Click here to [close]

Ballister: Dave Rempis (s), Paal Nilssen-Love (d), Fred Lonberg-Holm (c)

W71 in Weikersheim, Germany. March 2024.

Chris Corsano (d), Kelsey Mines (b & voice), Casey Adams (d)

Casa del Xolo, 1/16/2024, Seattle, WA. (pic: Gregg Miller)

Absolutely Sweet Marie: Alexander Beierbach (s), Anke Lucks (tb), Steffen Faul (tp), Gerhard Gschlößl (Tu), Lucia Martinez (d)

Panda Theater, 12/2023, Berlin

Dead Leaf Butterfly: Els Vandeweyer (v), Maike Hilbig (b), Lucía Martínez (d), Lina Allemano (t)

Jazzwerkstatt, 12/2023, Berlin

Han-earl Park (g), Camila Nebbia (s), Yorgos Dimitriadis (d)

Morphine Raum, 12/2023, Berlin

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Amalie Dahl/Henrik Sandstad Dalen/Jomar Jeppsson Søvik- Live in Europe (Nice Thing Records, 2024)

By Martin Schray

Free jazz trios consisting of saxophone, bass and drums have a hard time these days, because - let’s be honest - the paths on which they travel are largely explored: whether it’s classic free jazz like that of Alberts Ayler’s legendary Spiritual Unity Trio, which revolutionized the genre for this line-up, the finely chiseled playing of the Evan Parker Trio, David S. Ware’s trio with William Parker and Warren Smith, which combines tradition with modernity, Peter Brötzmann’s various projects, most of which used an iconoclastic philosophy and influenced newer trios such as The Thing and Ballister - detecting something new with this line-up is almost impossible. But Amalie Dahl (alto saxophone), Henrik Sandstad Dalen (double bass) and Jomar Jeppsson Søvik (drums) actually succeed in finding something at least slightly different. Their approach is diametrically opposed to power trios such as those of Brötzmann, Rempis and Gustafsson (which are mentioned above), because they don’t rely on energy and don’t accelerate non-stop. Instead, they remain consistently on the brakes. Like a minimalist painter, they sometimes add a splash of color here, sometimes a brushstroke there. However, they always leave some space. Dahl plays ballad-like lines, but the results aren’t truly ballads, because the bass and drums pursue completely different interests. The same applies to the moments when she tries to break out. Sandstad Dalen and Jeppsson Søvik never lose their nerve and maintain their line, which is particularly true of the bassist. The trio continuously creates tension potentials, but the energy of the process is constantly kept in check, no fires explode, the flame is always low, yet dangerously concentrated. The improvisation appears as a momentum of radical limitation, its purpose is self-imposed reduction, which his why the fusion reactor seems to be on the verge of bursting. Rarely has chamber music sensibility been so concentrated and energetic.

This mainly goes for the first part of this album, which is simply entitled “Prague, March 8, 2023“. The second part, “Brussels, March 10, 2023“, then lets the reins slip a little and the tempo increases. Again, bass and drums are primarily responsible for this. They even provide hints of a groove and allow Dahl to gallop off in some places. In these moments the saxophonist shows her full potential of expressive possibilities, from clicking noises to fragmented wails and overblown howls. But here, too, the charm lies in the detail, in the nuances that make the music spin like it was in a high-speed particle accelerator.

Live in Europe is like a large-scale camouflage, many things are not as they seem. Turns are made, the listeners are lured onto false trails. In any case, we are dealing with musicians here who you have to keep an eye on. Absolutely exciting.

The album is available as a download. You can buy and listen to Live in Europe here:

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Chad Fowler – Birdsong (Mahakala, 2024)

By Don Phipps

Complexity is at times its own virtue. And the music on Chad Fowler’s Birdsong certainly is complex. Take its instrumentation – Fowler on sax and bass flute, Shanyse Strickland on French horn, flute and vocals, Sana Nagano on violin, Melanie Dyer on viola – and a standard rhythm section (Ken Filiano on bass and Aders Griffen on drums). French horn is most certainly rare in jazz and combined with the violin and viola lines, the result is a modern but uneasy interweaving of soulful bluesy jazz with abstract modern music.

Experimentation is a hallmark of modern free jazz. A willingness to take chances is certainly to be admired. But risk is always present that the experiment may not work out. And so it is with this album, where Fowler achieves uneven results from his unusual selection of voicings, bandmates, and compositions.

Fowler pens only two of the numbers on Birdsong. Three more are composed by Griffen (there are two takes of Griffen’s composition “Good and Tomorrow”). The remaining three are group improvisations. Each of the numbers allow Fowler to generate heat – abstract, bluesy, soulful heat – and this atop a string section, whose lines seem to reflect a mix of idioms – think Charles Ives meets Duke Ellington.

Strickland’s French horn solo on the opening number “Traditional Funeral Dance” bellows and blats precise articulation, but the piece doesn’t find its footing until Fowler’s powerful sax exhortations take over.

Griffen’s Ellingtonian “Out of Town,” meanders along like a slow barge on the Mississippi. And the two versions of his tune “Good and Tomorrow” explore a gentle sprawling phrase, with strings and a swooping bowed bass line. In Take Two” of this piece, Fowler enters with a bluesy soulful line which accelerates before returning to the gentle sprawl. Strickland offers up long legato French horn phrases while Filiano plucks and twists bass notes beneath. And it’s a joy to hear Fowler harmonize with Nagano’s violin near the end. Likewise, “Take One” uses the same gentle sprawling theme, but in this version, there’s a kind of remote grandness– as if gazing at an urban landscape from a vantage point across a river – the orange sun bathing the buildings in dark and light. Fowler’s solo is lighter here, while Filiano bows beneath.

Fowler certainly exhibits command of the saxophone. On the group improvisation “Theme for Someone I Probably Wouldn't Like,” Fowler cuts loose with strong blows atop the string section. And his and Strickland’s duet on “Crossing the River” has a Zen quality. Perhaps the most interesting song is Griffen’s “N-Beam,” which highlights his animated and fluid drumming and Filiano’s energetic bass. Fowler adds an elated running solo as the piece skips happily along.

The group certainly challenges itself on the improvisation “Turnoutbreak,” but the odd Strickland vocals actually seem to work against the flow of the piece, with its exciting and tumbling lines. Fowler’s talent is obvious – for example, the solo he delivers on “Turnoutbreak” sparkles. But overall, the mix of tunes, the odd instrumentation, and a juxtaposition of jarring and gentle phrases within a few of the numbers seem problematic. The music might have been more compelling if the arrangements weren’t so dense, allowing individual contributions to stand out more. As the liner notes state: “This diverse ensemble is made up of musicians with unique origins and backgrounds and a few of them were meeting for the first time.” Notwithstanding the group’s talent, Birdsong proves that making significant music while learning what makes each musician tick is a challenging task.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Christoph Gallio – Sunday Interview

© Beat Streuli, Zürich 2013

  1. What is your greatest joy in improvised music?

    The greatest joy is that you can move freely musically - without taboos and restrictions that could come from outside. The freedom also becomes greater and greater - it grows with experience.

  2. What quality do you most admire in the musicians you perform with?

    That's her ability, her musicality - her flexibility but also her humanity...we have to understand each other - I don't mean that we think the same or something - but a basic trust has to be there for me...I have to be an accomplice in certain moments...

  3. Which historical musician/composer do you admire the most?

    That's a difficult question...it's less about admiration - more about recognition of an artistic achievement or position...there are many musicians and composers who I think are very good and who definitely have the potential to inspire me...;-)...

  4. If you could resurrect a musician to perform with, who would it be?

    Urs Voerkel

  5. What would you still like to achieve musically in your life?

    More freedom!

  6. Are you interested in popular music and - if yes - what music/artist do you particularly like

    Yes, I've always been interested in pop music! I like a lot of it! I have CDs and LPs lying around from the following artists: Patty Davis, Jimi Hendrix, The Meters, Wetleg, Geese, Black Midi, Brian Eno, Nadine Shah, Joan as a police woman, St. Vincent, Yoko Ono, Joni Mitchell, The Slits, Unknown Mix, Fela Kuti, Talking Heads....

  7. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

    My impatience

  8. Which of your albums are you most proud of?

    Well, there's no album that I couldn't stand more...I think everything is pretty good, quite immodestly. I recently listened to one of my first releases. I wanted to check the validity, see if this position and aesthetic was still right for me. I was pleasantly surprised! It's Christoph Gallio // certainty sympathy (1988)...

  9. Once an album of yours is released, do you still listen to it? And how often?

    No, very rarely. I'm not one of those people who first introduce a guest to their latest record...;-)...I often have trouble listening to myself. In retrospect. Sure, when I'm editing I'm forced to listen to myself and everyone else .... until I can't hear it anymore.

  10. Which album (from any musician) have you listened to the most in your life?

    It sounds cheesy, but I think it's Coltrane Love Supreme - a masterpiece in itself!

  11. What are you listening to at the moment?

    The above pop productions and new music from the late 60s: Cardew, Berio, Kagel, Ferrari, Alois Zimmermann, Lutoslawski, Schnebel, Holliger, Brown, Cage, Stockhausen...also a lot of jazz too…

  12. What artist outside music inspires you?

    Art! The whole Fluxus scene, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, Vallotton, Silvia Bächli, Dieter Roth, Fischli/Weiss, Thomas Schütte, Alex Katz, Friedrich Kuhn, Muz Zeier, woodcuts (Japanese from the Edo period, but also from turn-of-the-century Europe)...and many more!

    But also poetry: Gertrude Stein, Friederike Mayröcker, Paul Celan, Robert Filliou etc.

Recordings by Christoph Gallio reviewed on the Free Jazz Blog:

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Bill McBirnie - Reflections (for Paul Horn) (EF, 2024)

By Don Phipps

A Japanese Zen rock garden is majestic in its own right. The stones, manicured and ordered yet free and flowing, seem to reflect a cosmic calendar where infinite time can be experienced within the confines of bounded space.

In the 60s, New York born Paul Horn, a jazz flutist noted for his contribution to the “cool jazz” movement (a movement ushered in by Miles Davis and his album “Birth of the Cool” and which reached its musical apex with the classic and much-beloved Davis album “Kind of Blue”), began to explore transcendental meditation. He was joined in these explorations by the Beatles, among other rock notables of the period. Horn decided to take his flute to India with the goal to recreate meditation within music. Thus was created the unique and recommended 1968 album “Inside,” where Horn used the actual Taj Mahal as a studio! Interestingly, he later recorded inside the Great Pyramid at Giza, the Kazamieras cathedral in Lithuania, and in the magnificent Monument Valley (with the excellent Native American flautist R Carlos Nakai).

Horn’s gentle yet profound music has been reborn in Bill McBirnie’s album Reflections (for Paul Horn). McBirnie uses Horn’s free form and unstructured improvisational technique to create music of innate beauty – with an intrinsic quality that seems to exist outside of time. Think of light appearing and disappearing through branches swaying in the wind on a sunny afternoon. McBirnie’s flute captures this fluid languid motion while simultaneously retaining the serenity of a Zen garden.

McBirnie uses cascades of notes, running up and down the flute registers, and combines this with short staccato phrases and silent spaces. One can certainly embrace the peaceful breathing on the title cut “Reflections.” It’s like waking up in a verdant and fragrant forest. Or the dreamy “Masada Sunrise,” which brings to mind Monet’s 250 water lily paintings, and the stunning variations they reveal of a pond at different times of day and different seasons. Or take “Kitten & Moth,” and its impressionistic playfulness. And with “Monk’s Strut,” McBirnie even honors Horn’s cool period. One can envision a smiling Thelonious listening to the skipping happy pace.

Recorded at his own studio, McBurnie writes in his liner notes, that “Paul Horn is unquestionably the earliest, the strongest and the most enduring of all my influences on this instrument, regardless of idiom.” Those who believe jazz can explore an inner voice will do well to experience McBirnie’s reflections.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Science Friction - No Tamales on Wednesday (Screwgun, 2024)

By Gary Chapin

I feel shallow sometimes about how strongly I react to the timbre of things. Like, forget the ideas or the improvisation or the composition, sometimes just the sound gets me. The first notes on No Tamales on Wednesday are from Craig Taborn’s electric piano and those sounds brought a smile to my face and wave of associations. “Oh, yeah,” I thought, “We’re going to get some of that!”

No Tamales on Wednesday is an archival concert recording coming from one of my absolute favorite periods of Berne’s work. Science Friction features Berne, Tom Rainey on drums, Marc Ducret on guitar, and Craig Taborn on keys. It was recorded somewhere by someone in 2008, and is a very counterpointy set of pieces. It’s not technically counterpoint, of course, but you can definitely see sunlight between all the pieces. There is space.

Rainey plays as melodically as I’ve ever heard. Berne is an unending font of song. And Ducret does Ducret. He’s always been an utterly unique specimen, playing not in washes or broad strokes, but in particulate, jangle-i-fied abandon. Again, the melodies he comes up with! And then Craig Taborn. Kind of a magician. He opens the record and then infuses the whole proceedings with levitation throughout.

The tunes are expansive Berne works, many heard in other settings. At a listening party on Bandcamp, Berne pointed out that most of this material showed up later played by his Snakeoil team, and the tune “Adobe Probe,” has been heard before on the album of the same name. It’s all knotty composition that doesn’t end where it starts, and sometimes you don’t even know how you got there from here. A wonderful mystery solved by improvisation.

Available on Bandcamp: https://screwgunrecords.bandcamp.com/album/no-tamales-on-wednesday

 

 

Thursday, April 11, 2024

New Old Luten Trio - Something New, Something Renewed

New Old Luten Trio - Trident Juncture (Euphorium, 2023)



Leipzig based pianist Oliver Schwerdt, along with Berlin based drummer Christian Lillinger, have been over several years developing a series of recordings based on encounters with legends of the avant-garde. Most recently, the two worked with Japanese saxophonist Akira Sakata in what was named the Great Sakata Project. Prior to this was an intense pairing with the late Peter Brötzmann that resulted in some impressive recordings. The precursor, however, was their wonderful and uncanny connection with German woodwindist Ernst Ludwig Petrowsky - the Luten of the New Old Luten Trio.

The music on Trident Juncture, Schwerdt's recent release of the New Old Luten Trio's music, was pulled from their last concert at Leipzig's naTo club in 2016. This date also happens to be the bittersweet occasion of Petrowsky's last appearance before he became too ill to perform.

The album's main track, 'Trident Juncture,' ebbs and flows generously for an hour. Starting with the precise clatter of Lillinger's drums, Schwerdt and Petrowsky join seconds later with abrupt musical statements. A cluster of notes from the piano, a smeared note from the saxophone and they are off and running. The rules of interactions have been long agreed upon by the trio, so there is no need for exploratory playing and testing of the perimeters, rather as the drums begin to splinter the pulse, the energy erupts in colorful chord tones and shredding melodic statements.

The music is hardly one dimensional. Contrasting with the fierce, free interactions are moments of reflective playing. For example, around 10-minutes in, the piano has been swapped out for some 'small instruments' out and Petrowsky engages in an abstract passage with Lillinger, who, while keeping the structure of time, seems to be defying it at the same time. The saxophonist's tone is yearning, it is melodic, but also at times confrontational. This fascinating section lasts nearly fifteen minutes until Schwerdt returns to the piano with a passage that shifts the energy in a whole new direction.

The celebrated saxophonist passed away in 2023 (See: Ernst-Ludwig (“Luten“) Petrowsky (1933 – 2023)), so, any chance to hear a new recording is welcome, and this final set is an exemplary addition to a storied catalog.


New Old Luten Trio - Wild Flower Juice (Euphorium Records, 2008/2023)


On the occasion of Trident Juncture's release, Schwerdt has re-released the trio's very first meeting from 2008, also recorded at Club naTo in Leipzig. At the time of the release, it was given a rather unfortunate name that has been rethought and now appears as Wild Flower Juice on Schwerdt's Euphorium Records Bandcamp site. (Just FYI, Schwerdt has a tendency to use pseudonyms and on this recording is listed as Elan Pauer). 

Made when Petrowsky was 75 and both Lillinger and Schwerdt were still larvea (ok, they weren't all that young, I'm obviously exaggerating for effect), the recording offers clear evidence that age is an unreliable indicator of artistic vigor. Petrowsky is a fountain of youthful energy, provoking and reacting, sparring with the other two at an infectiously creative level. From the opening statement of 'Vitalisierende Gesichtscreme' (Vitalizing Face Cream) to the closing moments of 'Wild Flower Juice' there is a freshness and vitality to Petrowsky's playing and a palpable rapport between him and the younger players.

Simply put, Trident Juncture and Wild Flower Juice are two wonderful recordings that bookend the excellent New Old Luten Project series, which featured Schwerdt, Lillinger and Petrowsky in trio, quintet and septet formations.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Antistatic – Relics (Cuneiform Records, 2024)

By Guido Montegrandi

Cuneiform record is celebrating its 40th year with an impressive series of releases and Relics by Antistatic is no exception.

This is the first full length work that the Copenhagen-based band has released, and the result is quite powerful. Though the line up of the band - two guitars, bass and drums- could lead into rock-something territories, the percussive style that characterizes the four musicians has its roots in the minimalist experience and also in the post-industrial soundscape. “Our music wouldn’t have been made if it hadn’t been for drum machines, or industrial machines in general,” says guitarist Laust Moltesen Andreassen in an interview contained in the press release. It is worth noting, however, that the band do not use any kind of drum-machine or looper in developing their intricate repetitive patterns. Guitarist, Mads Ulrich observes: “To me, the act of physically repeating all of these parts and rhythms instead of using loopers or other sorts of machines is a sort of meditation. It’s keeping body and mind active enough that thoughts just kind of disappear... It’s about having time to enter a kind of meditative, trance-like state while playing” (again, from the press release interview).

The first piece 'Angels vs Peasants' introduces the listener into the mood of the work - again Mads Ulrich: “We think we’re creating a logic in a composition just by repeating stuff, It’s quite common throughout our songs—and that draws a thread back to the ‘classical’ vibe of composers like Steve Reich and compositions that are just purely about repetition, or about some kind of simple rhythm.” (once more from the press release interview). The instruments find a common voice and a texture that develops throughout the piece into different sections of interweaving rhythms.

As the work develops, the focus remains on carefully planned rhythmic textures with every musician contributing seamlessly to the final effect, it is all about sharing and the result leaves space to a variety of solutions and atmospheres that make listening to this music a pleasure. 'Hive I and Hive II' are based on the same rhythmic pattern but represent very different approaches - dry and essential 'Hive I' - energetic and rocking 'Hive II.' The title track 'Relics,' in its different sections, sums up the attitude of the band producing a many-sided sonic itinerary.

Definitely not free jazz or improvised music but creative music nonetheless and absolutely worth listening.

The booklet associated to this work, apart from the usual photos of the band, includes nine black and white pictures associated to each track that further enhances the link with minimalism and makes the listening suggestions even more stimulating. Something for the eye too.

You can buy and download it on bandcamp

And you can also watch two live sessions (without public) on Youtube:

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Christoph Gallio, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders – Live at Café Oto London (ezz-thetics, 2023)

By Nick Ostrum

Recorded live December 18, 2022, Live at Café Oto London is one of those live masterpieces. I am sure any night this trio played would be enrapturing. This one, however, just sounds special. It starts with energy. Christoph Gallio barks fat alto lines (evoking Brötzmann and late Coltrane albeit on a different horn) over the churning thrum that drummer Mark Sanders and bassist Dominic Lash lay beneath him, steeped in the free improv tradition that implies rhythm but only by abandoning it for sound on sound on sound. Then, space opens and things get really abstract. (Lash, for his part, has had one foot in minimalism as long as he has had one in free jazz.) The trio then lets this opening ride for a bit, adding some embellishing scrapes and rummaging, as Sanders and Lash take over.

Gallio rejoins, or at least steps to the front, in the second track, 'Wildlife-Part 2,' a continuation rather than clean break from 'Wildlife – Part 1.'  The energy and pluck are still there, though Gallio extends his notes just a little longer and Lash switches to arco. Sanders plays a little more quietly, but still with that cluttered clatter. 'Wildlife – Part 3' is the departure. This has more space, and a long droning bass backbone at first, but eventually falls into that the dexterous clunk and angularity that introduces the album. The two parts of Homelife meditate on a soft folky rhythm, harkening back to that Sonny-Rollins-on-a-bridge tradition, but with more haze, distortion and serration. Then, things start to build. Then, they tumble.

Live at Café Otois exceptional. It is some of the best tensile scorched-earth, time-warp 60s-rooted free improv that I have hear for a long while. This is all the more impressive given the intergenerational line-up, which pulls from a range of aesthetic backgrounds yet coheres around the same gravitational enter. Despite its many detours and divergences over the last half century, that center, that vivacious tradition of harnessing and directing force away from melody, harmony, tonalism, and be-bop plaiting, a style that braces the crag and stumble as a form in itself, is alive and well.

Live at Café Oto London is available as a digital download from Bandcamp and as a CD from choice music stores around the world. Take your pick.

Monday, April 8, 2024

Matthew Shipp Trio - New Concepts In Piano Trio Jazz (ESP-Disk’, 2024)

By Lee Rice Epstein

Almost certainly, every review of this album will gesture in some way towards the title, it’s both too easily referenced and too validly applicable. I spent the past several weeks primarily listening Matthew Shipp Trio music, almost exclusively featuring the current lineup of Shipp, bassist Michael Bisio, and drummer Newman Taylor Baker. New Concepts In Piano Trio Jazz is, arguably, the finest thus far of the seven albums they’ve recorded together. This has been a gradual journey, where each album builds upon the developing relationship between the three players, and the depth and richness of their improvisation expands noticeably.

The first few albums together were all fantastic, and 2020's The Unidentifiable took the trio to the stratosphere. Something around fall of 2019, when that session was recorded, just brought everyone to a stellar level, like a change in the atmosphere, a deeper understanding of the unified self. Coming off their session with Nicole Mitchell (documented in Singularity Codex, Clifford Allen's masterful book on Shipp's RogueArt catalog), the trio seemed to find a heightened awareness of each other in space and sound. The following album, World Construct, built on this evolving state of being. Now, on their newest album, the group presents what seems like the fiercest, most driving statement to date.

In eight improvisations, spread across 45 minutes, Shipp, Bisio, and Baker play with a distinctly modernist approach. There’s always been something of a Stein-ian or Woolf-ish aspect to Shipp’s music, and this is more apparent than ever on New Concepts In Piano Trio Jazz, where signs and symbols (in the form of phrases and clusters) are restated, sometimes refracted, and often echoed through Bisio’s bass and Baker’s percussive drumming. It’s a bold and emotionally riveting piano trio album, surely one of the finest you’ll hear all year.

Available on Bandcamp

You can also now purchase Matthew Shipp's entire ESP-Disk' catalog for a discounted rate here.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Matt Mitchell - Sunday Interview


Photo by Peter Gannushkin

  1. What is your greatest joy in improvised music?

    Perceiving the music as it flows past in time, feeling connected, whatever that may consist of in context.

  2. What quality do you most admire in the musicians you perform with?

    I value most when musicians exhibit singular focus, resulting from intense and continued study, to achieve something new.

  3. Which historical musician/composer do you admire the most?

    Way too many. Xenakis, Cecil Taylor, Zappa, Miles. Bach, Chopin, Scriabin. Duke Ellington. Morton Feldman. Monk. Stravinsky. Sun Ra. Also, deep admiration is probably a prerequisite when voluntarily studying someone. Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett. Andrew Hill.

  4. If you could resurrect a musician to perform with, who would it be?

    I’d rather frame it as getting to play with them when they were still alive but I’m “still me”. Eric Dolphy, Sam Rivers, Joe Henderson, Tony Williams, Tony Oxley. Richard Davis, Gary Peacock. Derek Bailey would have been a hoot. I feel like I’d have done well in Zappa’s band. Wayne Shorter is probably an obvious choice but he was never less than goosebumps-inducing and being in the midst of that would have been something.

  5. What would you still like to achieve musically in your life?

    Lots of things - continuing the search for new forms and sounds, maximizing what is possible for me to do in my waking hours.

  6. Are you interested in popular music and - if yes - what music/artist do you particularly like?

    Music often doesn’t do well when money dictates the content even a tiny bit, which in one sense is the definition of pop music - music where financial viability is part of the goal. But there is tons of pop/rock/soul/ music from the 60s to the present which I love. Metal and punk probably count as a special case since they originally had their popular/populist elements but continue today in the more underground sense, which is where most exploration of new things occurs. But creatively done music in these all these veins abounds and always has. Today’s actual *pop music* is mostly dire, though.

    I’d say Prince is an artist who was pretty expert at being supremely popular and incredibly creative for a very long time. I love his music.

  7. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

    An achievable thing, like “self-improvement”, or science fiction level? It would be really cool have scores and recordings of the music I hear in my dreams, which is of course always music that my brain is improvising but doesn’t exist in waking life. Usually this is unbelievably involved music that is untranscribable. Of course sometimes dream music is really stupid too.

  8. Which of your albums are you most proud of?

    I am very proud of every single one of my records as a leader or co-leader, they all have achieved exactly what I hoped they would, in the macro- and micro- sense.

    That said, my I am exceedingly happy with my upcoming solo piano album Illimitable.

  9. Once an album of yours is released, do you still listen to it? And how often?

    I do, but not often. I’ll “check in” with an older album a little just to see how I still feel about this track or that.

  10. Which album (from any musician) have you listened to the most in your life?

    Really tough to say, this goes back to when I was 12. Probably something between these albums. These are albums that I feel a sort of “total recall” with when I hear them again, and they are all still complete masterpieces.

    Miles - Nefertiti, In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew
    Eric Dolphy - Out to Lunch
    Herbie Hancock - Thrust, Maiden Voyage, The Prisoner
    Jimi Hendrix - Axis, Bold as Love
    Keith Jarrett - Facing You
    Weather Report - Black Market, Heavy Weather, I Sing the Body Electric
    Stevie Wonder - Innervisions, Songs in the Key of Life
    Yes - Relayer

  11. What are you listening to at the moment?
    Sun City Girls, Gorge Trio, Angelwings Marmalade, Encenathrakh, Effluence, Vibrations Felt in the Void, Contagious Orgasm, Roland Kayn, David Lee Myers, Jim O’Rourke’s Steamroom series, Grant Evans, Chris Weisman.

  12. What artist outside music inspires you?

    John Ashbery, A.R. Ammons, Clark Coolidge, Wallace Stevens, Pynchon, Nabokov, Beckett, Donald Barthelme, James Joyce, Joyce Carol Oates, Thomas Ligotti, Laird Barron, Michael Cisco, Brian Evenson, Matthew Bartlett. Chris Onstad/Achewood.

Articles with Matt Mitchell on the Free Jazz Blog: