24 June 2007


Artist statement

“In art, making demands on people means believing in them.”

– Helmut Lachenmann
from his liner notes to “Das Madchen mit den Schwefelholzern,” (ECM New Series 1858/59, 2004), pg. 26.†




May 18th- A long day of airports and airplanes, moving from early morning in Brest, France, to Paris, to late afternoon in Krakow- luggage making it somehow without a hitch. Marek met me at the airport and asked if I’d mind getting a cup of coffee while he waits to pick up some other musicians. This is no problem of course, and over an espresso I find that the musicians who are arriving include Evan Parker, Agusti Fernandez, and Herb Roberston. They were on tour as a trio and had a concert that night in Katowice. Marek then asked me if I’d like to drive out to see the show with him, only an hour and a half, at this point I’m beyond exhausted so- why not? Evan, Agusti, and Herb were pretty surprised to find me standing there waiting with Marek as they walked out of customs, looking as wiped out as I felt due to their own ridiculous travel day. They got into their van; Marek and I dropped my things off in Krakow and then drove out to their concert, making it a bit after they had started. The gig took place at Jazz Club Hipnoza, I think the first place I played in Poland (with the DKV Trio), and where I met first Marek Winiarski of Not Two. The last time I played there was with Paul Lytton and Kent Kessler, nearly delirious with fever. Was great to hear the music and see Evan again after maybe a year and a half. Afterwards, back in the car and a quick stop at Alchemia…

The next day Pandelis Karayorgis arrived in Krakow, and we caught up with what each other had been up to. Every time Pandelis comes to Chicago I seem to be out of town, and nearly every time I come through Boston it’s on tour, so there’s rarely a chance to do more than have a quick conversation. I spent some of the afternoon composing a new piece to play together, called “Apart/ment,” the rest of the time on correspondence and photographs. Later on the two of us enjoyed the extensive Polish hospitality of Ania, Laurence, Marek, Olek… quite a crew and not much chance for defense. I don’t think Pandelis or I were allowed to spend a cent during the five days we were in Poland. On the 20th Laurence drove us to the city of Wroclaw for our first concert of the tour, with some time during sound check to run material and make plans for the sets. The format Pandelis and I used for the tour was devised as such: use the material from “Foreground Music,” add a couple of Thelonious Monk compositions, and a solo piece from each of us in both sets. We played to a full house at Club Rura, a fine spot and one of the oldest Jazz clubs in the country. Despite the fact that Pandelis and I had not performed the material together since we were in the studio in January 2006, the music felt like we had been working on it just yesterday.

We went back to Krakow for a concert on Monday the 21st. It was a smaller crowd at Alchemia than usual, but considering the trio with Evan, Agusti, and Herb had played there the night before I wasn’t too surprised. If I had to choose, which band would I have gone to see? The music was stronger than the night before, and from the standpoint of working together the duo seems to be the right combination for us to collaborate. After the show Ania took us to the other side of town in a midnight taxi for a hike of the tall hills that overlook Krakow. “Well,” I told her as we walked along the ledges in the dark, “it’s a good thing I can’t see anything, I’d rather not know what’s down there, not a fan of heights…” The view of the city was enough, beautiful lights and nearly empty as we walked back through the streets and along the river to Alchemia.

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