« view all posts
Over the last few weeks I've done a good handful of interviews mostly due to the tour that People, Places & Things just concluded. Although it's nice to get some attention to help promote the shows it becomes tiresome answering the same questions. It makes me wonder how much homework the interviewer did in preparation. Most, if not all, of the answers to the questions are already out there in interviews and reviews of the People, Places & Things recordings released since 2008. The question that seems particularly bothersome is some version of
“what made you want to re-investigate the music of Chicago circa 1954-60?”
My first thought is to just say “read the fucking liner notes!” or take a look on the web at some of the material that's already out there. Of course I'm not that crass, and do my best to explain the idea...again.
Something occurred to me after one of these interviews which seems to answer a deeper meaning to the question. If we're really doing our best as creative people we are essentially saying something about right now despite the source material. A great interpretation of a Jazz standard can only be accomplished when the artist makes the piece their own. My attempts with People, Places & Things' first three recordings are also commenting on recognition right now.
At best it is an attempt to get people, especially critics and musicians, to look at all that is happening and possible outside of the world of New York – in other communities especially their own. The cultural capital that does or could exist in other places is essential to this observation so that these moments and places don't wither. It is the building blocks for communities, artists and the infrastructures that surround them. More specifically for me it is important that another moment in Chicago is not under recognized or under represented. Of course this applies to more than Chicago and more than the Jazz and improvised music world, but all aesthetic movements. As this tour came to an end I am more convinced that the Bostons, Detroits, D.Cs of the world have lost the ability to sustain a scene because of a myopic sense of what and where the music is most valued. For those of us who venture out to these places it is important that the community of fans, artists and documentors are healthy and vibrant. If not it makes what we do more difficult and maybe even slightly pointless. This will only be possible when all of those entities recognize the value in itself and in the possibilities for other people, places & things. I was highly impressed by the scene surrounding the Clown Lounge in St. Paul, which seems to have their own valued scene and a commitment to itself. Thanks to J.T. Bates for hosting us and all of the folks up there that are a great model of what is possible.