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.
Since the late 1970s, Bruce Lee Gallanter has been a crucial figure on the Downtown scene. As an archivist/historian, Bruce was there for the very first New York concerts of artists like John Zorn, Fred Frith, Bill Laswell & Eugene Chadbourne. An early supporter of artists who went on to change the world, Bruce has been running Downtown Music Gallery, perhaps the most important shop for improvised and creative music in the world, for the past twenty six years. For this conversation, Bruce and I go back to his hometown roots in New Jersey to the early days at Studio Henry, all the way up to the present. This conversation was a long time in the making and one that I am incredibly proud to share.
Claire Chase is a masterful and virtuosic flautist, an interpreter of contemporary music of the absolute highest order. She is also the founder of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), one of the most essential ensembles to emerge in the last fifteen years. This year, Claire will be stepping down from her role as Artistic Director for the organization, signaling a new chapter for both her as a performer and for the ensemble. For this conversation, Claire and I discuss her upbringing, the early days of ICE, transition and what it means to close an important chapter in ones life. Claire is a wonderful and inspiring human and I am thrilled to share this conversation with you.
For our first episode in almost two years, I am beyond ecstatic to welcome the one and only Ken Vandermark for a far reaching conversation into his personal history, working to build and sustain a community, inspiration and of course, the saxophone. Ken is a soulful warrior, an artist who probably needs very little introduction to fans of this podcast, I am delighted that he was able to help us bring the show back in style.
After two years and eighty-five episodes of conversations with some of the world's most remarkable musicians, today I post the final episode of the 5049 Podcast. Of all the work that I've done in the past thirteen years of activity in NYC, the series of conversations documented in this podcast stand as one of my proudest achievements. Whether it's been old friends or complete strangers, welcoming people into my home these past two years, pouring out a few drinks and getting into it has been an utter delight and an incredible growing experience that I will always cherish.
For our final episode, I sat down with Nate Wooley and Toby Driver, the very first two guests of the show, and attempt to make sense of what these past two years have meant. Nate and Toby are my main guys and I'm happy to close things out with such men of distinction.
For our second to last episode, I couldn't be more thrilled to welcome Zeena Parkins onto the show. She is a legend of the downtown scene, a brilliant composer/performer who has quite literally reinvented the language of her instrument. An absolute delight.
Ned Rothenberg moved to New York City in 1978, instantly becoming an essential member of the Downtown scene. As a perfomer he has made immeasruable contributions to the language of improvising saxophone and clarinet. He's led bands Sync and Power Lines as well as a long standing duo with maestro Evan Parker. Today's talk is a good one.