1. Tell us about your latest CD “We Two” with pianist Jeb Patton. How did the project get started?
Well, every now and then, while playing a concert in a bigger setting (like a quartet or a quintet) I’d ask Jeb to do a duo piece in the middle, just to change the pace of the evening... And every time we would do this I’d really enjoy the experience - it felt different from a regular situation being accompanied by a full band, but given the fact that Jeb is such an amazing musician, it provided me with the lightness and the intimacy of a chamber atmosphere while retaining everything one would expect from a complete rhythm section: the intensity and power, swinging, taking chances, etc...
2. How long have you guys played together?
We have been playing on and off together from approximately 2008. At that time I put together a group consisting of Jeb, David Wong on the bass and Joe Strasser on the drums and we have been playing gigs since then... Jeb and I also made several trips abroad and played in other setting besides my usual quartet.
3. A jazz duo is less common, how did your approach change preparing for this duo rather then your last album “The Day After” in quartet?
To be honest, apart from the arranging point of view (you do just have two people playing a particular piece), it wasn’t that much different from preparing for a trio or a quartet recording.
I was looking for a repertoire that was interesting, making sure it would “work” in a duo setting, but afterwards I was pretty loose - just wanted us to be comfortable and see what we can to with the pieces. I wanted us to have the maximum freedom...
4. How did you choose the songs for this album? How would you describe your concept of sound?
Every time I choose a song it’s more or less the same process: I have to make sure I like it, I try to make sure that other musicians enjoy playing it and I make sure I can be creative with it, not just play it “correctly”... I look for a strong melody, interesting and/challenging harmony and good rhythm. I also try to look for a piece that pushes me to do something I might not normally do.
5. What sound is in your mind’s ear?
The sound that I try to have both myself and in a band is some kind of mix of being firmly rooted in the history of this music while delivering a fresh sound.
6. What equipment do you use?
7. When’s your CD release event in NYC?
We will be presenting the album on December 7 and 8 in NY at the Mezzrow Jazz Club (163 W. 10th St)
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