Episode 93, Michael Nicolas

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.

MICHAEL NICOLAS

Episode 92, C. Spencer Yeh

Born in Taiwan and raised in Cincinatti, C. Spencer Yeh is a remarkable violinist, vocalist, improviser and film-maker.  Since moving to New York in 2010, he's been incredibly active in a wide variety of creative settings including collaborations with musicians like Nate Wooley & Lasse Marhaug, acting as programmer for Brooklyn's Spectacle Theater as well as being a contributing editor for BOMB Magazine. For this conversation, taped only two days before the 2016 presidential election, Spencer and I discuss his personal history, noise aesthetics, how to properly roast a chicken and record store culture.  C. SPENCER YEH

Born in Taiwan and raised in Cincinatti, C. Spencer Yeh is a remarkable violinist, vocalist, improviser and film-maker.  Since moving to New York in 2010, he's been incredibly active in a wide variety of creative settings including collaborations with musicians like Nate Wooley & Lasse Marhaug, acting as programmer for Brooklyn's Spectacle Theater as well as being a contributing editor for BOMB Magazine. For this conversation, taped only two days before the 2016 presidential election, Spencer and I discuss his personal history, noise aesthetics, how to properly roast a chicken and record store culture. 

C. SPENCER YEH

Episode 91, Travis Laplante

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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.

TRAVIS LAPLANTE

Episode 90, Amirtha Kidambi

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.

AMIRTHA KIDAMBI

Episode 89, Bruce Lee Gallanter

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.

DOWNTOWN MUSIC GALLERY

 

Episode 88, Claire Chase

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.

CLAIRE CHASE

Episode 87, Ken Vandermark

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.

KEN VANDERMARK

 

Episode 86, Jeremiah Cymerman

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.

Episode 84, Ned Rothenberg

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.

Ned Rothenberg

Episode 83, Fred Frith

  

Fred Frith is a musician, who for the past four decades has been radically reinventing the language of the guitar in new and exciting ways.  It would be impossible to overstate the importance of his work and it is an absolute honor and delight to welcome him onto the podcast. 

Fred Frith

Episode 82, Andrea Parkins

Andrea Parkins is a composer and instrumentalist who has been an essential part of the Downtown scene for the past few decades.  Her work sits comfortably at the crossroads of improvisation and composition, acoustic music and electronic sound art.  For this talk we discuss her early days in New York as well as what the future holds for her.  A good one.

 

Episode 81, Craig Taborn

Craig Taborn is an absolute master and virtuoso of the highest order.  He plays the piano with an attention to detail and an intensity that we can all learn from.  He's not just a great musician- he's also a great guy, and for this talk we trace his Mid-Western roots up to the current day.  A great talk with an incredible musician.  

 

Episode 80, Mario Diaz de Leon

Mario Diaz de Leon is both a true master of dark electroacoustic composition and a dear friend.  His music has had an incredibly deep impact on me and continues to be a great source of inspiration.  For this talk, we trace his early roots, checking in with his death metal roots and his deep immersion into the world of writing for classical instruments.  A good one!

Mario Diaz De Leon

Episode 79, Trey Spruance

Trey Spruance is a guitarist and composer who has had a gigantic influence on me for the past twenty years.  As a founding member of Mr Bungle and the compositional force behind Secret Chiefs 3, Trey has released several records and made many radical statements that have influenced an entire generation of adventurous musical thinkers.  A lot of people have asked for me to have Trey on the show and I am thrilled beyond words to be able to share this conversation.

Trey Spruance

 

Episode 78, Matthew Welch

Matthew Welch is a hugely talented contemporary composer whose work seeks to synthesize an incredibly broad and ecclectic range of influences from gamelan to traditional bagpipe music, Morrissey to Morton Feldman.  He has spent the last twenty years traveling the world and immersing himself in various world traditions and academic institutions.  He's one of my dearest friends and someone from whom I've drawn great inspiration.  Matt Welch is the best and this conversation was long overdue.

Matthew Welch

Episode 76, Trevor Dunn

Trevor Dunn is just about the sweetest dude you'll ever meet.  Whether it's electric or upright, jazz or intense metal, he plays the bass with a virtuosity that is all too rare and with a true insider's feel.  Since moving to Brooklyn in 2000, he's worked steadily with the best musicians that the city has to offer, everyone from John Zorn to Marc Ribot, Sean Lennon to Nels Cline.  Before that he was an essential part of the Bay Area scene and a founding member of Mr. Bungle.  It is safe to say that if I had not discovered Mr. Bungle as an impressionable twelve year old, I wouldn't be in experimental music.  This is a great talk that was a delight to take part in.

Trevor Dunn

Episode 75, Doug Wieselman

Doug Wieselman is a serious man, who has been making music in a variety of settings, in NYC since the mid 80s.  He's played with everyone from the Lounge Lizards to Marth Wainright, John Zorn to Antony and the Johnsons.  His sounds is instantly recognizable and his personailty is completely endearing.  For this conversation, Doug and I travel from LA to NYC and make many stops in between.  This is a good one.

DOUG WIESELMAN

Episode 74, Mark Feldman

Mark Feldman is a master of the highest order, an absolute virtuoso.  He plays the violin with an intense beauty andhas been in high demand as New York musician since the mid 1980s.  He's a Chicago native and has played with everyone from Minnie Pearl to John Zorn, Oral Roberts to Bill Laswell.  He just released a quartet record with his wife Sylvie Coursier and Scott Colley & Billy Mintz, called "Birdies for Lulu" that is absolutely spectacular.  This is a good one and I'm proud to share it with you.

Mark Feldman