The topic for this premiere episode was inspired by a thought I had in the midst of the 23rd Annual Vision Festival, for which I was serving as publicist. I saw a few musicians at Roulette, a venue in Downtown Brooklyn, where the festival was taking place whom I hadn’t expected to see at the Vision Fest, which typically attracts a certain kind of musician or listener.
I often wonder why we as musicians, fans, industry members and the general public compartmentalize these “scenes” such as Arts for Art, The Stone, Smalls, Mezzrow, Jazz at Lincoln Center or The Jazz Gallery, among many others and fail to appreciate them equally. All of these “scenes" have risen from aesthetic viewpoints and priorities that inevitably rise within the overall umbrella of so-called “jazz” or “creative/improvised music” or #BAM ("Black American Music"). Surely these divisions exist in spheres from fine arts to poetry to hip-hop/spoken word to electronic music and of course is politics and religion.
While this conversation is admittedly New York-centric, but having lived in other cities and witnessed these same separations, I know these divisions exist in other cities around the world. Certainly there is some crossover, musicians who are a part of multiple scenes and fans alike who are aware of and open to more than one flavor. But there is nevertheless a lot of segregation, as defined in my view by aesthetic priorities and stances of what constitutes good music or even a good time as well as racial and socioeconomic realities, geography, education and myriad other factors.
I was most interested in talking to individuals who exist in multiple worlds or scenes and asking them why or how they got to that point. Many of the musicians and industry members whom I encounter in my work as a publicist are either unaware or stay away from certain musical communities for one reason or another. I often wonder why as I personally try to have eclectic taste and since NY has SO much to offer. But I also get it. We all want to hang out in places where we are accepted for who we are and what we like and with others who share our aesthetic viewpoint.
We barely scratched the surface here, but our conversation led to multiple revelations for all of us. I intend on hosting more panels on this topic and many others – from day-to-day realities of being a working musician to career development, finances, grants, healthcare, family life, among many other topics. Some episodes will be one-on-one interviews with musicians and industry members exploring goals, motivations and best practices, giving the listener insights into creativity, studiousness, practical realities, and philosophical approaches that all contribute the “making of a scene.”
I thank my panelists Theo Bleckmann, Joe Branciforte, Andrea Wolper, Sameer Gupta and Kassa Overall who expanded my perspective and forced me to consider my assumptions in ways I had not expected to. Thanks to Andy Taub at Brooklyn Recording for offering us a beautiful space to record this conversation as well as my panelist and producer Joe Branciforte for editing and mixing this podcast at Greyfade Studios.
I hope you enjoy,
1. Kassa Overall - "Sensual Seduction" (feat. Theo Croker) from "DRAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT"
2. Joseph Branciforte & Theo Bleckmann - "4.14" (unreleased)
3. Sameer Gupta - "Taiwa" from "A CIRCLE HAS NO BEGINNING"
4. Andrea Wolper - "Blue Wind" from "PARALLEL LIVES"
ANDREA WOLPER – https://www.andreawolper.com/
JOSEPH BRANCIFORTE - http://www.josephbranciforte.com/home.html
KASSA OVERALL - https://www.kassaoverall.com/
SAMEER GUPTA - https://sameergupta.com/
THEO BLECKMANN - http://theobleckmann.com/
- Jazz & Blues