Pianist Burton Greene
AAJ: And free music walks a line between so many different concepts, it is like the third stream.
BG: Yeah, and Mark made me work on my reading chops, which was good. I’m a better reader than I used to be, but I’ve got a ways to go. I just heard Mark with his trio and they were doing some cross-rhythm shit that was all written out, really complex stuff, and it all came out. That was a composition, none of it was improvised. Essentially they’d open it up, but the stuff they were playing on the page I couldn’t believe. There are always people who can kick your butt and teach you something new if you’re open to that.
AAJ: Well, I was talking recently with someone about this, that the ‘young lion’ players aren’t really that young, so where are the serious twenty-one year old players?
BG: Well, that’s another reason I miss New York. When I’m in New York, I go hang out at the Knitting Factory or something, down in the lounge there’s some young cats playing some of the most ridiculous shit you’ve ever heard, and you’ve never heard of any of these kids. They’re like twenty-one years old, and where the hell did they come from? The bowels of Brooklyn or something, I guess... There isn’t much young blood around here that’s kicking my ass like there is in New York. Maybe it’s just because a lot of the stuff I hear around here is too intellectual for me; it doesn’t have that ballsy, raw energy quality that I like so much.
AAJ: So the days of the prime Dutch ‘happening’ approach to the music are long gone?
BG: Well, I don’t want to generalize. Maybe there are a few people doing stuff here that I don’t hear, maybe it’s in another arena, maybe it’s happening in the IJSbreker rather than the BIMHuis (the IJSbreker does contemporary classical stuff). I can’t cover all the bases; for me, Holland is just a quiet place to live. I’m on the computer all day or working on music, and I travel from here because there are so few venues. The key is that you’ve got to find cheap travel. It’s all one-nighters, so you can’t just stay in one place. You’ve got to move. Now there are younger kids and you don’t hear what they’re doing. I’ve got this whiz-kid who upgraded my website, he’s twenty-one years old and he’s been on the computer since eight or nine. The way he does the website in a couple hours... he developed a hand-held thing to create his music, he notates through this thing in his hand, and he sells them over the internet for $200 a pop. He’s set up a corporation already. He travels all over the place, sending his shit out to people, and it’s all done through the internet. He says ‘fuck the record companies, I just sell my stuff myself through the internet.’ He’s going on a whole other ball game; nobody’s heard him in a live concert, he’s doing all his shit through the internet, electronic stuff. Funny, the theatre has changed. They’re working with noise today, and maybe they’re making something out of it besides noise.