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Ingrid Laubrock: Playing with the Future

By Published: August 15, 2005

AAJ: How do you find the process of getting gigs?

IL: For me, personally, getting bookings has got easier in a way, because I don't have to introduce myself when I ring people, they tend to know who I am. But in other ways it's harder, because the older I get the wierder I feel the music is going to be. I have a feel of where it's going and I know it's going to get less and less commercial. So that won't make it easier to get work. But I'm playing a lot more now, and I'm hardly doing anything I don't want to do. I'm definitely not doing pure survival gigs anymore.

AAJ: What recording projects do you have coming up?

IL: The first is a duo album album with [pianist] Liam Noble for Babel. We've just been to the studio, two days ago. Liam can turn everything into some sort of symphony; the complexity and beauty of his accompanying is out of this world. And during his solos, I get completely absorbed and follow every note of it. For me, his playing is a special combination of deep lyricism and driving energy, and he gets the most possible out of a single idea. The solos have real architecture. [Noble's new album Romance Amongst The Fishes will be out in October, with Phil Robson, Drew Gress and Tom Rainey.]

I'm also planning another album with the Quintet. I haven't done all the writing yet, so I can't say much. But I hope we'll do it before Christmas.

And I'm planning to do some recording with Leafcutter John [the electronica artist who guests on Polar Bear's Held On The Tips Of Fingers.] He's from a completely different field, obviously. He's not sure about jazz. He likes Seb and Polar Bear but there's a lot of jazz he doesn't like. It's interesting to talk to people like that, it's interesting to hear what they say, why jazz is inaccessible to them. We met up at his house, where he has all these instruments, and we had a fantastic time. The whole day, just jumping around. I was really getting around on the saxophone, playing the springs, playing the pads, it was really interesting. And he was playing every conceivable instrument that he owned—which is a lot—from a glockenspiel to a bouzouki. He doesn't play any of them in a conventional way, but he has such a good ear for sound that he creates something really good with it. We're also thinking about getting a live act together. It's going to take a while, because we're both busy and he's playing all over the planet.

AAJ: You were one of three nominees for Rising Star in the BBC Jazz Awards this year.

IL: Yes, and it was nice to have been considered. I think I will always be the "rising" or "emergent" star, never anything else. After "rising star" it goes straight to "under-rated." But as long as the music keeps moving, progressing, I'm quite happy really.

AAJ: We started out talking about the first jazz you remember hearing. Could we finish with anything you've heard recently which has blown you away? Jazz or non-jazz.

IL: I just listened to the whole Atlantic Ornette Coleman back to back, as I recently saw his quartet gig in Cheltenham, and it completely blew me away. And there's a singer I've been listening to a lot, Regina Spektor. She's a New York singer/songwriter/pianist, and her album Soviet Kitsch has been a bit of a refuge record when I didn't want to listen to jazz, but wanted to hear good songs with good lyrics. Leafcutter John lent me this record by Bernard Parmigiani, an electronics guy from the sixties. Just pure sound, with loads of space. And the new Paul Motian Trio album, I Have The Room Above Her. That trio has always been one of my favourite bands. There's another album that really blew my mind, by a French band called Thot Agrandi. It's completely out of this world music, completely different, and complex, but I find it moving at the same time. I've also been listening to contemporary classical composers, Gyorgy Ligeti and George Aphergis. And Steve Lacy's Monk and Only Monk solo albums are great.

Visit Ingrid Laubrock on the web.

Related article: Ingrid Laubrock Quintet: Live at the Progress Bar

Selected Discography

Held on the Tips of Fingers (with Polar Bear) (Babel, 2005)
Gente (with Nois4) (Candid, 2004)
Forensic (as leader) (F- ire, 2004)
Centripede (with Tom Arthurs' Centripede) (Babel, 2003)
Oferenda (with Monica Vasconcelos & Nois) (Candid, 2002)
Some Times (as leader) (Candid, 2001)
Bom Dia (with Nois4) (Candid, 2000)
Nois Dois (with Monica Vasconcelos & Nois) (independent, 1999)
Who Is It (as leader) (Candid, 1997)
Summertime (with Matt Borgmann) (independent, 1995)

Photo Credit
Juan-Carlos Hernᮤez (first and third photo)
Tim Dickeson (second photo)

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