Welcome to our first podcast of the new year! This week I sit down with guitarist Anthony Pirog. He released one of the best albums of 2014 titled Palo Colorado Dream on Cuneiform Records. It features Michael Formanek on acoustic bass and Ches Smith on drums. We talk about the way this album was recorded, loop pedals, the difference between Fender Jazzmasters and Telecasters, and his experience performing the Terry Riley composition “In C.”
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This week I had the opportunity to talk to one of my favorite saxophonists Sam Newsome. His new album is titled The Straight Horn of Africa: A Path to Liberation: The Art of Soprano, Vol. 2. We talk about why so many jazz musicians are so serious during interviews and so funny off stage, why the soprano saxophone might be the most adaptable instrument, the incredible liner notes which were also released as part of an Amazon Kindle Essay about this album, and his time spent pursing the open-mic comedy scene here in NYC. ALSO - be sure to check out his informative blog Soprano Sax Talk. I don’t even play soprano and it’s still interesting. There’s so much stuff to check out here! DO IT.
Chris and Joe from The Cellar and Point drop by to talk about their new record Ambit. We talk about how their music has developed since meeting as teenagers, music production and the unique way they recorded this album, and our mutual affection for Rage Against the Machine. If you are listening to this on the day it drops, be sure to check out their album release show TONIGHT at Glasslands Gallery. It only cost $10 and it starts at 8pm. DO IT.
Matt Mitchell is an insanely proficient pianist and composer. He has played with heavyweights like Tim Berne, Dave Douglas, and John Hollenbeck. He is also hilarious. We sat down and talked about studying with David Baker and Ralph Alessi, rejecting and/or embracing influences from across the musical spectrum, the lineage of piano etudes, and all eight of his bands. The music played in the show is from his latest album Fiction which features Ches Smith on Pi Records. Check it out!
I met up with Chicago composer and bassist Matt Ulery to talk about his latest album In the Ivory which was just released on Greenleaf Music. This is the second album he has made featuring a large chamber ensemble in addition to the same core rhythm section featured on all of his recordings. We talk about how he sings melodies to create new pieces, why he decided to write “art songs” and how that might affect the audiences perspective of the music, and about how his music has evolved over the years.
Ed Neumister writes great music. We talk about his NeuHat Ensemble who just finished recording their brand new album titled Into the Now. We are the very first people to listen to rough mixes of this album! He just launched an Indiegogo campaign to finish the album so be sure to help out if you can. We also talk about his experience playing with Jerry Garcia, composing for films, and living outside of in Austria.
This week’s guest features trumpeter (or trumpetist) Shane Endsley from KNEEBODY. We talk about how they are evolving their band sound, why he almost quit playing trumpet, and his experience of playing drums with Ralph Alessi at Ravi Coltrane’s studio. We also listen to Shane playing in three very different situations. Shane is an amazing musician and I am happy that we had a chance to sit down and talk.
This is our 30th episode! This week I talk with saxophonist and composer Anna Webber about her new album titled Simple which is out on Skirl Records. It also features Matt Mitchell on piano and John Hollenbeck on drums. We talk about her relationship with both of these musicians and how this is not exactly an example of a younger musician calling up two more established musicians to try to sell some records and her humble beginnings as a “concert band” flautist and how she evolved into the jazz tenor saxophonist and “new music” composer she is today. Also, we dive deep into all of the incredible music we loved at the age of fourteen and cottages.
The record release show is on September 25th at Shapeshifter Lab at 7:00 PM. The Claudia Quintet is opening the show! Be sure to actually buy this album!
This week on the podcast, we feature the great saxophonist and composer Jerome Sabbagh. He’s releasing a brand new record of original compositions titled The Turn on Bee Jazz and Sunnyside Records. It features original music played by a band of incredible musicians that have been together for ten years. They are Ben Monder on electric guitar, Ted Poor on drums, and Joe Martin on acoustic bass. We talk about who the kid really is in the photo used for this incredible album cover, the blend of tenor saxophone with electric guitar, and how the experience of playing with Paul Motian at the Village Vanguard was life changing.
The record release show is this Friday, September 12th at Cornellia Street Cafe in NYC. Please go out and support this band! If you love this music as much as I do, be on the lookout for a Kickstarter campaign that would allow this music to be pressed on vinyl! Can you imagine that album cover on vinyl??
We’re back! I’m happy to sit down and talk with tenor saxophonist Travis LaPlante. He just released a new album with his band Battle Trance entitled Palace of Wind which was released on New Amsterdam Records and NNA Tapes. Can we start with the fact that this band has 4 TENOR SAXOPHONISTS (Jermey Viner, Matt Nelson, and, Patrick Breiner) that play almost continuously during this fourty-five minute through-composed piece? That is insane. This is one of the most interesting and powerful albums that will be released this year. Travis and I talk about how he came up the idea for a tenor saxophonist quartet, how he had not really heard any of them play before the band was formed, and how his band worked on dissolving their individual influences to develop a group sound. We also listen to three clips from the record itself. Travis is one of the most interesting musicians on the new music scene and talking to him was nothing short of inspirational. Enjoy!