Composer/saxophonist/educator/electronic musician stays busy, very busy. He's a scholar and a gentleman. Raised in Taipei, he originally moved to the United States to study electrical engineering at Princeton, before getting bitten by the experimental/contemporary music bug. He's studied with Anthony Braxton, Alvin Lucier and Milton Babbitt and has performed his own work all over the world at the Kitchen, SF MOMA, STEIM and many more. He's a solid and thoughtful music maker and his wide interests seem to only broaden with time and experience.
At age 41, Detroit native Ben Hall has already done more than most people do in a lifetime. He's a talented drummer and has worked closely with many of today's greatest improvisers such as Joe Morris, Bill Dixon, Nate Wooley and Don Dietrich. He holds an MFA from Columbia in sculpture and has shown his work all over the world. He curates and maintains the Bap-Tizum website,the world’s largest online Black American spiritual collection and is the owner/operator of Broken Research Records. If that wasn't enough, he is also a talented chef/restaurant owner who's progressive business practices offer a shining light to an industry not commonly associated with strong personal ethics. Ben is quite simply one of the most extraordinary people around and I wish this conversation could have gone on for days.
For episode 169 my dear friend and long-time collaborator Brian Chase returns to the podcast to talk about his newest venture, Chaikin Records. Recorded in the work-in-progress recording studio in his Brooklyn basement, Brian talks me through the idea to start his own label, his grandfather for the he named the label, his long-running project Drums & Drones and much more. As a special treat, Brian demonstrates a piece for Drums & Drones. There's no one better than Brian.
Samara Lubelski is a prolific singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who was born and raised in Lower Manhattan. Trained as a violinist, she has been active since the early 90s in an incredibly broad range of music. Under her own name she has released several recordings of incredibly detailed and intimate pop songs on labels like Social Registry and Ecstatic Peace. She has contributed to the recordings of Fiery Furnaces, Nate Wooley, MV & EE, Thurston Moore and many many more. As it turns out, Samara and I are also neighbors.Today's talk covers a lot of ground, a lot of which centers around the peculiarities of New York City. It's a good one and I'm happy to share it with you.
Recorded live in front of an audience at Areté in Brooklyn NY on 6/20/2018
Peter Evans (trumpet) Mazz Swift (violin, voice) Ron Stabinsky (piano, electronics) Shayna Dunkelman (percussion, electronics)
Guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington is one hell of a nice guy and a monster on his instrument. A lifelong New Yorker, he spent his teenage years sneaking into shows at Tonic and the Knitting Factory, absorbing the music of Sex Mob, Bill Frisell and Marc Ribot, while studying bass with Brad Jones. For many years he was one half of the duo Darkside and more recently leads his own groups the Dave Harrington Group and the Merry Pranksters. He can frequently be founded performing in a variety of settings at Nublu in NYC as well as DJing parties around the world. He's a solid cat.
Patrick Holmes. There are few people in the world of New York music and night life whom I adore as much as Patrick Holmes. Originally from Austin, TX he (like me) started on electric bass as a teenager, switching over to the clarinet at age 24. He's been in New York for the past twenty years, working diligently to refine a voice and approach to the clarinet that is uniquely his own. He has studied with Connie Crothers and Sabir Mateen and he has performed with Ryan Sawyer, Daniel Carter, Masami Tomihisa, Axel Dörner and many many more. Whether it's about clarinets, jazz, booze, food, metal or just plain shit, Patrick is one of my favorite people to talk to and I'm really happy that this conversation finally happened for the podcast.
For our first foray into the live podcast medium, we are joined by our old friend and collaborator, Toby Driver. He was the very first guest on the podcast back in 2013, and when we pulled the plug back in 2015, he was the last. For this episode, Toby is accompanied by String Noise (Conrad Harris & Pauline Kim Harris) to present some of his recent ballads. Moody, gothic songs, reminiscent of Current 93, Nick Cave and of course, Kayo Dot. Toby!
Originally from New Jersey, MC Paul Barman is an undisputed master of wordplay and a singular voice in the world of hip-hop. We've been friends since 2002 and he was the one of the first people that I wanted to get on the podcast. Five years later, it's finally happened and it's a really, really good one. His new album (((Echo Chamber))) is out now and is essential listening. Do it!
Robbie Lee is a multi-instrumentalist who plays an array of instruments, all inter-connected for him, but sometimes far apart in sound and genre. He grew up in Massachusetts but has lived in Brooklyn for the past several years where he has founded two record labels, I and Ear, and more recently Telegraph Harp. Frequently he appears behind the scenes, performing as a sideman, producer and engineer. He recently stopped by to discuss two upcoming records of his own, both of which represent a major step forward as an artist: a trio with Norbert Rodenkirchen and James Ilgenfritz called Opalescence, coming out on Telegraph Harp June 22, as well as a duo with the great Mary Halvorson, Seed Triangular, coming out on New Amsterdam this fall.
Dave Burrell is an absolute legend of free music. Raised in Hawaii, he moved to the Lower East Side after doing his time at Berklee, where he began playing with Marion Brown and Pharoah Sanders. He was there for Slugs' Saloon and loft jazz. He's led a most colorful path as a composer/performer, writing operas, traveling the world and refining an instrumental language that is completely top shelf. Currently his life's work is being celebrated at the 23rd annual Vision Festival in New York City and I couldn't be happier that it brought him by the Chihuahua Compound for a chant and chew. Dave is an artist both generous of music and spirit and an absolute joy to speak with. Get ready for a good one.
For the past several decades, guitarist Bill Orcutt has been on a singular musical journey that started in Miami, FL and has led him all over the world. On a recent visit to New York, he stopped by the 5049 Chihuahua Sanctuary for a talk about his work, the Bay Area, growing up in Florida, picking up and putting down the guitar and a whole lot more. A great talk with a completely unique musician. Dig.
One half of the stellar band 75 Dollar Bill, Che Chen is a multi-instrumentalist and concert organizer based in Queens New York. This Wednesday, he will premiere a new piece at Roulette in Brooklyn. Ahead of the performance, Che stopped by talk about a broad range of topics: studying modal music in Mauritania, growing up in Maryland, improvisation, record collecting and a whole lot more. Che is a great guy who is constantly on the move, making exceptional music.
Jen Shyu is a master vocalist, multi-instrumentalist / multi-linguist who embarks on incredibly ambitious projects that feature elements of jazz, theatre, dance and performance art. She spent several years as a key member of Steve Coleman's Five Elements, has worked closely with Tyshawn Sorey, Nicole Mitchell, Vijay Iyer and Dave Binney. She's travelled the world, engaged in a practice of research that has informed her most recent work, "Song of Silver Geese", that was recently released on Pi Records. She tours frequently and in the next year, will engage in a 50-state U.S. tour of her most recent work, “Songs of Our World Now / Songs Everyone Writes Now”.
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.