Matthias Lupri: Shadow of the Vibe
"I think as we progress over the years," Lupri continues, "technology becomes more organic as it becomes part of everyday life. Where I'm heading with my new CD is that we're so exposed to electronics and computers and everything. That's what Transition Sonic is all about - what does it mean? To me I'm transitioning into a sonic frame of mind, so in my daily life, you live your life and you have so may things going on, but when I transition back to my music world, into writing and playing live; it's a really beautiful place to be in and you fade in and out of that space and that's what the CD is all about."
Maintaining Consistency in Fluid Times
While Lupri continues to tour, the challenges of keeping a consistent band together, especially when many of the players are active leaders in their own right, mean that Lupri works from a growing pool of musicians he has come to know and trust to understand his personal musical vision. "When I did my Same Time Twice CD Release Party for example," Lupri explains, "I had the exact line-up, but Mark Turner couldn't make it, so I got Greg Osby to come in and play and that just took it in a totally different direction. I ended up doing more gigs with Osby and it was great. That's the beauty of jazz when you bring in different people and they take things to different places - sort of a similar direction but different, if you know what I mean. It opens up new colours and palettes.
"The jazz business is pretty messed up," Lupri continues, "and everybody's trying to hang in there - the leaders, the players, the sidemen; and it's hard for me to say to the group, 'OK, all next year we're touring here, and here are all the dates' and expect everyone to be available. Everything just sort of falls into place here and there and nothing is confirmed too far out in advance. People are just trying to keep busy, to keep working, so it's impossible to keep a steady band unless you're a Wayne Shorter. Even Rosenwinkel has different bands every time he tours. As a leader I realize this, and I don't count on things being exactly the same, with the exact same players. It's just impossible, unless you get to a certain level where you're making a certain amount of money and can have a retainer. But I try to keep a pool of similar players that I can call and make it work. It's just the way the business is, totally fluid."
Broadening His Exposure
Meanwhile, Lupri continues to push forward, promoting Transition Sonic with a number of upcoming dates that will feature saxophonist Myron Walden, from Brian Blade's Fellowship. And Lupri continues to expose himself to music from a variety of sources; some of them rather surprising. "I'm definitely checking out the latest Chris Potter record," says Lupri, "the latest Brian Blade record, everybody's latest record. I'm definitely checking out as much as I can. I just got on Amazon the other day and bought a CD by Steve Coleman, a Scriabin record, a disk of John Cage music and Phillip Glass, just to see what these guys are doing. I'm notorious for buying records blindly, as opposed to listening to sound bytes I go, 'This looks interesting, let me buy the record.' I'm always doing that and trying to get exposed to things I might not otherwise hear.
"I went to a Dio concert last year,' continues Lupri, "Ronnie James Dio, and I had the greatest time. I rushed the stage and I was two feet from the stage in Worcester, which is a really crazy town. For me to see Dio at my age and doing the music I'm doing - nobody would do that and, again, it opened up a whole new thing, craziness, a certain element of rawness and rock and roll attitude that I had when I was playing that music way back when. I bought the new Bjork CD, and I love her older stuff so it's interesting to hear her new stuff - she's an acquired taste but I really love it. I love Pat Travers, just the rawness of his sound, I love that. So all this stuff kind of filters in somehow."
Keeping Jazz Alive