Nate Wooley

Interview by Dan Warburton
Spring 2009


Do you recall any memorable childhood musical experiences, early sound memories that marked you in some way?

There are two different kinds of sound experiences that shaped me growing up. The first was all the jazz I heard. Portland was a big jazz town – and still is to a certain degree – with a heavy emphasis on the hard bop tradition. For better or worse, all that bebop and hard bop and swing made its way into my trumpet playing. Listening to my dad play blues and jump R&B style stuff definitely had a huge impact on me early on, that feeling of the ecstatic. The other experience was all the silence that I grew up in. My hometown, Clatskanie, Oregon, had a population of 2000, but we weren't clumped together in any sort of organized manner. My family lived "in town" but there were no cars driving revving their engines at all hours, no cellphone conversations or loud televisions, no background noise whatsoever, except the wind or the rain. I've always been pretty obsessive about recording small details in my mind, things that I see or hear; I would concentrate on small sounds for hours when I was trying to fall asleep, trying to figure out how to recreate them or what their composition was. Listening to my grandmother hum tunelessly was something that affected me somehow, although I'd have a tough time pointing to its musical example. Those two types of sound experiences seem really disparate, but I think they are both pretty well represented in what I do now. At least to me they seem that way.

Do you come from a musical family?

My mother is appreciative and has a great ear for even the most abstract music. My dad plays woodwinds: clarinet and saxophones. He had a huge record collection, so there was always a lot to listen to around the house, mostly jazz from the 40s and 50s, big bands, West Coast jazz. He brought me into a big band he worked in when I was 13, and that's where I started playing professionally, side by side with a bunch of guys with experience with Kenton, Woody Herman and a lot of studio sessions.

How long had you been playing trumpet?

Since the age of 11, in the school band program. I'd been playing piano for three years prior to that and had worked on both equally up through high school, when I realized that I didn't have a limitless amount of time and energy to work on two instruments that each require an amazing amount of patience to "master".

Why did you choose trumpet in the first place?

When I was really young, my dad played in [trumpet player] Chip Hinkley's band, and I thought he was the coolest guy on Earth. He had a beautiful sound, never played flashy solos, really into Bunny Berigan. And right around the time that I was choosing my instrument for school band, he was killed in a car accident. I don't think it even dawned on me at the time, but when I went to pick my instrument at school, I ended up leaving with a trumpet. I've cursed that decision through the years because I don't really have a good natural technique on the horn, and have had to fight every day just to get to what's probably considered a basic command of the instrument. But now I can't really imagine playing anything else. I can't really hear anything else in my head.

Who are your favorite trumpeters?

The trumpet, especially in jazz, is so loaded with the idea of lineage and, in my own case, rife with periods of hero worship that this is a difficult question to answer. Charlie Shavers, Booker Little, Leo Smith, Kenny Wheeler, Ron Miles and Greg Kelley are players I've returned to time after time, as some sort of model. I don't always like the trumpet! I feel like I hear enough trumpet in my daily life. Right now, I'm more interested in other instruments, listening more to drummers, saxophonists and cellists. I don't know as I really have any favorite trumpet players. I like the people I work with, Peter Evans and Taylor Ho Bynum definitely, but I'd work with them if they played different instruments. Trumpet playing is just some sort of common ground that we can deal with. I've spent most of my life looking up to certain players in a way, wearing suits and standing like Ron Miles, moving the same way as Leo Smith, etc. For the past five years, it's been a question of stripping all that away, getting rid of the hero worship and trying to find the things that interest me about my own playing. I don't hate trumpet, but I think I like it too much – and can see the distinct possibility of becoming lost in a sense of tradition and nostalgia and producing poor copies of whomever I am "studying" at the time. There are periods in my life where I just, mentally and musically, have to grow my beard out, walk into the woods and be alone. I'm in one of those phases now where I have to stop, deal with the information I've gotten up to this point, do some aesthetic house cleaning and, in general, tighten up my improvising a little. So the people I mentioned above are all great musicians, but they're on the list for nostalgic reasons.

Talking of studying, and Ron Miles, you went to Denver to work with him. How was that?

I lived there for a couple of years, from 1997 to 1999. I didn't really like the city, but there were a lot of people to learn from who had time to play and talk and work on ideas, especially Andrew Lindstrom and Al Scholl, both of whom are amazingly personal musicians with a really deep sense of what they're trying to do. I should say that the education I got from the University of Denver Lamont School of Music, especially from Lynn Baker and Steve Dunn and the Jazz faculty, was just what I needed. I think I probably battled it a lot, but they showed me how to get things together, play effectively and efficiently and I probably would be too hurt physically and mentally to do what I do or even play trumpet at all without them.
Ron didn't teach there, but he did give me "lessons". I put that in quotation marks because I'm not sure he thought of them as such. They were just get togethers, just listening to everything we could and playing music for each other (him playing much more interesting stuff for me than I did for him); I just learned by watching the example he set. Ron's one of the hardest working, most conscientious, reaching musicians I've ever met. Just being around him was really inspiring. He was the first to tell me that you need to have a musical situation in mind to use what you practise (Bill Dixon told me that over the phone later as well), that if you're just practicing a sound or an extended technique because it's impressive, it will never lock in like something that has a concrete musical purpose in your mind. That was a huge lesson for me. I was always going backwards, making the sounds, learning the harmony, then looking for places to use them as opposed to having a situation and coming up with the language that makes them work.

Your CV also lists Art Lande, Fred Hess and Jack Wright as people you studied with.

Art was my teacher for a couple of years. That was a little more conventional, with lessons once every couple of weeks, which ended abruptly when he said that he was really concerned about my mental health! I was pretty hurt by that at the time, and it's taken me a long time to see that he was probably right: the mid twenties aren't always the most stable time for a lot of people. Back then all I was really dealing with musically was either very fragile melody or harsh, angry sound, and Art made me see that there needed to be some connection between the extremes. I've always loved those polar opposites, but he brought home the fact that a solid grounding in the middle gives you more options on how to get to the extremes. I used to think that was a cop out, that it meant that harsh sound and delicate things were just extremities when you got tired of playing eighth notes, but I've found a lot of ways from this middle area to the extremes that are just as effective, without watering down the extremes or turning them into formulas or party tricks.
I played in Fred Hess' quartet towards the end of my time in Denver. That was a real practical education, because he wrote really hard music which we played a lot. It kept me in shape all the time, staying creative within a genre – free bop – and just being a functioning member of a band. Fred also introduced me to my first real contemporary classical music.
Jack [Wright] is still an ongoing part of my life, although we very rarely see each other these days, and even more rarely play. He came to a show I did in Denver and asked me to come over and play the next day. That's how it started. Many other improvisers have the same story with Jack. I was lucky though, I think, in two ways. Firstly because we were both living in the same area at a time when he wasn't on the road that much, so we could play more often, and secondly because it was at a time where I was feeling lost with jazz and trying to figure out where to go. Jack opened up a lot of things for me, including introducing me to lowercase music. We toured, played duo, trio, quartet, nonet, and he introduced me to a lot of players. I'm always thankful to him for that. He's another one of those "learn by example" guys, constantly trying new things, integrating new vocabulary, and trying to really play things that are wholly his own.

How relevant do you think that lowercase / reductionist / minimal aesthetic is now, several years on from when you started?

I'm probably the wrong person to ask about the lowercase aesthetic. I can talk about its relevance to me, but I'll stay away from the trap of trying to contextualize it in a broader sense, because I think I'm pretty out of touch with that kind of music right now. I really came to lowercase music because of what the musicians were doing with their instruments. I'd already been working at certain extended techniques and always thought that timbre and dynamics, articulation, intent, etc. had as much to do with playing as harmony, rhythm, and melody.  When I heard Greg Kelley, and Axel [Dörner] and Franz Hautzinger, I became completely engrossed with how they made those sounds into a very potent music and with how I could deal with the trumpet in that way, restructure my thinking. I came to John Butcher and Evan Parker and Toshinori Kondo and Lytton and all these folks at about the same time too, for the same reasons, so it wasn't about being drawn to that particular aesthetic as much as to the technical aspects of playing. I did go through a period where I embraced the low-volume, slow-pace, vertical kind of playing, but I think I got caught up in the dogma of it too completely, and started losing myself in it. I never felt like I was part of that community. I always felt like something of an outsider, and I eventually found myself semi-consciously drifting away from it. It seemed easy to take the information from that music and try to apply it to my own larger picture. I still listen to it a lot, but it's taken a different role in the way I think about the way I play now.

Do you have a preferred term for this kind of music, since it seems nobody can ever agree on one?

I always liked "lowercase" – I thought it was elegant and simple, and so I used it when referring to that kind of music. I also tend to associate it with Bhob [Rainey] and Greg. nmperign and Jason Lescalleet were always my entry point and touchstone for that stuff.

You first came to my attention through the trio Blue Collar, with [trombonist] Steve Swell and [percussionist] Tatsuya Nakatani. Is that trio still active?

I still play with Steve – we just released a horn quartet on Cadence with Louie Belogenis and Michael Attias – but I haven't seen Tatsuya in a year at least. Whether it's just a break or an end remains to be seen. Blue Collar was a huge experience for me, and I, for one, would like to try one more show to see where things are. We've all changed in our playing so much, that I think getting together again could be interesting, but I don't know when that chance would come, or what form it would take.

And is the Nate Wooley Quartet defunct as well?

Yes, at least in the form that it is in on the website. [Drummer] Take Toriyama committed suicide a couple of years ago and I just couldn't seem to get it together after that. We made some attempts, but I was feeling really uncomfortable with jazz and the music I'd written for that group didn't really have any attachment for me any more. Now I'm working with a new quintet with Matt Moran, Josh Sinton, John Hebert and Harris Eisenstadt, and the music is new, so we'll see. I used to think that I needed something with my name on it, the Nate Wooley whatever, good for marketing, maybe get on a nice jazz label, but I'm realizing lately that maybe that isn't the kind of happiness I'm looking for.
I really need to update that website! At least Attack Adorn Decay is still in operation. This is a large group with a semi-rotating cast of players that gets together when I have the energy to make all the phone calls and emails. It's time I brought it back to New York and did some recording.

On your website you write that you've spent much of your life "trying musically to find a way back to the peace and quiet of that time by whole-heartedly embracing the space between complete absorption in sound and relative absence of the same." Do you think you've succeeded?

I don't think I have. And I'm afraid of what would happen if I did, actually. I view it more as a goal or a direction than an achievable mission. The obvious part of this, for anyone who's spent a significant amount of time in the Pacific Northwest, especially the smaller communities (Portland is becoming more and more urban every day), is the incredible silence and almost glacial pace of life. Of course, I'd like a little bit more of that right now, especially when I'm riding on a rush hour train to work in New York, but I think that this quote has to do more with my state of mind when I wrote it. It wasn't only a sense of a peace that I remember I had, but also of fearlessness, an ability to communicate without repercussions. Music was very open to me then, discovering something new every day, working on jazz, dealing with harmony, rhythm, melody, learning the trumpet. It's a cliché, but that's what I'm trying to get back to, the feeling that I can play anything I want and be confident in it.
I do think that a couple of projects are getting closer to it though. The trio with Fred [Lonberg-Holm] and Jason [Roebke] is really there as far as just hearing something and playing it, regardless of how awkward or odd or difficult it makes the music. The same applies to the duos with Paul Lytton and Joe Morris. It took me a little while to get over my awe of them, but it's getting better all the time and they all play with such command and conviction that the only way you are going to be able to fit in is to stop trying to fit in, if that makes sense.

How did you hook up with Lytton?

I met him during a birthday concert in February 2006 for Carl Ludwig Huebsch, the great tuba player from Cologne. It was a quartet with Carl Ludwig, Paul, Michael Thieke and myself. I'm not sure how great the concert was, but I've played with them individually since then and think they are all phenomenal.  This was during the height of my obsession with really quiet and sparse playing, and in the middle of a very minimalist set, Paul dropped a bunch of stuff, making a gigantic sound. It was jarring, loud and amazing, and shocked me out of a stupor I'd gotten myself into by being obsessively dogmatic about my own playing. About a year later, I was still thinking about that musical split second. My musical aesthetic changed a lot because of it. I'm not sure it wouldn't have headed in that direction at some point anyway, but I think Paul in that moment (and through the recordings and touring later) pushed me further into dealing with my own voice, be it loud or soft, frantic or tranquil or whatever, then I would have by myself.
We went on to record an LP for Broken Research (a great label that has been really supportive of me, run by Ben Hall, who's a pretty visionary percussionist in his own right) and we've done two tours now in the States. The first one was probably the hardest thing I've ever done, musically; I wasn't prepared to really deal with the force of Paul behind a drumset night after night without any other people to fall back on. Physically and creatively I was just not ready at all for that, and I was summarily creamed for ten days. Surprisingly, he agreed to do it again and I think we really found something as a duo in our last tour on the West Coast, not to mention some really nice trios with Fred Frith, Marilyn Crispell, Pete Swanson from Yellow Swans and Torsten Müller which, although daunting in their own right, gave me a little bit of a mental breather. We've just finished recording another duo album in Germany, which I'm really excited about. Paul is more involved with his electronics on it, and I play some amplified trumpet. We'll also be working as a new trio with Christian Weber on bass in the fall, so I think that'll be a new, interesting way to get my ass kicked.

And Joe Morris?

Joe and I met about five years ago at a concert in Hartford, Connecticut. I remember the first time I heard his music, through my friend Al Scholl in Denver, just sitting there with Al in silence throughout the entire record, not believing what we were hearing, not even being able to figure out what he was doing, or how he was doing it, but just being floored. So when Joe and I met, I was really nervous, but he's just one of the warmest people I've ever had the chance to hang out with. Not long after that, I started playing in [cellist] Daniel Levin's quartet, and Joe played bass on the first two records that I was on with that group. Being able to play with him consistently, and on bass specifically, has turned my attention more to what a phenomenal musical thinker he is.  The way he shaped the music in Daniel's band was a major factor in its ability to really go anywhere and sound incredibly organic doing it. The new bassist in the group, Peter Bitenc, is doing the same thing too, but in a different way.
Joe and I had gotten together once or twice to play, sometimes with him on bass, sometimes on guitar, but the most interesting music we made as a duo was with him on acoustic guitar, which is something completely different. There was no feeling that we had to play time or harmony, or not play time or harmony. It's been one of those musical relationships where genre and style don't come into play as much as the dynamic and conversation. We've just finished a record that should come out early next year on Clean Feed, and I'm working on getting the duo some concerts. Like with Paul or with the trio with Fred and Jason, with Joe I feel like I can constantly push the music, or rather, push myself in that music and with those partners to try and find something new, something that for a brief moment has some kind of resonance for me. I'm not sure it would be worth getting up early every day and practising the trumpet if I didn't have people like these guys to play with. I guess I'm just a little masochistic – or maybe selfish – as there will be very little recognition and less money, but I think if projects like these weren't happening for me, I'd have gone back to Oregon and lived on a farm a long time ago.

How did the trio with Fred Lonberg-Holm and Jason Roebke come together?

I met Fred at a gig in Brooklyn that Michael Attias set up, back in 2005, I think. There were three sets, one was Fred solo, then in a trio with Michael and Anthony Coleman and finally a set with some players he'd never met, I think just a trio with Trevor Dunn and me. It was really a blast and a huge deal for me as I have been a fan of Fred's playing for a long time. Jason and I met a year or two before that, through Tim Barnes, who we recorded with as a trio up in his office when he was still living in New York.
In 2006 I participated in the Elastic Foundation's Downtown Sound Gallery series in Chicago. The idea was to collaborate with Chicago musicians and I thought Fred and Jason would provide the most leeway for a set of compositions I was working on. As usually happens with me, the compositions were just too limiting to the group, and pretty awful. I was really happy that they were both interested in continuing the project without my conceptual shackles.  It hasn't always been easy getting us all in the same place at the same time, especially in the past year or so as I haven't been able to get to Chicago as often as I once did, but I think there is something very different there and worth working on.

Tell us something about the two albums you've released on Creative Sources, the solo Wrong Shape to be a Storyteller, and the duo with [guitarist] Chris Forsyth, The Duchess of Oysterville.

Wrong Shape to be a Storyteller was recorded in one shot on a minidisc recorder and a Sony ECM mic that I covered with tinfoil or wax paper or plastic bags. It took me about 80 minutes to make the 50-minute piece. I would pause the recorder as I dealt with moving the mic, covering, uncovering, changing things on the horn. Nothing was planned beforehand, and the record is what ended up on the minidisc without edits. I'd been working on very long, slow solo improvisations, and that's basically what I was trying to represent that on disc.
Duchess of Oysterville was a very different process. Chris and I had been working together in different groupings for a couple of years. He was one of the first people I met in New York and I sat in with the PeeEssEye [Forsyth, Jaime Fennelly and Fritz Welch] a couple of times. We went on a little duo tour to upstate New York and, in the car, decided on a very simple basic form to work from every night. As we finished each performance, some things stuck and others were left by the wayside because they didn't work, either musically or more often than not sonically because of his being amplified and me being acoustic. (Chris and I recently got back together to play some duo shows, and this time we were both amplified: the music has taken on a completely different feel. One of the performances will come out on Chocolate Monk soon, I think). By the time we returned, we were just on the verge of having a codified composition, and we wanted to record just before it became stale, so we immediately went in to a studio in Brooklyn and basically did two passes on the composition and combined them, panned things a little. Basically that was it. I think we were in and out with the completed project in a couple of hours maximum.
I'm not one for overthinking things in music, probably to my detriment sometimes. Those two records are pretty representative of the way that I work. Usually, if I can't deal with the overall project in one sitting or maybe two days maximum, it turns out horribly. It has to be the quick, visceral decision, or I get bogged down in all the possibilities. I always did badly in multiple choice tests because I could twist the logic to make at least three of the four possibilities viable. That's just the way my mind seems to deal with a lot of choices. Sometimes this speed of work makes my records a little more lo-fi, but I tend to like that. I think that's why I'm attracted to improvisation and noise music in general; there's an immediacy there that is lacking for me in some of the more commercial jazz, classical or pop recordings that are happening right now.

Interesting to see you've hooked up with David Grubbs, who's always been good at skirting around the edges of lowercase improv, picking up kindred spirits along the way. Nikos Veliotis, for example.

I've always really liked David's music, his voice, his guitar playing, everything. His way of working is that perfect combination of someone knowing how to articulate exactly what they want and trusting musicians to create something worthwhile based on their personal skills. I met David through Jessica Pavone, when he was putting together a piece for German radio and needed some trumpet. After that, we worked together on Seven Storey Mountain and his addition was absolutely perfect. Since then, I've done some things on his latest record and a couple of live performances at the Guggenheim of a piece he worked on with the artist Angela Bulloch.

What's the story behind Seven Storey Mountain? Nothing to do with the group of the same name, I suppose.

The genesis of Seven Storey Mountain was a longstanding interest in mystical religion, not necessarily practicing it, but doing a lot of research under the assumption that the people claiming a direct relation with G_d or whatever deity they believed in either had something together spiritually or were at least crazy enough to be interesting. I'm not necessarily religious, so it was more of a study of the different mystics or writers about mystics (St. John of the Cross, Sri Ramakrishna, St. Teresa of Avila, various sutra, etc.) and how they achieved a certain kind of peace. Initially I was drawn to the more contemplative ideas, the poetry of St. John of the Cross for example, but as I grew older I became fascinated with the ecstatic experience, the painful "dark night of the soul" stuff. Especially interesting were those that admitted to being worldly beings, like St. Augustine and Thomas Merton. Merton's Seven Storey Mountain is basically his "confessions". It's an autobiography of his early life, leading up to his acceptance into the Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky and including some of his spiritual life there. There's no real flowery language in the book, just a lot of writing about indecision, confusion, a little bit of pain, super-self-consciousness.
In 2007 I was commissioned to write a piece for Dave Douglas' FONT festival in New York and as I was mostly consumed with the idea of recreating this kind of ecstatic state with music, using a language that was specific to me at the time and not a traditional drone/repetition scenario, I started working with a long-form piece that would hopefully be a start in the right direction. The musical idea was to create a tape score (all from my air-conditioning unit at home with the exception of one singing portion and piano) that would take the place of the traditional drone, then write very loose music over the top that would give different players some kind of musical idea of how to proceed as the piece went on. Paul [Lytton] and I were playing duo in New York anyway, so I added him, mostly because he isn't much into repetition, and I was interested in what he would do over the tape portion.  David and I had already been working on his pieces for radio and I heard him play harmonium and doing some amplified breath stuff that I thought would go well with where I was with the amplified trumpet at the time.
Initially the idea was to keep the tape portion and use different players for each iteration, recording as I went. The next grouping, which I'm working on scheduling right now, is with C. Spencer Yeh and Chris Corsano. I'll make a completely new tape score ,as they work in a much more sustained and harsh sound world, so I have to rethink the technical aspects a little (my amp playing has become more refined as well), but the main idea is the same, to attempt to achieve a certain feeling of ecstatic release in an abstract setting. I'm not sure how successful it is, but I end up liking the music, so I keep trying anyway.

What's it like for you playing with musicians like Spencer and Chris after the ultra-precise lowercase / intricate, or the more "jazzy" stuff? Is there something in the "language" of noise that's closer to improv or free jazz, do you think? I'm thinking here about the recent Evan Parker / John Wiese album, or Spencer's work with Paul Flaherty.

I think the language of noise isn't really any different than lowercase music or improv. It's more about volume and frequency and the ratio of silence to sound. I'm definitely not a part of the noise scene, just as I wasn't really ever a part of the lowercase scene or the free jazz / improv scene. I seem to find myself on the fringe of all these things, mostly because I ultimately want to utilize my whole vocabulary at any one given moment. I know that it's a horrible idea in some instances, and so I restrain myself, but in groups like the duo with Joe or with Paul, I feel I can go to all those places. So, in that way, noise, like lowercase or improv or free jazz or straight ahead is both a liberation and a constraint. It really depends on the situation. If I feel like I'm being forced to stay within a certain aesthetic against my own musical ear, then it's an exercise for me. That's fine. Exercises are good to do, but I'm not interested in doing them night after night in front of an audience. On the other hand, when you can find a new musical place for aesthetic material that you might not have seen as fitting there before, that's incredibly freeing.
Noise has a lot of great improvisers, too. Your mention of Wiese vs. Yeh started me thinking a lot about how I think they make music. I haven't heard John's duo with Evan Parker and have never even seen him in concert, but what he does is so intricate and fast, that I can't perceive him being able to recreate it live, although those live duo records with Spencer are great. Yeh on the other hand, is all immediacy, a master improviser. He can move very quickly and stay in there with someone like Flaherty or Greg Kelley, because I think he has a little bit more of a chance, based on the response time of what he is using to make music.
To my ear there's a very heavy correlation between free jazz / free improv and noise music.  Not only the kind of obvious sonic connection between hard noise and energy music, but even with more precision-oriented or silence-oriented improv. It really is the same language, just a different syntax.

In your trumpet duo with Peter Evans, you both use amplification. Any particular reason why? Does it give you more freedom to concentrate on quiet sounds? How do you work together?

I'm not sure why the amplified trumpet thing started with that duo. I started doing amplified trumpet solo concerts around 2004-2005, and Peter had seen some of those. I think there was the idea that maybe I would be amplified and he wouldn't but then he got a little amp and a mic and his approach to it was so different than mine that it just seemed to make sense to keep performing that way. I will definitely say that it is easier for me to keep up with him technically using the amps, but we are going to go into the studio to do an acoustic record this summer too.
I'm not sure how we work together, actually. We're both so busy right now that we usually just show up and play. Sometimes things get talked about afterward, but I think when we have tried to conceptualize something before the concert or recording it has tended toward disaster. We know each other's playing pretty well now, so while it always forces me to play something I have never thought of before, I always feel really comfortable playing with him.

You're also working with [bassist] Adam Linson too.

Yes, we met through Paul Lytton. Adam has a great band with Paul, Axel Dörner and Rudi Mahall, and so when he over in New York to do some relaxing, Paul put us in touch. It was a crazy time when he was in the city, but we were able to put together a nice duo show and a double bill with with Sparks (Peter Evans and Tom Blancarte) and Adam, Harris [Eisenstadt] and me. The trio set was just one of those fantastic first meetings, as was the big quintet blow out at the end (not usually something I'm a big fan of). Not long after that, Adam's wife got a job in Nova Scotia, so now he's on the continent, so to speak. We did a couple more trio shows recently as well as a really nice quartet with Michael Thieke, who was visiting. We went in and recorded and I think there's some really great stuff, but I'm really behind and need to get down to work on it when I get home. Adam is amazing. It's a very different approach to the bass, and his electronics are so organic and fully integrated. He really makes Harris play differently as well. I've played in a lot of Harris's bands and he plays in my new quintet, and we have a certain set of parameters that we usually deal in, based on the music we're playing, but his playing in this trio is like nothing I've ever heard him do. It's really exciting. I just want to sit there and listen to the two of them play!

You're on a roll right now, as far as releases go. What do we have to look forward to in the next few months?

A couple of things just came out on Clean Feed: the Daniel Levin quartet live at Roulette, and Transit Quadrologues, with Jeff Arnal, Seth Misterka and Reuben Radding. Seven Storey Mountain will be out in September on Important and the duo with Joe Morris early next year, also on Clean Feed. Paul and I have just finished the second duo record which I will mix here in Düsseldorf and hopefully have out by the end of the year. I'm excited about the new quintet; playing some more harmonic based music with that group has been really more special than I thought it would be. In September I'll be on the road in Poland with Tim Daisy's Frakture Quartet, October at the Send + Receive festival in Winnipeg with Jeff Allport and Ami Yoshida, November is the Unerhört festival and in December there's a very small duo tour to Portugal with Lytton. Other than that, it is just the week-to-week existence in New York. If I start thinking too much about the long term, I get dizzy.

photo courtesy Peter Gannushkin /


See also other interviews of related interest with Harris Eisenstadt and David Grubbs