Erik Friedlander: Cello Ahead
Jazz is only one paradigm of improvisation, but there are all these other cultures that have their own improvised music. Many of us find great inspiration in this. I'm looking for truthful ways to express my personality through music and I'm finding new starting points in other traditions. There is a traditional and a popular use of strings in the music of the Middle East and India, especially the way they use violin sections. I'm totally turned on by what they do: the violins become aggressively rhythmic, like another percussion instrument-it's amazing!
There truly is a community of musicians here interested in this diversity: if I hire three musicians from the New York area and I bring in Iranian pieces, or Sephardic music, or my own music there is no problem for them.
In practice, though, everyone's music in this scene is very different. You can't compare Andy Laster's Lessness to my Topaz, to Chris Speed's' to Jim Black's group' to John Zorn's Masada, even though some of these bands are made of the same musicians. They all bring themselves to the music and deliver an exciting performance, but also perfectly understand what the composer is after.
Frank Tafuri (b/w photo) Claudio Casanova (color photo)