Tagged: Percussion Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 2:03 PM on August 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Percussion, , Randy Weston   

    From NEWMUSICBOX: “Randy Weston: Music is Life Itself” Do Not Miss This Extraordinary Interview 

    New Music USA


    From NEWMUSICBOX

    August 1, 2018
    Frank J. Oteri

    Video presentations and photography by Molly Sheridan

    2
    Randy Weston by Molly Sheridan

    Randy Weston A Giant of Jazz and in stature photo cr. wcsufmorg

    It has been more than three quarters of a century since the bebop revolution transformed how people made music together. So it is not surprising that so few musicians who came to prominence during that era are no longer with us, especially since so many—like Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, Herbie Nichols, Elmo Hope, Eric Dolphy, and on and on–had tragically short lives. But what is more surprising is that one of these musicians, 92-years young Randy Weston, is not only still around, he’s still actively performing and composing and evolving, although to him there really isn’t a clear distinction between old and new music.

    When we visited Randy Weston in his Brooklyn apartment, which was once the site of a restaurant his father owned when he was growing up and which helped to shape his attitudes about how to connect with audiences, he expounded on his all-inclusive worldview. He pointed out that bebop and all of so-called jazz, which he prefers to call “African American classical music,” as well as numerous other musical genres have their source in the traditional music of Africa:

    You can call it rock and roll. You can call it hip hop. You can call it jazz. Many titles. But for me, it’s Mother Africa’s way of survival. … We have to stop to realize: No Africa? No jazz, no blues, no bossa nova, no calypso, no reggae! … My father said to me three things. He said, “Africa is the past, the present, and the future.”

    To Weston, different generations listening to different music from one another makes no sense. “When I was growing up, music was for everybody,” he said. “I’ve got to move a three-year old or a 100-year old.” And it’s something he has aspired to do since he first started playing in clubs as part of a trio at the age of 17. Over the course of the last seven decades, several of Weston’s compositions—such as “Hi-Fly” (1958) and a waltz he composed in 1956 about one of his children called “Little Niles”—have become standards, and his 1972 album Blue Moses was a bestseller.

    Weston wants to harness the power of music to make people aware of their history. The contemporaneous declarations of independence of many African nations was the inspiration for his landmark 1960 suite Uhuru Africa, which featured a poem expressly created for it by Langston Hughes and was arranged by the undersung Melba Liston for an all-star ensemble that included Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Gigi Gryce, Yusef Lateef, Cecil Payne, Kenny Burrell, Ron Carter, Max Roach, Candido Camero, and Babatunde Olatunji, as well as operatic soprano Martha Flowers and actor/singer Brock Peters. The album was banned in then Apartheid-governed South Africa but also led to Weston being invited, under the auspices of the American Society of African Culture, to perform in Nigeria in 1961. Weston returned there two years later and then in 1967 embarked on a U.S. State Department tour to Senegal, Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. The following year he moved to Morocco and lived in Tangier for seven years.

    Living on the African continent and working extensively with musicians from a wide variety of traditions further expanded Weston’s compositional palette, and he continued to explore ways to make the European piano sound African.

    “I go back to before it was a piano,” Weston explained. “You’ve got wood. You’ve got metal. When the piano was created in Italy, they didn’t know what to do with the keys of the piano, so the keys of the piano were wood. After that, the ivory on the elephant was what they used before the plastic and whatnot. So when I go to the piano, I approach it as an African instrument. It just traveled north and some other things were done to it. And inside it is a harp, an African harp.”

    Although he ultimately returned to the Brooklyn neighborhood he grew up in, Weston took back with him a whole world of experience which has informed the music he is creating up to this day. His magnum opus, the two-hour African Nubian Suite, which premiered in 2012 and was released as a two-CD set on his own African Rhythms label just last year, incorporates musical traditions from across the entire African continent, as well as the diaspora and even China.

    “We all have African blood,” Weston asserted. “Every person on the planet Earth.”

    After such an ambitious tour-de-force, Weston refuses to rest on his laurels. He just issued Sound, another two-CD set which is all solo piano music, and a few days after we visited him he flew to Europe for performances in Nice and Rome:

    Wherever I go, I tell people—students, grandmas, you know—I’m so happy now because when I play, all the races come to me holding their hearts. They say, “You’re taking us back home.” I say, “We all are from there.”

    Frank J. Oteri: There’s a statement in your autobiography African Rhythms that I thought would be a great place to begin our talk. It was an observation about African traditional music: the audience and the music are one. I think the same could be said for just about all the music you’ve done in your life, and the same could have been or perhaps should be said for all music—any music that really works.

    Randy Weston: Well, I was born in Brooklyn, New York, and I became a young musician, playing local gigs and marriages. We played a lot of dances. You had to play for dance, otherwise you weren’t a musician. And that goes all the way back to ancient Africa, that they’re one and the same, which means that the dancer is also an instrument. Also, in our community, it wasn’t The New York Times that told us whether we played good or not, it was that African-American audience. I don’t care whether it was calypso, the black church, the blues, or European classical music, they knew when the music was right. And if you weren’t playing right, you were in trouble.

    Growing up as a boy, I loved music before I ever even touched a piano. Music was our way of life. I grew up in a community of all the nationalities—people from the Caribbean, people from Africa, people from the South, people from Europe—all bringing their cultures. It was so rich and so wonderful, but music was the key. And I can’t emphasize too much, it was my mother and father who would bring the best music in the house—Duke Ellington, gospel, blues. They weren’t musicians and they never studied music, so I wanted to find out how they could know so much about music. But when you go to the motherland, the people in Africa are music. Music is the first language. It’s how we survived slavery. It’s how we survive many hardships. During the early ‘20s and ‘30s, they were lynching black people in this country—your skin was no good, your hair, all the stereotypes. But it was music, whether it was the black church, where I had to be every Sunday with my Virginia momma, or during the week when I was with my Caribbean father—Panama, Jamaica, proud, Marcus Garvey, Africa, all the time. We would go to calypso dances. We were just surrounded with music and there was no separation between the ages, no such thing as music for the young. When I was growing up, music was for everybody.

    So when Randy Weston plays the piano, I’ve got to move a three-year old or a 100-year old. And that’s the foundation of music in spirituality, which was passed down from our ancestors. Every day I’m amazed at how they could create such beauty in this country after coming here in such terrible conditions. I still don’t get it. When I went to Africa, I found out that for African people, spirituality is so important, even despite all the diversities of people. That’s the only way I can describe it, so a long way of answering your question as usual.

    3

    FJO: You touched on many different concepts here. But since you touched on when you were growing up, I’d like to talk more with you about other things that were around you that I would dare say might have influenced your approach to how you relate to audiences. Your father ran a restaurant and took meals very seriously. A great chef can be considered a great artist, but you’d never have a situation where the chef is a great artist and he makes food that most people wouldn’t want to eat. Yet we do harbor a notion that there is some great music that very few people can relate to. What happened to create this distance between people who make music and everybody else?

    RW: We got away from the truth. My father always taught me to always look for the origin of everything in life. No matter what they tell you. Try to find the origin of whatever that is. Whether it’s language, whether it’s football, whatever. My dad loved Africa with such a passion. He would talk about Africa to people he didn’t even know in the street or in the restaurant. When I was a young, young child, around six, he said, “My son, I want you to understand one thing: that you are an African born in America. Therefore you must study the history of Africa before it was colonized. Before it was invaded. Before it was sterilized.” My dad had books on African civilization in the house and he had maps of Africa and also African kings and queens on the wall. When we grew up, it was British East Africa and the Belgian Congo; Africa didn’t have its independence. But he said, “We come from royalty.” He said, “They only thing they’re going to teach you is after slavery and after colonialism; you’re going to have a mountain full of lies. When you go to the cinema or when you go to school, people are going to say you’re inferior. There’s a billion people on the planet, but I want you to be strong when you go out the door.” So growing up, because of my dad, I’d look at books and I’d go to museums. I’d go back 6,000 years ago. Just imagine what it must have been before Africa was occupied.

    The way we were treated in this country, how come we don’t hate people? You don’t do that because we’re all members of the planet earth; we’re all human beings. We grew up like that. We really loved to welcome all the different people of the planet. My father’s friends were Jewish, Swedish, German, Italian. You name it. We’d go to their house and had Italian food. Or we’d have Jewish food on a Sunday. My mother with her Virginia accent and my father with his Caribbean accent. They had different accents, but they were the same people. They got married and they produced me.

    My dad’s second restaurant was right here in this house; my dad died, but his spirit is in this house. He would have people come here from Africa, or from the Caribbean, or Europeans who told the truth about African history—scientists, musicians, painters, actors. And with my mother at the black church every Sunday, I was absorbing these gospels and spirituals when I was a little boy. So that’s my foundation. And every day, I talked to my father and mother. They gave me everything. They gave me spirituality, which is difficult to understand. They loved me and I was spoiled. I’m not talking about financially. My dad was a great cook. He would cook all the Caribbean cooking. My mother made Southern food from Virginia. I had all that love, and not to mention the neighborhood, but that’s the foundation—mom and pop.

    4
    Randy Weston keeps a framed photograph of his parents on one of his walls as a constant reminder of their importance to him.

    FJO: Andy they had you take piano lessons.

    RW: My father, yeah.

    FJO: But that first set of piano lessons didn’t really work out.

    RW: No, because you know, I was six-foot at 12 years old. In those days, I thought I was going to the circus. I was tall. Today, that’s nothing, right? I played baseball and football. And I couldn’t identify with the scales because all the music we grew up with was swinging—whether it’s the black church or a blues club on the corner or calypso dance, all the music had, as Duke Ellington says, that African pulse. So I couldn’t identify with European music. But that piano teacher, God bless her, for 50 cents a lesson, she had to deal with me for three years of torture—for her and for me. She’d hit my hand with the ruler. But she gave me the foundation and that’s why she’s in my book. I learned some things I got to appreciate when I got older.

    FJO: Well I have a theory that, aside from you saying that you didn’t identify with European music, you wanted to create your own things instead of playing what someone else wrote. Even before you ever created your first composition, you had the attitude of a composer.

    RW: I didn’t know. I had no idea.

    When I had come out of the Army, I went to my father’s restaurant and I was a frustrated musician. Remember, this was the period of royalty. This was the period of the greatest musicians in the history of the planet—people like Art Tatum and Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Erroll Garner, and I could go on. This was our royalty. In the restaurant, you could go to the jukebox and play everybody from Louis Armstrong to Sarah Vaughan, to Louis Jordan. We’d be open 24 hours a day in this restaurant and I was so in love with the music on the jukebox.

    At this time, Miles Davis was living in Brooklyn and so was Max Roach, who I called the emperor of Brooklyn. Max was my teacher. Max Roach’s house was two blocks away from where we lived and my father’s restaurant. When I had a break in the restaurant, I’d just go to Max’s house and sit in the corner. That’s where I met Dizzy Gillespie. That’s where I met Charlie Parker. That’s where I met Miles Davis. That’s where I met George Russell. I’d sit in the corner and just listen to what they talked about. And thanks to Max Roach and George Russell, I discovered the modern European classical music— Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Darius Milhaud. And Max would always tell me to listen to Baby Dodds, to go back and listen to all the African-American music you can find because that’s the purest music, because those people couldn’t speak the language. They hadn’t gone to music school, so during the time of slavery and even after slavery, they approached it as African people. The way they dance and the way they cook their food. The way they attempted to speak the European languages. Max taught me that. He taught me about Chano Pozo. When I heard that African Cuban drum with Dizzy’s orchestra in 1949 in what George Russell was writing for Dizzy, Cubana Be Cubana Bop, I fell in love with that drum. I said I got to work with this drum. Again, Africa.

    And we had people like the great Cecil Payne. Eubie Blake lived on Stuyvesant Avenue in Brooklyn, right around the corner from my mother’s church. I would go to Eubie’s house when he was about—whoo!— 95, something like that. You didn’t have to call up and say Mr. Blake, can I come by and see you. Oh no, you just rang the bell. I’d go to Eubie Blake’s house and sit in the corner and he’d tell about the piano battles they had in 1890. How they had this guy named One Leg Willie, and this guy could take one song and in each chorus he’d completely change the harmonies. He never made a record. So from Eubie, I got the history of our music going way back to the early-20th century. So Brooklyn was very special because it was so much culture.

    4

    FJO: Your encounters with Charlie Parker were really interesting. You actually even performed with him.

    RW: Again, Max Roach. Max made me play for Charlie Parker. I was shaking, because Charlie Parker was a high spiritual man—what he would do with that saxophone. But Max said, “Hey man, play one of your songs.” I played something, but I was very nervous. And then I went back to the restaurant and said, “Why did Max make me play for this guy?”—it was me and a drummer who studied with Max Roach named Maurice Brown.

    In those days we would hang out two or three days looking for music. Some clubs would close at three o’clock in the morning and others would open up at four o’clock in the morning. There was no television and no disco. Everything was live, so we had that kind of experience. So that night we went to go hear Tadd Dameron at a club called the Royal Roost. Tadd Dameron was in a band with Fats Navarro and Charlie Rouse; I’m not sure who the drummer was. When you go out in the Royal Roost, you go down the stairs, and the bar is right there. And there’s Charlie Parker at the bar. Now Charlie Parker always kept his saxophone. If he went to the supermarket—saxophone. You’d never see him without that saxophone. So he sat at the bar and I’m looking. I wondered who he was talking to. I didn’t think he remembered me. So the young drummer said, “Man, he’s talking to you.” He said, “Randy, how you doing, man?” I said fine. “So, whatcha doing?” I said, “We’re gonna hear Tadd Dameron in the band.” He said, “Come with me.” He takes us upstairs and calls a taxi. We go to 52nd Street, to a club, I’m not sure whether it’s the Three Deuces. I’ve forgotten the exact name of the club. We go into the club and there’s a group playing. They’re playing their music. Now you don’t interrupt a musician when he’s playing. That’s a way to die. Don’t dare do that. But Charlie Parker was so powerful; in the middle of the song, he went up on the stage and told the piano player to get up. Just like that. And the piano player says, “Yes Bird.” And then he told me to sit at the piano. He did the same thing with the drummer, told the drummer to get up in the middle of the song and told the drummer [Maurice Brown] to sit. Then he took out his saxophone. He played one half hour with us, then packed up his horn and left and never said a word. You don’t forget things like that, because I was with a master.

    FJO: That was your one and only gig with Charlie Parker. The other really interesting, formative influence story in your life was your encounter with Thelonious Monk, which I think had a profound effect on how you make music and how you think about music.

    RW: Sure. Absolutely. Why do you love certain artists? What happens? There’s some kind of communication there. When I was 13-years old, I heard “Body and Soul” [played] by Coleman Hawkins. He was really the father of the tenor saxophone, and it was a big hit. Coleman Hawkins was such a genius. What’s so incredible about that “Body and Soul” is he’s not playing the melody, but you can hear the melody. So when I heard this music, I went to my father and I said, “Dad, I want an advance in my allowance.” I got 75 cents a week. “I want to go buy some recordings.” So he gave me the advance, and I went to the record shop. I think it was about 35 cents for a disc in those days, and I bought three copies. I hid two in cellophane. The other copy I put on my pop’s record player, opened up the windows in the apartment, and put on “Body and Soul” loud so everybody could hear it. I played Coleman Hawkins almost every other day.

    The first time I heard Monk was with Coleman Hawkins on 52nd Street. He’s got Monk playing the piano. I’m this amateur musician, and I didn’t know him. Monk wasn’t playing too many notes that night, so my immediate reaction was what’s Coleman Hawkins doing with this guy? I had his recordings with Art Tatum and with Benny Carter. But I went back again and heard “Ruby, My Dear” for the first time with Monk on the piano and Coleman Hawkins on the saxophone. It was just love, the kind of love that you can only get with music. My connection to Monk goes back to Ahmed Abdul-Malik, the bass player. He also played the oud and he would take me to downtown Brooklyn to listen to the oud and experience the music of North Africa and the Middle East. He could play notes in between the notes. I tried to do the same thing on the piano, but I couldn’t do it. But Monk did it.

    FJO: He creates a very idiosyncratic sound, but of course it is still with the notes on the piano. There aren’t any extra notes there, but he’s messing with your head.

    RW: Music is magic. So when I heard Monk, and I heard that sound on the piano, I said, “Wow. I want to find out how he’s doing that.” So I went to his house, and asked if I could come see him. There was a picture of Billie Holiday in the middle of the ceiling. Monk was sitting in a chair playing music very softly. I started asking him all kind of questions. No response. That’s it. But I couldn’t leave the room. I stayed in that room for hours. Finally, I had felt I had to try to get out of this room. I must have asked about one hour of questions. No response. I’m getting ready to leave. He said, “Listen to all kinds of music. Come and see me again.” I went back one month later. He played the piano almost two hours for me.

    He pushed the magic of Africa in the piano for me. Piano was not created to get that kind of sound. I discovered later on that he comes from Duke Ellington. Duke was doing things with the piano, which I didn’t realize. He was also creating all kind of magic sounds on the piano—basically the bass of the piano. A lot of pianists don’t touch the bass. But Duke, he’d do things with the bass of the piano to create things, you know. Oh, that music. And all the music is so beautiful. Dizzy, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, all these people. They create such original beauty. They’re all original people. So for me in 1959 to do a recording with Coleman Hawkins playing my music—man, that was one of the happiest moments of my life. Roy Haynes was on drums on that date and Kenny Dorham on trumpet.

    5

    FJO: Before we get to 1959, at some point several years before that something changed in your attitude about being a musician. You were on the fence for a very long time before you finally decided that that was what you wanted your focus in life to be.

    RW: Oooh, I was 29.

    FJO: That’s late.

    RW: But I was playing at 17.

    FJO: So what caused you to devote your life to being a musician?

    RW: It happened up in the Berkshires. I was working in this hotel up there—breakfast chef for a while, washing dishes for a while, chambermaid for a while, cutting down trees. But I discovered the Berkshires and all that music—the Boston Symphony Orchestra, chamber music, music students coming from all over the world. I met Aaron Copland. I met Lukas Foss. I met Leonard Bernstein. It was just an incredible place of music. Plus the Music Inn and Marshall Stearns.

    I’ll never forget this. I helped these artists from Germany. They were all victims of Nazism. They were all elderly people, and they had a concert. They were violinists, violists, singers, and whatnot. And I helped them with their baggage. But in the meanwhile, when I’m in these places, I was playing the piano at night. But just for me, you know. So these three old ladies come to me and said, “Randy, we’re going to have a recital. And we decided we’d like you to play.” I said, “I’m sorry, I don’t play Bach and Beethoven and Mozart. That’s not what I do.” They said, “No, no, no. We want you to do what we hear you do at night.” And that’s what I did. They were saying to me, “We’re from the European classical world, but you’re doing something special on the piano.” Max Roach was pushing me. And other musicians. But that really did it.

    FJO: And it wasn’t very long after that that you made your first studio recording.

    RW: Yes. That’s correct, because I had discovered the music. Marshall Stearns, oh man, he was something incredible. I did about ten summers in the Berkshires. Who do I meet up there? Langston Hughes. Olatunji. Candido. Mahalia Jackson, who was doing an afternoon class on African spirituality in the black church. Willis James, who specialized in field cry hollers, and he talked about how our ancestors during the time of slavery created music with sound because they couldn’t speak the European languages. I met so many incredible people. Everybody I listened to and took something from. Asadata Defora, the great dancer-choreographer from Guinea. And because of Marshall, I also met John Lee Hooker, Brownie McGhee, Sonny Terry, Josh White. He had this pan-African concept in music, and he would have these classes. He’d have a blackboard, and underneath the blackboard would be Africa. Then he had the different branches, like calypso. I met Geoffrey Holder up there, too.

    FJO: But to go from being immersed with all those people to saying I’m now going to do my own thing was still a huge step as a musician. The first album you recorded was a collection of your interpretations of music by Cole Porter, because the record label wasn’t going to take a chance on an unknown person doing his own compositions. But after that, most of what you’ve recorded is all your own music. Every now and then, you would include a tune of somebody else’s that you made your own. But it was very clear from very early on that you were creating your own music, whether you were performing by yourself or with other musicians. And when you worked with other musicians, you weren’t telling them what to play, because you wanted them to bring their own thing to it. You’ve actually said that you feel like a piece of music you create isn’t complete until you work on it with other people in a performance or in the studio—then it becomes complete.

    RW: Absolutely, because music is life itself. In ancient tradition, music was just as important as science, astronomy, any kind of education. Music was required because music was our first language, our spiritual language. Even up to now, even up to last week, when I go to the piano and I look at that audience—and I’ve been doing that for a while—all the religions are there, all the colors are there, all the ages are there. But we become one people when the music is right. And it’s always magic for me.

    I have to be very humble with music. Why do I say that? Well, what you talked about came from Duke and Monk. They did their own music. They’re my two biggest influences. But at the same time, I had a talent and I didn’t realize I had a talent. And I loved my children so much, so my first recording with Melba Liston was setting waltzes for children. Children are so free. So I put them to music. I wrote those waltzes up in the Berkshires, because after the season was over, I stayed two or three weeks afterwards and it was very quiet, with a nice fireplace. The Berkshires are so physically beautiful, as you know. It’s gorgeous there. And all of a sudden, these melodies came out.

    Where this talent comes from, I will never know. But it happened. How it happened is amazing. I went to Boys High School in Brooklyn. That was a very good school. Max Roach went there. Cecil Payne. Ray Copland, the trumpet player. I was in this school, but I wanted to go to music school. My father wanted me to get those academics; he wanted me to be a businessman. Another reason why I had my own groups is because my dad would always do his own thing. He said, “If you work for yourself, you work harder, but you can get your message across.”

    FJO: That album of waltzes for children was very important in your career. And the title track from that, “Little Niles,” became one of your most famous compositions.

    RW: Exactly. Duke and Monk, and the other composers too, wrote music for their families. Duke would write music about his mother, about his father, about his grandfather. Monk would do the same thing. That was our tradition.

    FJO: And Duke and Monk—and you, as well—were also part of the tradition of pianist-composers. When people now think about the 1950s, they say Thelonious Monk, but there was also Elmo Hope.

    RW: Herbie Nichols.

    FJO: Exactly. I was thinking about Herbie Nichols when I was thinking about your early recording career. He only ever got to record in a piano trio setting—piano with bass and drums. But he always wanted to record with a mixed quintet, and it never happened. The record labels never let him do that.

    RW: Wow.

    FJO: And then he died so young. It’s interesting to compare that with the chronology of your recordings. That first album of Cole Porter tunes is just you and a bass player, Sam Gill, so it’s a duo. Your next two albums were trio sessions, but the album after that was a quartet with Cecil Payne. Then you recorded a mixed quintet session, and after that you began recording with larger ensembles, which is when Melba Liston entered the scene as your arranger. Talk about somebody else who never really got proper recognition; there was only one album released under her name in her lifetime. And even when she appeared on other people’s albums, she rarely took a solo.

    RW: I had to fight her to take a solo on our first recording. She was just a humble person. She was just like that. First of all, I had never heard a woman play trombone before.

    I must confess when I heard Charlie Parker and Dizzy and Monk, I didn’t understand what they were doing. What kind of music is this? I didn’t understand it. It happened right after the Second World War when everything changed. I started working these clubs in New York. I would play Birdland every now and then with a trio. And Dizzy brought the big band. He brought that band that had Lee Morgan, Benny Golson, Charlie Persip, and Melba Liston—all the heavy young players playing this incredible music that they called bebop. So he featured her. He said, “I want you all to listen to an arrangement of ‘My Reverie’ featuring Melba Liston on trombone.” She had this big sound on trombone, and she did the arrangement. And the arrangement was so beautiful. When she came off the stage, I just had to introduce myself to her. I said, “You don’t know me, but it was like magic. Like we were supposed to meet.” Then she moved from California to New York, and she got to know Mary Lou Williams—I knew Mary Lou, the giant; another queen, right?—because the two of them lived in Harlem. So somehow when I had a chance to do this recording for United Artists, my first recording for them, I wanted to do several waltzes for children, and I asked Melba if she would do the arrangements.

    All Melba Liston wanted to do was to play and write music. She was an extraordinarily beautiful woman. But when she was working on music, she’d have the girls go and buy her a dress, or buy her a pair of shoes. She didn’t want to be bothered. She didn’t want to be glamorous. I used to bring her a coffee to keep her awake when she was writing arrangements for Quincy Jones. [And we worked together] from that point on, until she died. What a great, great, great arranger.

    FJO: Now, it’s extraordinary how successfully your music and her arrangements melded, but that doesn’t always happen. Many people did their own arrangements for that reason. Duke Ellington did his own arrangements until Billy Strayhorn came into his life and then they created things together, which were also extraordinary. To turn that work over to somebody else, there has to be a level of trust. I’m jumping decades ahead now to your Blue Moses record. You thought it was going to turn out one way, and then you heard the record they released and it wasn’t at all what you thought you had recorded.

    RW: Well, that was in the electric piano days. In the early ‘70s, if you wanted to make a gig, you’d better have a Fender Rhodes. Don’t look for no piano. Melba did the original arrangements of Blue Moses. We were still living in Tangier, so my son and I came from Tangier to do the recording, but when I got there, Creed Taylor said his formula is electric piano. I was not happy with that, but it was my only hit record. People loved it. [The arranger] Don Sebesky did an incredible job. Because what had happened was we went back to Morocco, so I didn’t hear the music until it came from New York to Tangier. Me and my son listened to it, and he said, “Is that us?” But Don Sebesky did a fantastic job to capture all those colors of Blue Moses.

    FJO: So you were ultimately okay with all those extra layers that he added to it?

    RW: Everybody’s okay with that. And I can’t resist. I just don’t like electric piano. But everybody says, “Man, you were fantastic on electric piano.” So many people. And I loved the musicians—Freddie Hubbard and Grover Washington and Hubert Laws, Airto, and my son. Everybody played beautifully. I just was not happy with my sound, but that was required. That was Creed’s concept, and it was a good concept. It was a good concept because it became a hit record for me.

    FJO: And because it was a hit record, it actually got you out of debt for the music festival you organized in Morocco.

    RW: Exactly.

    FJO: It’s fascinating to hear that you’re okay with it even though it wasn’t what you thought it would be. As you had said, you never have a finished idea. It’s always going to get reshaped in some sort of fashion when you work with other people. But you still have some kind of control over it when you’re actually there. Or maybe you don’t.

    RW: Absolutely, because it was the story of my life in Morocco. That’s a very, very personal experience—also for my son, because we lived there. We lived with the people. We traveled. We hung out with the traditional people. You know, we’d get together, we would read the Koran together, my son and I. We would play chess together. He listened to the Gnawan musicians and started playing rhythms that I didn’t know he knew. That’s what Blue Moses is all about. I was in this small French car with my son, Ed Blackwell, and the bass player Bill Wood, and we drove from Tangier all the way to the Sahara. I’m driving. The car’s so small that the wheel is between my legs, but I just loved adventure, I guess, at that time. So we go to this village up in the Rif Mountains, and we see snow. So I said, “Wow, I didn’t know there was snow in Morocco.” I saw the people skiing, so I said, “I got to put music to that.” Then through the Rif Mountains and you go down to the Sahara.

    FJO: I think Morocco has the most extremely different kinds of terrain for that small a geographical area.

    RW: It’s true. The music, the art, the clothing, the instruments—oh man, Morocco, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. I used to go to the [Fez] festival in Marrakesh. Once a year, they’d have people coming from everywhere. Cats playing music on camels, on horseback, all kind of drums, dance music, it’s wonderful. And I just say wow. See, I love traditional music with a passion, because that’s where you get the soul and the spirit of the people.

    5

    FJO: But how to reconcile that with the piano? The piano is this creation of the industrial revolution. It’s a machine, to some extent. And there are all these stories about your tours in Africa and how difficult it was to get a piano for you in a lot of places.

    RW: Or they had an electric piano, and I would break it up.

    FJO: Well, some of them weren’t in very good shape to begin with. But it’s still interesting given what you say about traditional music that you can create something that’s so personal with something that’s a machine—not an electric machine the way we think of machines today, but the product of industrialization to some extent.

    RW: Well, I go back to before it was a piano. You’ve got wood. You’ve got metal. When the piano was created in Italy, they didn’t know what to do with the keys of the piano, so the keys of the piano were wood. After that, the ivory on the elephant was what they used before the plastic and whatnot. So when I go to the piano, I approach it as an African instrument. It just traveled north and some other things were done to it. And inside it is a harp, an African harp. So you took that harp and you laid it down, and you put the hammers and whatnot in it. That’s why I was saying the origin of things is so important for me. So when I go to the piano, spiritually, it becomes an African instrument. Because I’m going all the way back to the beginning when I touch that piano. The Moors brought their music up through Spain, so it was coming from Africa, you know.

    It’s like I was telling you about Monk and Duke, and how they take that piano. I used to love the sound of Count Basie and that piano. Oh my God. He’d just hit a few notes, but his sound, only Basie could get that kind of sound. Nat Cole. Another one. He’s playing a piano, singing, I mean, looking at the piano, but the sound Nat King Cole got on the piano. That’s why my latest recording, a double CD, is called Sound. Why did I love Coleman Hawkins so much? It was his sound. Why did I love Louis Armstrong so much? His sound. Louis only had to hit one note and I say, “Wow!” That goes back to ancient times, because in the ancient days, when they started making instruments out of Mother Nature, out of the wood, out of the fish, out of the camel, a horse, whatever instruments, you know, they had to say certain prayers before they did the ceremony to make that drum, or that banjo, or whatever, because that is Mother Nature.

    Sure, I grew up in New York, and I heard the best of us here, but where did Louis Armstrong come from? Who was his great-great-grandmother? What part of Africa did he come from to produce that kind of sound on the trumpet? That never happened before. And going all the way back, how would they tune the instruments? They would tune the instruments by the sound of Mother Nature. By the sound of the animals, by the sound of the birds, by the sound of thunder. That’s how they would tune their instruments. And that’s why the music of Africa is so diverse because it’s the most diverse place in the world.

    And wherever you find African people, I don’t care whether it’s in Fiji—I discovered them in Fiji—whether it’s Brazil, Guadeloupe, Mississippi, Congo. Duke said there’s that pulse in the music. It’s that pulse. You can call it rock and roll. You can call it hip hop. You can call it jazz. Many titles. But for me, it’s Mother Africa’s way of survival because without those early spirituals and blues, we would never have survived slavery. Even after slavery was abolished, even when we supposedly got our freedom, we had to go over the world, which we had never been in touch with before because we were on plantations. And from that, they create this music. Man, I don’t know how they did it.

    7

    FJO: Hearing you say all this reminds me of another comment you’ve made many times over the years, that there’s no old music. But, by the same token, that might mean there’s also no new music. Is that true?

    RW: You know, it’s not fixed, because music is free. Musicians are free. I could never speak for another musician, because music is invisible. It’s the king of the arts. But when I play with Gnawan musicians, they play the same songs all the time. Now for Western ears that might seem boring, because you want to have something they call new. So I wondered about that. But when they play the traditional music, they’re telling a story of their people. They had given you the spirit of their people. The way they cook their food. The way they dance. The way they dress.

    Ellington, Armstrong, Eubie Blake, all those people created music for their African-American community. You couldn’t just play music like today. You had to report to the African-American community. So all those great artists were not just able to play well. They played in hospitals, prisons, old folks homes, raised money for a school and whatnot. That was required. In African traditional society, that’s what a musician is. Not just, “You’re so great.” That’s only a part of it. You have to serve the community. You have to tell the stories of your father, your grandfather, and whatnot. And teach people that they may not have had the education or the technology, but they had wisdom.

    We don’t listen to the old people today, but when we grew up, we hung out with the old people. We’d never leave the old people. I’d go to Eubie Blake’s house, man he told me stories. I met Luckey Roberts, who wrote a song called “Lullaby of the Nile,” up at his place. He was writing music about Africa. A lot of the churches in the South were called the African Methodist Church, the African Baptist Church and whatnot. Those people stayed in touch with the ancestors. That’s why they got so heavy with the black church. So despite the fact there was slavery, despite the fact there’s racism, they always tried to communicate with the creator. Because wherever you find African people, I don’t care where it is, they’re going to have a very powerful, spiritual music. Because all of our people, we know that there’s a higher power.

    FJO: I’d like to talk to you a bit about the first large-scale piece of music that you created that is African inspired, and that’s Uhuru Afrika. How that recording finally came about is pretty interesting. You wanted to record it for United Artists, but they said they’d consider it after you made a jazz version of tunes from a Broadway show.

    RW: I got to pick the show, but I had to do a Broadway show.

    FJO: And you picked Destry Rides Again.

    RW: Yes, I did.

    FJO: Did you go see it on Broadway?

    RW: Yes, and I met Harold Rome. It was great. He was an important composer. Like I said, I had the experience in the Berkshires. The Berkshires made me check out all kinds of music.

    FJO: And if course that was also where you met Leonard Bernstein, who had one foot in classical music but the other foot was on Broadway.

    RW: Exactly.

    FJO: Harold Rome, though, had a career that was almost completely on Broadway. So what was it about his show that spoke to you?

    RW: Somehow I chose that one. I don’t remember what the other shows were, but I picked Destry Rides Again. It’s a cowboy show. It was my cowboy roots. (laughs)

    FJO: It only ran for a year and is sadly kind of a forgotten show at this point. But it’s pretty interesting. I have the cast album.

    RW: Really.

    FJO: It’s actually fascinating to compare it with your version of it. I love how the four trombones interact with the piano on it, but it’s a far cry from the record that you wanted to make, which was Uhuru Afrika.

    RW: Of course.

    FJO: And even after you went ahead and recorded a jazz version of Destry Rides Again, United Artists still wouldn’t let you do Uhuru Afrika.

    RW: No, I did it with Roulette Records. I was very fortunate. There was a man named C.B. Atkins. C.B. Atkins was the husband of Sarah Vaughan. I don’t remember how we met, but he talked to Morris Levy, the head of Roulette Records, to let me do Uhuru Afrika. [Atkins] was the key and that’s why I was able to put together that incredible orchestra. We started right after the album of seven waltzes for children, me and Melba. Melba was just like myself, in a sense. She was a very proud African-American woman. She had great pride in her people. So we had that spiritual connection. African cultures were just getting their independence. And we knew until Africa gets its independence, we were not going to get our independence because that’s our ancestral home. So I wanted to do a work of music to show—again the influence of the Berkshires—that we are global people. And so, after spending time at the United Nations, talking to diplomats, going to see Langston Hughes, I got together with Melba a range of African people. We had an opera singer, Martha Flowers, a great soprano; we wanted her to represent African culture and European classical music. We had Brock Peters; he was a folk singer and a Broadway guy. Then we had Olatunji from Nigeria, Candido and Armando Peraza from Cuba. We had Charlie Persip on drums. We had Ron Carter and George Duvivier on bass. And we had Max Roach on marimba.

    FJO: And you also had Gigi Gryce on what was probably his very last recording.

    RW: Exactly. Yusef Lateef, Gigi Gryce, Bud Johnson, Kenny Burrell, Les Spann, Freddie Hubbard, Clark Terry, Reggie Reeves, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Cleveland, Quentin Jackson—it was something. And Melba did all the arrangements. It was delayed because I went to Langston Hughes, again who I met in the Berkshires. He was such a wonderful man. He was an African-American writer who knew the importance of the music. A lot of our writers have gotten away from the music. Not Langston. He wrote the first book of jazz for children.

    That was a time when African countries wanted their independence, and the European powers at that time said, “No, you’re not ready for independence yet.” And Africa was saying, “Let us make our own mistakes; we want our freedom.” So I went to Langston and I talked with him and said, “Can you give me a poem of Freedom for Africa?” And I also wanted to celebrate the African woman—my mother, my sister, those women up until today, including my wife, who are always in the background and who struggle for us and take care of us but never get the credit, which included Melba Liston. So he did. I wanted to use an African language, because when I was a child, I was very embarrassed, what you would see in the cinema for African people—always slaves, Tarzan, all that stuff. We’re brainwashing these kids. The whole idea was Africa had no language.

    But the whole concept of language came from Africa! So I went to the United Nations, and I talked to a lot of diplomats. I wanted to use an African language. They said use Kiswahili. So I got a guy from Tanzania to translate Langston Hughes’s Freedom Poem from English to Kiswahili. Melba was writing out the music. We had to record two days in a row, starting at nine o’clock in the morning. Musicians! Nobody was late! It was so spiritual. And Melba was still writing parts. We had musicians in my apartment writing parts on the ceiling, on the walls. But we did it. It was a very powerful message.

    FJO: It was so powerful that it wound up getting banned in certain places. It has the same impact as Max Roach’s We Insist: Freedom Now Suite, which was recorded that same year.

    RW: Oh, absolutely.

    5

    FJO: But curiously, you did all of this before you ever set foot in Africa, and it was probably what led to your being invited and traveling to Africa for the first time.

    RW: I wasn’t supposed to go originally. I think Phineas Newborn was supposed to go. I think Benny Taylor was supposed to go. But something happened, and a friend of mine worked for the American Society of African Culture in Manhattan. This woman knew I had recorded music about Africa, so she came and took my LPs, talked to the head guy, and said, “You’ve got to take Randy Weston. He must go.” So that’s how it happened.

    FJO: And it changed your life.

    RW: Yes it did.

    FJO: You had all of these ideas about Africa, but as you’ve also said, there’s a difference between music that’s about Africa and music that is Africa. When you visited Africa, you finally saw the multiplicity of what those cultures represent. It’s not monolithic, even within each nation state.

    RW: You could spend years in Morocco.

    FJO: Or in Senegal or Ghana.

    RW: Or in Nigeria.

    FJO: All of these places.

    RW: There are something like 2,000 languages.

    FJO: And all of these different cultures co-exist together.

    RW: And that explains us. We had a mix, and those rhythms all come together. It’s tragic what happened to us, but look at the beauty we’ve given to Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Florida, and Mississippi with this music. So it was almost like it was meant to be. Terrible, but it seemed like it was just meant to be.

    FJO: That’s quite a perspective to have on all of this history. And it calls to mind a work of yours from just a few years ago that is perhaps your magnum opus, the African Nubian Suite. Your Uhuru Afrika, which you created more than fifty years earlier, foreshadows it in some ways, but I think that it was only possible for you to create something as expansive and all-encompassing as the African Nubian Suite after having traveled all over Africa and having completely absorbed what you experienced there and realizing that Africa spirals beyond Africa. It even includes China, so you include Chinese musical elements in it. You included the whole world.

    RW: You know, we all have African blood—every person on the planet Earth. And when you tell that story, that’s what Duke was doing. My god, Ellington’s Black, Brown, and Beige! And he also wrote music for the Queen of England, but you could hear the blues underneath. And people like Luckey Roberts, Eubie Blake, and all those early people, that’s what they were doing. They were telling the story of the beauty of Africa. But then what happened was integration. It did several things, which are very good. We could go places we couldn’t go before. But at the same time, our culture disappeared. It’s not like it was before.

    FJO: In the last half-century, music has changed to the point that there no longer are any clear demarcations. It’s great that there are no longer these demarcations, but there is also no longer a universally acknowledged popular music in this country or perhaps anywhere in the world. In the 1950s, Broadway shows were the incubator of mainstream popular music, which is why United Artists wanted you to record the score of a Broadway show. I doubt a record label would ask you to do an album of a Broadway show now. These days there are pockets of fans that like a certain thing, or like something else. For better or worse, there is no mainstream. In a way, we’ve all come closer together, which is good, but we’ve also kind of broken further apart, which is not good. So what can we do?

    RW: Do what we do. Realize there’s a higher power. Study the history of this planet. Wherever I go, I tell people—students, grandmas, you know—I’m so happy now because when I play, all the races come to me holding their hearts. They say, “You’re taking us back home.” I say, “We all are from there.” We have to stop to realize: No Africa? No jazz, no blues, no bossa nova, no calypso, no reggae! These are creations of African people. Where did Art Tatum come from? I’m more amazed with Monk and Coleman Hawkins today than I was yesterday. How could they take these European instruments, and do what they did and get their own sound?

    So I think that Africa will survive. African spirituality will survive, despite the fact we don’t exist on television anymore. I’ve never seen it so bad in my life. During segregation, you could go to the movies and see a Bessie Smith short. You could see a short on Cab Calloway. You could see something on Billie Holiday. Now today, it’s tragic because this music is the classical music of the United States of America. I don’t use the term jazz; I use the term African-American classical music. There is classical music in all societies. I don’t care how many Beatles you’ve got or how many how many Rolling Stones you’ve got, you’re going to have opera and you’re going to have Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. That has to exist, because that is the song and the spirit of people of Europe. It’s very important, and there they always make that balance. But us here, we’ve become so sophisticated. We’ve got to do the latest thing. We’ve got to do the fastest thing. So what happened before us is no, no, no. My father said to me, “Africa is the past, the present, and the future.” Despite all the corruption and all the stuff that’s going on and whatnot, to me that spirituality and consciousness may help save this world. I feel that. And there’s no better example than the music. So you call it calypso, jazz, or whatever you call this music. When you hear this music, it makes you feel, and when it’s right, it makes you feel good. It makes you feel happy. It makes you feel good to be a human being.

    So when I’m on the stage and I play, I look at that audience and I see all the colors of the rainbow. And when they’re all clapping the same rhythm, when they‘re happy, I say, “Wow, music is powerful.” Because when we play this music, when it goes out, we don’t know what happens. Each person in that audience takes their own trip. So when you go up on that stage and get everybody to come together like that, sitting next to each other—if they knew who you were, they wouldn’t sit next to you, but music has that power. And I think it’s the music that has to save us in the world today.

    It’s so sad that America cannot recognize its own classical music. Every child should have Louis Armstrong in the elementary school books. Every child should know about Duke Ellington, America’s greatest composer. Everybody should know about Charlie Parker, and Dizzy, and Nat Cole—all these people! The African people of this country influenced the entire world. On my first trip to Japan, when I get to Japan, here’s Max Roach on a throne. The way they love Max Roach, man, I was so proud. But that’s why they say we are the ambassadors; it’s true. But the recognition is very difficult, to recognize Africa’s contribution to the Western hemisphere.

    FJO: You’re actually flying out on Sunday to play in Europe. Do you feel that you have more recognition there than you do here?

    RW: Not necessarily. But the difference is Europeans made the instruments. They made the saxophone, the trumpet, and trombone, so they know what we do with them is completely original.

    FJO: Or maybe, it’s because as you were saying before, you can’t learn about this music here if you just watch television and that’s where you get your information. The internet has all this stuff, but you have to know it exists first before you can find out more about it.

    RW: Go back to books. Every day I read. The truth is in the books—the right books. When I go to students, I give them books. I say, “You will know the history of Africa. You will know the history of music.” The books are here. We have the technology. Everything is here. You’ll see that Western society came out of nowhere. Western society came out of Africa and came out of Asia. It became corrupt in the process, because they don’t give the recognition to the people who created this art.

    6

    I’m so happy because they used my music for a DVD about this great Senegalese master Chiekh Anta Diop. He proved scientifically that ancient Egyptians had to be a jet black people, because Mother Nature is a true artist. If there was serious hot weather, you needed black skin. For cold weather, you need white skin. She was the artist, just like she paints her fish and the insects. But we got away from that. So the message of this thing is so beautiful because he’s explaining it for us to stop and think about the origin of this planet and the origin of Western civilization. Western civilization corrupted the civilization of the older people. Everything in Africa is based upon spirituality. They’re in touch with the universe. They know the original music comes from the planets and the stars. They know the original music comes from Mother Nature. That’s why African music is so powerful, because the continent itself was swinging before man ever arrived. Everything: elephants, the snakes, all of Mother Nature in Africa, they all swing. Whether it’s a camel, whether it’s an ostrich, whether it’s a bird, they all swing because Mother Nature requires that. And the same is true with the musicians. So whether I’m in Morocco, whether I’m in South Africa, whether I’m in Senegal, all the music, all the dance, it’s gotta have that pulse. I don’t care what the rhythms are, you’ve got to have that.

    FJO: So what happens when you create music that gets away from it?

    RW: People get lost. They don’t know value. They don’t understand. If everybody knew the power of jazz, what they call jazz music, or spiritual music, the ways it impacts this planet, coming from people who were taken here in slavery, African people would be honored. I respect it and am thankful for the contributions. I never met my grandfather or my grandmother, but I read about their generation and what they had to go through. They couldn’t stay in hotels. They couldn’t ride on buses. Their color was no good. How did they survive that? With humor. With music. With love. It’s incredible.

    I’m so fortunate now because wherever we go now, the musicians with whom I work, I feel that we give the spirit of Africa in our music. I describe it as spirit—living with the people, loving the people, reading about the people, eating the foods and drink. What I’m doing now is because of years of love. Love of my parents. Love of my people. Love of life. Love of humanity. And love of this beautiful planet.

    7

    See the full article here.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    At NEWMUSICUSA we see ourselves first and foremost as advocates. Our mission is to support and promote new music created in the United States. We do that in many ways, fostering connections, deepening knowledge, encouraging appreciation, and providing financial support. In recognition of the possibility and power inherent in the virtual world, we’ve worked to build a strong internet platform to serve our constituency. And that constituency is broad and diverse, from composers and performers to presenters and producers, casual listeners to die-hard fans. We’re truly committed to serving the WHOLE new music community.

    As we go about our work, we make a point of not defining too precisely what we mean by new music. To define is to limit. It’s a spectacular time for musical creativity in part because so much music is being made that isn’t bound by conventional limitations of style or genre or background. The music that we hear being created in such abundance all around us is definition enough. We simply want it to flourish.

    We’re fortunate to have as our legacy the history of previous decades of good works done by the American Music Center and Meet The Composer, the two great organizations that merged to form us in 2011. Their legacies have also brought a small financial endowment that mostly helps support our grantmaking. But we’re not a foundation. We depend decisively each year on the generosity of so many institutions and individuals around the country who are dedicated as we are to the advancement of new music and are devoted to supporting our work.

    New Music USA is part of an international community of advocates for the arts. We’re members of the Performing Arts Alliance, the International Association of Music Information Centres, and the International Society for Contemporary Music. Those partnerships help us represent the interests of our constituents at every level.

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

    Advertisements
     
  • richardmitnick 2:18 PM on July 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Percussion   

    From Alarm Will Sound: At the Time Spans Festival 

    From Alarm Will Sound

    Chris Thompson, AWS percussionist, killing “The Intention” by King Britt and Christopher Stark. Alarm Will Sound will perform music of Zosha Di Castri, Alex Mincek, and this piece at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music on August 15th as part of the Time Spans Festival. Tickets available now.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
  • richardmitnick 1:02 PM on July 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: and percussionist Chris Strunk", , Ikue Mori, , , Percussion, Peter Evans’ ensemble “Being & Becoming”, vocalists/noise artists Andrea Pensado/Charmaine Lee,   

    From NEWMUSICUSA: “Ikue Mori, Peter Evans’ ensemble ‘Being & Becoming’, vocalists/noise artists Andrea Pensado/Charmaine Lee, and percussionist Chris Strunk” 

    From NEWMUSICUSA

    1
    Saturday, August 11, 2018
    at 9:00 PM

    Areté Venue and Gallery
    67 West St #103
    Brooklyn, NY 11222

    $15—20
    Tickets

    2018 SUMMA SLAM

    Ikue Mori solo, Peter Evans’ new ensemble “Being & Becoming”, vocalists/noise artists Andrea Pensado (on tour) / Charmaine Lee, and percussionist Chris Strunk (on tour).

    $15 online, $20 at the door

    9:00 pm
    Chris Strunk, percussion

    9:30 pm
    Ikue Mori, electronics

    10:00 pm
    Andrea Pensado, voice/electronics
    Charmaine Lee, voice

    10:30 pm
    Peter Evans’ Being & Becoming

    Peter Evans, trumpet
    Joel Ross, vibraphone
    Nick Jozwiak, bass
    Savannah Grace Harris, drums

    Participants: Melinda Faylor, Charmaine Lee, Ikue Mori, Peter Evans

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    At NEWMUSICUSA we see ourselves first and foremost as advocates. Our mission is to support and promote new music created in the United States. We do that in many ways, fostering connections, deepening knowledge, encouraging appreciation, and providing financial support. In recognition of the possibility and power inherent in the virtual world, we’ve worked to build a strong internet platform to serve our constituency. And that constituency is broad and diverse, from composers and performers to presenters and producers, casual listeners to die-hard fans. We’re truly committed to serving the WHOLE new music community.

    As we go about our work, we make a point of not defining too precisely what we mean by new music. To define is to limit. It’s a spectacular time for musical creativity in part because so much music is being made that isn’t bound by conventional limitations of style or genre or background. The music that we hear being created in such abundance all around us is definition enough. We simply want it to flourish.

    We’re fortunate to have as our legacy the history of previous decades of good works done by the American Music Center and Meet The Composer, the two great organizations that merged to form us in 2011. Their legacies have also brought a small financial endowment that mostly helps support our grantmaking. But we’re not a foundation. We depend decisively each year on the generosity of so many institutions and individuals around the country who are dedicated as we are to the advancement of new music and are devoted to supporting our work.

    New Music USA is part of an international community of advocates for the arts. We’re members of the Performing Arts Alliance, the International Association of Music Information Centres, and the International Society for Contemporary Music. Those partnerships help us represent the interests of our constituents at every level.

    No matter how far ranging our networks, our focus is always solidly on what brings these many constituents and communities together in the first place: the music. When someone uses our platform to listen to something new, recommend a favorite to a friend, or to seek financial assistance or information to support the creation or performance of new work, the whole community is strengthened. Together we’re helping new music reach new ears every day.
    Our Vision

    We envision in the United States a thriving, interconnected new music community that is available to and impactful for a broad constituency of people.
    Our Mission

    New Music USA supports and promotes new music created in the United States. We use the power of virtual networks and people to foster connection, deepen knowledge, encourage appreciation, and provide financial support for a diverse constituency of practitioners and appreciators, both within the United States and beyond.

    Our Values
    We believe in the fundamental importance of creative artists and their work.
    We espouse a broad, inclusive understanding of the term “new music.”
    We uphold and embrace principles of inclusivity and equitable treatment in all of our activity and across our nation’s broadly diverse population in terms of gender, race, age, location, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status and artistic practice.

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
  • richardmitnick 10:33 AM on July 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Percussion, William Brittelle   

    From New Amsterdam Records: New Releases 

    New Amsterdam Records is at the heart of the New Music environment

    SUPPORT NEWAM

    From New Amsterdam Records

    In all of our presenting and recording activities, NewAm holds firmly to its mission to support artists whose work lies outside of traditional music industry infrastructure – whether that be classical, pop/rock/indie, jazz, world, or experimental. In pursuit of this calling, NewAm often collaborates with like-minded organizations. Our past and ongoing partnerships with the River to River Festival, Ecstatic Music Festival, Art of Elan, the Indianapolis Symphony (multi-year residency), MoMA PS 1, Liquid Music, Galapagos Artspace and National Sawdust have yielded high-profile opportunities for our artists to present their work. On the records side, we often partner with other labels in order to offer our artists the best possible representation for their projects. Partner labels have included Bedroom Community (Iceland), Nonclassical (UK), One Little Indian (UK), Sono Luminus (USA), Cantaloupe (USA) and NNA Tapes (USA).

    NOW AVAILABLE:

    William Brittelle’s
    Without Chasms
    1

    Jordan Munson’s
    Until My Last
    1

    out on
    New Amsterdam Bandcamp Subscription
    + all digital platforms

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
  • richardmitnick 10:57 PM on July 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Percussion, , TENTH Year of the Sō Percussion Summer Institute July 15-29 2018 Princeton NJ USA   

    From Sō Percussion: “Photos from our TENTH Year of the Sō Percussion Summer Institute, July 15-29, 2018 

    So Percussion in performance

    From Sō Percussion

    Photos from our TENTH Year of the Sō Percussion Summer Institute, July 15-29, 2018

    1
    SoSI students working with Director of Composition Andrea Mazzariello. Photo Andrea Tafelski
    Processed with VSCO with a4 preset — with Andrea Mazzariello in Princeton, New Jersey.

    2
    Photo Andrea Tafelski, Processed with VSCO with kk1 preset — in Princeton, New Jersey.

    3
    Photo Andrea Tafelski, Processed with VSCO with a9 preset — in Princeton, New Jersey.

    4
    SoSI Student Composer Lucy Hollier with Director of Composition Andrea Mazzariello

    Photo Andrea Tafelski, Processed with VSCO with a10 preset — with Andrea Mazzariello in Princeton, New Jersey.

    5
    Adam Sliwinski, seeking truth!
    Photo Andrea Tafelski, Processed with VSCO with e7 preset — with Adam Sliwinski in Princeton, New Jersey.

    6
    Eric Cha-Beach in a reflective moment.
    Photo Andrea Tafelski, Processed with VSCO with a10 preset — with Eric Bradley Cha-Beach in Princeton, New Jersey.

    7
    Sō working with SōSI composer Lucy Hollier.
    Photo Andrea Tafelski, Processed with VSCO with e7 preset — in Princeton, New Jersey.

    8
    Sō working with SōSI composer Margaret Kogos.
    Photo Andrea Tafelski, Processed with VSCO with e7 preset — in Princeton, New Jersey.

    9
    SōSI students in action, Day 3.
    Photo Andrea Tafelski, Processed with VSCO with h2 preset — in Princeton, New Jersey.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The “artist”

    Adam Sliwinski has been a member of Sō Percussion since 2002. Adam is particularly interested in keyboard instruments, especially marimba and piano.

    Eric Cha-Beach has been a member of Sō Percussion since 2007-A consummate percussionist he loves to learn new instruments like the musical saw integrating them into diverse setups

    Jason Treuting is a founding member of Sō Percussion- Jason has pioneered an innovative drum set practice within the new music sphere. He is also a composer.

    Josh Quillen has been a member of Sō Percussion since 2006- Josh is an expert Steel Drum artist having studied in Trinidad and immersed himself in Steel Band culture.

    Our Mission:

    Sō Percussion is a percussion-based music organization that creates and presents new collaborative works to adventurous and curious audiences and educational initiatives to engaged students, while providing meaningful service to its communities, in order to exemplify the power of music to unite people and forge deep social bonds.
    Our Vision:

    To create a new model of egalitarian artistic collaboration that respects history, champions innovation and curiosity, and creates an essential social bond through service to our audiences and our communities.
    Ensemble Bio:

    Sō is: Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting

    With innovative multi-genre original productions, sensational interpretations of modern classics, and an “exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam,” (The New Yorker), Sō Percussion has redefined the scope and vital role of the modern percussion ensemble.

    Sō’s repertoire ranges from “classics” of the 20th century, by John Cage, Steve Reich, and Iannis Xenakis, et al, to commissioning and advocating works by contemporary composers such as Caroline Shaw, David Lang, Steve Mackey, and Paul Lansky, to distinctively modern collaborations with artists who work outside the classical concert hall, including vocalist Shara Nova, electronic duo Matmos, the groundbreaking Dan Deacon, legendary drummer Bobby Previte, jam band kings Medeski, Martin, and Wood, Wilco’s Glenn Kotche, choreographer Shen Wei, and composer and leader of The National, Bryce Dessner, among many others.

    Sō Percussion also composes and performs their own works, ranging from standard concert pieces to immersive multi-genre programs – including Imaginary City, Where (we) Live, and A Gun Show, which was presented in a multi-performance presentation as part of BAM’s 2016 Next Wave Festival. In these concert-length programs, Sō Percussion employs a distinctively 21st century synthesis of original music, artistic collaboration, theatrical production values and visual art, into a powerful exploration of their own unique and personal creative experiences.

    Rooted in the belief that music is an essential facet of human life, a social bond, and an effective tool in creating agency and citizenship, Sō Percussion enthusiastically pursues a growing range of social and community outreach. Examples include their Brooklyn Bound presentations of younger composers; commitments to purchasing offsets to compensate for carbon-heavy activities such as touring travel; and leading their SōSI students in an annual food-packing drive, yielding up to 25,000 meals, for the Crisis Center of Mercer County through the organization EndHungerNE.

    Sō Percussion is the Edward T. Cone Ensemble-in-Residence at Princeton University, where they offer educational work and present an annual series of concerts. They are also Co-Directors of the percussion department at the Bard College-Conservatory of Music, and run the annual Sō Percussion Summer Institute (SōSI, now in its ninth year), providing college-age composers and percussionists an immersive exposure to collaboration and project development.

    One of the first things any group needs is a name. When our group was founded in 1999, we cast far and wide among our friends and family for suggestions. The winner was this simple, short word offered by Jenise Treuting, Jason’s sister.

    Jenise has been living and working in Japan as an English-Japanese translator for 20 years. The word “Sō” was punchy, enigmatic, and memorable.

    “The Sō in Sō Percussion comes from 奏, the second character in the compound Japanese word 演奏 (ensou), to perform music. By itself, so means “to play an instrument.” But it can also mean “to be successful,” “to determine a direction and move forward,” and “to present to the gods or ruler.” Scholars have suggested that the latter comes from the character’s etymology, which included the element “to offer with both hands.” 奏 is a bold, straightforward character, but lends itself to calligraphy with a certain energy that gives so a springy, delicate look.”

    – Jenise Treuting

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
  • richardmitnick 4:38 PM on July 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Percussion, Sandbox Percussion Showcase   

    From NEWMUSICUSA and National Sawdust: “Sandbox Percussion Showcase” 

    National Sawdust

    From NEWMUSICUSA and National Sawdust

    1

    Saturday, August 4, 2018
    at 1:30 PM

    National Sawdust
    80 North 6th Street
    Brooklyn, NY 11249

    $29
    Tickets

    Hailed by the Washington Post for their “high-end playfulness” and “jaw-dropping virtuosity”, the NYU Sandbox Percussion Showcase is the culmination of the NYU Sandbox Percussion Seminar. Featuring works by Jason Treating and Robert Honstein, the players will conjure eclectic soundscapes from traditional instruments, like marimbas and vibraphones, as well as unorthodox objects like glass bottles, tin cans, and tuned metal pipes. The result is a dazzling showcase of the contemporary percussion ensemble and all that it can do.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    National Sawdust is an unparalleled, artist-led, nonprofit venue, is a place for exploration and discovery. A place where emerging and established artists can share their music with serious music fans and casual listeners alike.

    In a city teeming with venues, National Sawdust is a singular space founded with an expansive vision: to provide composers and musicians across genres a home in which they can flourish, a setting where they are given unprecedented support and critical resources essential to create, and then share, their work.

    As a composer, I believe the role of an artist in the 21st century should be that of creator, educator, activist, and entrepreneur. I believe that 21st-century composers/artists need to be thinking about what impact they can have on their existing community, both locally and globally. At NS we believe in remaining flexible and true to the needs of artists. Our core mission is centered on the support of emerging artists, and on commissioning and supporting the seeds of ideas. Each year, we explore one large theme and construct programming and questions around that theme. This year, that theme is Origins. With this season, we are channeling the National Sawdust mission—empowering high-level artistry, regardless of training, genre, or fame—through multicultural artists who tell their stories through their music. Ultimately, Origins is a radical sharing of culture. We hope this cultural storytelling of the highest caliber will help bring our divided country closer together.

    We also believe the future of new art lives in education. To us, education is about giving young people and community members opportunities and tools to explore their potential for artistic and creative expression. But it is also about ensuring that artists themselves never stop learning – about their craft, about the work of their peers, about the business of the arts, about their own capacities to be educators and advocates. NS facilitates this kind of learning by bringing together artists from around the world in exciting composition- based projects, teaching opportunities, cultural exchanges, and hands-on management experience. Through this cultural synthesis artists leave lasting impressions on one another, become more versatile and resilient professionals, and create works that reflect a plural understanding of American society.

    –Paola Prestini, co-founder & Artist Director

    Space waiting

    At NEWMUSICUSA we see ourselves first and foremost as advocates. Our mission is to support and promote new music created in the United States. We do that in many ways, fostering connections, deepening knowledge, encouraging appreciation, and providing financial support. In recognition of the possibility and power inherent in the virtual world, we’ve worked to build a strong internet platform to serve our constituency. And that constituency is broad and diverse, from composers and performers to presenters and producers, casual listeners to die-hard fans. We’re truly committed to serving the WHOLE new music community.

    As we go about our work, we make a point of not defining too precisely what we mean by new music. To define is to limit. It’s a spectacular time for musical creativity in part because so much music is being made that isn’t bound by conventional limitations of style or genre or background. The music that we hear being created in such abundance all around us is definition enough. We simply want it to flourish.

    We’re fortunate to have as our legacy the history of previous decades of good works done by the American Music Center and Meet The Composer, the two great organizations that merged to form us in 2011. Their legacies have also brought a small financial endowment that mostly helps support our grantmaking. But we’re not a foundation. We depend decisively each year on the generosity of so many institutions and individuals around the country who are dedicated as we are to the advancement of new music and are devoted to supporting our work.

    New Music USA is part of an international community of advocates for the arts. We’re members of the Performing Arts Alliance, the International Association of Music Information Centres, and the International Society for Contemporary Music. Those partnerships help us represent the interests of our constituents at every level.

    No matter how far ranging our networks, our focus is always solidly on what brings these many constituents and communities together in the first place: the music. When someone uses our platform to listen to something new, recommend a favorite to a friend, or to seek financial assistance or information to support the creation or performance of new work, the whole community is strengthened. Together we’re helping new music reach new ears every day.
    Our Vision

    We envision in the United States a thriving, interconnected new music community that is available to and impactful for a broad constituency of people.
    Our Mission

    New Music USA supports and promotes new music created in the United States. We use the power of virtual networks and people to foster connection, deepen knowledge, encourage appreciation, and provide financial support for a diverse constituency of practitioners and appreciators, both within the United States and beyond.

    Our Values
    We believe in the fundamental importance of creative artists and their work.
    We espouse a broad, inclusive understanding of the term “new music.”
    We uphold and embrace principles of inclusivity and equitable treatment in all of our activity and across our nation’s broadly diverse population in terms of gender, race, age, location, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status and artistic practice.

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
  • richardmitnick 11:23 AM on June 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Milford Graves Documentary 'Full Mantis', , , Percussion   

    From NEWMUSICBOX: “Exclusive Trailer: Milford Graves Documentary ‘Full Mantis'” You must read this and the full interview with Aakash Mittal 

    New Music USA


    From NEWMUSICBOX

    1
    Milford Graves. Andy Newcombe Farnborough, UK

    June 20, 2018
    Molly Sheridan

    If you read our February 2018 interview with Milford Graves, you may recognize Jake Meginsky’s name. He’s the filmmaker who captured some of the inspired concert footage showing Graves in action, which he generously allowed us to include in our presentation.

    Aakash Mittal

    14

    Performer, Composer, Educator Hailed as “A fiery alto saxophonist and prolific composer” by the Star Tribune (Minneapolis), Aakash Mittal is sculpting a dynamic voice that touches American and Indian traditions. His self-released album, Videsh, was regarded as, “point[ing] toward new possibilities in improvised music.” (Denver Post) As a composer and improviser, Mittal employs colorful dissonances, meditative silences, and angular rhythms expressing environments and spaces ranging from the American west to the dense streets of Kolkata. Mittal has performed nationally at such venues as The Dakota (Minneapolis), The Cultural Center of Chicago, The Blue Room, (Kansas City) and Dazzle Jazz Club (Denver). Internationally, Aakash Mittal has led a quartet at the Congo Square Jazz Festival in Kolkata, India. As a sideman, Mittal as performed in Kolkata with world- renowned percussionist Pandit Tanmoy Bose’s Taal Tantra, andwith the creative music ensemble Kendraka. In 2012 Mittal toured Mexico with Ravish Momin’s Trio Tarana. Other collaborations include PI Recordings artist Amir Elsaffar, avant- garde poet Bhanu Kapil, Yells at Eels with Dennis Gonzalez, and Joining Hands with bharatnatyam dancer Anjal Chande. As a composer, Aakash Mittal has written extensively for jazz quartet composing over fifty new works. Other commissions include, Urban Raga (2011), Transitions (2011), and Questions of Identity (2012) for the Playground Ensemble; Octet on Raga Yaman (2009) for the Ethos West Chamber Orchestra. In 2012 Mittal wrote Meditation for Pictures on Silence saxophone and harp duo. As a leader, Mittal has self-released four recordings, Possible Beginnings, Videsh, Thumbs Up EP, and Ocean to rave reviews. Aakash Mittal’s awards and honors include the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music (2012) and the Herb Albert/ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award (2013).Aakash Mittal is a 2013 American Institute of Indian Studies Creative and Performing Arts Fellow.

    Milford Graves: Sounding the Universe

    MILFORD GRAVES FULL MANTIS is the first ever feature-length portrait of renowned percussionist Milford Graves, exploring his kaleidoscopic creativity and relentless curiosity.

    Graves has performed internationally since 1964, both as a soloist and in ensembles with such legends as Albert Ayler, Giuseppi Logan and Sonny Sharrock. He is a founding pioneer of avant-garde jazz, and he remains one of the most influential living figures in the evolution of the form.

    The film draws the viewer through the artist’s lush garden and ornate home, into the martial arts dojo in his backyard and the laboratory in his basement – all of this just blocks from where he grew up in the housing projects of South Jamaica, Queens.

    Graves tells stories of discovery, struggle and survival, ruminates on the essence of ‘swing,’ activates electronic stethoscopes in his basement lab to process the sound of his heart, and travels to Japan where he performs at a school for children with autism, igniting the student body into an ecstatic display of spontaneous collective energy.

    Oscillating from present to past and weaving intimate glimpses of the artist’s complex cosmology with blistering performances from around the globe, MILFORD GRAVES FULL MANTIS is cinema full of fluidity, polyrhythm and intensity, embodying the essence of Graves’ music itself.

    February 1, 2018
    Aakash Mittal

    It is difficult to place Milford Graves into a category. He is lauded as a master drummer of the 1960s avant-garde jazz scene, credited with inventing the martial arts form yara, and is established as both an herbalist and acupuncturist in New York City. Additionally, Graves is a passionate researcher of human biology and brings that knowledge to all of his work.

    Milford Graves’s music career began with improvisation. As a young kid, he taught himself to play by experimenting with the sounds he could make on a drum set in the foyer of his home in Jamaica, Queens. His professional career began around 1961 with the McKinley-Graves Band, a funky Latin jazz ensemble he co-led in the neighborhood. The following year, he led the Milford Graves Latino Quintet with pianist Chick Corea, bassist Lyle Atkinson, conga artist Bill Fitch, and saxophonist Pete Yellen. His career accelerated to place him in the New York Art Quartet, which led him to create two independently released records with pianist Don Pullen. By his mid-twenties, Graves was recognized by artists such as Philly Jo Jones, Elvin Jones, and Max Roach as a drummer with an innovative approach to the instrument, as well as a unique voice in the music scene. His residency at Slugs in 1967 with Albert Ayler is still discussed among musicians today, as is his performance with Ayler at John Coltrane’s funeral. Graves went on to teach at Bennington College for 39 years and is recognized as professor emeritus by the institution.

    Yet, to understand his music one must also inquire into the full scope of his creative pursuits. Within athletic communities he is known for bringing his ambidextrous drumming into the martial arts through the creation of yara, an improvised martial art that focuses on flexibility and dexterity. Graves taught yara at his studio in Queens from 1971 to 2000. Similarly, numerous people have visited Graves over the years for his acupuncture practice and to study herbalism. During my first lesson with Graves, he used software that he engineered to record my heartbeat and play back a melody that was derived from my EKG.

    When I was first introduced to Milford Graves’s work, I defaulted to the mode of thinking I was accustomed to—that of genre. Even as I was searching for a concept of universal music, I couldn’t help but perceive Graves’s polymathic interests within the stilted categories of martial arts, herbalism, and avant-garde jazz. As I spent more and more time with the artist, I became increasingly unsatisfied with my understanding of his work. Graves employs the scientific method and a vast understanding of biology within his music. He draws connections between analog and digital motions—continuous motions vs. striking different points—in both the martial arts and drumming. He publishes essays, creates works of sculpture, and has recently played drums in a live experiment for non-embryonic stem cells. Yet, this is merely a list of actions taken, and I have long felt that each one is an expression of something much more profound. As I prepared for my recent conversation with Graves, I identified three fundamentals that permeate his work: energy, freedom, and healing.

    3

    Energy

    At its core, Milford Graves’s work sculpts energy. This became evident to me during a previous visit to his house when he was doing some healing work on one of his martial arts students. Graves had recorded the electrical signal from an injured muscle and was feeding the signal back to the damaged tissue with the aid of an acupuncture needle and some wire. The goal was to aid the healing process by using electrical stimulation and specific harmonic frequencies to regenerate the damaged tissue. While this was taking place, we were simultaneously listening to a sonificiation of the damaged tissue’s signal using software Graves had coded. He explained to me that the sound of the speaker, the image of the waveform, and the electricity in the needle were all different expressions of the same signal. This was a revelatory moment for me with regard to understanding Graves’s work. Each of the disciplines he utilizes functions as an expression of energy. That energy can manifest kinetically through the martial arts or sonically on the drum set. The kinetic motion of yara can be applied with sticks in hand to a cymbal, creating a sonification of the martial arts form itself. Similarly the vibration of the drums can be translated into soundless motion. Graves utilizes this approach among his various interests. In his essay Music Extensions of Infinite Dimensions, which was published in John Zorn’s anthology Arcana V, Graves concludes with a statement about the importance of consuming watercress and parsley in order to “transmit high quality solar energy into the biological system.” In his work, Graves applies the relationship of eating food to creating electricity within the body, a process that also pumps the heart and sounds the drum. Whether he is tending his garden, practicing acupuncture, or playing improvised music, Milford Graves approaches each activity as a harmonic of the same fundamental.

    Freedom

    Milford Graves’s drumming is often associated with the “free-jazz” movement of the 1960s. On the surface, this is often described as a freedom from the previous era’s harmonic structure and traditional forms. When I further explored that musical community, it became evident that the word freedom was used in a much larger context. Among the freedoms that emerge are freedom of thought, freedom of the spirit, and freedom of sound. Albums such as John Coltrane’s Intersteller Space and Albert Ayler’s Spiritual Unity traversed the boundaries of music and entered the realm of trance experience and conceptual journey. Within this context, Milford Graves offered a unique perspective on freedom. Through his understanding of the fundamentals of energy, Graves’s music incorporates a freedom of motion that stretches beyond traditional audience/performer dynamics. In the New York jazz scene today, a story circulates about the time Milford Graves picked up John Zorn mid-solo and carried him around the stage while Zorn continued improvising. Through the improvised use of his voice and storytelling, Graves’s performances come across as a joyous ritual that loosens up the listener and offers the first step down the path of freedom. The experience of Graves’s multidisciplinary work suggests a freedom from the limiting nature of our mind, which is compelled to categorize and shape the world around us. As Graves re-harmonizes those shapes and brings us back to the fundamental, I believe we are given a glimpse of what true freedom means.

    Healing

    Artists frequently talk about the healing power of music, but it rarely goes beyond simple conversation. Milford Graves has taken it upon himself to do the research behind it. As I learn more about Graves’s work, I find that his use of energy and freedom is often purposed for healing. His understanding of a listener’s automatic sub-vocalization and the effect the vibrating tympanic membrane (part of the ear drum) can have on other organs informs his improvisations. This results in musical performances that could be perceived as a sonic massage as well as a concert. In this way, Graves is successfully bridging scientific, artistic, and spiritual methodologies in order to free people from societal constraints and remind them of the energy that already exists within. This leads us to what I find to be one of the most challenging aspects of understanding his work. Rather than contributing a body of compositions to an archive or entertaining audiences with his virtuosity, Graves is primarily interested in collaborating with biology itself. This results in a music that mutates, adapts, and transforms in the same manner that our heartbeat fluctuates in reaction to our bloodstream or our various organs create a polyrhythm of life processes. Janina Wellmann writes in her book The Form of Becoming that “[t]he tension of organic life finds temporary resolutions in rhythm, but always, in its onward aspiration, points forward into the future.” Graves’s work draws from the rhythms of movement, energy, and sound to support transformation and propel the journey forward.

    4

    Creative Spaces

    I walk up toward Milford Graves’s house on a chilly and grey day in January. Among a row of ordinary houses and barren twisted trees sits a single house decorated with a mosaic of colored stones and glass that ascends the walls and accentuates the windows. In a recent public interview with Graves, the writer John Corbett referred to this house as a secular “temple.” The house is a work of art in and of itself. From a distance the designs appear to be geometric, but on a closer inspection each mosaic is filled with frenetic momentum and the unique shape of each piece hints of arrhythmia. The golden ratio—expressed as a nautilus shell—is painted next to the front door. It is a meeting place for creative people from various disciplines and walks of life brought together by Milford Graves. I know from my previous visits that I need to approach our conversation as an improviser rather than as an interviewer. Before entering the house, I meditate on the one question I want to approach within our talk: how does Milford Graves utilize music, the martial arts, and biology to sculpt energy, gain freedom, and create healing in the world? Then I open the door and walk inside.

    Aakash Mittal: I was watching a trailer for the new documentary about your work, I believe it’s called Milford Graves Full Mantis, and there are some clips in there of you doing yara. I think one might even have been in the yard over here.

    Milford Graves: Yeah, one was in the yard, and the other one was in the back before it was changed.

    AM: You had this motion going on. I can’t even describe it. It was fluid, but in your control.

    MG: Oh, no. That was in Japan when some Japanese musicians were doing a form of martial arts they call shintaido. They wanted to see what yara was, so we went out in this little area there. I said, “This would be a great area, with the bamboo background.” And I did my motion, because it was on a little slope there. That’s when I went down and disappeared. The ground wasn’t even, so your balance had to be right because it was uneven.

    AM: That’s really cool. What it reminded me of was the last time we talked, you were talking about the yawning reflex and the relaxed state, and creating from a place you call the parasympathetic nervous system—how you have to have that relaxed yawn feeling and the sound that comes with it, and you’re thinking about that in your sound. When I saw that video clip, it felt like you were moving in that same way.

    MG: Well, it had something to do with the physiological process. However, that was 1977 and I was just happy to be in Japan and to be around the element I was around—and the people. It was such a great feeling when people from the Far East would come and then martial artists—Chinese, Japanese, and Korean martial artists. Here I am in the Far East putting on a little demonstration. I have to be very relaxed. People had a much more linear and stiff style of motion. Shintaido was much more relaxed, but people were doing aikido, so I said, “You gotta be relaxed.” I just didn’t have the stress factor. I felt like being in New York. You look at other martial artists watching you, and you see their facial expressions: “What is that stuff? That’s not tradition.” I looked out there, and I saw some serious-looking people watching me and some smiles, and that was it. That was my physiological system: just to relax.

    AM: So were they into it? What was their reaction? You said that they were smiling? Did you get any feedback?

    MG: Well, I was invited as a special guest for them, to demonstrate improvisation and to play with Japanese musicians. So students were watching the kind of movement I was doing because of the rhythm. They had to connect that with the music, because of the way I would play. So I think their interest was: “If he’s not playing his drums, what kind of motion will he be doing in martial arts?” And they were able to ride with it. They took the ride with me. And I think that’s why they were smiling. It was like, this is how you do it—not so much martial arts but ARTS. There was an art to it. You take the military aspect out, the fighting aspect out, and just see an artist doing it without trying to be correct from an intellectual or science perspective.

    AM: You’re able to distill out just the creative art form: the movement.

    MG: Right. The fundamental. If you want to deal with the harmonics on the fundamental, then you can take that and become a ballroom dancer, a concert stage dancer, or you can become someone who wants to deal with the fighting aspect of it. But that’s just the harmonics. I was dealing with the fundamental. Now how do you want to shape the fundamental or the harmonics you were dealing with from the fundamental? The fundamental is to get your body just to relax so you can focus. Then I said okay, I can take from this fundamental, I can use it in really different ways.

    AM: So the harmonics are the form that the fundamental shapes itself into.

    MG: Right.

    AM: That seems like another connection between the way you’re thinking about martial arts in a universal manner, as well as music and all the other activities that you’re a part of.

    MG: Yes.

    AM: You’re not even thinking about them idiomatically. You’re dealing with it in terms of what is the fundamental, what are the harmonic shapes, whatever the practice is.

    MG: Right. That’s it. You have a harmonic, but you may not be able to do all the other shapes, because you don’t understand the fundamental.

    AM: Sorry, that’s just mind blowing already. How do you understand what the fundamental is of what you were doing physically there? Maybe it’s not even about the physical; maybe it’s about something else.

    MG: First of all, you’re not feeling any resistance. Resistance is the thing that makes you feel like you’re struggling to do what you do. That’s the most basic thing. It’s like at the point when you’re tired. You’re just real tired, and you’re in a standing position. We’ve all experienced this. You may sit down in a chair and say, “Ahh.” But then you move—“ahh, eeh, ahh”—and say, “You know what, I have to get into bed.” And when you get into that bed, “AAH.” This is it. Just before the point where you’re asleep, if something falls off the table, or somebody knocks on your door hard, or you hear somebody screaming outside, you can jump up real fast and be alert. But if you were sound asleep, someone would say to you, “Didn’t you hear that person outside? They were in danger. They were screaming.” You don’t want to get to that point in your relaxation. So when I’ve got that feeling I’m in my bed but I can still respond, that’s when I know it’s happening. I get to that point where I’m standing up like that, I’m in a vertical position, and I want to get to almost horizontal. I almost get there, but I’m just dangling. I feel so good. But raargh!—[I can] just shoot on out, right from there.

    AM: And do you get into that same relaxed state when you’re playing drums?

    MG: Yes. That’s when you can achieve the full energy that I deal with.

    AM: You were saying that when you were in Japan doing that particular demonstration, they were wanting to see how an artist would translate it. They knew you as a musician, and they wanted to see how it translated into what you did physically in martial arts.

    MG: Yeah, because they knew I did that.

    AM: So how has the martial arts practice influenced your drum playing?

    MG: A few years ago I had a very abstract answer. I said, “Well just do it, and you will find out.” It was very abstract. You know, that’s the way you clean up when you can’t really precisely say. Well, the kind of martial arts that I wanted to develop was based on my experience as a teenager and in my early stages of growing up in the area here, South Jamaica, and then moving into the housing projects when I was eight or nine-years old. Before I did that, we had little kid wrestling, because I grew up around a family that was called a very tough family—large people, close to 20 people in the family. And they had a military life. At least one was a sergeant in the Army, so he came home and the house was like a military barracks, so it was rough and tough. Then when I got to the housing project, we had these body punching arts. We played basketball, but then when the basketball game was over, everybody said, “Sham battle!” Everybody started getting up there punching each other in the arms and chest. The face was off limits, but when somebody was getting frustrated because they couldn’t punch you in the chest, they would sneak and punch you right in the jaw and almost a real fight would take place. But you participated in these things because if you didn’t, you should have stayed off the playground. Maybe four guys would grab you and stretch you out and punch you all in the arms and muscles and stuff like that. So basketball was tough and rough. It wasn’t like the rules you played by when you played in high school or college ball when you’ve got a referee. You know, you got hacked. If you drove through, if you did a drive to the basket, all this fancy stuff, all these turns and angle movements they’d be doing, it was rough to do that because they’d knock you down and really try to hurt you. And they’d say, “Don’t come here driving like that again. We’re not going to let you look good.”

    I remember a whole lot of experiences. One of the things that I got out of that was I’m not afraid to get up there and sham battle. There were guys around us who physically were intimidating. They had the muscles and always kept certain kinds of facial expressions. And they had that kind of voice, like the bully guys. When you’re sitting in the basketball court at the housing project, you may have 15 or 20 guys out there. And they would come over and say, “Come on, let’s sham box.” And you were hesitant, but then you say to yourself, “Well, it’s not a real fight. So this guy’s not going to hurt me.” And I found that some guys that I thought were real tough guys, they weren’t tough guys. They just psychologically gave you that impression. So it gave me confidence. When you don’t participate and you just look at images, it could be intimidating. You have to participate in the event to see what it’s about.

    So when I did the martial arts, I said, “This is going to be just beyond a fighting situation. I’m going to set this up. I want to set up a system where people truly become their so-called warrior within.” You get to the point where you really intimidate people. I used to get people to come in and some of my students said they trusted me. They said, “I don’t think you would hurt me.” And even with that said, I would scare people. I would take them down. I’d do a takedown, a wrestling technique: I’d get on top of them and put my chest across their face. They said, “Professor, I can’t breathe; you’re smothering me.” But they were more intimidated by the fact of the potential than that they thought they wouldn’t be able to breathe.

    I watched the mixed martial arts UFC. I just like to see how people react to any kind of danger. And you see these tough guys come up, and they get in bad positions sometimes. They get in these chokehold positions, and somebody said, “Wow, they tapped out real fast because they potentially panicked.”

    This is beyond fighting, in a sense. How do you react when that crisis comes? How do you react when pain comes to your body from an illness? Do you run out to the doctor right away? Or do you go internally and try to control that pain? I see people go out to meditate. They think if you do these chants, you can meditate the pain away. Yeah, that’s easily said, but put a person in a pain position, and then tell them to try to chant and meditate, and see if it works. So, it’s non-functional. I try to make it more functional. Put a person in that position, and I can tell by the pressure, they can breathe. But they’re seeing potentially, “Wow, I may not be able to breathe.” Then I’ll let them relax a little and then I’ll let them come back. The second time they’re not so quick to say that; they try to see how to get out of this.

    So I’ve used that as a situation, for you to be attacked by a foreign agent in a sense. And a foreign agent could be from pathology. It could be bacteria. It could be a virus. So when you get this thing, you don’t panic. You say, “Okay, well, I think I can handle this. I can deal with this.” Then you can release what you have inside.

    But to do these different kind of so-called art forms, to be able to increase your thought process or neuroplasticity, you have to put yourself in the position whereas you’re not intellectualizing on it. So that’s what I did with the arts—martial arts. It wasn’t just to go out there to say, “Well, I can fight. I can hurt somebody. I can protect myself.” It was beyond that. I wanted you to have a confrontation with something that was real. Instead of you being a one-cell organism or a piece of DNA—we’re talking bacteria, funguses, viruses—think of yourself as a multi-cellular piece of bacteria or virus. When you see that person in front of you, or that competition you’re going to have in a sparring session, you have to look at each other. If you touch the body, it’s like therapeutic massage or active massage. So when you get on the floor, you don’t say, “Oh, that’s my enemy.”

    When you see somebody, sometimes it’s somebody you may know, sometimes, somebody you may not know. A lot of times you say, “Are you feeling okay?” And the person says, “Well, I’m not feeling too good today.” I say, “Yes, I noticed that. You just don’t look like you. Is there something bothering you? Are you sick? Are you going through any emotional stress?” What do you do when somebody’s like that? You give them some advice. Maybe you need a great medicinal soup. Take some herbs, you know. Or you need some rest. Or if they’re stressed out from some kind of other factors, [you tell them] don’t let that bug you. That happened to me before. This is how I mostly calm myself down. So the martial arts come, and we’re supposed to look at each other and we’re supposed to say, “You know what, I think you need a massage treatment.” When we test the body, or we grab the body, and hit certain points and grab certain points, you’re not doing a destructive touch. I’m trying to massage them back in again. And when it’s over, both people will look at each other and say, “Thank God. I feel great. I feel good.”

    If you’re out there in the street, you don’t have to destroy anybody. You’re a healing martial artist, a constructive martial artist, not a destructive martial artist. The softer forms like tai chi, some people don’t think it’s a fighting form. By the way, you just don’t do tai chi. You may put some aikido in there. You have to mix it, the different martial arts styles. You can’t get just locked into one style, because all of them have some value. If in a confrontation, if somebody is in the street and grabs you, the philosophy I have is that I may stop that person, grab him up, touch certain points and then melt him right down, sedate him. If you use acupuncture when you’re doing acupuncture massage for a tonification or sedation, you’ve got to know when to tonify somebody, you’ve got to know when to sedate somebody. In this case, it’s not so much tonifying somebody, because if somebody’s aggressive, they don’t need to be tonified. They need to be sedated. So there are ways just to sedate, but if you don’t understand the healing aspect or the constructive aspect, then you’re not going to know how to sedate somebody in a real confrontation. You just don’t want to be somebody who learns a martial art to go out and be a bully and hurt somebody. I think that’s wrong.

    6

    AM: You’ve talked about before how with music, it’s just changing the pressure in the air, and that affects the tympanic membrane. I’m curious if the way you’re thinking about massaging physically also happens sonically, or if you’re thinking about that at all in terms of the way the sound might massage either the mind or, through the energy, maybe even the body.

    GM: Okay, we need to backtrack to answer that question with the martial arts and the playing. Two things were said to me by the Japanese. One was a photographer. He was a great photographer, I thought; everybody thought he was great. He used to follow me around Japan. This was about 1981, but he [first] saw me four years earlier in ’77. I came back to do this solo and he came over to me and said, “Wow. Before you were very good, but now, you’re much better.” I said, “I would hope so. I hope I’m developing after four years.” And then he made this statement, “You’re so fluid—relaxed and so fluid.”

    The second guy who said it to me was one of the [most] respected Japanese internal martial artists who was an official representative for internal martial arts, Chinese martial arts. He came to the performance, that same one in 1981. He came back stage, and he said, “You do every punch there is to do in Chinese martial arts.” He looked at my flow and he thought it was from martial arts. And I said, “Okay, so what I used to do was instead of doing—again—a nonfunctional tai chi, just getting up in the air and doing certain kinds of movements, I would get down to my drum set and I’d go—ting-raww—frapt!—I would keep that whole flow and go around. If I was doing a sword technique, I would practice my sword stuff and with the strokes like—thwap!—like this here. There I would exchange a stick, so if I’m hitting down here—pop!—and hitting the cymbal—shhhap!—the strokes like this here. I was directing the energy in a very precise, meaningful way, so they helped each other out. I would hit the sound and just get it, make it go like—rat-a-tat-a-rot-a-toko!

    So that’s how I was interchanging them. I was using the form, because with both things, I’m using body motion. The photographer enjoyed me from imagining just the flow, and said, “Oh wow, the way he’s flowing.” [The other guy] saw that and he thought of martial arts. One of the guys I met from the aikido family over there wanted me to play talking drum and do some drumming stuff for his aikido class. They wanted to be able to do the movements of the drummers. They realized it was a rhythm thing that was missing, you know. I was doing it in a very empty way; that was just timing. It was putting me on a timer, so that’s how I locked all that in.

    7

    AM: Ah, so he saw the martial arts in your drumming. When you’re playing drums, do you think of it as the word I learned when I was doing karate—the kata, which is like the pre-composed form that you have to work through? You’re improvising, so maybe you don’t think about it that way.

    GM: Well, you don’t fight with kata, you don’t use a kata. That’s not a fighting form. As an artist, a performing artist, a stage artist, some people think the performance starts when you come out on stage. So if you’re a dancer, it’s the first steps you do. If you’re an instrumentalist, it’s the first sound that comes out of your instrument. But the performance starts, it could be a day before, two days before, three days before. When you come on that stage, it starts before you even make one motion. When you’re coming out there, you have to be generating as soon as you walk out on that stage. The worst thing I see is people come out and start distributing their music charts to people on stage. The audience is watching that! Even if you fix your horn, if you’re touching your horn, you have to do it in a way that has theater and drama to it.

    The way I interpret kata is I would go from a so-called hard style to a soft style. I would come and I would do hard karate. I’d come out—Eeuuooahh!—to show I had that look. And I see people like, “Whoah!” They flinch out, because it looks like I’m going to rip you out; I’m going to go through you. I say [sings phrase]. Bah. And so kata is like an eagle posture. A kata is to get your attention. It’s not fighting or a block. You’re only doing that to set somebody up. They see that door or they see this fist; that’s what kata is. Look at me! It’s almost like hypnotizing them. And you do just the opposite. It’s not hard or hard, it’s hard-soft, soft-hard. You may look just like you’re very soft then—bam!—you come out like this here. You see? So tai chi you may be like this here, but inside you’re ready to explode. If you see a nuclear bomb or you stand next to a nuclear bomb, it looks like it can’t do anything. But if you set the trigger mechanism off, my gracious, look at the damage. I say, do you know internally what’s in that nuclear bomb and the damage you can do? That’s tai chi. The real internal arts. You’re ready to explode. And sometimes you look like you’re going to explode. That’s the whole process that goes on inside. Everything is moving very quick.

    AM: So the performance begins with the energy inside of you.

    GM: Right.

    AM: Days before the performance.

    GM: Right. Right. Get ready.

    8

    AM: How do you cultivate that energy? I know that’s something you think about, because you’ve written about it in an essay in terms of food. What you’re consuming matters. You’re also talking about a lot of heavier stuff there, in terms of energy and relationships.

    GM: I find myself talking to more people about this now. I tell people, “Why are you doing what you do?” when people come and they want to do this. They want to elevate to this level, that level, and then all they have to do is say one thing to me, “I’ve got to see how I can make some money off of this.” Then I say, “You’re not going to do it then. You don’t really have a divine, deep commitment.”

    Some things you do may not make a lot of money because you’ve got to be dedicated towards doing it. You’ve got to know why you’re doing it. You’ve got to know the importance of what you’re doing. As far as music and being a musician, I tell people, “Why do you play music? What’s your purpose? If you’re going to play music and just use it as a mechanism to be able to pay your rent and all of that, I have no problem with that. Only time I have a problem is when you tell me you want to reach this so-called cosmic or celestial higher level. You know what I mean? You want to get people to be able to visualize and transform in this kind of state and that kind of state?” I say, “You’re not going to do it like that, because you’re going to fail to realize your importance.”

    You go to a restaurant. I don’t think people realize when they walk through that door in a restaurant: you’re not cooking your own food. Someone else is cooking that food. You’re trusting that person in that kitchen to be correct. You don’t know exactly what they’re doing. If you’re a chef, cook, whatever, you’ve got to say, “Wait a minute, these people are coming here and I’m making food for them to be able to put inside of their bodies to allow them to maintain their life processes that require certain nutrients. I’ve got to be responsible here. These people are trusting me.”

    As a musician, what do you think you’re doing? Are you trying to win a critics’ poll or get a Grammy? I think people are trusting us, trusting the musicians to do the same thing the cook’s doing. They want their vibratory system to be fed. They’re coming in there, you know what I mean? You got your food, that’s why you see the combinations of restaurants having a band in there sometimes. And it’s got to be a band that doesn’t cause you to regurgitate your food, or get a spasm in your esophagus because it’s too crazy. So they want more soft, cooled-out music. They have nice relaxing music with people eating. That combination’s always been there—that mouth and that ear have always worked as a combinational thing there. So you’ve got to get that ear vibrating. We’re vibrators. You know? You’re not a saxophone player; you’re not a drummer. We are there to make that ear drum vibrate, to convert [the sound] into electrical energy. The brain gets it. Ah, okay, now we’re cool. We can do our job, man. And we can energize the whole body.

    Once you realize that, then you’re going to say, “I have an obligation. I have a responsibility. People are trusting me.” You do a concert, you see people coming into the hall sitting around, they’re coming in to say, “Turn me on. Feed me. I’m here.” If you come over there to trip on yourself, you’re this person without knowing that you have a responsibility to keep the folks vibrating. If they vibrate, then maybe the whole planet will all vibrate. Any culture that wipes out the arts is in trouble, and I think we’re seeing that right here with young kids in school and how they’re taking the arts out. We’re wiping the whole vibratory system out.

    9

    AM: I appreciate how you talk about arts education in medical terms, how it is essential. One of the problems in our culture is we are taught to view the arts as a form of entertainment. Some people are taught to appreciate it on a deeper level, but you’re talking about it not just as spiritual, but as a physical and medical need.

    MG: Well, what we were talking about is the entertainment part. We’re working on the superficial part of the body. We’re basically working on a lot of the motor system. So we get all the motor and muscles and everything moving, but we forget about the cellular level. The cellular level also has to be fed, but then you’re taking away from the entertainment aspect. We just do one side; we don’t do the full situation. If you’re talking about so-called creative arts, abstract arts, you’re not talking on a cellular level. You know, it’s not going to be as defined; whereas, you see, in the entertainment perspective, if you try to take the art and put it on graphs, and try to put mathematics to it, you’re not going to get the true benefit. I’ve been dealing with people, how do you put numbers to it?

    You’ve got to the get to the point where you trust each other. As a musician, you’ve got to trust each other to get on the stage and get this tremendous feeling happening. When it’s over, someone will say, “Well, what note did you play?” I don’t know what note I played. I just play and don’t worry about it.

    Some people just don’t trust that they can do it. It’s extremely difficult to improvise, to be spontaneous and improvise, make changes in a very small amount of time and space and then come back and make another change in a small space of time and don’t repeat what you do. After 15 or 20 minutes, you have made it through all of these different changes and so on, but what’s amazing is how when you walk out your door in the morning, you may spend an hour or two traveling. Think about this. You’re going to make all kinds of adjustments. You’re capable of doing it. But you’re told you can’t do it. It’s like a little child. The parent takes care of the child. You don’t know how to cross the street yet. Then after a certain time, you’re supposed to mature in a way that you’re able to see if you’re walking 20 blocks, that you’re ready to make any changes that can take place. But when it comes to certain things, like something specific in music, you’re taught that you have study this and you have to study that; you can’t do this.

    I remember up in Bennington, when I talked to some of the classical musicians who were teachers there, they would say, “I wish I could improvise.” And I’m saying, “Wow, they can’t improvise?” I’m trying to figure this out. It really hit me. It made me realize: they’ve been taught piano lessons or violin lessons since they were like three, four, five-years old and they were always taught that you have to follow these kind of rules. You have to do it this way and that way. That’s horrible.

    AM: To back up a little bit, it sounds like one of the things you said earlier—that part of your music is about resonating on the cellular level. It sounds like your entire vision and goal of what you’re creating artistically through music and through martial arts isn’t even necessarily in the same category or place as goals that musicians typically have. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but I was just curious about what you’re saying in terms of your goal of vibrating people on the cellular level, or on a level even more microscopic.

    MG: Well, I’ll tell you what. When I was coming down the stairs, I was thinking about the two of you down here, and I said, “Something’s happening right now.” People have been contacting me now, and all of a sudden, it’s like an onslaught. One promoter told me I’m going to do this festival. We got into a conversation and I said, “It was nice of you to think about me. People had almost erased me out of history. They’re making these historical statements and I’m not even mentioned.” So the person said, “Well, people are ready for you now.”

    I was told back in the last century, in the late ‘60s, that my concept of music was in the next century. And of course, I didn’t want to hear that. And then 2000 came, and I was trying to find that person to say I think you were right! Things are starting to develop. Sometimes it’s not for you to say what you want to do or who you are. Maybe we all have instructions. Some higher power that we may not realize. I just feel like I’m carrying out orders from another kind of power. No one ever told me to do this or do that. It just felt that what I’m doing now is developing it to another level, and the reason I’m developing it to another level is because of people. I’m not sitting outside wanting to be an oddball. People talk to me about coming in. They say I want to study with you because of this or because of that. I’m just naturally doing this. I want to work on it now because I know I can do that. People think you’re doing something great, but the feedback is not great. I was looking at it passing the wrong way. I can’t fault the people. I guess they’re just not ready for it yet. That’s what people were telling me. They’re not ready. So I said, “Have some patience.” All you have to do is talk to people my age that I grew up with and they’ll always say, “Milford was always eccentric. This guy was always unorthodox.” I never thought about it. I guess I was. I would always challenge the situation. If something came up, I said, “Let’s think of another way to do this here.” So I think I found my mission. What some people have told me, either directly or indirectly, is they may not understand what I’m doing, but they say, “I respect you because you didn’t deviate. You’re still doing what you do. Other people just went for the money.”

    A long time ago I used to listen to some of the older musicians saying, “Wow, I wish I would have not been playing commercial. I wish I would have done this, and I wish would have done that.” In the late ‘60s, Papa Jo Jones told me something, and it really hit me hard. First of all, we were at this political meeting and I didn’t expect to see Papa Jo Jones there. Then he started talking to me. He said, “We want to do some of that avant-garde playing, too.” Gee whiz, Papa Jo Jones knows me! I didn’t think Papa Jo knew me. Then he started talking about Count Basie and all of these things and he said, “They want to make money.” Then I said, “Okay, Papa, I’ve got to leave.” And Papa just said, “Where are you going?” I said, “I’m going over here to Seventh Avenue. I got to get the train to Brooklyn.” And he said, “I’m going that way, young man.”

    And I went that way. He wouldn’t even allow me to buy a token. He bought a token. I’m impressed with this. He’s Papa Jo the legend and he’s treating me like royalty. When those old bebop guys were talking about the so-called free jazz players, they didn’t really dislike us. They were just saying, “Wow, that’s what we wanted to do. But these young guys coming up now can do it and get away with it. We couldn’t back in the ‘40s.” I always wonder what these guys would sound like if they would have kept developing their skill level. You never know what that person could have been.

    So I said to myself, “I’m going to keep developing myself because I want to see what I would develop into.” Right now there are certain things I can do on the instrument that I couldn’t do then. I used to think about it. “Wow, that’d be great if you could play with this hand doing this and this doing that and all this here stuff.” Now it’s coming so easy, because I stayed with it. My conviction was: what would the arts be like if artists were allowed to develop ourselves? What would the planet be like now? How would the people be vibrating? The educational system in this country is the worst. We don’t have the innovation. Creativity’s needed again. We’ve got to rise to another occasion. When you wipe out the arts, which is stimulating the vibratory system, it’s going to cause a real slowdown. That’s what I see now, the feedback I’m getting, like when people come over to me and say certain things when I do performances. I stayed in there to try to see them the way a human would vibrate inside. It’s not just Milford Graves—that brings in the ego thing. Other people say, “Well, that’s his thing. That’s not my thing.” I always say, “This is our thing!” I’m trying to bypass it and I’m trying to follow certain rules, and that’s when the physiological process comes in. There’s a publication now, I won’t knock the publication, but it’s The Jazz of Physics. For me, it should be jazz, but if you want to use any kind of science name, it should be physiology not the jazz of physics—that’s a machine, that’s outside of the body. You know what I mean? You don’t reduce the human body to a mechanical device.

    AM: At the last interview we did, we talked somewhat more idiomatically about all the different things that you are interested in and how they connect. And I’ve been thinking about it ever since then. What struck me was that the one thread through all of your interests is energy—and not just managing energy, but sculpting energy or creating with energy. I was wondering if you’d speak about that a little bit because it seems like when you’re dealing with acupuncture, you talk about energy. When you’re dealing with martial arts, you talk about kinetic energy. When you’re talking about music, you’re talking about sonic, vibratory energy. Maybe these are also, like you called it, harmonics of another fundamental that’s even lower than all of those disciplines.

    MG: Well, if you’re just going to translate energy to “the ability to do work,” that’s one thing. Like on a construction site, you have workers there and you’re telling the workers, “Come on, you’ve got to get this pipe lined up.” “But I feel out of it. I just don’t have energy. I cannot pick up this other section of this pipe to connect it.” I always say that whenever you see humans doing something on the outside, it’s probably just a reflection of what’s going on inside. So how do you connect these different pathways in the body with a certain kind of energy? Now certain pathways call for a major work ethic. It has to be a work ethic. To be able to create that ability to deal with energy, there’s got to be a whole lot of different mechanisms involved in there. So you’ve got to have a lot of vibratory things going on. Vibratory motion. You’ve got to activate the inactive areas, different parts of the body.

    I just had a conversation about body healing and morphologic fields. It may be impossible to deal with the so-called morphologic fields, in a sense that you can create a new liver or can create a new heart. Some people say, “That’s impossible.” I don’t think it’s impossible. Instead you should just say, “Well, I don’t know how to do it,” because you don’t know how to do it. Why would you say it’s impossible to do if you can create this energy? I mean, they demonstrated it in the physical world. Einstein had something going on! But you have to interpret. The energy is one thing, but how are you going to interpret the mass? How you are going to interpret what light is? You don’t even know what light is, if you can’t see. So it’s a visionary thing. Right? As soon as you turn off these lights, it’s dark. You may know from being in that environment where everything is. You can walk around and grab a seat here, but if that’s your first time, when those lights go out, you don’t know where the heck anything is. So light really is about your ability to visualize. So you have to turn the whole mechanism that’s dealing with light; you have to look inside.

    The whole morphological aspect of what’s going on is so you get a way of seeing nature’s design, the patterns that nature has. What you’ve got to say is there’s a possibility that we can connect this with this and connect that with that. This is something I’ve been talking about for the longest time. It’s very interesting that a person can have a certain kind of mythology. A female is capable of nurturing a baby, once that sperm and that egg come together; it’s amazing. People just take stuff for granted. That little small ovum can mix with a waggling little tadpole-looking type of thing and make a human being. Unbelievable. But it’s coming from inside of us. Everybody thinks it’s the reproductive organs, but there are other factors in the brain that are controlling that. You’ve got the pituitary gland and all these other organisms that are connected. They still don’t know a lot about the brain, the whole circuitry. On a global perspective, if you can stop killing each other, fighting each other and can come together and work together as human folks and work on the planet, then the planet will help out the whole solar system, help out all other galaxies, all the universes. Once you all know how to do that, the ruler will give you the key to how to deal with morphogenic fields and how to reproduce another kidney. You don’t need a kidney transplant or a liver transplant. We will be able to reproduce another one, but it takes a tremendous amount of work to energize that person. It’s almost like a person that’s just worn out and has nothing they can lift. All of a sudden—Boom!—they’ve become really alert again. There are many ways to do it, when you’re going to stimulate. You can use acupuncture. You can use plant foods. You can use visual things. But the key is you get the body active and moving. It has to be a holistic, total involvement of the body. You’re not going to have one little thing working and not the other thing working; it’s a collaborative aspect that has to take place in the body. Everybody has got to be working towards this. What I mean by energy is to get all of these different areas of the body activated. And then once the complementary thing’s going on, that’s the only way a morphogenic field can happen. Your heart, when it acts from a pumping perspective, to pump blood out, is sending nutrients throughout the whole body. So everything’s got to be coordinated for your body to work as a whole. One little organ can be disrupted, and then you have a problem.

    10

    AM: Another thing I wanted to ask you about is that I’ve never heard you identify as a composer specifically. But from my perspective, I feel you could be equally thought of as a composer, but you’re using biological processes as your form. And not even as a form where you take the superficial sound and notate it, but you’re actually trying to compose biologically. You’re composing with energy. You’ve created so much that involves improvisation, structure, form, and things that evolve along continuums. To my mind you combine the martial arts, acupuncture, herbology, and sound into—I don’t know what you would call it—a composition of the universe itself.

    MG: Well, if we’re talking about the paper composer, I think that’s a class structure. Sometimes you do things and then people can be enlightened about what you’re doing, or it can hurt. Sometimes you’ve got to say, “What is it really about that I’m doing?”

    I remember an experience I had with Jimmy Giuffre around 1965. There was a book out called Where’s the Time? by a journalist, Martin Williams; he may be still around. He wrote this book about the different rehearsal bands that Jimmy Giuffre put together. Joe Chambers was doing some of the rehearsals, and I did about three rehearsals with him. I wanted to take the challenge, because Jimmy Giuffre had this reputation. So I went up to his house, and he had these charts. I knew he was doing some Ornette Coleman stuff, but when I looked at the chart, I said, “Jimmy, this is a little different.” He was trying to write the melody down for the drums. This was not a standard way you would notate for the drummer—try and hit the side of the shell, the edge of the rim. He was trying to get all these different pitches out. And just for the basic melody of the head, we followed the instructions. But I told Jimmy, “Look, I will play the rhythm. I’ll do my best with the sounds.” I should have been able to read that the way I wanted to, because I’m the new kid on the block and I’m going to be controversial. After that, he’d probably go around and say Milford Graves doesn’t know how to read music and want to fire me. That wouldn’t have bothered me. But then I thought I did bad. So I took the chart home. I told my wife, “I’m going to my room and look at this guy’s music.” I spent less than a half an hour [there]. I remember leaving the room. My wife says, “You’re finished?” “I’m finished. I see where he’s coming from now.” I sketched out what he wanted, so when I came back the next day I played it. Don Friedman was on piano and Barre Phillips was on bass. It was a quartet. After it was over, Don Friedman said, “Wow, how’d you get that so fast?” I thought I was doing bad. He said it took us a little while to get all this stuff together. And I felt real good after that. It wasn’t so bad after all. But then what happened was, they had an improvisational section. Jimmy Giuffre walked in. I wanted to go up there and see the challenge, man. When he came to improvising those sections, I improvised off of the head. So Jimmy said, “Wow.” He listened to the recording we did there and he said, “Could you rewrite the head for me, rewrite the drum parts? Because the way you improvise, that’s how I want the drums to be played.” So he didn’t want to write it like that, but he didn’t want no regular dang-dang-ga-dang. So when I was playing, I heard something and I said, “This is what I would be hearing.” But then after that there, I saw him at a concert and he said, “So when are you coming back?” I said, “You know, I don’t know.” He said, “Well, I want to see if you can read my charts now. I got some other stuff.” It was like a competitive thing. So I just said that’s it. No more gigs. I don’t need to go there no more. But I was listening to what he wanted to hear from the drum perspective. All the tonal changes, I can do that with all that stuff. You don’t have to be hitting it all over. You can stay on the membrane and play the melody out like I do now. You can play that stuff right from there.

    So that was just one experience I had. I had a few more of the same. “Wow, that’s a composer? So what are these guys about?” It’s almost like an ego trip. I know some composer may say, “What is this Graves talking about? This guy don’t know what the heck he’s talking about. Who does he think he is?” I would say just think about what you’re doing. You sit down, you may spend days or months, and you are telling your story, and then you finish your story, in a musical way, and then you want to give me a piece of your music that’s talking about what you feel, what you want to express, and you’re saying, play me. I’m bothered with that, like what [someone else] feels doesn’t [matter]. Or when somebody gives you a composition, you add something in. I had that experience, too. They say, “Well, that’s not written. That shouldn’t be in there.” What do you mean? Your music caused me to feel that, and I thought it was cool to put that in. So if we’re driving in an automobile, and we have to get some place in an emergency—let’s suppose we’re transporting somebody to the hospital or something—and you make a left turn. I say, “No, to get to the hospital, you have to make a right turn.” “Well no, that’s the way we do it. It’s a left turn. You’re not listening to me.” That’s the same thing as music composition. You may do something and I don’t think that’s the way. You’re not even screwing up, man. If you do it this way, that adds onto it.

    I’ve [also] had that experience with a conductor. They said that I made the track on this particular recording. They said the way you was playing, that made the thing. If I would have done it the other way, it was too dry. But that person wanted to act like they have control. They wrote all the music and they conducted. So I said, “You’re not giving me respect.” When I hire a band, I respect you. A composer to me—that’s a responsible situation. A composer to me is just like a teacher. If you’re in a classroom with students, they’re expecting you to teach them. And if you’re teaching a subject, and they can’t understand that subject, you don’t go and say, “Oh, you’re stupid. I’m going to fail you.” You’re supposed to talk to that person and say, “What kind of difficulties are you having?” And if they say, “I don’t like history.” Well, say, “Let’s talk about history. Could you tell me something that happened five years ago? Is there anything you remember five years ago that you don’t like?” “Oh, I remember something five years ago. I will never forget that.” “But that’s history. It’s important that you don’t forget that. So you don’t repeat that mistake you made.”

    12

    Or if it’s a math problem—I’m going to tell you something real fast. In the 1970s, I went up to IS 201. A friend of mine was an assistant principal at that time. He wanted me to do three workshops in the summer for these kids up in Harlem. So I went up, and I had a pocket full of change. I took the hand drums, congas, and all of that. I’m going to teach these kids these rhythms, but I don’t know if these kids know about eighth notes, quarter notes, and all that technical talk. So I said, “We’re going to play a rhythm, but we’re going to pulse beats first. I’m going to hit the drum four times. One-two-three-four. Every time you hit the drum, think of a quarter, a quarter, a quarter, and a quarter.” I had four quarters out. Then I said, “How many quarters make a dollar?” They knew that. They may be failing in school, but they know how to count that money. “Oh, that’s one dollar.” So I had a one dollar bill. I said, “So that’s a one dollar bill. What’s a one dollar bill, compared to counting four twenty-five cent coins?” I just boom and don’t hit the drum no more times. But I quietly say, “Count four. ONE-two-three-four. That’s a dollar. So how do you write a dollar?” They write what they call a whole note in music. “That’s all, you got a dollar. You got a little circle like this here.”

    Then I took the quarters and said, “Now, we’re going to play each pulse beat twice as fast. We’re going to count eight. We got that whole dollar, now we’ve got to make sure that we’re going to divide this one dollar bill eight times.” I had some dimes and some pennies. So I took out the dimes and said, “How many dimes and pennies makes twenty-five cents?” Take out a dime. Take out the five pennies. “Alright?” Anyway, I lined them all up and I took two of the students and said, “Look, we’re going to share this twenty-five cents. You get a dime and you get a dime, but how are we going to share these five pennies between the two of you? If I give you two pennies, I give you three pennies. You may get upset, because he got one more penny than you.” And they’re looking and I said, “I tell you what, anybody got any scissors here? Let’s cut this other penny in half.” And they laughed because they know no scissors can cut that penny. But if I do that, you’re going to get half of a penny. So you’ve got a dime, then another penny is eleven, another’s twelve; you got twelve and a half. And we added all that up and in an hour’s time, guess what, I had those kids doing fractions. It blew them away. It blew the parents away. I said. “Yeah, you all can do fractions, but you can’t do non-functional fractions. Don’t mean nothing if you just write numbers!”

    That’s a teacher. That’s a conductor. If you come to me as a musician, then I may say, “Here, you play.” You’ve got more? I say, “I think we’ve got something.” Then I’ll get down and participate with you. Then I’ll say, “We’re going to try this; we’re going to try that.” I’ll lay out something to see how you’re going to respond to it. You didn’t respond. I left something open for you. There was no conversation taking place. It could be for many reasons. But I’m going to try to get inside you and inspire you to want to play and make stuff come out of you that you really didn’t have. That’s the conductor, or composer. And if you don’t need help, I don’t have to tell you what to do. But if you need some help, maybe I’ll give you some suggestions. But to out and out come out and not think about what someone can do because you wrote all this music? Then you hear this person in another kind of setting and say, “Wow. I didn’t know you could play like that.” Yeah, you didn’t allow me to play like that, because you already dictated what you wanted.

    That’s why I’m devoted to improvisational, spontaneous music. And I think that’s what we need on the planet right now. I think people have to get deeper inside themselves. We all have the potential to be smart and intelligent, and we’ve got to bring it out of people. To resolve some of these major problems we have on the planet, we have to have more people working.

    I was just telling somebody yesterday that when there’s peace, then they tell people, “Oh, we don’t need you. We have all these regulations; we don’t need your help.” But when 9/11 came, and what did they do? They asked for the public’s help because the military, the police, and everybody realized that they couldn’t watch everything. If anything looks suspicious, just call this number and let us know. So you’re really saying that when it really comes time for a major crisis, everybody has to participate. If you want to find out the cures for cancer and all this stuff here, you have to start from an early stage in elementary school exposing these kids to oncology, neurology, all these things, in the classroom. Make little toys, little games, so everybody can participate. You talk about trial and error. Somebody out of that is going to come up, it could be a five-year old kid, and say, “Well, what if you did this and did that?” Somebody will say, “Wow, we never thought of that.” That’s why I’m saying: we have to bring out the innovative and creative potential of what we as humans have, and you’re not going to do it by constantly putting a harness on somebody and saying you’re not allowed to express yourself or do what you do.

    13

    Now Meginsky’s Full Mantis, the first-ever feature film about Graves, is set to open nationally on July 13 at Metrograph in New York City, and to celebrate he has shared this exclusive new trailer for the film with us.

    Milford Graves and Jake Meginsky will attend the Metrograph screening on the opening night of this theatrical release for a Q and A. The film will then open in Los Angeles on July 27 at Laemmle Royal Beverly Hills. It has screened at the Big Ears Festival, SXSW Film Festival, IFFR Rotterdam, Sheffield Doc Fest, The BFI Southbank, and Lincoln Center’s Art of the Real. It won the Independent Visions prize at the Sarasota Film Festival and the Best Documentary Award at the Oak Cliff Film Festival in Dallas. More planned engagements can be found here.

    And if you missed it, be sure and check out Aakash Mittal’s excellent conversation with Graves from earlier this year—Milford Graves: Sounding the Universe.

    See the full article here.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    At NEWMUSICUSA, we see ourselves first and foremost as advocates. Our mission is to support and promote new music created in the United States. We do that in many ways, fostering connections, deepening knowledge, encouraging appreciation, and providing financial support. In recognition of the possibility and power inherent in the virtual world, we’ve worked to build a strong internet platform to serve our constituency. And that constituency is broad and diverse, from composers and performers to presenters and producers, casual listeners to die-hard fans. We’re truly committed to serving the WHOLE new music community.

    As we go about our work, we make a point of not defining too precisely what we mean by new music. To define is to limit. It’s a spectacular time for musical creativity in part because so much music is being made that isn’t bound by conventional limitations of style or genre or background. The music that we hear being created in such abundance all around us is definition enough. We simply want it to flourish.

    We’re fortunate to have as our legacy the history of previous decades of good works done by the American Music Center and Meet The Composer, the two great organizations that merged to form us in 2011. Their legacies have also brought a small financial endowment that mostly helps support our grantmaking. But we’re not a foundation. We depend decisively each year on the generosity of so many institutions and individuals around the country who are dedicated as we are to the advancement of new music and are devoted to supporting our work.

    New Music USA is part of an international community of advocates for the arts. We’re members of the Performing Arts Alliance, the International Association of Music Information Centres, and the International Society for Contemporary Music. Those partnerships help us represent the interests of our constituents at every level.

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
  • richardmitnick 9:18 PM on June 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , John Cage, , Percussion, Prepared piano, Steel drum, West African drumming   

    From NEWMUSICBOX: “Andy Akiho—Inside The Instrument” 

    New Music USA


    From NEWMUSICBOX

    1
    Andy Akiho by Patti Sapone/The Star-Ledger

    June 1, 2018
    Frank J. Oteri

    Having a conversation with Andy Akiho is a lot like listening to his music; it’s a high-energy adventure bursting with ideas and full of all sorts of serendipitous synchronicities. The first of these synchronicities is that Andy lives on Monroe Street in Lower Manhattan, which is where we met up with him. This is the same street where John Cage lived when he wrote many of his important compositions for prepared piano and percussion ensembles, idioms that have played a significant role in Andy’s output since Cage is one of his heroes. And perhaps an even more extraordinary coincidence is that Cage wrote those pieces at the same age that Andy is now and that Andy only discovered all of this after he moved to Monroe Street.

    Of course, while Andy’s earliest compositions were scored for percussion ensemble and one of his most significant pieces to date is the solo prepared piano tour-de-force Vicki/y, the instrument that has figured in Andy’s music more than any other is the steel drum. As it turns out, around the same time that Cage was creating his landmark prepared piano and percussion ensemble works in the late 1930s and early 1940s, musicians in Trinidad started incorporating struck pieces of metal into their ensembles, eventually tuning discarded industrial oil containers and thus was born the steel drum.

    But again, Andy becoming obsessed with steel drums also happened somewhat by accident. He was initially attracted to hip-hop and rock—his older sister played in various bands—when he was growing up in South Carolina. But at college, also in South Carolina, he got exposed to an extremely broad range of approaches to percussion including bebop and West African drumming, and then a couple of his teachers introduced him to steel drums. After he graduated, he went down to Trinidad to immerse himself further and was hooked for life.

    Andy eventually found himself in New York City arranging music for weddings in the Caribbean-American community for large ensembles of steel drums. But he wanted to expand his timbral palette and find a way to combine steel drums with other instruments. Another chance encounter, a conversation with his former classmate Baljinder Sekhon, convinced him to audition for the Bang on a Can Summer Residency Program and to apply to Manhattan School of Music to pursue a master’s degree. He was accepted to both and found some formidable mentors in David Cossin and Julia Wolfe, with whom he eventually also studied composition privately.

    The rest, as they say, is history. Though not completely. Andy’s story is still being written. He is still trying out new ideas and is open to discovering other approaches. He’s eager to write more vocal music, as well as score a film. But he still usually begins almost every composition he writes—whether it’s a string quartet or a concerto for two ping pong players and orchestra—by tinkering around with ideas on the steel pan. But not always, as he explained:

    “I’ll do other things, too, like I’ll go to an instrument I can’t play, like a piano, and come up with material and then apply that to the pan. I try to do it all different ways. But I do want to say it’s not weird to me; it’s weirder to me to think about a guitar, even though that seems like it’s more linear. If I try to pick up a guitar and try to think of melody, or learn it, or understand where the notes for the chords are, I’m a mess. At the same time, I accidentally discover some things that I wouldn’t do on the pan because I’ve been playing it for so many years. You go to certain comfortable places. Taking yourself out of that comfort zone can bring new life to the vocabulary.”

    May 10, 2018 at 1:00 p.m.
    Andy Akiho in conversation with Frank J. Oteri
    Recorded in Akiho’s apartment in Two Bridges, Manhattan
    Video and photography by Molly Sheridan
    Transcription by Julia Lu

    Frank J. Oteri: I was thrilled when I learned that you live on Monroe Street because this is where John Cage once lived.

    Andy Akiho: A year after I was here I found that out doing a paper at Princeton about his Sonatas and Interludes that he’d lived here. He was the exact age I was when I was doing the paper. So I felt really connected somehow. He’s one of my heroes. I’ve always felt that way, but especially now. It was like “You’ve got to be kidding me, because [Monroe Street]’s only three blocks long.

    FJO: But sadly, the building where he lived is no longer there.

    AA: I walked over to see. It’s a school now, I believe.

    FJO: He was forced to move when the building was torn down in 1953.

    AA: Oh, I didn’t realize that.

    FJO: But it’s interesting that you didn’t know about this until after you moved here. It’s quite a coincidence, since during the years he lived here he wrote most of his prepared piano pieces and many of his pieces for percussion ensemble—and both the prepared piano and percussion ensembles have figured very prominently in your own music.

    AA: I’ve always been influenced by those pieces, even before I was a composer.

    FJO: I’d like to learn more about the period before you were a composer. I know that you were trained as a percussionist, but how did you become interesting in being a musician in the first place?

    AA: My older sister practically raised me; she’s almost exactly ten years older than me. And when she was a teenager, she was like kind of a rock star. She never took it too seriously, but she had a double bass and a drum set and she was playing in bands. I wanted to be like her, so she would teach me drums. And that’s kind of how I started. I think I was around nine or something, but then I got a little obsessed with it. So by the time I got in middle school and then high school, I drummed all the time. I couldn’t read music, but I was trying to drum, starting with drumlines and then I started learning to read notes more in college.

    FJO: And you have a couple of performance degrees as a percussionist.

    AA: There was such a gap. I never thought I was going back to school. I went to University of South Carolina. That’s where I grew up and I just went to college where I grew up. I was very fortunate to even have an opportunity to go to college back then. I was kind of obsessed, so I just majored in percussion. But I got involved in a lot of different ensembles—everything that had to do with drumming: playing West African drums, steel pan, orchestra, band, a little bit of everything.

    FJO: I was wondering about how you first got involved with steel pan because I wouldn’t necessarily associate steel pan with South Carolina.

    AA: It was a really awesome time when I was in school there. It was just a lot of new opportunities and a lot of great influences. We had a Professor Chris Lee who was really into West African drumming and steel pan and going to Trinidad. And my professor down there, Jim Hall, was really into that, too. So they had a steel pan program. Around the time when my colleagues and I went to school, we were really into different things. I was the steel pan guy, one guy was the jazz guy, and another guy was more the composer-percussionist. We were all different, but while we were there, we were into everything. I was probably even more into West African drumming then; my goals and plans were to go to Guinea like a lot of my friends did. But for some reason, I really got into pans, and then I went to Trinidad a lot, especially right after undergrad.

    FJO: So you studied with players in Trinidad.

    AA: When I was finishing up, I also did a student exchange program. I went to North Texas for a year and I got really into bebop. I wanted to play steel pans with that. I think it was the combination of being really inspired by the jazz musicians out there and being inspired to bring something new to steel pan, then going to Trinidad and playing with large orchestras and feeling that energy. It was like a full orchestra of these things; it was symphonic. I played I guess the equivalent of a violin in the orchestra for the steel pans. Everything was taught by rote. I remember one year I learned my part from like basically the “cellist.” That’s how well they knew everybody’s parts. And these are like crazy, intricate things. It was almost easier to learn by rote than reading because you feel the rhythms different. It’s really internal.

    2

    FJO: So, perhaps a dumb question, is there a consistency from steel pan to steel pan about where the different notes are?

    AA: No, that’s a really good question. There is, but there’s a lot of differences, too. There’s a tradition of so many changes. For example, my steel pan is called a tenor pan, but it’s actually soprano range. It starts from middle C, and it goes to about the F above the treble staff.

    FJO: Is it fully chromatic?

    AA: Fully chromatic. In Trinidad, they normally start on the D above that, because they can pierce through the orchestra more. So for range, and to play with 30 others—any of the altos, the “cellos,” the bass—it actually sounds better orchestrationally and acoustically in a different range. Mine’s called a Spiderweb fourth and fifth lead, so it’s a circle of fifths, upside down from the diagrams you see in schools. My C is right next to me, and then it goes in fourths and fifths. But that’s a newer invention. It’s probably 40-ish years old now, 40 or 50. Before that, there was an Invader’s lead, and on that the octaves aren’t even next to each other. It’s incredible how it’s set up. There’s like this random F-sharp right in the middle. But it actually sounds better, because of the way the overtones work. But it wasn’t as practical as a learning device, because it was just everywhere. And they have other pans. I wrote a steel pan concerto for Liam Teague, and his is completely different. So I took a picture of his, and wrote the notes and put it up on the wall to work out something idiomatic. His is a completely different pan and he’s the only one in the world that plays that one. But they’re all about the same range.

    FJO: So no one else could play the piece you wrote for him.

    AA: No, I’ve played it. I always had it in mind that I wanted it to work on both. So it was more like if I was doing something with four mallets, I just wanted to make sure he could reach it, that it was physically possible.

    FJO: Another thing that’s really fascinating about the placement of the notes on all these steel pans is that they don’t go left to right from low to high like many instruments around the world or even from low in the middle to high on opposite ends like African koras or mbiras.

    AA: Well, if you’re thinking in patterns or shapes or colors, it’s just another platform. Like with the human language, we might structure a sentence different: you put the verb first or you put the noun first. It’s the same kind of thing. I feel fortunate that when I was first learning how to read pitches, it was the same time I was learning how to play steel pan. I was quicker at learning pan than I was at marimba or piano, because it just came to me; it was all right there. With marimba, I got so worried about missing a note that’s a millimeter off. But with the pan, I just felt like it was all right there, and I just felt really comfortable. So it made sense to me more.

    FJO: The tactile element of it is very interesting. The other thing I wonder about, too, is that because of the way it’s patterned, it probably gets you to think about different combinations of notes than you would if you were creating from a piano or a marimba. People always talk about how Chopin’s music is so pianistic; it’s really based on the tactile experience of him sitting at a piano and working through ideas. As a result, certain kinds of figurations emerge in that music which are directly based on how the instrument is designed. Same with like Paganini on the violin, Jimi Hendrix on the electric guitar, Ravi Shankar on the sitar, all the great virtuosos who created their own music. But because steel pan has this other way of setting things up, when you then take those ideas and work them out for other instruments, say, writing for a string quartet, since steel pan is in the DNA of how you think, it creates a different kind of music.

    AA: Exactly. That’s why I feel very fortunate that I can come up with material on the pan for other instruments. I recently wrote a clarinet quartet piece for David Schifrin and there’s a whole movement that’s a clarinet solo. I wrote it all on pan. Then I worked out phrasing and slurs, but it was all on the pan first. Hand written, then I adapted it to clarinet. But I didn’t change the notes or anything. So it was really coming from that place. I wrote a saxophone quartet one time, and it was all written on the pan. All the parts. As was my first string quartet.

    I’ll do other things, too, like I’ll go to an instrument I can’t play, like a piano, and come up with material and then apply that to the pan. I try to do it all different ways. But I do want to say it’s not weird to me; it’s weirder to me to think about a guitar, even though that seems like it’s more linear. If I try to pick up a guitar and try to think of melody, or learn it, or understand where the notes for the chords are, I’m a mess. At the same time, I accidentally discover some things that I wouldn’t do on the pan because I’ve been playing it for so many years. You go to certain comfortable places. Taking yourself out of that comfort zone can bring new life to the vocabulary.

    FJO: You mentioned earlier that when you were in school there was a composer-percussion guy and you were the steel pan guy, but you became a composer-percussion guy, too. When did that happen?

    AA: I looked up my friend Baljinder Sekhon and he was going to Eastman after we were roommates in undergrad. After we finished, I moved to New York eventually, this was within a few years, and he moved to Rochester to study composition. He started taking that more seriously than percussion. And while he was up there, I was here playing on the streets and playing in weddings in the Caribbean community. I was also arranging for these steel orchestras in Brooklyn. I would arrange stuff for like a hundred players, but it was only steel pans. I loved it, but I felt like I wanted to experiment a little more with timbres. I’d love to write for a violin one day, or cello. But I didn’t know anybody. I remember calling him one day in January, and I was like, “Man, it would be kind of cool to write for other instruments.” And he was like: “You got to go back to school, because you don’t know one classical musician in New York.” I’m like: “No, I only know the Caribbean community.”

    So he told me about the contemporary performance program they started in 2007 at Manhattan School [of Music]. I’d been out of school for over six years by then. I hadn’t read a sheet of music in six years. I was just playing gigs and trying to make it as a steel pan artist in the city. When he told me about that program, he also told me about [the] Bang on a Can [Summer Residency Program]. I found some old footage of me seven years ago in college playing and I submitted that. I had like two days to submit it and I didn’t know what I was submitting it to. I just knew it was cool because he did it. And I got lucky. I got to do that, and then I went and auditioned at Manhattan School. I had to relearn marimba and relearn percussion. I went and auditioned there and that’s where I met classical musicians. And I was really inspired because I was around a great group of really hungry and inspiring musicians. So I just started writing for them. It was just very organic. It wasn’t like I’m going to try to study composition. But at that same time, I was fortunate enough to be able to study with Julia Wolfe outside of school. So I was in school as the contemporary percussion guy, playing with all my friends in that program and then I was able to write for them in a very awesome experimental laboratory in school there.

    3

    FJO: Nice. The earliest piece you list on your website, Phatamachickenlick, predates all of that. I’ve looked at part of the score, but there’s no audio for it. Is that your first piece?

    AA: I guess officially, yeah. I mean, that was my drumline days. I used to skip class in high school and just go in the woods with a snare drum and play for hours. That just came out of me playing with my friends, coming up with rudimentary solos. It’s not a good piece. I didn’t ever think of it as a composition or anything. It was just like: “Hey, play this.” I could write out the rhythms, because I knew rhythms, but I couldn’t read notes back then or anything.

    FJO: But you’ve got a score of it on your website.

    AA: Yes. It’s fun. I think literally everything I’ve ever written is available, unless it was like some random assignment like: “Hey, write for your friends in one hour for tomorrow.” Maybe I should take that down, but I’ve kept it up there.

    FJO: So do people actually order it?

    AA: Yeah, I got two orders yesterday. But that’s also a coincidence, because not many people do. I always feel bad. I’m like: “Man, I hope they don’t think this is like a real piece.” But it is what it is. It’s a duet; it’s a rudimentary snare drum duet that I wrote in my hard core drumline years.

    FJO: And then there’s another really early piece for much bigger ensemble called Hip-Hopracy.

    AA: I consider that my first composition. I definitely didn’t consider myself an aspiring composer or anything. I just wanted to write a piece for my senior recital at University of South Carolina. So I wrote it for all my friends I was telling you about. We were a really tight crew. And I was like: “I’d love for you all to play on my recital.” So I wrote for the whole percussion department and wrote each individual part based on them. It was more like Duke Ellington style. Like you’re the right guy, you’re the right gal. My girlfriend at the time was in a hip hop dance class. She was a dancer. So they choreographed it; it was a kind of collaborative thing. We were always working with dancers. It was just a way to end my recital and a fun way to be creative. What’s funny is that piece is like Cage or Lou Harrison, but I didn’t even know really what that was back then. I knew when I studied it, or when I played in percussion ensemble, getting those influences. It’s written for ceramic bowls. I’m still writing for these same bowls. I literally have like ten sets right here. I remember going into stores back then and picking out the right pitches, then I based the piece off of those. I just found sounds; it was just a natural way to do it. I could do that before I could write on a piano, for sure.

    4

    FJO: So that piece is more like Cage and Harrison than hip hop, even though you titled it Hip-Hopracy.

    AA: I just called it that because it was for a hip hop class. It wasn’t trying to do anything. But I grew up on rock and hip hop, and probably everything else except classical music. I never grew up listening to Beethoven or anything. I do now.

    FJO: So you didn’t have a connection to so-called classical music. But what you wound up doing was finding a way to incorporate the ideas that you had into the medium of writing down music that other people play, which is kind of an odd way of doing music to most of the world. You said before that you wanted to write for violin. You thought it would be cool.

    AA: I guess it’s not that straight forward, even though I said that. It was more that I wanted to experiment with pan, mixing with other timbres, whether it’s a ceramic bowl or a violin. I just wanted to have a bigger playground to work in and different timbres to explore. It wasn’t just for the sake of doing it or trying to write for strings. I really enjoy just working with any kind of new timbre combination, so it actually felt very natural and organic. It didn’t seem that odd to me because at first, it was to write pieces for myself to be able to play with friends. It was almost like being in a rock band when you’re a teenager: “Let’s come up with some material. I got these ideas. Hey, you play this on the bass.” That kind of thing. But I was old enough to know that I need to be pretty clear about it. I was pretty aware that the notation had to be pretty clear. So I learned as I was doing it. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I would meet with friends, and be like: “Hey, what’s the range of this? What’s possible? Can I write a few things down? Can I record a few things?” I would learn how the instruments worked based on having to do it.

    FJO: So some practical things about making these instrument work together—two things immediately come to mind if you’re combining strings and pan. There’s finding the appropriate acoustical balance, getting the volumes right, so there are questions of where to position everyone. Are there things that work, things that don’t work? And then there’s the whole question of intonation. How closely do the pans match the pitches of the other players?

    AA: With pan, there are so many overtones that I think it can blend with any family of instruments. And if it’s tuned really well, I think there’s a lot of potential for that. It’s funny because I think about these questions more now than I did then. Then I was just naïve and just going for it. And I think that was more exciting sometimes. I didn’t think about intonation. I didn’t think about balance, or any of that. I was just like: “Let’s just do this.” I didn’t have anything to lose, either. It wasn’t like I had a commission deadline. It was like: “Oh, we’re going to have a concert at school; let’s put something together.” It was a lot of experimentation without any pressure of it having to work. And for some reason, sometimes it worked better. It was not a fatal mistake if you do something wrong.

    FJO: So what would be something wrong?

    AA: That’s all subjective. I don’t know. I do things wrong all the time. In the first piece I wrote at Manhattan, I just literally tried to do everything. There was a huge fan that a trumpet played through. There was a 16-foot pipe that the trumpet played through and it bounced off the walls. And a contrabass flute—the first time I wrote for flute, it was for contrabass flute, alto flute, and regular flute—plus trumpet, steel pan, percussion, piano, and bass clarinet.

    FJO: Yeah, that sounds like a real practical piece.

    AA: And we were also shattering glass everywhere.

    FJO: I didn’t notice that piece on your website. That one’s not up there, is it?

    AA: I’m not sure.

    FJO: So you didn’t put everything up.

    AA: I might have, if I had the parts, then it’s up somewhere. Or I have to find the parts maybe.

    5

    FJO: So the next step after writing these pieces to play with friends is that you started writing pieces that you were not playing in. How did that whole transition happen?

    AA: This was all a very compact year. This is 2007 and it was all pieces that I played in. And in 2008, I got into the Bang on a Can [Summer] Festival, as a composer this time. My first year was as a performer. I somehow faked my way in. Got lucky. Then I wrote all year. And, I don’t know, for some reason they let me in as a composer in 2008, and the instrumentation they gave me didn’t have myself in it. It was for the performer fellows. The first time I didn’t write for myself was that piece. It’s called to wALk Or ruN in wEst harlem. I don’t even think I started it on the pan. It was a really interesting exercise for me.

    FJO: So you started composing it in your head.

    AA: No, I played around the piano. I remember I experimented a lot with the vibraphone, and I was messing around with rubber bands a lot back then. I put these rubber bands on there. And I just kind of improvised for hours and hours, then I started to record myself.

    FJO: But you eventually rearranged that piece for percussion ensemble.

    AA: Yeah, that was for the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Dave Hall, who runs the percussion department there, asked me to write a new piece. But it was a very short timeline and I wouldn’t have had time to rewrite a brand new piece. He was really into harlem, so somehow we came up with the idea to just make a new arrangement of it. But I didn’t want it to be just an arrangement. So I was like, “Let’s take the same music, but I’m really going orchestrate it, not just make it work, not just take the clarinet part and put it here. Just rework the entire piece.” The piano part is pretty much exactly the same, though. That’s the one thing I kept. I spent a day with them working out some of the kinks, and then they performed it, and they did that video and I thought it came out really nice. It was really great.

    FJO: I think so, too. What’s interesting is that it’s clearly the same piece, you can hear the melodies and harmonies, but it has a different flavor somehow.

    AA: Yeah, definitely.

    FJO: The timbres really shape what you’re hearing.

    AA: Yeah, it’s so important. I mean timbre and rhythm are the world I live in.

    FJO: That’s the mindset of a percussionist.

    AA: Yeah, I guess so.

    FJO: Another key ingredient is the tactile element. Of course playing any instrument is a tactile experience but there’s something about percussion that heightens that aspect, I think. And I would venture to say that your sensitivity to this tactile element informs how you write for other instruments. One example that is particularly striking to me is the two-harp piece you wrote for Duo Scorpio, Two Bridges. It’s totally unexpected, because it isn’t what harp music usually sounds like, because you approach the harps like percussion instruments, which is why I think it’s so cool.

    AA: Oh, thanks. I met with them many times. The harp or the piano, anything I can touch and feel, even strings, they’re the closest thing to percussion to me. If I can start to understand it and wrap my head around it, I feel I can work with that instrumentation better, so I was lucky. I was up at Avaloch Music Institute up in New Hampshire and I was finishing up my piece for Duo Scorpio, and there was a harp duo there, a different harp duo. They went out to lunch one day, and I was like: “Can I mess around? I might use some credit cards and stuff. Is it cool?” And they were like: “It’s cool.” They knew I would respect the instruments, and I wrote the whole first movement in like an hour or two. I videotaped myself just playing on these techniques, messing around with a finger cymbal, a chopstick—I created that first movement just from this experimental place.

    It’s also kind of parallel to bridges being built. We’re in [the] Two Bridges [neighborhood] right now, and that’s what the piece is about. So the Brooklyn Bridge is those kind of industrial sounds. But then the second movement is all harmonics. I met with them and learned all I could about how that technique worked—the best kind of range for it. And they taught me how the pedals work. And then in the third movement, I just tried to put everything together.

    6

    FJO: Now the titles for the first and third movements are numbers. Are those the years those bridges were built?

    AA: I think the years that they were officially opened.

    FJO: But that one in the middle that’s all harmonics you called “Audio Sun.”

    AA: I just pictured being in the middle of the East River—it would be kind of gross. But if you were down there, playing these bridges as if they were harps, the reverberations you would hear underneath the water would be very echo-y. I had to try to capture that.

    FJO: There’s a guy named Joseph Bertolozzi who makes music from playing on actual bridges.

    AA: Oh, that’s cool.

    FJO: But you’ve come up with this other idea, using the harps as a metaphor for the bridges. It’s also really effective and just beautiful.

    AA: Aw, thank you.

    FJO: But it’s interesting because I heard the piece way before I saw the video of the performance, so I didn’t know how a lot of those sounds were being made because I couldn’t see it. It still totally worked as abstract music thing. Another piece of yours along those lines is Vicki/y, the piece you did for Vicky Chow.

    AA: It was inspired by Vicky Chow and Vicki Ray. When I was at Bang on a Can in 2007 as a performer, Vicki Ray did a masterclass on preparation, and it reminded me of learning about this in undergrad with Cage and stuff. So it brought all that back. She was showing us that you could bow the strings and you could pluck them. Then she showed us the dime and I was just blown away with the way the dime sounded woven in between the three strings in the piano. That stuck with me. After that, when I started school at Manhattan, I met Vicky Chow. She’s phenomenal. I was always inspired by her being able to play in an ensemble and I learned from her and a lot of the other musicians in that program. And then that next year, I wrote a piece based on those techniques.

    FJO: So you didn’t come up with the dime thing.

    AA: No, I didn’t. Though, what was crazy is I really couldn’t find examples of that. I was influenced by Vox Balaenae by George Crumb. That blew me away, too, but I was trying to find examples. I didn’t really see anything, so I really credit Vicki Ray for showing me that. And what I tried do is I experimented with exactly where it was. I found out if you pushed [the dime] all the way up the sound board, or whatever the end of where the strings are, it keeps the fundamental, but it has crazy overtones, so it’s basically like a gamelan or like a steel pan. It’s like a super-saturated steel pan. So I felt at home writing for that, and then I just based the whole piece on that. It’s only on eight pitches, but I didn’t want to create it all to be about that.

    A lot of people think I’m trying to do novelty things, but it’s really the world I live in where I feel I can create the most. It’s not just a cool effect. A lot of people will think it’s like trying to be some kind of gimmick, but it’s really just where I feel at home. So I did that and I experimented with it. I created this scale that was like a palindrome, and worked around with that. I remember finishing the last page—it was all hand written back then—and handing it to Vicky about two hours before the concert at the Stone. I think it was November 1st, 2008. I remember handing her that last page and she killed it.

    FJO: Yeah, her performance of that piece is awesome. But before we leave the dime thing, dimes are so thin. I’m curious if you experimented with other coins: quarters, nickels.

    AA: I think I did, but I realized really quickly that even a penny’s too big. It will touch the other strings. Even a dime sometimes can be too big. I did a piece for Anthony de Mare, an adaptation of the prologue of Into the Woods by Sondheim. There are two dimes and a poster tack. I remember we recorded up at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the dime was actually too big. It was touching the other strings. I remember going to a car shop when we went on lunch break and they were soldering stuff and welding. I found some washers and I was like, “Hey man, can you take a millimeter off this?” We just needed a little less than a dime. Zzzzzhh. I went back and it worked perfectly, because it was thin enough. It was as thin as a dime, and it worked, and it kept the fundamental without making the other pitches ring, too.

    FJO: I thought you were going to say you went to a convenience store, got some change and tried other dimes, since they’re not all necessarily exactly the same.

    AA: That’s true. Yeah. But I needed to take off more than just the little nuances. For some reason, the strings were thin in that model of piano. I never really had that problem with dimes before.

    FJO: Interesting. Once again, this is another thing that no one would know if they only experienced it on an audio recording. Now, with Vicki/y, I heard Vicky Chow’s recording of it before I knew how any of those sounds were made and I hadn’t seen a score for it, but then I saw the video for it you posted online which lets everyone in on its secrets. It was really interesting to actually see how the sounds were being created, but the video is actually so much more than that; it’s almost like a pop music video.

    AA: Oh, thank you. Gabriel Gomez did that video and did a really incredible job. He’s a friend of Vicky’s, and she really loved the work he did before. He works in all kinds of mediums. Definitely not just music. He did a really cool film with Robert Black, and we were just blown away, and we all kind of hit it off when we first were talking. We set up a Dropbox folder and put a bunch of videos in that inspired us, just random stuff, not necessarily music videos and photos, and a description of what I was thinking with the piece, and he just came up with this very beautiful narrative.

    FJO: One of the details I love about this is that it’s clearly her performance, but it’s your piece, and the film weaves you into it as the composer; you’re like this like creepy bystander.

    AA: I know. I’m such a creeper in that film. It’s hard to watch that, because it’s hard to see me on something like that. But Vicky’s an incredible artist. She came up with that transfer. It was just a really beautiful concept. We filmed some of it in New Haven, in East Rock Park, and we saw this blue heron. And then he incorporated that in the film, too.

    The white piano we used in the end of that is the one I found on 131 and Broadway, when I lived in West Harlem. I lived on 133 and Broadway and found that piano outside of a church; I saw it there for like two days. So I went and asked. I was like: “What are you guys doing with this thing?” And they were like: “You can take it.” I never owned a piano in my life. I pushed it up the hill, right by the 1 train, on these really crappy wheels that were all rusted. Luckily my building had an elevator.

    Every note had three notes because every string was so out of tune. A friend of mine was in town from West Virginia that tunes pans. He tuned the piano; it was the first time he was tuning a piano. So then I had that piano, that same white piano, and that’s how I wrote Vicki/y. I wrote it on that primarily. I was messing with it. It was a cool piano. And I would just put the dimes in and everything. So then we were like: “We got to use this in a video.” It was living in New Haven because I was there for two years and my landlord let me keep it up there in the house that she owned. I called her to say we’re going to do a video and we want to finish it up here. So we took that piano out of there, did the video at East Rock Park and then we left the piano there. We left it in the woods. I don’t know why. We just thought it would be cool. But then my friend Sam and his friend Molly wanted to get the piano, so it’s in Brooklyn now, I think. They got it the very next day. They got a U-Haul and got it. So that piano has seen a lot.

    FJO: You don’t have a piano here, except for a Schoenhut toy piano.

    AA: I write with that a lot.

    7

    FJO: And you also have a big digital keyboard.

    AA: Yeah, there are like seven MIDIs all around. They just sample. They get the job done. I have to picture the orchestra sometimes, the range, like okay, I know the trumpet’s here, I know the trombone, I just kind of picture it and sometimes I work with scales. Like I have one up there, and it’s got a million stickers with Sharpie notes all over it. So I can’t even really use it right now. It’s got duct tape; it’s for me to know where I am. I was creating on that for one particular piece.

    FJO: Interestingly the thing that those keyboards are probably least good at is working on stuff that’s for an actual piano because you can’t prepare them.

    AA: Oh yeah.

    FJO: You can’t stick dimes in them, or if you do it’ll sound like something else.

    AA: I’ll sample it. But if I do that, I’ll work at a real piano, and sample each note, and then plug it in there.

    FJO: I have two thoughts that grew out of what you were saying about being this creepy bystander in that video. Composers who write music that other people play usually just sit in the audience. You are kind of a bystander. You’re not part of the performance. But you came from this background of playing music, and all of a sudden you’re now this guy who like lurks in the back. You wrote the piece, but to a lot of people who aren’t knowledgeable about this stuff, it’s difficult to understand what that means. Who’s that guy? What did he do? Oh, he wrote the piece.

    AA: Oh, right.

    FJO: What does that mean? I thought that video really effectively captured that relationship. There’s this transference in the video of that tattoo, which seems like a really nice metaphor for what happens when someone interprets music you wrote down. The music is transferring to somebody else who realizes it and makes it into sound.

    AA: It’s also the importance of the performer bringing the piece to life. I could write all day, but it takes a life of its own through the performers—the way they interpret it. Even more so with pieces where they’re in charge of picking out the timbres. In that piece, with Vicky and the preparations, the subtlety of moving things a millimeter or two makes a big difference. There are so many parameters. I guess you could say that with every piece of music, but I felt that especially with that piece, and working with Vicky, like it was really written for her.

    FJO: We talked about the video being really effective, but you’ve posted extremely well-done videography of performances of many of your compositions. The video of Duo Scorpio performing Two Bridges is also really tremendous. And then there’s even a fascinating video for to wALk Or ruN in wEst harlem which is this really intense and disturbing silent film about human trafficking. Overall you’ve really set a high visual standard for how you present your music to the world online, which is unusual in our community I think.

    AA: Well, I grew up on MTV. I would stay up for anything from Yo! MTV Raps to Headbangers Ball, back when MTV was videos all day long. Most Wanted, I was so into that. I think I’m more visual than, than aural. I learn things visually more. Even when I’m writing music, it’s visual; it’s synesthetic. I think in shapes and colors way more than I do the actual pitches. I’m kind of tone deaf. I can’t sing Mary Had a Little Lamb without going off key. It’s pretty rough.

    FJO: We might have to make you sing that now.

    AA: You don’t want me to do that. That could be dangerous. This is like so masochistic, but I used to take singing lessons just to try to get develop my ear. I was always the worst in ear training classes and I was super self-conscious about it, so it made it even worse.

    FJO: This might explain why there hasn’t been a ton of vocal music in your output. There’s that really cool piece for loadbang based on haikus. That’s such an oddball ensemble. And none of them play an instrument that’s necessarily tactile. Right? It’s brass and winds and then a singer. That’s totally taking you out of your comfort zone.

    AA: Right, but I love being out of my comfort zone, so my comfort zone is being out of it. I also wrote a piece called NO one To kNOW one, in 2009-2010 and that was one of my only pieces with vocals. And the piece I was telling you about that I wrote at Manhattan School that had a soprano.

    FJO: Right. And NO one To kNOW one is really interesting because at the end, she’s rapping.

    AA: Yeah, I never thought of it as rap, but I guess maybe I grew up on that a little bit. I was just thinking of a rhythmic way to say these words, but I wasn’t like I was going to try to mimic rap music and then people started calling that a rap. I just wanted to mimic the rhythm that was going on, and when I wrote the lyrics, it just all fit together naturally. I messed with the lyrics, and then came up with the rhythm and how that would be set, and then came up with the music, and it just kind of morphed.

    I want to write for voice a lot more. I got more of a taste for that doing an opera this past summer. Writing my first real aria was really great. It really grounded me. It was a nice roadmap and a relief to have some kind of structure to write with and to try to interpret words. The opera is the first time I wrote with somebody else’s words. For loadbang, I wrote the words because I felt uncomfortable writing to somebody else’s words. Same with NO one To kNOW one and the MSM piece. Even though I don’t know how to work with words really, I felt more comfortable doing that. I’m not misinterpreting somebody else’s words for them to be upset with me.

    FJO: To take this back to the music videos of your music, it’s fascinating how detailed they are in the way they show how specific sounds are being made, whether it’s the close up of the dime in Vicki/y or the swipe of the credit card against the harp strings in Two Bridges.

    AA: If I go to a show, I enjoy seeing where these sounds come from, learning and being inspired by that, and not to say: “Hey, this is how to do it.” But just to share that experience, to get as close to a different experience from going to a live show, a different experience from listening to a record, and a different experience than watching a music video. What was interesting about the videos you brought up, especially the harlem video is that I was thinking it’s gonna show the rubber bands, but he went in a completely different direction.

    That was Michael McQuilken. We’ve worked together a lot on a lot of videos, and I feel like we’re on the same wavelength on a lot of things. I’ve always been very inspired working with him. He’ll just take something and run with it. It looked like I wrote the music to his film, but it was completely backwards. He sent me a treatment for every second. I was living in Italy at the time. I remember reading this and I was just blown away. What’s funny about that piece is it’s my most programmatic piece. Usually it’s very abstract, and people try to ask me what it’s about, and I have no idea because they all think it sounds programmatic. But with that piece, literally every sound has a story behind it. I mean like: that was a siren; that was me running into a taxi; that was the door slamming; that was the emergency room beeps at the hospital. I even sent him a treatment of what every sound meant when you listen to this CD. And then he sent me one back, he’s like: “Man, I’ve been talking with my wife and we want to present this story.” And she starred in the film, Adina. It was incredible what they did with that.

    FJO: It’s amazing. This is what music and film can be when there’s a real synchronicity. And it’s interesting that the music existed first. Because obviously most of the time in the film industry, the music gets written later. There are people who are masters at this. The music fits the film so well and feels completely seamless, but to make the film fit pre-existing music is a whole different process.

    AA: I know. He deserves so much credit for doing that. He’s also a really amazing musician, just incredible artist all around. We’ve taken other pieces like Prospects of a Misplaced Year, The World Below, where you’re super hyper into it, or NO one To kNOW one, where you’re seeing every single technique. You’re seeing how the sounds are made on the exact opposite spectrum, even the Duo Scorpio piece, he directed that as well.

    The goal is to really feel like you’re in the instrument. That’s something you can’t even get at a live show, unless you invite an audience on stage while you’re playing. I’ve tried to do that before, too. I got a little bit of that from being in Trinidad where you have like 50 people right up on you. Some are judging you, but most are really into it. They’re two inches from you. They’re almost in your instrument while you’re playing. There’s just so much energy in that and I enjoy when you can get a little bit of that in a music video.

    FJO: So in a way, is that the ideal way to experience the music? You have two CDs out. Obviously, no one can see anything when they hear the CD.

    AA: No I just think it’s another experience. Most of the time if you’re listening to a record or CD, you’re just enjoying the sounds. I like having multiple ways to experience something, whether it’s a narrative or whether it’s just aurally, or a combination of both.

    FJO: Well to get to this idea of narrative, I didn’t know that every sound has a specific story behind it in to wALk Or ruN in wEst harlem. Music is so abstract. If you’re writing a film score or a score for a ballet, or you have words that someone’s singing or a narrator, you have this other element that gives you the story line. Music on its own is not going to really do that, most of the time. Or at least, you might have an idea of what the story is, but someone hearing it is going to come up with something totally different. Ironically that film about human trafficking, which was set to to wALk Or ruN in wEst harlem, is really the only time so far that you’ve worked with a bonafide story board in film, even though it was created after the piece was. So have you thought of ever doing a more typical kind of film scoring project?

    AA: I definitely want to do that, without a doubt. I don’t think I necessarily want to be a full-time music movie composer, but I would love to do film.

    FJO: You were involved with a staged production which I only saw little snippets of, based on Bertolt Brecht’s Galileo. There are multiple narrative layers to this, Brecht’s play obviously but also the actual life of Galileo, the historical figure, as well as the specifics of that particular production. I imagine that those were all layers that theoretically determined, at least to some extent, what direction your music went in.

    AA: Definitely, and that felt a little bit like composing for film, too. [The director] Yuval Sharon had a lot of specific ideas; it was his baby. He really understood what each scene represented and he knew what he wanted for every part, which was a challenge for me, too, because I’m used to coming from a very abstract space, and I had to be disciplined and learn how to really work with somebody who kind of knew what they wanted. It felt like writing for a movie, but it also inspired me to want to do those kind of collaborations more, because they’re bringing a whole other angle that I would never have thought of. That piece was interesting because I found out about it while living in Rome, and was sitting in the exact spot where Galileo demonstrated the telescope to the Pope in 1611. I met Yuval on Skype who knows I was sitting in the spot in my studio. And he was telling me about the project, and I was like: “Wow, this is crazy.”

    FJO: That’s like living on Monroe Street and finding Cage. It’s trippy.

    AA: Yeah. I don’t know, man. Maybe we’re in The Matrix or something. It’s like too many coincidences right now. It’s just weird how the world works like that. Especially in New York. A friend, Freddie Harris, whom I used to play with down in Trinidad a lot—on the second day I moved to New York, in 2003, I run into him. And he lived in Miami. He didn’t even live here at that time. I run into him. I hadn’t seen him since Trinidad. Kendall Williams, do you know him? He’s an excellent composer. He’s at Princeton now, and he was at NYU. I hadn’t seen him in probably eight years or something. We played next to each other in Trinidad, for Phase II, in 2003. And then I run into him at LPR and he was studying with Julia Wolfe. Another steel pan composer starting to study with Julia. Neither one of us grew up in that path to either do classical music or become a composer. We both played pan next to each other in Trinidad. There’s like a 160 players in that band and we happened to be the ones.

    8

    See the full article here.

    At NewMusicUSA, we see ourselves first and foremost as advocates. Our mission is to support and promote new music created in the United States. We do that in many ways, fostering connections, deepening knowledge, encouraging appreciation, and providing financial support. In recognition of the possibility and power inherent in the virtual world, we’ve worked to build a strong internet platform to serve our constituency. And that constituency is broad and diverse, from composers and performers to presenters and producers, casual listeners to die-hard fans. We’re truly committed to serving the WHOLE new music community.

    As we go about our work, we make a point of not defining too precisely what we mean by new music. To define is to limit. It’s a spectacular time for musical creativity in part because so much music is being made that isn’t bound by conventional limitations of style or genre or background. The music that we hear being created in such abundance all around us is definition enough. We simply want it to flourish.

    We’re fortunate to have as our legacy the history of previous decades of good works done by the American Music Center and Meet The Composer, the two great organizations that merged to form us in 2011. Their legacies have also brought a small financial endowment that mostly helps support our grantmaking. But we’re not a foundation. We depend decisively each year on the generosity of so many institutions and individuals around the country who are dedicated as we are to the advancement of new music and are devoted to supporting our work.

    New Music USA is part of an international community of advocates for the arts. We’re members of the Performing Arts Alliance, the International Association of Music Information Centres, and the International Society for Contemporary Music. Those partnerships help us represent the interests of our constituents at every level.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
  • richardmitnick 5:35 PM on May 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Music for dance, , Percussion, Rick Baitz - Into Light   

    From Innova: “Rick Baitz – Into Light” 

    From Innova the home for New Music in America

    Innova is the recording arm of American Composers Forum, St Paul Mn.

    http://www.innova.mu/
    http://composersforum.org/

    Rick Baitz – Into Light

    1

    Feel the heat, from Durban and Rio to the Big Apple

    Composers Rick Baitz

    Performers:
    Joyce Hammann
    Mary Rowell
    Beth Meyers
    Ashley Bathgate
    Brian Shank
    Christian Lundqvist
    Jeremy Smith
    Brian Shankar Adler
    Rick Baitz
    Ken Thomson
    Jessica Meyer
    Stephen Gosling

    Catalog Number: #1 012
    Genre: new classical new music
    Collection:
    string quartet
    percussion
    chamber
    music for dance

    Release Date:
    Aug 24, 2018

    Track List:
    1. CHTHONIC DANCES for String Quartet
    21:54
    Joyce Hammann, Mary Rowell, violins; Beth Meyers, viola; Ashley Bathgate, cello

    2. HALL OF MIRRORS for Percussion Quartet & Electronics 14:41
    Brian Shank, Christian Lundqvist, Jeremy Smith, Brian Shankar Adler, percussion; Rick Baitz, laptop computer

    3. INTO LIGHT for Clarinet, Viola & Piano 21:54

    Ken Thomson, Bb clarinet; Jessica Meyer, viola; Stephen Gosling, piano

    Total Time 58:37

    All music © & ? Rick Baitz & 110th Street Music (BMI), 2018. All rights reserved.
    Innova Recordings is the label of the American Composers Forum.
    http://www.innova.mu http://www.rickbaitz.com

    Credits:
    1. Chthonic Dances for String Quartet (2011, revised 2016)
    Recorded June, 2016 at Dubway Studios, New York City; Stephen Kurpis, engineer. Edited and mixed by Rick Baitz.

    Gratitude to New Music USA, which, in its earlier incarnation as the American Music Center, helped fund Chthonic Dances through its Composer Assistance Program.

    2. Hall of Mirrors for Percussion Quartet & Electronics (2015)

    Commissioned by The Juilliard SchoolÕs Center For Integration in the Arts. Includes mbiras, windwands, surdo, nipple gongs, dumbek, temple blocks, caxixi, cowbell, tam-tams, talking drum, triangle and tabla, with live electronic processing and pre-recorded sounds. Recorded April 2015 & Nov. 2016, Rick Baitz Music, New York City; Nathan Prilliman & Rick Baitz, engineers. Edited and mixed by Rick Baitz.

    3. Into Light for Clarinet, Viola & Piano (1984)
    Recorded June 2017 at Oktaven Audio, Mount Vernon, NY. Engineered, edited and mixed by Ryan Streber.

    All music mastered by Ryan Streber at Oktaven Audio.

    Album art and design by Matthew Monk.

    Special thanks to Reed Robins, Scott Hampton, Jonathan Duckett, Peter Cressy, Ed Bilous, Mary Rowell and Brian Shankar Adler. Thanks also to Philip Blackburn and Innova Recordings, and to David Cossin, Mick Rossi, Ryan Streber, and Matthew Monk. And thank you to all the extraordinary musicians who played on this album.

    And finally, everlasting thanks to Penny Wang Baitz. This album is dedicated to you.

    Innova Director: Philip Blackburn?Operations Director: Chris Campbell?Publicist: Tim Igel
    Innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
  • richardmitnick 9:37 PM on May 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Percussion,   

    From New Music USA: Brevard Music Center – Sō Percussion 

    From New Music USA

    Brevard Music Center

    2
    Sō Percussion

    Program includes:

    Vijay Iyer TORQUE

    Caroline Shaw Taxidermy

    Donnacha Dennehy Broken Unison

    -int-

    Jason Treuting amid the noise

    Tuesday, July 10, 2018
    at 7:30 PM

    Ingram Auditorium at Brevard College
    1 Brevard College Dr
    Brevard, NC 28712

    $12—28
    Tickets

    Our Mission:

    Sō Percussion is a percussion-based music organization that creates and presents new collaborative works to adventurous and curious audiences and educational initiatives to engaged students, while providing meaningful service to its communities, in order to exemplify the power of music to unite people and forge deep social bonds.

    Ensemble Bio:

    Sō is: Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting

    With innovative multi-genre original productions, sensational interpretations of modern classics, and an “exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam,” (The New Yorker), Sō Percussion has redefined the scope and vital role of the modern percussion ensemble.

    Sō’s repertoire ranges from “classics” of the 20th century, by John Cage, Steve Reich, and Iannis Xenakis, et al, to commissioning and advocating works by contemporary composers such as Caroline Shaw, David Lang, Steve Mackey, and Paul Lansky, to distinctively modern collaborations with artists who work outside the classical concert hall, including vocalist Shara Nova, electronic duo Matmos, the groundbreaking Dan Deacon, legendary drummer Bobby Previte, jam band kings Medeski, Martin, and Wood, Wilco’s Glenn Kotche, choreographer Shen Wei, and composer and leader of The National, Bryce Dessner, among many others.

    Sō Percussion also composes and performs their own works, ranging from standard concert pieces to immersive multi-genre programs – including Imaginary City, Where (we) Live, and A Gun Show (BAM 2016 Next Wave Festival). In these concert-length programs, Sō Percussion employs a distinctively 21st century synthesis of original music, artistic collaboration, theatrical production values and visual art.

    In the current season, Sō performs the New York premiere of David Lang’s man made with Louis Langrée and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra; tours a new work by Caroline Shaw with Dawn Upshaw and Gil Kalish to the Kennedy Center, San Francisco Performances, UCLA, Penn State, and elsewhere; returns to Carnegie Hall with the JACK Quartet in a program of new works by Donnacha Dennehy and Dan Trueman; tours the United Kingdon with its original production exploring the community and culture of English coal mining country, From Out a Darker Sea; and more.

    Recent highlights include an acclaimed Trilogy portrait at the Lincoln Center Festival; appearances at Bonnaroo, the Eaux Claires Festival, MassMoCA, and TED 2016; international tours to Poland and Ireland; performances of man made with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil; Bryce Dessner’s Music for Wood and Strings at the Barbican in London; and an original score for a live performance and broadcast of WNYC’s Radiolab with Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich at BAM.

    Rooted in the belief that music is an essential facet of human life, a social bond, and an effective tool in creating agency and citizenship, Sō Percussion enthusiastically pursues a growing range of social and community outreach. Examples include their Brooklyn Bound presentations of younger composers; commitments to purchasing offsets to compensate for carbon-heavy activities such as touring travel; and leading their SōSI students in an annual food-packing drive, yielding up to 25,000 meals, for the Crisis Center of Mercer County.

    Sō Percussion is the Edward T. Cone Ensemble-in-Residence at Princeton University. They are also Co-Directors of the percussion department at the Bard College-Conservatory of Music, and run the annual Sō Percussion Summer Institute (SōSI, now in its tenth year), providing college-age composers and percussionists an immersive exposure to collaboration and project development.

    neither Anvil nor Pulley

    Dan Trueman’s neither Anvil nor Pulley performed by So Percussion.

    So Percussion’s ‘Where (we) Live’ – world premiere at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Joined by singer/guitarist Grey McMurray, choreographer Emily Johnson, video artist Martin Schmidt, director Ain Gordon, and artist Kate Farstad.

    It Is Time
    Steve Mackey’s It Is Time’ performed by So Percussion.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    At New Music USA, we see ourselves first and foremost as advocates. Our mission is to support and promote new music created in the United States. We do that in many ways, fostering connections, deepening knowledge, encouraging appreciation, and providing financial support. In recognition of the possibility and power inherent in the virtual world, we’ve worked to build a strong internet platform to serve our constituency. And that constituency is broad and diverse, from composers and performers to presenters and producers, casual listeners to die-hard fans. We’re truly committed to serving the WHOLE new music community.

    As we go about our work, we make a point of not defining too precisely what we mean by new music. To define is to limit. It’s a spectacular time for musical creativity in part because so much music is being made that isn’t bound by conventional limitations of style or genre or background. The music that we hear being created in such abundance all around us is definition enough. We simply want it to flourish.

    We’re fortunate to have as our legacy the history of previous decades of good works done by the American Music Center and Meet The Composer, the two great organizations that merged to form us in 2011. Their legacies have also brought a small financial endowment that mostly helps support our grantmaking. But we’re not a foundation. We depend decisively each year on the generosity of so many institutions and individuals around the country who are dedicated as we are to the advancement of new music and are devoted to supporting our work.

    New Music USA is part of an international community of advocates for the arts. We’re members of the Performing Arts Alliance, the International Association of Music Information Centres, and the International Society for Contemporary Music. Those partnerships help us represent the interests of our constituents at every level.

    No matter how far ranging our networks, our focus is always solidly on what brings these many constituents and communities together in the first place: the music. When someone uses our platform to listen to something new, recommend a favorite to a friend, or to seek financial assistance or information to support the creation or performance of new work, the whole community is strengthened. Together we’re helping new music reach new ears every day.
    Our Vision

    We envision in the United States a thriving, interconnected new music community that is available to and impactful for a broad constituency of people.
    Our Mission

    New Music USA supports and promotes new music created in the United States. We use the power of virtual networks and people to foster connection, deepen knowledge, encourage appreciation, and provide financial support for a diverse constituency of practitioners and appreciators, both within the United States and beyond.
    Our Values

    We believe in the fundamental importance of creative artists and their work.
    We espouse a broad, inclusive understanding of the term “new music.”
    We uphold and embrace principles of inclusivity and equitable treatment in all of our activity and across our nation’s broadly diverse population in terms of gender, race, age, location, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status and artistic practice.

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
%d bloggers like this: