Monday, November 16, 2009


Last night's Crackleknob set at the Douglass Street Music Collective was a deep pleasure, both for the music and the fact that in that small, somewhat stark room, we played to the largest crowd we've had the privilege to reach so far, and they were with us! I feel these days that a lot of the community I'm a part of in NY are less than psyched about free-improv groups, and are more interested in projects with some amount of composition, and I think I understand why (lack of a feeling of evolution, perhaps?) but the comments I heard from people afterwards made me think that the answer is a long-term commitment to a group, like this one, a project that--while we might be making it up as we go along--embodies a spirit of a longer journey at hand than the one set of music you hear us make on stage one night. Hopefully you can hear in a group like ours, now in our sixth year, that we have developed something through a process that gives us a deep foundation, while also having the chance to continue discovering new things.

That all sounds kind of aloof and academic to me, so let me say this: I love Nate and Mary as people and musicians and our great group chemistry (in my opinion) was not instantaneous, though the first playing sessions we had were fun. I think we enjoyed each other as people and admired each other enough to stick with the project unhurriedly over time and shortly before recording together found a trust and relaxation that we retain to this day. Now when we set up to play I have a great feeling of confidence and humility that is rare. I feel like we have the combined strength at our disposal of our individual talents and the experiences we've shared and I'm glad we finally got to share it with a number good friends, including Josh Sinton's Holus Bolus, who killed it right before us, and Tom Blancarte and Brian Osborne's duo set, which I missed, but all accounts were glowing.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

airwaves & soundwaves

Hi everybody,

This has been a really odd week for me, starting with a very satisfying trip to play the Red Room in Baltimore with the great Jen Baker. Devin Hurd reviewed our performance at his (always stimulating and well-written) blog:

A sneak peek:

"The two minds at work displayed an uncanny sense of timing that allowed for natural contours to develop and the rare improvisational feat of collaborative conclusions."

We play our last gig of this run together tonight in Brooklyn at the Infrequent Seams series at Dakar in Clinton Hill. Come on down!

Next wednesday the 25th at 6pm eastern I'll be the guest on the Musician Show on WKCR. Listen at 89.9 FM in NYC or listen online from anywhere! gets you to the live feed. I'll be playing some of my music and that of the group Crackleknob w/ Mary Halvorson and Nate Wooley. Our CD is due out in 2 months on Hat Art. I'll also be plying lots of music by my friends and influences and no doubt some of these recordings will be a surprise to some. I really hope you'll tune in.

The other thing going on this week was that I had surgery to crush a giant stone lodged in my left kidney. It seemed to go well! The procedure I had is explained here:

Fun to think that I was healed by sound. I was out cold at the time so I have no memory of the experience. I'm having to take it kinda easy today, but I'm not in pain, and that is a real blessing.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


As promised, the new Point of Departure webmag has a healthy roundtable discussion with Jen Baker, myself, and Jon Raskin about the current state of creative music in such tricky times. Editor Bill Shoemaker seems to be especially interested in focusing on hardship, which I find a distraction from the more important questions we could be facing. After all, music is about a lot more than making it and getting paid for it. There's also hearts to inspire and our own characters to develop and grow! I think Jen did the best job of getting to the heart of things, and Jon did a great job of rounding up all the bottom line factors. I found myself somewhere in between. Funny to see how my own perspective lines up in the spectrum of voices.

Anyway, go read it for yourself:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Back From The Void

I was shocked to notice recently that I haven't blogged in a year. 2008 was a confusing and intense ride, with a lot of upheaval and chaos. Now that the smoke is clearing and there's so much newness in my life (and on the horizon) I think it's a good time to get back into it, and hopefully on a regular basis.

First, I want to tell you that this Friday, Feb 6th, 2009 at 4pm Eastern I'll be broadcasting 30 minutes of solo bass from my home as part of the Deep Tones For Peace NOW project. You can watch me from your computer at and for more info on the project go to

It's great to have a reason to get back into solo playing. I didn't do as much of it in 2008 as I had the previous couple years. Since I'm going to be doing a lecture/demo at the International Society of Bassists convention this June the time is definitely now...!

Later this month (on Valentine's Day!) I'm returning to The Red Room in Baltimore, one of my favorite rooms in one of my favorite cities! This time in duet with improvising trombonist Jen Baker. The next day we're at the COMA series in Manhattan, and then on Thu the 19th at the Infrequent Seams series in Brooklyn, which happens at the Le Grand Dakar in Clinton Hill. Check out our myspace page for full info and sounds:

Jen and I have been participation in a roundtable discussion slated to appear soon in Bill Shoemaker's excellent online magazine Point of Departure, along with Jon Raskin of ROVA. Should be out any day now. I'll keep you posted!