Melvin Gibbs is an extraordinary bass player who for the better part of the last four decades has been a key figure in the worlds of rock, jazz, funk and the New York avant-garde. An original member of the Black Rock Coalition and a veteran of bands led by Ronald Shannon Jackson, Sonny Sharrock, Henry Rollins and others, Melvin has led an incredibly varied and colorful career. Ahead of his appearance this Thursday at the 2019 Vision Festival, Melvin stopped by to talk about his new project the God Particle, a collaboration with physicist and musician Stephon Alexander.
Evan Parker is a living legend who in the past fifty years he has almost singlehandedly reinvented the language of the saxophone, presenting a world of sonic possibilities perviously unimagined. Born at the tail end of World War II in Bristol, England, his first musical interest was cool West Coast jazz but quickly found his way to Bird and Diz, and eventually Trane. Through constant work and solo concerts as well as longstanding relationships with improvisers like Paul Lytton, Barry Guy, Alex von Schlippenbach and Paul Lovens, Evan has established himself as one of the forefathers of European improvisation. Today’s conversation covers a lot of ground and it is an absolute honor to be able to present it here.
Born and raised in New York, bassist Nick McMaster has been an essential participant in the city’s avant metal scene for the past ten plus years. A member of both Krallice and Geryon, Nick has also contributed to Bloody Panda, Psalm Zero, Castevet. For today’s talk we cover a lot of ground, from the various strains of NYC metal, to living in Poland, different approaches to metal bass and a lot more.
With the 24th annual Vision Festival fast approaching it seemed like a good time to revisit one of the most popular episodes in the history of the 5049 Podcast, my conversation from 2013 with bass extraordinaire, philosopher, organizer and story teller, William Parker. As a bonus, included here is my second conversation with William from 2015 for Sound American, discussing the work of Don Cherry. Thank you to Nate Wooley and Sound American.
Saxophonist Ryan Muncy is at the forefront of new music, collaborating closely with many of today’s most cutting edge composers and ensembles. He received a Doctor of Music degree from Northwestern University in 2012 and has been a crucial member of many of today’s most important ensembles such as the International Contemporary Ensemble, Talea, Ensemble Dal Niente, Wet Ink and others. For today’s talk we get into it, discussing all matters sax and Ryan’s work for the past two decades.
James Plotkin is a legend of underground music. Active for the past three decades as a guitarist, composer, producer and mastering engineer, his influence across a broad range of adventurous music cannot be overstated. From his earliest days with Regurgitation to his participation in Khanate, one of the most influential metal bands of the last twenty years, James has been steadily contributing to the language of modern dark music. He is also a lynchpin of the 5049 label, having mastered all but one of our releases. For this talk we go back ton his earliest days in Jersey, hanging out with Morbid Angel as a teenager, making electronic music, mixing and mastering records and a whole lot more. James Plotkin is a first rate artist who deserves serious attention.
Nick Dunston is a talented young bass player who is quickly making a mark on the world of contemporary improvisation and jazz. Raised in New York and educated at the New School, he started at cello at age four and has been playing the bass since a teenager. Not yet out of college, he is already a member of bands led by Marc Ribot, Dave Douglas, Amirtha Kidambi and Tyshawn Sorey. In addition to being a naturally gifted musician, he is also a 2019 Van Lier fellow by way of Roulette Intermedium.
On the verge of releasing his first recording of chamber music, the best dude around, Trevor Dunn, returns to the podcast for a second go-round on the mics. Living in Brooklyn since 2000 Trevor has been a key figure in dozens of projects led by John Zorn, Mike Patton, Erik Friedlander, Kris Davis and many many more. Now at the age of 51, he is embarking on a series of releases of his own projects. For this talk we cover a lot of ground: being a sideman, compositional process, Ornette Coleman, film-scoring, the Fyre Festival and a lot lot more. It’s a good time to be a Trevor Dunn fan.
Chicago based composer/laptop improviser Sam Pluta has been developing a completely personal language for the better part of the past two decades. A professor at the University of Chicago, he has worked closely with Peter Evans, George Lewis, Jeff Snyder and Evan Parker. He is a member of the Wet Ink Ensemble and is a co-founder of Carrier Records. He’s also a really funny and likable guy and today’s talk is a good one.
Born in 1974, Alex Ward is a London based clarinetist and guitarist who got his start in free improvised music when he was eleven years old, playing with Derek Bailey. Over the years he’s worked closely with Steve Noble, Simon H. Fell, Weasel Walter, Pat Thomas and many others. In addition to being a gifted clarinetist, Alex is an accomplished guitarist who has been forging an idiosyncratic language all his own. Most recently he has been touring with This Is Not This Heat, which brought him over the States for a series of shows. Clarinet, guitar, London, improvisation and a whole lot more. Today is a good one!
For episode 200, we welcome young bass virtuoso, Henry Fraser, onto the show for lots of good talk about his first few years in New York, his work with the Anthony Coleman Trio, his ongoing collaboration with Sam Weinberg, starting to play electric bass in his twenties, Boston and a whole lot more. Henry is the man and you will be hearing from him for years to come. To kick things off, we go through six years of listener emails to which I am finally getting around to responding. EPISODE 200!!!!
Guitarist Alan Licht has been active across a broad range of activity in the wold of experimental music since the late 80s. Born and raised in Jersey, based in Brooklyn, Alan has been playing guitar since he was a teenager. He’s worked closely with Loren Connors, Lee Ranaldo, Jim O’Rourke and many others. He’s a published author and for many years was the booker for the legendary NYC club Tonic. Alan has stayed very busy over the years and has a perspective all his own, with a lot of stories to tell.
Producer/Sound Alchemist Raz Mesinai has been a vital force across several strains of the New York Underground since the late eighties. Active as a soundtrack composer, DJ, mix engineer, percussionist, educator and more, he’s released records on ROIR, Asphodel, Tzadik and more. Along with Scotty Hard, he started the Underground Producers Alliance, a consortium of creative producers offering courses in music production. This conversation was recorded in Raz’s studio in Brooklyn.
In the underground music scene of New York City, bassist, engineer, educator Kato Hideki is a most crucial participant. Before moving to New York City in 1992 Kato was an original member of Otomo Yoshihide’s Ground Zero. Since arriving in New York, he has worked closely with John Zorn, Ikue Mori, Eyvind Kang, Fred Frith, Marc Ribot and Zeena Parkins among many others. He was born and raised in Nagoya, Japan and has played on many of my favorite records to come out of New York in the last twenty five years. A great talk with a great guy.
Mariel Roberts is a cellist who in recent years has become an essential participant in the international contemporary musical community. Born and raised in Denver CO, she studied at the Manhattan School of Music and leads an incredibly colorful career as a first call interpreter of works by todays most vital composers. She has worked with virtually every ensemble in NYC and continues to push boundaries with a series of solo recordings that push the language of the cello to the edge of insanity. Mariel is a gem and a great conversationalist.
For the past two decades multi-instrumentalist Marcia Bassett has been at the forefront of the underground noise and improv scene. Since her early days with the band Un she has amassed a prolific output with her bands Hototogisu, GHQ, and Double Leopards as well as collaborations with Samara Lubelski, Barry Weisblat and Andrew Lafkas. Under the name Zaïmph, her long-running solo project, she has just released the gorgeous and ambitious double LP “Rhizomatic Gaze” on Drawing Room Records. Marcia is a true underground hero and is a pleasure to speak with.
Drummer/multi-instrumentalist Weasel Walter is an intense and formidable figure in the world of underground music. Active since 1991, he has been touring and recording non-stop, amassing a staggering discography along the way. His long list of collaborators include Damon Smith, Henry Kaiser, Lydia Lunch, Marc Edwards and many many more. Next month Weasel is releasing the first record by his band the Flying Luttenbachers in many years, before taking the new lineup to Europe. Since starting this podcast in 2013, I have received more requests to have Weasel on than any other artist. Here we are.
Eric Wubbels is a a New York based composer and pianist who for the past several years has been co-director of the world renowned Wet Ink Ensemble. His music is intense, meticulous and an utterly thrilling listening experience. Eric has been awarded grants and fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Chamber Music America, MATA Festival, Barlow Endowment, Jerome Foundation, New Music USA and others. He is a great cat with a lot of insight.
For episode 192 we are joined by Sarah Hennies, a percussionist and composer born and raised in Louisville KY, now living in Ithaca, NY. Her work is concerned with a variety of musical, sociopolitical, and psychological issues including queer & trans identity, love, intimacy, psychoacoustics, and percussion. She has performed around the world and her recent composition “Contralto” continues to see performances at a variety of venues and festivals including Bent Frequency (Atlanta), La Sobilla (Verona), Monday Evening Concerts (Los Angeles), MOCA Tucson, Time-Based Art (Portland, OR), and the Toronto International Film Festival’s Bell Lightbox Theatre. Sarah is as deep as they come and this is a good talk.