Quintet Season


Man, it’s been a blast playing with these guys every night. Doesn’t leave too much time for blogging. But tonight is off in Rome, we’ll play Casa de Jazz tomorrow and then continue to the last dates in Hungary and France. I’ll be home for a day and then playing Zorn’s Masada music in Milan with Chris Potter, Uri Caine, Greg Cohen, and Joey Baron. Then going to play with Jim McNeely in Portugal. Leads right up to Thanksgiving, and I’m thankful for this great season of music.

If you’ve seen any of the shows on this tour you know that it’s a bit of a new sound for the Quintet. Switching from fender rhodes to acoustic piano changes the dynamic of the group. But also the new music was written with a new approach in mind — somewhat freer but also more intricate rhythmically. We have also been playing quintet arrangements of the music on the new Big Band record, A Single Sky. Those tend to bring out another side of us, a sort of epic, long form music that forces all of us to think as a section. I can’t thank these guys enough for putting in 100% dedication and perseverance. And being hilarious travel mates.

When I started the Quintet around 2000 I felt the rhodes had been written out of the music somewhat, that there was a missing (and hence available) step in the music of the late sixties into the mid seventies. The music I was writing was starting from there as a jumping off point into our own thing. As I sat down to begin working on new music for the band in the wake of the complete live recordings at the Jazz Standard, I felt like the lay of the land was considerably different. The rhodes is everywhere now and it also feels like the music I’m hearing people play incorporates all of that post-sixties language and more. I’m inspired by a lot of the musicians I hear, and my hero, Wayne Shorter, continues to set an extremely high standard. The dynamics in that quartet are out of this world.

A lot of people ask me why I switched to acoustic piano in the band. To the extent that I even know, that’s some of what it’s about. We’re discovering the rest as we go.