24 June 2007


– Well, no I’m not, and I didn’t realize that there was a monitor on the ground directly behind him, so when I hit him with my arm so he went flying backwards through the air in the middle of this solo. As I watched him tumble to the ground I saw about seven photographers at the front of the stage taking a picture of him hitting the ground and me yelling, “Oh No!! Excuse me!” Well, he got up and was jumping up and down screaming, really pissed. Then some people in the audience grabbed him and picked him up over their heads. And for some reason when they put him down he was smiling and completely fine.

“That’s lucky, you could have had an international incident on your hands. Imagine the headlines: ‘Norwegian pianist in a diva move cold cocks Nepalese citizen as part of floor show!’”

Despite the fact that the program featured two pairs of piano/reed groups (in addition to a student group), the music each duo played was so completely different from the other that nothing ended up being redundant. One drawback to the venue was that the piano was tuned so sharp I couldn’t play any clarinet, except on an improvised solo piece dedicated to John Carter. Another drawback was the acoustics in the room- for a traditional concert hall the sound was very murky even though we played without using a P.A. After we finished the gig and we were getting ready to pack up the manager came up to me and said,

“I want you to know that I thought the music was very interesting, though a bit challenging for our usual audience.”

“Well,” I said, “we’re just doing our job.”

“Oh, you have a great attitude! That’s very important when you play difficult music.”

“Thanks so very much.”

In closing I’d like to thank Bruno Johnson of Okka Disk for making sure that the tour had the album in time. I hope that “Foreground Music” is the first in a series of recording Pandelis and I get to do together, and that this short tour was just the first in a long series of work together.

-Ken Vandermark, Chicago, 6/22/07

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