31 July 2006


Artist statement

“I think the destructive element is too much neglected in art.”
– Piet Mondrian
from “The Dada Painters And Poets: An Anthology, Second Edition,” (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press: 1981), edited by Robert Motherwell, pg. xviii.


I’ve been home since the 22nd of June and it’s been harder to keep up with the various projects while in Chicago than on the road; it doesn’t make sense but somehow it’s true. So, here’s another attempt to detail past events before one more month rushes by…

The work at the Suoni Per Il Popolo festival in Montreal continued after the final concert of the CINC tour. There was a open workshop on music presented by Paal Nilssen-Love and myself- some duo playing and an open discussion with the audience (question: “Do you think your music is too atonal for audiences to accept?” response: “Based on what’s going on in the world right now, the question should be, ‘Is it atonal enough?’”). Had a chance to catch The Thing and Joe McPhee perform together, an explosive concert tempered with Joe’s incredible lyricism (poetic AND burning). With all he has done as an artist, and at such a continually high level, Joe McPhee should be considered a national treasure.

FME was fortunate enough to get in a couple of rehearsals before performing in front of a packed house. This was a real opportunity to see if the trio could pick up where it left off, after more than an eight-month break. Based on the way we played it seems that the answer is, “YES.” Having some hours to review the material meant that we were able to get off the page during the gig and could push the music someplace new right from the start. We played Albert Ayler’s, “Love Cry,” as an encore. It feels more and more like the piece was written as an anthem for the failure of today’s society, despite the fact that it was composed about forty years ago. A long night celebrating with the band and friends, followed by a long two-day drive with Amos Scattergood and Dan Krauss back to Chicago…

Since I’ve been home, a lot of the time has been spent finishing up work on recordings, and rehearsing newer groups in order to get them ready to perform; it’s been a transitional phase between the end and beginning of projects. On June 27th, Bob Weston and I mastered the Donaueschingen concert by the Territory Band that took place last October. This cd will be included as part of the August, Okka Disk release called, “A New Horse For The White House.” The cover will be the painting of a Trojan Horse that Richard Hull and Dan Grzeca created for the Beckett Variations project, and the music will be contained on three cds, a radio broadcast of the Donaueschingen concert and the studio documents from Osnabruck, giving listeners a chance to hear two versions of the compositions written for the fifth version of the Territory Band. On the 10th and 11th of July, and with Nate McBride’s assistance, Bob and I mixed the studio material performed by the Oslo version of the Powerhouse Sound project (with Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, Paal Nilssen-Love, Lasse Marhaug, and Nate). The Chicago version of the group (with Nate, Jeff Parker, and John Herndon) has been rehearsing for some upcoming gigs at the Hideoout in Chicago, on August 2nd and September 13th. I keep hoping to add Ingebrigt back into the mix, but I see him less now that he lives in Chicago than when he was living across the ocean. The last two days have been spent with Amos Scattergood, mixing the Boston and Montreal recordings from the Free Music Ensemble, September 2005, tour of North America. These are slated for a fall release on Okka Disk in order to coincide with FME’s October European tour. The playing and sound really capture the trio’s intensity and flexibility, another step forward for the band.

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