Born in New York and raised in San Francisco, Liberty Ellman is a wonderful guitarist who has been making a name for himself in contemporary jazz circles for the past twenty years. He has worked closely with an array of modern luminaries including Henry Threadgill, Vijay Iyer, Butch Morris and Tyshawn Sorey. In 2015 he released a new trio recording, his first nine years. For this talk Liberty takes me through his upbringing in a musical home, collaboration, working as a guitarist and much more. A good talk with a good guy.
Born and raised in Philadelphia and now based in Brooklyn, Matt Hollenberg is an extremely talented and inventive guitarist. He plays in the bands Cleric, John Zorn's Simulacrum and his newest project, Shardik. For this talk, Matt tells the history of Cleric, getting the opportunity to work with musical heroes and the importance of creating context for one's work. A good talk.
Brandon Lopez is my kind of dude. He's a young bass player, who attended the New England Conservatory and since 2013, has been living and gigging regularly in New York City. He's got a sick sense of humor and an even sicker musicianship to match. For this talk, we discuss his upbringing in a cemetery, his non-traditional musical education, new methods of musical distribution and a whole lot more. A good talk with a great cat, who you'll be hearing more from for years to come.
Steve Swell is a trombonist who has been living and working in New York City since 1975. A veteran of the bands of Bill Dixon, Cecil Taylor and William Parker, Steve has been forging a singular voice on the trombone and has become a crucial member of the Downtown scene in the last forty years. For this talk, we go back to his roots in New Jersey, New York in the 80s and talk about the current living/working conditions of the twenty first century musician in New York City.
Simon Hanes is a gifted and incredibly busy young musician, who has recently settled in Brooklyn. Since his time at the New England Conservatory, Simon has hit the ground running, helming several ambitious and wildly creative projects, such as Guerilla Toss and Trigger. His most recent project, Tredici Bacci, is a fourteen piece mini orchestra that pays homage to Italian soundtracks from the 1960s & 70s. Their newest record, "Amore Per Tutti", is available NNA Tapes and is a wildly creative and well executed recording, featuring guest vocals from Charlie Looker, JG Thirlwell and Jennifer Charles. For this episode, Simon talks the pleasures and pains of leading a fourteen piece band with a DIY aesthetic.
Greg Fox is a remarkable drummer, a hard worker with an open mind & heart, who spends equal amount of time in avant rock and metal bands as he does free improvising with some of New York's greatest musicians. As a member of Zs and Liturgy, among many others, he has played a crucial role in some of the most cutting edge music to emerge from the Brooklyn underground in the past ten years. For this talk, Greg and I discuss growing up in New York City, touring, 9/11, improvising, weed, Milford Graves and a whole lot in between. This is a good one.
Cellist Michael Nicolas, without exaggeration, exists at a level of musicianship that very few people ever get to. A former student of Fred Sherry and a graduate of Julliard, he has worked extensively in the past decade with the International Contemporary Ensemble, John Zorn, Third Sound and most recently, as the cellist for Brooklyn Rider. He just released his debut solo album "Transitions" on the Sono Luminus label, and starting December 13th, he will be in residence for six nights at the Stone in New York City. For this talk, Michael and I discuss his early years as a cellist, his entry into contemporary music, and more recently, his entry into the world of free improvisation.
Travis Laplante is an extremely focused and sincere tenor player who first moved to New York City to study jazz. Currently he splits his time between Brooklyn and southern Vermont, where he and his wife operate a qigong and acupuncture clinic called Sword Hands. For this talk, we go back to Travis' childhood in Vermont, learning to play the sax, starting his first band, Little Women, up to his current work with his quartet, Battle Trance. Travis is a great guy and I hope that you will enjoy this one.
Amirtha Kidambi is an utterly unique composer, vocalist, band leader and activist based in Queens, NY. Since moving to the city in 2009, she has collaborated with broad range of artists, including Darius Jones, Ben Vida, Robert Ashley, Charlie Looker and Matana Roberts. Her work blends influences of carnatic vocal music, experimental rock and free improvisation. Just last week, she released her first album as a leader, "Holy Science", on Northern Spy Records. For this talk, Amirtha and I go back to her first days in NYC, the long process of putting a band together and how one can use music to effect change.