Episode 10: John Raymond



The tenth episode of the Burning Ambulance podcast features John Raymond, who leads the intriguing flugelhorn-guitar-drums trio Real Feels. (Raymond and Real Feels have been featured on BA several times.) The group’s second studio album and third album overall, Joy Ride, is out now on Sunnyside. In this conversation, we discuss his time studying with Jon Faddis and John McNeil, the gradual evolution of Real Feels, the pluses and minuses of trumpet versus flugelhorn, his teaching career and what he tries to pass on to younger musicians, and much more.

Stream or download the podcast below.


Episode 9: Orrin Evans



The ninth episode of the Burning Ambulance podcast features Orrin Evans, who’s been a solo artist for about 20 years, but is gaining a brand-new audience as the new pianist—replacing Ethan Iverson—in the long-running trio The Bad Plus. The group’s first album with Evans on piano, Never Stop II, was released two weeks ago, and they’re out on the road. I’ve interviewed Evans before, and reviewed many of his albums. In this conversation, taped in early January, we discuss his early career, his placement in the annual Thelonious Monk competition, his other collaborative trio Tarbaby, his plans for juggling his solo career with his work in The Bad Plus, and much more.


Episode 8: UK Jazz Roundtable



The eighth episode of the Burning Ambulance podcast is a special one. New York’s Winter Jazzfest brings artists from around the globe to the city every year, and packs out nightclubs with audiences excited to hear the best new music around. This year, the UK made a very strong showing, with multiple performers appearing individually and together. And since I had been impressed by the work of multiple British jazz artists last year, I decided to gather some of the best players around in one room at one time, for a conversation about the state of British jazz, their own work, and much more. This episode, I talked to clarinetist/saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, who leads three groups—Sons of Kemet, The Comet is Coming, and Shabaka and the Ancestors—and who is on the cover of the current issue of The Wire; trumpeter Yazz Ahmed, whose second album La Saboteuse placed on multiple critics’ year-end lists, including mine; and saxophonist Nubya Garcia, who released her debut EP as a leader, the six-track Nubya’s 5ive, in 2017. Hutchings and Garcia are also heavily featured on the forthcoming UK jazz compilation We Out Here; he was the musical director of the project, and she plays on five of its nine tracks. This episode was a challenge to set up, juggling everyone’s schedules, but we met on a Thursday afternoon in a rehearsal room at the New School and talked for well over an hour about their individual careers, the state of British jazz generally, Brexit, and much more. Special thanks go out to Matt Merewitz for setting it up.

 


Episode 7: Tomeka Reid



The seventh episode of the Burning Ambulance podcast features an interview with cellist Tomeka Reid. She’s been on the avant-garde/free jazz scene since 2002, but has really begun to make her mark in the last few years. She’s got long-standing artistic relationships with flautist Nicole Mitchell, drummer Mike Reed, saxophonists Roscoe Mitchell and Anthony Braxton, and the AACM. She leads her own quartet with guitarist Mary Halvorson, bassist Jason Ajemian and drummer Tomas Fujiwara; is a member of the string trio Hear In Now with violinist Mazz Swift and bassist Silvia Bolognesi; and recorded a duo album, Signaling, with saxophonist Nick Mazzarella in 2017. She also performed on trumpeter Jaimie Branch‘s Fly Or Die, two Nicole Mitchell albums, and Hear In Now‘s Not Living In Fear, and became a member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. In our interview, Reid discusses her creative relationships, her recent recordings, and much more. It’s a really interesting conversation I’ve been wanting to have for quite a while—she was one of the first artists I approached about appearing on the podcast—and I hope you’ll enjoy it.


Episode 6: Stanley Cowell



Burning Ambulance has launched a podcast series, which will feature interviews with artists from the realms of jazz, modern composition, metal, noise, and whatever else interests us—much like the site has done since launching in 2010.

The sixth episode features an interview with pianist Stanley Cowell. He’s a jazz veteran who made his recorded debut in 1967, on Marion Brown‘s albums Now What? and Three for Shepp. He’s also worked with Max Roach, Gary Bartz, Bobby Hutcherson, and the Heath Brothers, among others, and he co-founded the Strata-East label with trumpeter Charles Tolliver in the 1970s. In recent years, he retired from teaching at Rutgers University, and has assumed a more active recording and performing role; in 2015, he put out a solo album, Juneteenth, and in 2017, he released a quartet disc, No Illusions.

In our interview, Cowell discusses his early career, his 1970s work as a solo artist and as part of the Piano Choir, his time as an educator, his fascination with electronic music and how he’s imported that interest into his own work, and much more. It’s a really interesting conversation I’ve been wanting to have for several years, and I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Stream or download the podcast below.


Episode 5: Matt Hollenberg



Burning Ambulance has launched a podcast series, which will feature interviews with artists from the realms of jazz, modern composition, metal, noise, and whatever else interests us—much like the site has done since launching in 2010.

The fifth episode features an interview with guitarist Matt Hollenberg. He’s one of the most adventurous players around right now, and he’s got a lot going on. He’s a member of John Zorn‘s trio Simulacrum, along with organist John Medeski and drummer Kenny Grohowski; we interviewed all three of them a few years ago. He’s also a member of the band John Frum, with Liam Wilson of the Dillinger Escape Plan and some other underground metal folks; we reviewed their debut album earlier this year. He’s also just launched a new instrumental metal fusion project called Shardik, and his longest-running band is Cleric. They’ve been around for more than a dozen years, but they’ve only released two albums, one of which, Retrocausal, just came out. Apparently, though, they’ve got two other records in the can, one of which is entirely made up of Zorn compositions, from the Masada songbook.

Matt has a lot to say in our interview about Cleric, about Simulacrum and working with Zorn, about Shardik and John Frum, and about the state of metal in general. He also talks about a very bad accident he suffered earlier this year, which made it impossible for him to play for several months. It’s a really interesting conversation, and I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Stream or download the podcast below.


Episode 4: Roswell Rudd



Burning Ambulance has launched a podcast series, which will feature interviews with artists from the realms of jazz, modern composition, metal, noise, and whatever else interests us—much like the site has done since launching in 2010.

The fourth episode features an interview with trombonist Roswell Rudd. Rudd was one of the pioneering figures of the jazz avant-garde; though he started out in a Dixieland band, by 1960, he was working with Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor, and Steve Lacy. He was a member of the ensemble that recorded the legendary ESP-Disk’ album New York Eye & Ear Control, alongside Albert Ayler, Don Cherry, John Tchicai, Gary Peacock and Sunny Murray; along with Tchicai, drummer Milford Graves, and several different bassists, he formed the New York Art Quartet, whose debut album, also on ESP-Disk’, is a landmark of the free jazz era. He and Lacy collaborated for years, interpreting Thelonious Monk‘s music without a pianist; he was also on multiple Shepp albums in the ’60s, and appeared on the Jazz Composers Orchestra album Communications. In the 2000s, Rudd explored music beyond jazz, recording albums with Mongolian musicians and with Puerto Rican guitarist and cuatro player Yomo Toro. His latest releases include Strength and Power, a collaboration with keyboardist Jamie Saft, bassist Trevor Dunn, and drummer Balazs Pandi, and Embrace, with singer Fay Victor, pianist Lafayette Harris, and bassist Ken Filiano.

Rudd was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, and has been battling the disease ever since, but still maintains as busy a recording and performing schedule as possible. It’s easy to tell, in this conversation, that he’s in poor health; he speaks softly and slowly. But I think it’s still a very interesting interview, and I hope you’ll enjoy it.


Episode 3: Myra Melford



The third episode of the Burning Ambulance podcast features an interview with pianist Myra Melford. Melford has been a prominent figure on the jazz avant-garde since the late 1980s, having worked with numerous figures affiliated with the AACM, including Henry Threadgill, Roscoe Mitchell, Joseph Jarman, Nicole Mitchell, and Leroy Jenkins. She’s also led several of her own groups, including Trio M with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Matt Wilson; the Myra Melford Trio with bassist Lindsey Horner and drummer Reggie Nicholson, which later became the Myra Melford Expanded Ensemble with the addition of trumpeter Dave Douglas and saxophonist Marty Ehrlich; Be Bread, which explored a blend of jazz and traditional Indian music, which Melford has studied extensively; and Snowy Egret, which includes guitarist Liberty Ellman, cornet player Ron Miles, bassist Stomu Takeishi, and drummer Tyshawn Sorey, and with whom she just recorded a new album, due out in 2018. She’s got many other projects going as well, many of which are explored in this interview.

Melford also discusses her early studies and her path to becoming a professional musician; her exploration of Indian music; her role as a professor at UC Berkeley; her participation in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra‘s “Handful of Keys” salute to jazz piano history; and much more. It’s a fascinating, nearly hour-long conversation I hope you’ll enjoy.

Stream or download the podcast below.


Episode 2: Matthew Shipp



The second episode of the Burning Ambulance Podcast features an interview with pianist Matthew Shipp. Shipp has been one of avant-garde jazz’s most compelling figures since coming to public attention in the early 1990s. He frequently releases multiple albums in a year, mixing solo performances with ones by his current trio, which features bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Newman Taylor Baker. In 2017 alone, he has released a trio album, Piano Song; a solo album, Invisible Touch at Taktlos Zürich; Vessel in Orbit, a collaboration with drummer Whit Dickey and violinist Mat Maneri; This is Beautiful Because We are Beautiful People, a collaboration with saxophonist Mat Walerian and bassist William Parker; Magnetism(s), a reissue of a 1999 disc with Parker and saxophonist Rob Brown, paired with a brand-new live performance by the same group; and an astonishing 11 albums in collaboration with saxophonist Ivo Perelman.

In this interview, Shipp discusses his earliest days and how he decided to become a professional musician; his current activities, including his creative relationship with Perelman and his decision to leave the Thirsty Ear label after a nearly 20-year partnership; and his newfound political activism, particularly his vehement opposition to Donald Trump.

Stream or download the podcast below.


Episode 1: Roscoe Mitchell



by Phil Freeman

Burning Ambulance is launching a new podcast series, which will feature interviews with artists from the realms of jazz, modern composition, metal, noise, and whatever else interests us—much like the site has done since launching in 2010.

The inaugural edition features an interview with legendary saxophonist and composer Roscoe Mitchell. Mitchell co-founded both the AACM and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and has been one of jazz’s most forward-looking and inspiring figures since the 1960s. His latest album, Discussions (get it from Amazon), features large-ensemble interpretations of music originally improvised by a trio featuring Mitchell himself, Craig Taborn on keyboards, and Kikanju Baku on percussion. About a week after this interview was recorded, Mitchell led a new incarnation of the Art Ensemble of Chicago in their first New York performance since 2004. The group featured Hugh Ragin on trumpet, Tomeka Reid on cello, Jaribu Shahid and Junius Paul on basses, and Famoudou Don Moye on drums, and former AEOC member Joseph Jarman made a special appearance, reading his poetry accompanied by the others.

The interview runs about 45 minutes; Mitchell talks about the Art Ensemble, his composition “Nonaah,” his other solo works, and much more. Stream it or download it below.