Based in Brooklyn since 1994, Briggan Krauss is a saxophonist and composer whose work explores the sonic possibilities of his instrument in great detail. He's released several records under his own name, leading bands like 300 and H-Alpha. In addition to his solo and group projects, he's worked closely with a broad range of artists from Bill Frisell to Ikue Mori, Antony to Satoko Fuji, and is widely known for his contributions to Steven Bernstein's long-running Sex Mob. Most recently he has begun an extensive study of the electric guitar and has been releasing a series of solo saxophone recordings entitled "The Art of the Saxophone".
Theresa Wong is a Bay Area based cellist and composer. She has worked closely with Fred Frith, Ellen Fullman, Luciano Chessa, Annie Lewandowski, Chris Brown, Søren Kjærgaard and many others. Her work skillfully incorporates improvisation, movement, visual art and theatre. For this talk we go back to her childhood in upstate New York, her time spent on a sailing ship, travel, music, companionship and much more.
Robert Dick is a master flutist who has literally re-defined the language of his instrument. He was trained classically and studied with Henry Zlotnik, James Pappoutsakis, Julius Baker and Thomas Nyfenger. An active participant in the Downtown Scene of New York since the 70s, Robert has worked closely with artists like John Zorn, Ned Rothenberg, Ursel Schlicht, Herb Robertson and JD Parran. As an educator and author, he has contributed extensively to the advancement of contemporary flute techniques, most notably through the publication of his book "The Other Flute". Robert has chartered an utterly unique musical path and on today's talk we go back to the beginning. Enjoy.
Rebekah Heller is an astounding bassoonist, who has been with the International Contemporary Ensemble for the past 10 plus years. She has recently stepped up as their artistic director, while maintaining an incredibly rich and exciting concert and recording schedule. She's also my neighbor and a super nice & fun person. For today's talk we cover a lot of ground in a short period of time: Oberlin, the Lower East Side, bassoon and her stellar new solo record, Metafagote. Today is a fun talk with an exceptional musician.
Originally from Santa Barbara, drummer Tom Rainey has been an integral part of the New York jazz and improvised scene since the late 1970s. He's collaborated closely with artists such as Tim Berne, Kenny Werner, Nels Cline and saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock. In the past ten years he has begun releasing records and leading projects under his own name: The Tom Rainey Trio and Obbligato, the latter of which is an exploration of jazz standards. Tom is an absolute master of his instrument and a super nice dude.
Moppa Elliott is a bassist, composer and band leader who, for the past fifteen years, has led the ever-evolving ensemble Mostly Other People Do the Killing. Based in Queens NY, he's worked closely with Peter Evans, Jon Irabagon and Charlie Evans. For this talk we go to a lot of places, from alcoholism to gun control, the history of jazz to surrealism. Today's conversation is a really good one and I am delighted to share it with you all.
James Brandon Lewis is a virtuosic and creative saxophonist originally from Buffalo NY, now living in Brooklyn. He studied at Cal Arts and has worked closely with Chad Taylor, Dave Douglas, Gerald Cleaver, Joe Lovano and many more. His playing is a thoughtful and powerful and clearly the result of a lifetime of practice and dedication. For this talk we cover a lot of ground, starting with his early days in upstate New York up to his current projects. A great dude.
Theo Bleckmann is a vocalist and composer of startling virtuosity and clarity. In his twenty five year long career he has worked with everyone from Laurie Anderson to Uri Caine, Philip Glass to Ann Hamilton, John Hollenbeck to Sheila Jordan. He leads several projects and most recently presented Schubert’s song cycle “Die Winterreise” on an ice rink, with skaters from the Ice Theatre of New York. Theo is a wildly creative individual and a complete joy to spend an afternoon with.
Michael Foster is a young and intense saxophonist who has been blowing minds and fucking people up in New York City since his arrival in 2012. At the fore of his output is a confrontational musicality that deals with equal parts queer identity and a commitment to the most extreme technical aspects of his instrument. He stays active across a broad range of projects and in 2018 his curatorial platform Queer Trash is in residence at Issue Project Room. For this one we get into sax talk, identity politics, Japanese literature and a whole lot more. Good shit.
Kelly Moran is an exceptional pianist and composer originally from Long Island, now based in Brooklyn, NY. Her current work focuses on performances for both prepared and unprepared solo piano. A student of 20th century composition, her output contains healthy amounts of lyricism and dissonance, beauty and black metal aesthetics. For today’s conversation we get into a lot of it, from Cage to Krallice, Sakamoto to Kayo Dot. Check it.
Taylor Ho Bynum is a cornetist, bandleader, curator and administrator who has worked closely with Anthony Braxton, Mary Halvorson, Tomas Fujiwara, Bill Dixon and many others. He lives in New Haven, CT and stays incredibly active across a broad range of musical activity. He is the director of the jazz and creative music ensembles at Dartmouth College and the executive director of Anthony Braxton's Tri Centric Foundation. For this talk, we discuss a wide range of things from arts administration to pop music, Prince to Ives. A good one.
A proud Detroit native, Norman Westberg is an exceptional and creative guitarist based in the East Village. Since their inception and throughout their evolution, Norman has played in one of my favorite bands, Swans. Just off the heels of their final performances in Brooklyn, Norman came over in the middle of an intense NYC blizzard for a talk about his childhood in Detroit, Swans, his solo work, gear and blowing things up. Norman is a legend and this talk was a true honor and pleasure.
Chris Cochrane has been living and working in New York City since 1980. As a guitarist he has worked with artists like John Zorn, Zeena Parkins, Marc Ribot and virtually every other improviser to come through the Downtown scene in the last three decades. In addition to his musical output, Chris is active as a social worker, helping people from NYC's impoverished neighborhoods navigate the ever confusing insurance system. He's a great guy and has led a most singular path as a creative individual in the modern world. This conversation was a long time coming and is definitely one of my favorites in this whole series.
Pete Simonelli is a Brooklyn based poet and voice artist who has been performing with his band Enablers since the early 2000s. Originally from Stockton CA, Pete started out in San Francisco in the early 90s, engaging with all aspects of the city's rich culture of history, poetry, music and art. His work with Enablers is singular and utterly addictive, a combination of complex, technical, imaginative rock and evocative spoken word that transports the listener to landscapes not commonly found on popular music. This conversation with Pete was a god damned joy and I am delighted to share it with you.
For episode 142, we check in with a true original, M Lamar. Born and raised in Mobile, AL and based in Brooklyn, his work is personal, dramatic, confrontational and utterly unique. With an operatic vocal style and deeply personal lyrics, M Lamar has electrified audiences all over the world with his concert length pieces. For this talk, things get a little weird as we discuss growing up in the south, lynching & castration, art school, porn and a whole lot more. Good shit.
Chris Forsyth is a Philly based, Jersey born guitarist of enormous range and creativity. He cut his teeth in New York City, working with improvisers like Nate Wooley, Daniel Carter, Loren Connors and Mike Pride, as well as his long running band Peeesseye. He relocated to Philadelphia in 2009 and, inspired by the likes of his friends Jack Rose and Steve Gunn, began focusing on solo guitar playing. Since then he has been working steadily with his band, the Solar Motel Band. For this talk, we get into it, discussing everything from the Grateful Dead to working in restaurants, improvising to band leading. Good shit.
Based in Sydney, Australia, Oren Ambarchi is a gifted composer, multi-instrumentalist and improviser who has been traveling the world, crafting a most singular musical vision for the past twenty five years. He's also an enthusiastic listener and avid record collector, a gourmand and happens to be one of my favorite musicians around. On a quick visit to New York for performances with Alvin Lucier and Loren Connors, Oren dropped by for a candid conversation about his early days as an Hasidic student in NYC, record collecting, learning to play guitar, running his own record label and a whole lot more. I love Oren's music deeply and am delighted conversation got to happen. After our talk, Oren and I headed over to Russ & Daughters Cafe and gorged on smoked fish and chopped liver.
Anna Webber is a composer/performer, saxophonist/flautist who has been living in Brooklyn since 2008. Originally from British Columbia, her playing is marked by a subtle virtuosity and keen sense of rhythm. Her band Simple Trio, with John Hollenbeck and Matt Mitchell, is one of the best and most original in the current Brooklyn scene. She's worked with Jen Shyu, Dan Weiss, Harris Eisenstadt and others. Anna studied music at McGill University in Montreal before moving to New York City in 2008. She holds master’s degrees from both Manhattan School of Music and the Jazz Institute Berlin.
Randall Dunn is a musician, producer and sound engineer who for the past twenty years has been lending an utterly unique approach to the records of some of contemporary music's most exciting artists. In addition to being the mastermind of Master Musicians of Bukkake, he's worked closely with Eyvind Kang, Earth, Bill Frisell, Oren Ambarchi, Wolves in the Throne Room and was a major contributor to the Sunn O))) masterpiece "Monoliths and Dimensions". He recently located to Brooklyn after two decades in Seattle and continues to stay active as a premiere sound alchemist.
Kyle Bruckmann is a composer, oboist and bandleader from Danbury CT who has been living in the Oakland since 2003. Since the mid 90s he has collaborated with many of contemporary music's most forward thinking musicians including Fred Lomberg-Holm, Oxbow, Greg Kelley and Damon & Naomi. With his bands Wrack, EKG and Lozenge he has released records on 482 Music, Another Timbre, Porter and New World Records among others. For this talk we cover a lot of ground from his early days in Danbury to his time in Chicago up until his recent activities in the Bay Area. A good man.