Saturday, October 22, 2016

Long-time Bands

Alexander Hawkins on the value of long-standing musical relationships:

“One of the things that’s really important about the Blue Notes is that they show the value of long-standing – long-standing – musical relationships and empathy,” he said, adding the Schlippenbach Trio as another instance of this. The free-improv era, Hawkins explained, gave musicians a lingua franca, an ability to make music in impromptu, one-off meetings. The Blue Notes, however, pointed to another way of working. “They really show the power, that where there’s long-standing relationships and understanding, then that’s really a deeply productive way to create new music. I think lesser musicians are worried that long-standing relationships create something predictable. The great musicians, the history of the group – the Ellington band, the Basie bands, the Blue Notes – shows that long-standing understanding probably creates the deepest freedom.” (Jumpin’ In by Greg Buium, Point of Departure , issue 52, 2015)

...and Mary Halvorson on the same topic:

I really appreciate longstanding bands ... of course there is always the excitement of newness, but there is also a certain element of chemistry which can only develop over time. (Mary Halvorson: Variety and Contrast by Troy Collins, Point of Departure, issue 52, 2015)
I have been extremely lucky to have had several long-lasting band experiences. The improvising core of New Ting Ting Loft (Jimmy Ghaphery, Tim Harding, and myself) has been together since 1996, for 20 years now (!), first as a sax/drum duo, then as the New Loft Quartet, then, as a trio, just plain old New Loft, and now, with the augmentation from our valued bandmates for the last few years, as New Ting Ting Loft. I think we have continued to surprise ourselves over the years!

UYA lasted for almost 8 years, and I've been playing with Rodger Coleman at least once a year for the last 16. Going further back, Tad Thaddock played as a unit for 4 or 5 years. Alexander Hawkins is absolutely right!

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