I was so honored to have been invited by France Musique to do a special concert that truly encompassed almost the entire totality of my musical universe. If you missed the live broadcast you can stream it here. I was joined by an all star cast of some of France’s greatest musical talents including Bojan Z, Vincent Peirani, Henri Texier, Manu Codjia, the Anakronic Electro Orkestra, le Quatuor Habanera, le Quatuor Ellipse and the iconic singer Catherine Ringer. It was an incredible evening of fantastic collaborations! Hope you can check it out!
I’ve always taken great pride in being fiercely independent, so when I found out about my Grammy nomination I was pleasantly surprised and of course deeply honored. As a nominee I found myself in the company of some of the most incredibly gifted people making music on the planet and it certainly felt great to be recognized by such a venerable institution in this way. But more importantly, the CD that brought me the nomination in the Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance category, “Dreams and Prayers,” represents a long journey for me. It began in 1996 when I recorded Osvaldo Golijov’s monumental composition “The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind” with the Kronos Quartet. Subsequently the piece was expanded into a version for string orchestra and clarinet, which I have had the opportunity to perform as soloist with orchestras around the world. The story continues when I was approached a couple of years ago by a group of young, idealistic musicians who had created an amazing conductor-less chamber orchestra called A Far Cry. They asked me to join them in making the first recording of the orchestral version of “Isaac the Blind” as part of a concept album for […]
The very first time I saw John Zorn was at a show he was doing at the Squat Theater on 23rd Street in New York City. It must have been around 1979 or ’80. My friend Anthony Coleman and I were on one of our epic wanders around town that we had been doing since we were teenagers together at the High School of Music and Art in the early 1970s. At one point we “found ourselves” on 23rd Street. Anthony would never tell me where we were going, but there was always a plan. Somehow (so it seemed) we just “ended up” at the Squat Theater that evening. But actually at the time Anthony was just starting to perform with Zorn, and I think they also had a day job together at the Soho Music Gallery record store. So in fact there was nothing random at all about us being there that night. The show was fascinating. I imagine it was Cobra, but I can’t remember. All I knew was that it seemed very underground and extremely esoteric to me in that very bare-bones setting. Maybe there were 20-30 people in the audience tops, but in any case my memory […]
Anyone who knows me or my music knows that I’ve been obsessed with Sidney Bechet since I was eleven years old. I consider him to be my teacher who I never met and find his music and life story endlessly fascinating. In terms of my own work, when I first started improvising I knew that if I was going to use the Bechet influence in my own music I didn’t want to simply copy, cover tunes or re-create what Sidney did so eloquently and perfectly. That just wouldn’t have made any sense. Plus I didn’t feel that this approach would have moved me in the direction of doing something new and different. I was very much aware of the experience that the wonderful jazz clarinetist Bob Wilbur had when he studied with Bechet in the 1940s. Wilbur of course came under the sway of the great master, but then needed many years to find a way to move beyond simply copying Bechet and be able to find his own voice. That seemed like an extremely difficult (and possibly painful) process for him. With that in mind (plus a strong penchant from an early age for doing things my own way), […]