18 April 2006


Artist statement

“We look at most of the sculptures without incident. But, when we come to the scooter bird, the publisher whispers in my ear: ‘Don’t bother to photograph it. It’s more an object than a sculpture.’ Picasso, who hears and understands everything, whom nothing escapes, suddenly turns toward him, and, pointing to The Bird, says sharply: ‘I absolutely insist that this sculpture appear in my album!’ When the publisher leaves the studio an hour later, Picasso is still seething.

‘An object! So my bird is just an object! Who does that man think he is, to tell me, Picasso, what is or is not a sculpture! He’s got some nerve! I just might know more about it than he does. What is sculpture? What is painting? Everyone’s still clinging to outdated ideas, obsolete definitions, as if the artist’s role was not precisely to offer new ones.’”

from “Conversations With Picasso,” (University of Chicago Press: 1999), by Brassaï and translated by Jane Marie Todd, pg. 69.


Halfway through April and the performances with the Atomic crew are about to hit Chicago. Now, however, a bit of a rewind to the beginning of the month…

Tuesday the 4th: A performance at the Empty Bottle with a “Chamber Quartet,” consisting of Nate McBride and Kent Kessler on basses, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello, and myself on bass and Bb clarinets. Played completely acoustic, and just the sound of unamplified strings with the woodwinds was beautiful to hear. It felt to me that the music in the second set opened up more, maybe getting familiar with the format as the night progressed, with good interplay and flow in the spontaneous forms of the completely improvised material.

Wednesday the 5th: Immediate Sound starts at The Hideout. First set was a duo with Ari Brown and Robert Barry and the second was with a quartet with Nate McBride and Ingebrigt Haker Flaten on basses, Mike Reed on drums, and myself on tenor sax. The concert was presented to a solid and super receptive crowd- a great way to start a new performance series. It had been quite a while since I had seen either Robert or Ari, and having so many generations of Chicago musicians on the same bill proved to be a good way to kick of the Immediate Sound program. (A side note: just finished final work on the new Sound In Action album, “Gate,” which should be out on Atavistic in August, can’t believe it was recorded nearly three years ago…) The quartet with Ingebrigt, Nate, and Mike, performed the material I wrote in Boston, and it was a ball playing with the double bass sound. Ornette’s quartet with Haden and Izenzon was very much in my mind when the music was composed.

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