9 June 2008


That was it, the Chicago days with the Tentet went by faster than could be imagined. Despite the crazy work and logistics, the music, players, audiences, organizers (many thanks to Dave Rempis of Elastic, Josh Berman and Mike Reed of the Hungry Brain, Peter Taub of the MCA, and Lou Mallozzi of ESS) created a constant atmosphere of creativity and excitement: 15 sets of incredible music during eight nights. Now to see what the next decade will bring… One important bit of music that occurred during that ten day stretch that almost no one heard at the time was a duo recording organized by Mitch Cocanig, and engineered by Amos Scattergood at the “studio” in Nate McBride’s house with Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Joe McPhee. Of particular note (for me) was the fact that Joe used my tenor saxophone. Back in 1982, when I was seventeen, my father played me a copy of McPhee’s album, “Tenor,” that he had just received in the mail. In a very real sense, that was the starting point for the path that I’ve traveling for the last twenty-six years. The fact that Joe was using my horn on one of his recordings two and a half decades later felt like a beautiful circle had been drawn, all because of music.

Saturday the 8th, a day to rest. Sunday I got onto a plane to fly to Copenhagen with Peter in order to play a week’s worth of concerts in Sweden with Sonore. Mats picked us up after we arrived and, based on the look of exhaustion on his face, the 24 hours he’d had to be home before we showed up wasn’t quite enough to recuperate from the Chicago days and nights… We spent Monday hanging out at his new home in Skåne, a beautiful old farmhouse placed in a landscape pulled straight out of an Ingmar Bergman film. On the morning of the 11th we packed Mats’ car and he drove (as he’d do for the next five days) the seven hours to Västerås for our first concert on the tour- one set starting at 7pm on the Nya Perspektiv series. Despite our hat trick of jet lag we played some good music for the typically small, but enthusiastic, crowd. It was a nice way to start the trip. The next day’s drive was much easier, less than two hours, and we got into Stockholm early enough to have some time to walk around town before sound check. Peter and I decided to head to the Moderna Museet, where we hoped to catch a Robert Capa exhibition, but the show had closed the week before we arrived. So, instead, we had a nice espresso and looked at some other great artwork, not a bad way to spend an afternoon off. While Peter went back to the hotel to get some rest, I tried to find a fantastic bookstore that had been located by the Kulturhuset since I had first started visiting Stockholm more than a dozen years ago. The shop was gone- another sign of the times. But, on a positive note, in one of the exhibition spaces at the Kulturhuset was a Nobuyoshi Araki retrospective. I had never been that interested in his photographs but figured, since I still had some hours to fill before meeting the other guys at the club, I might as well take a look at the collection. I am very glad I did. I was dead wrong in my original impressions of his work- the variety of photographs extended well beyond his notorious erotic images of women, the range of pictures, both in content and method, were enormous- everything from shots of disappearing Tokyo (echoes of the Atget exhibition I had seen in Berlin when out performing with Sonore in November) to photo-journalistic street images, from color Polaroids to large format black and whites. As someone who struggles against the limitations placed against me by certain critics about the diversity in my music, the irony that I had made a similar judgment against Araki without first really examining his work was not lost on me.

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