Originally from Wisconsin, Dan Kaufman is a Brooklyn based guitarist, songwriter and journalist who has led the band Barbez since their inception in the late 90s. His music is a brilliant and thoughtful amalgamation of avant rock, Eastern European folk music and contemporary classical with a strong literary component. Their sixth album, "For Those Who Came After: Songs of Resistance From the Spanish Civil War" comes out on Important Records on October 6th, 2017. In addition to his musical output, Dan has been a frequent contributor to the New York Times and the New Yorker. He is currently working on a book entitled "Divide and Conquer", that traces the dark history of Wisconsin's transformation from a progressive state where labor unions flourished, to the modern day Conservative nightmare state.
Andy Lampert is one of a kind. He's a filmmaker, an archivist, a thinker, a listener and a total mensch. He's presented his work at venues from the Whitney to the Kitchen, the Stone to Anthology Film Archives. A conversation with Andy is likely to go all night and this is a good one. DIG.
A founding member of the Bad Plus, pianist Ethan Iverson has been serious student of jazz for most of his life and at the forefront of generation of contemporary practitioners for the past two decades. For over a decade Ethan has also been conducting interviews with elders statesmen of jazz via his blog Do the Math, documenting crucial conversations through a most unique lens. After seventeen years, as he gets ready to leave the Bad Plus, Ethan joined me for a conversation at my apartment this past Friday to discuss his history with the band, his upbringing, how he feels responsible to the tradition of jazz masters and what the future holds for him.
Singer/song writer/multi-instrumentalist Sam Amidon is a 100% completely unique and original musical specimen. Born and raised in Brattleboro, VT he presents music that is a highly realized synthesis of his many disparate influences: folk music, free jazz, music concrete, performance art, indie rock, etc etc etc. The list of descriptions could last forever, but one thing is sure: he sounds unlike anyone I've ever heard and his music is something that I've been returning to time and time again for the past decade. Please enjoy an hour with a true American original.
Carl Testa is an imaginative and resourceful bassist/composer who has been making a name for himself for the past decade in the fields of composed and improvised music. Based in New Haven, he has worked closely with Anthony Braxton, Mario Pavone, and Christopher Riggs among many others. In addition to being the production manager at Firehouse 12, he is also the Director of Publishing and Creative Technology for Braxton's Tri-Centric Foundation and has spent the past several years incorporating live electronic processing into his solo performances. For the past ten years he has booked the Uncertainty Music Series, which will come to a close this September with a two day festival at Firehouse 12.
Fay Victor is a vocalist and composer who has become an increasingly regular and vital participant in the world of New York City jazz and improvised music. She grew up in Long Island, cut her teeth in Brooklyn and has worked with a broad range of contemporary artists from Butch Morris to Anthony Braxton, Ken Filiano to Joe Morris. Her vocals and lyrics express a deep courage and vulnerability. For this talk Fay takes me back to her early days of musical exploration, through her time in Japan and the Netherlands, up to her current work. A good one.
An avid and life-long listener, Jon Abbey started the Erstwhile label in 1999. Since its inception, Erstwhile has served as a crucial source for uncategorizable music and has become an institution and home for artists such as Keith Rowe, Toshimaru Nakamura, Sachiko M, Günter Müller and Otomo Yoshihide. For this talk, Jon takes me back to his early days in the mailroom at the Time Life building, the early days of Erstwhile and his current listening habits. A good one.
Tyshawn Sorey is a remarkably talented and internationally acclaimed composer and performer who has been fiercely dedicated to his craft since an early age. A native of Newark NJ, Tyshawn has premiered work at Roulette, Walt Disney Hall and the Ojai Festival. As a drummer, he has collaborated with Steve Coleman, John Zorn, Butch Morris, Vijay Iyer and many many more. Tyshawn is a rare talent and for this candid and often hilarious conversation, Tyshawn and I get to know each other for the first time.
For episode 123 it is my great honor to welcome poet, archivist and radical thinker, Kenneth Goldsmith onto the show. Active since the late 80s, Kenneth Goldsmith is a true original. He started Ubuweb in 1996, one of the internet's richest resources for the Avant-Garde, a website that one can get lost in and come out much richer for it. He's published several books, most recently "Capital", an unrivaled work that pays tribute to New York of the 20th century entirely through quotations. Kenneth is a true mage and this conversation was an utter delight.
Originally from Carbondale, IL, clarinetist John McCowen who has been living and working in the Bay Area for the past few years. A student of Roscoe Mitchell, he has honing an extremely unique approach to the clarinet that is based in extended techniques, personal language, electroacoustic strategies and hard work. He plays in the band Wei Zhongle and has collaborated with many notable improvisers including Fred Frith, Tom Djll and Kyle Bruckman. John is a remarkable musician, from whom you will be hearing much more from in the coming years.
Tyondai Braxton has been living and working in Brooklyn NY since 2001, forging a most singular path as a composer/performer in a wide variety of creative contexts. In 2002 he started the band Battles, which he left in 2010. Since that time he has focused on electronic music as well as large scale explorations of compositions for classical instruments. Ty is a most sincere individual who brings a strong sense of self to every project. For this talk, we explore electronic music strategies, the Brooklyn DIY scene of the early the 2000s, growing up Braxton and a whole lot more. A great talk!
Matt Nelson plays tenor sax and has been living in Brooklyn since 2010. Raised in the Bay Area, he has worked with tUNEyARDS, Peter Evans, Travis Laplante and his newest project, GRID. He attended Oberlin College and Conservatory to study with Gary Bartz and Paul Cohen, among others. For this talk we cover a lot of ground, from sax/electronics aesthetics to wearing a suit to a jazz gig. Good shit.
And after an extremely frustrating week of technical problems, we are back. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Framingham, MA by Joe and Sonja Maneri, Mat Maneri has been performing improvised music since he was a teenager. A prodigious violin and violist, he has worked with many of contemporary music's most engaging and iconoclastic artists: Craig Taborn, Joe McPhee, Tanya Kalmanovitch, Cecil Taylor, Joe Morris, Kris Davis and many more. As a teenager he began playing with his father, Joe Maneri, and over several years, albums and concerts, developed a hyper specific language that is utterly unique and completely transcendent. This conversation took place on June 2, 2017 and is one of my favorite in this entire series.
Jason Stein is an exceptional bass clarinetist based in Chicago since 2005. He is originally from Long Island and has followed a most interesting and individual creative path. This interview took place at Jason's home in Chicago this past May and covers a lot of ground, from his time living off the grid in Montana, to his early days in Chicago to his most recent run of shows, playing for 20,000 people at a time, opening for his young sister, comedian Amy Schumer.
Missy Mazzoli is an incredibly gifted and prolific composer/performer who has been living in New York since 2006. A Pennsylvania native, her music has been performed all over the world by the Kronos Quartet, eighth blackbird, pianist Emanuel Ax, Opera Philadelphia, LA Opera, New York City Opera, the LA Philharmonic, JACK Quartet, cellist Maya Beiser, and others. She is a deeply thoughtful and inventive composer whose work is marked by clarity of vision and depth of experience. For this talk we go way back, starting with her early days at the piano, her introduction to riot grrrl all the way up to the present. This is a good talk.