James Ilgenfritz is a bass player and composer who has been living in New York City since 2003. He is also one of the first musicians that I met and played with upon my arrival. He has worked closely with Lukas Ligeti, Elliott Sharp, Anne Gosfield and more. Since his move to New York he has also been incredibly active as a curator and organizer. For this talk, we go back to the first few years in New York, as well as the challenges that James faced from 2008-2013, his newest work with his label Infrequent Seams and much much more.
Aaron Siegel was born in Maryland, educated in Michigan and has been living in New York City since 2001. He has studied with Alvin Lucier, Ron Kuivila, Anthony Braxton and Bunita Marcus among others. In addition to composing and leading his own ensembles, since 2011, he has co-lead Experiments In Opera, with whom he has produced over 30 new operatic works since its founding in 2011. Aaron is a multi-faceted composer/performer, a unique individual and great guy.
Based in New York, Tim Berne is a prolific band leader and saxophonist who has been a central figure in the city's creative jazz scene for over forty years. Since the very beginning, his work has been marked by intense creativity, soulfulness and a dogged spirit of independence. Among the many bands that he has lead over the years are Blood Count, Hard Cell, Paraphrase, Big Satan and others. On a recent Saturday, during an intense snow storm, I visited Tim at his home in Brooklyn, where we discussed his personal history, the current state of the NY jazz scene, his two new releases on Screwgun Records and a whole lot more. As an added bonus, today's episode features a twenty five minute mini episode with pianist Matt Mitchell, discussing his new recording of interpretations of Tim Berne tunes for solo piano.
Originally from the Bay Area, Miya Masaoka is a multi-faceted composer/performer who has been making a mark on the international music scene for the past three decades. Her main instrument is the koto and her work sits comfortably at the intersection of composition and improvisation, instrumental virtuosity and technological investigations. She has worked closely with Bang On a Can, Zeena Parkins, Pamela Z and Larry Ochs, among many others. She is a true original and I am delighted to share this conversation.
For our 100th episode we get into it with guitarist, writer, college professor, David Grubbs. David is a veteran of bands Gastr del Sol, the Red Krayola and Bastro. He has worked with Pauline Oliveros, Tony Conrad, Nate Wooley and many more. In addition to his musical output, he is a published author and is a tenured professor at Brooklyn College. For this talk, David takes me back to his early days in Louisville, his time in Chicago in the 90s, his work as an educator and the process of writing his new book.
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.