breaking even monetarily speaking, but certainly much more spiritually enriched from my experiences. These visits are essential to my musical psyche and creative determination."

How has technology and the way music circulates impacted your work?

"The computer has really changed things for the better for sure. At this point almost all of my opportunities have come from some type of communication via the Internet. The days of sending out press kits and making fifty phone calls for a gig are pretty much over. I also find the music writing software handy when developing projects and ensembles. Being able to send ideas for collaboration makes the projects much more cohesive and understandable."

Describe your current and potential future projects and collaborations along with the things you would like to do.

"Currently I’ve just finished recording a new project with the amazing multi instrumentalist Daniel Carter. It’s a quartet recording with my trio partners Kit Demos on bass and John Mclellan on drums. I’m really excited with the results and look forward to the final product. I’m hoping to get the quartet to Europe sometime in the spring. It’s really been an eye opener working with Daniel, his outstanding ability and experience, I’m thankful to have this opportunity to work with him.

I will also be traveling to Europe in the fall. I’ve been invited to do a handful of gigs with the German group Walter Konigstadt duo that will also feature the Dutch bass player Meinrad Kneer. If all goes as planned we’ll be recording the group live for release at our final show in Hamburg with the great German recording engineer Tobias Levin. I will also be playing some gigs in Italy in the fall with pianist Alberto Braida and saxophonist Achille Succi."

Jeff will be performing at the Outpost with the majestic Daniel Carter and his ensemble on Friday, July 10th. You can also get his music at Skycap Records.