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Steve Lehman: Grooving Not Repeating

By Published: February 21, 2005

SL: There hasn't been too much that's knocked me out lately. Anthony Braxton and Michael Finnissy's music are a constant source of inspiration. I really like Craig Taborn's Junk Magic album. I thought the tracks on Steve Coleman's Lucidarium album with vocalists were very special. Other than that, it's been old favorites, Jackie McLean, Aceyalone, Heinz Holliger, Sarah Vaughn with Joe Williams, Janacek's first String Quartet, Jill Scott, Mark Dresser, George Lewis...that's what's in the mix lately.

AAJ: Are there any musicians you would particularly like to work with that you have not?

SL: Yes, of course. I'm working on it!

AAJ: To wrap up, please tell us your musical plans, or projects in the pipeline, for 2005 and beyond.

SL: As I've mentioned I'll be doing a new album for Pi Recordings. I will also most likely put out a live CD of the music from the Artificial Light record on Fresh Sound. Clean Feed has asked me to do another project for them as well which I'm looking forward to. The Fieldwork album Simulated Progress will come out and we'll be touring in Europe and regionally in support of that. Dual Identity will be looking to record in 2005 as well. I'm hoping to begin working again with Kevin O'Neil who is an amazing instrumentalists and composer. There is a project in the works with the French Embassy to do a Franco-American Improvised music festival sometime in 2005. And I'm getting married in August...!

AAJ: As a scholar of the music and such a forward thinker and achiever, and as a relatively young person on the jazz map, I would like to take this opportunity to ask you your thoughts on the current state of jazz in the marketplace. Generally, the critical establishment, fans and musicians bemoan the current state of jazz on the map. Perhaps just a few thoughts on what we can all do to improve things.

SL: I just read an interview in the February 2005 issue of the WIRE that Brian Morton did with Anthony Braxton in which Braxton comments that we are headed into a "new Dark Ages" as a global community. I'm sad to say that as a young person living in the United States, almost every aspect of my day-to-day life points to the accuracy of Braxton's statement. My work, and the work of my peers and mentors exist, for the most part, in opposition to the global trends and phenomena evoked by Anthony's comments. In a time period in which almost every aspect of humanity is increasingly defined by its potential connection to a given marketplace, the contributions of these artists has never seemed more vital to me.

Visit Steve Lehman on the web.

Photo Credit
Peter Gannushkin

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