Jenny Scheinman: Ready for Anything
Once Moran agreed to the gig she went searching for a drummer. "I never thought of Paul Motian in the beginning, she said, "because I don't know him very well and somebody doesn't just call up Sonny Rollins and say 'hey let's do a gig!' After some prompting from Frisell she gave the drummer a call and got his answering machine. "I said, [speaks in a meek voice] 'Hi Paul, this is Jenny, I think you just talked to Bill...' and he picked up and said [speaks in a stark, jabbing voice] 'Ok, ok we're on. Yeah, yeah. Four nights at the Jazz Standard. Sounds great. You and me and Jason Moran.' And I said 'uhhh I don't even really know what to say' and he said, 'don't say anything! Just hang up!' Just totally there. Totally down for it.
This gig, she said, will be one of the most challenging things she's ever done. Since Motian doesn't rehearse, the first night will be the first time she plays with him. "I'm scared about everything, she said. "It's a masochistic pattern. I set myself up for these situations that are way over my head, over and over and over. It fills my life with tremendous anxiety and fear but I keep doing it. It's the thrill of learning. And I also I think it might be good. There is something in me that's ready for it.
Though still in her early thirties Scheinman has tremendous experience as a leader and collaborator. Every Tuesday when she's in town, Brooklyn's Barbès fills with an eclectic mix of musicians: One night a crowd of banjo players packed the space and another time the room filled to the brim with violinists, violists, cellists and upright bassistsa group she put together called the Barbès Philharmonic, led in conducted improvisation by Butch Morris.
Last November she ventured to South America with singer Madeleine Peyroux's band and counts the tour as one of the best so far. "Every once in a while there's chemistry in a band like fire and it was just an incredible party the whole time. She was flushed from a tour with Frisell and pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz playing John Lennon music. "That ramped me up, she said. "I think it ramped all of us up into some kind of major high because of John Lennon. We ended that tour in London and it felt like a cultural moment, not only of honoring a great musician, but a philosophy that was needed at the time. I just felt really in love with life and the world.
Jenny Scheinman, 12 Songs (Cryptogramophone, 2004)
Scott Amendola Band, Believe (Cryptogramophone, 2005)
Bill Frisell, Richter 858 (Songlines, 2005)
Jenny Scheinman, Shalagaster (Tzadik, 2003)
Jenny Scheinman, The Rabbi's Lover (Tzadik, 2002)
Jenny Scheinman, Live at Yoshi's (Avant, 2000)
Top Photo: Andrew Nofsinger
Bottom Photo: Wendy Andringa