17 April 2008


“Oh, that’s a good number,” he said

-A good number? Why?

“Because it’s mentioned in a famous Polish poem by the writer Adam Mickiewicz.”

At the time it struck me as a nice coincidence. But as the period in Krakow progressed, however, the idea translated itself into a title for one of the new compositions, and from there it took on more and more emotional weight as I spent more time in the country.

The next morning it was time for a train back to Krakow, and the chance to try and catch up a bit with the endless influx of bloody e-mail. Then on Friday, by another fluke of chance, both Paal Nilssen-Love and Joe McPhee arrived in town; Paal to pick up copies of the new cds for his label, and Joe to perform at Alchemia with Trio-X. Needless to say, we had a good time. I had hoped to travel to the Wels Unlimited Festival that day in order to see friends and hear John Tilbury play in a project with musicians that included Christof Kurzmann, but the twelve hour train trip each way made the idea impractical- too much time would be lost for the compositional work that still needed to be done. Of course, seeing Paal and Joe proved to be a good alternative.

Most of the musicians arrived on the evening of Sunday the 11th. I finished copying the charts at midnight and, bleary eyed from transcribing music all day, took the short walk to Alchemia to see them all and say hello. Phase two of the project started the following morning at our first rehearsal. The band set up on the floor in front of the Alchemia stage, we met there for the next five days: running the charts starting around 11am, lunch about 2pm, then more practice from 3-6pm. Each night the members of the ensemble performed in small groups at the club, decided upon by the musicians during the day. Here’s the list of performances in the order that they took place:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9