Tag Archives: phil freeman

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 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.