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Uri Caine: Transformation, Improvisation and Context

By Published: October 9, 2006

With some of the musical projects that Ive done, and also, I would say in general, with music that I enjoy, theres an element of transforming things and moving in and out of different feelings.

Uri CaineKeyboardist/composer Uri Caine was born and raised in Philadelphia. He began playing piano at an early age, and, while still a Philadephian, played with jazz leaders like drummer "Phillie Joe Jones, bassist Jymie Merritt and trumpeter Johnny Coles. While attending the University of Pennsylvania, he studied composition with George Crumb and George Rochberg. Caine soon moved to New York City, and while he describes his early period there as "scuffling, he quickly gravitated towards the city's burgeoning downtown improvisational scenes—most significantly, the one occurring at the Knitting Factory. Soon Caine was playing as a sideman with the likes of clarinetist Don Byron and trumpeter Dave Douglas.

Caine's an extremely well-rounded player with an effortlessly quick improvising wit, and his multi-stylistic musical sensibility and his mastery of both acoustic piano and Fender Rhodes makes him a desirable addition to just about any group. But he's also a composer and arranger of tremendous imagination, with a work ethic to match—which is why his 1993 JMT recording debut Sphere Music has been followed by 15 other CDs (the vast majority on the Winter & Winter imprint, with which he's had a long association) that cover an enormous stylistic range, from the jazz-octet audacity of Toys (JMT, 1996) to the Mahler-rearranging Urlicht/Primal Light (Winter & Winter, 1997) to the solo piano of Solitaire (Winter & Winter, 2002) to the electric-groove genre-mixing Shelf-Life (Winter & Winter, 2005).

Caine's work is marked by a desire to re-contextualize and re-approach musical genres, and often, to introduce—or reintroduce—improvisation where it is not ordinarily found, as in his many so-called "remixes of classical composers such as Bach, Beethoven and Mahler, and in his group Bedrock's rethinking of electric groove styles. Caine's work as a leader—as a composer, as an arranger, as a bandleader—has considerably reduced his time to play in other musicians' bands (as you read this, he's probably on a plane flying from one project to another), although he is still a working member of Dave Douglas' Quintet. It was at a Chicago gig by Douglas' quintet that I met Caine; he was extremely warm and hilariously anecdotal—he was, and is, a pretty likable guy. When I phoned him in New York a few months later, he was thoughtful, expansive, and, above all, patient, as I queried him about the seemingly endless number of projects he's worked on lately.

All About Jazz: You've got several different ongoing bands and projects that coexist in your career. Let's talk about some of your recent records and groups and make sure we have a lot of time at the end for what you've been doing lately.

Your newest CD is Shelf-Life, the sophomore record by your group Bedrock, which consists of you, drummer Zach Danziger and bassist/guitarist Tim Lefebvre. You play Fender Rhodes and a host of other keyboards in this band, and the group explores a lot of different groove styles—there's all kinds of electronica in there, R&B, deep funk and outright four-to-the-floor disco. The pieces are composed collectively, and this is an ongoing band; you were gigging in Europe last month.

Uri Caine: Right. We just came back from a tour this summer.

AAJ: Tell me how this group came about, and tell me about Tim and Zach—what they add to the whole.

UC: I'm trying to remember exactly when it was we met—probably in the late nineties. There were several clubs in New York City where musicians were getting together to improvise using a lot of electronic grooves. The Knitting Factory Tap Bar had these open jams. There were some other clubs too, but I think that's where we really met and started playing. Actually, the first CD that we really worked together on was The Goldberg Variations, which was in 2000—I worked with Zach and Tim on some of the Bach arrangements. The first Bedrock record we did in 2001 was sort of the culmination of us playing together; we decided to go in the studio and try to sort of put it down on tape and see what we could do with that. And since then, we've been playing pretty steadily, either touring in Europe or playing in New York. Mostly playing in New York.

I think that the vibe in the group has to do with not only how we're playing together, but how we're using our laptop computers. Because not only do we play together, improvise and compose stuff together, and then manipulate and change it through computers—but we also, like many other musicians today, create this music in our bedroom studios and then try to take it to another level by combining the aspect of live playing, live improvisation, with those tools in the electronic computer studio. The studio can change it, transform it, etc., etc. Zach and Tim play together a lot; they have a group called Boomish.

I guess the thing that makes it really interesting to play is that we are able to go back and forth between a sort of spontaneous improvisation and things that we've all worked out in our computers using programs like Logic and Ableton Live. These programs allow you to sample many sounds, and change sounds, and—even in a live performance—to cue different sequences and improvise with that. I'm really interested in the whole idea of combining structure with improvisation; the structure of the group has a lot to do with the type of samples that we all have in our computers that we cue to try to make structures out of the songs. Actually, a lot of the stuff that we do we can't even record, because it uses copyrighted material. But if we're sampling things like Blood, Sweat & Tears, or French chanson singers, or parts of dialogue from politicians, or folk musicians from around the world—it gives a wide sonic palate to combine with playing. And, as you said, a lot of it has to do with dealing with different grooves, and that's sort of the other underlying structure. Especially on Shelf-Life—more so than on Bedrock (Winter & Winter, 2002). There are a lot of references to other types of grooves that we grew up with—everything from television game shows to particular types of soundtrack music. It's sort of a combination of older music with a more improvisatory way of dealing with it.

Again, I think this is something that many musicians today are doing, where you have this ability to sort of combine all these sonic worlds together. I would also say that it's really a fun group to play with, because in a way, we can combine a lot of enthusiasms that we have for different types of music. But when we play together, a lot of time it's pretty unpredictable. The groove element is very strong, and that sort of allows us to act as a basic rhythm section for other people that we invite in to play, if we want to do that. Last week we did a gig at the 55 Bar. So the first set we played was our stuff as a trio, but then, it's interesting—a lot of musicians came, be they saxophone players or vocalists or other electronic laptop musicians, and joined us in the second set. So we're functioning both as a rhythm section for that sort of thing and also doing our own thing as a trio. So that also fits comfortably with the type of experiences we've all had as people that play as parts of functioning rhythm sections in larger groups, but also as our own group. So hopefully, it will continue; we have some other concerts and tours coming up and hopefully we'll be able to record another record. We have a lot of material, some of which—as I said before—is sort of hard to put out there because we'd have to spend a fortune trying to clear some of these samples. When we play live, we're not as worried about that.

On the other hand, we're all working with all these programs that really allow a lot of flexibility, and even approximate a lot of those sort of retro-sounding instruments—I mean, I used to play Minimoog for real and a lot of the other keyboards that came out in the seventies and eighties, but now you have software synthesizers that really approximate those instruments. So we're able to combine the newer forms of those instruments with the actual vintage instruments. The studio where we recorded Shelf-Life had many of those instruments: Wurlitzer electric pianos, Mellotrons, Oberheim synthesizers before MIDI came out. They all have a certain sound which is very evocative of that era—but also, in a certain way, they have a lot of character to them. And when you combine that with newer, software instruments where you can do everything on your laptop, it gives us a lot of flexibility.

AAJ: When you're performing live, I assume you don't have a huge bank of keyboards. Are you just working with, say, Rhodes and laptop? Or do you have any real synths or anything else?

UC: Well, on the last tour, for instance, I played a Rhodes that's usually supplied. You know, especially on the road, we don't carry that around. Then I play a little Edirol miniature keyboard that's hooked up to my laptop—a Macintosh. Then I have all those software synthesizers—some from Korg, some of the Native Instruments ones are really good, some from Logic itself. I also have some of the Arturia instruments; they're making software versions of Minimoog, Prophet-V and ARP 2600. So that's pretty much my arsenal. You can really get a variety of sounds out of all that stuff.

AAJ: I was struck by the ways that different people have responded to this music—meaning the ways writers have chosen to interpret the Bedrock material. I was taken aback by how much some people have seized upon the seventies disco side of the music. It's not as it that element isn't there—it is—but the drum sounds and ambiences seem just as rooted in '90s and current electronica, with some house music bridging the gap, as they are in disco.

UC: I agree. I think that functions all the time when you read critiques of your work—that people seize on certain elements or think that you're implying certain things because you've chosen to play with certain people, or use certain different sounds, or somehow refer to different things. You know, I would say generally that sometimes people might read more into it than is there, and sometimes they sort of pass over the variety of what we're trying to do. They go for the more easily identifiable things. Not to mention that there's also, in this particular case, a sensitivity to whether or not the music is parodying fusion and that type of sound that came out of that era—or whether it's actually embracing it.

A lot seems to depend on whether they think that we're sort of making fun of it as we're playing it or actually taking it seriously. There is a lot of humor in it, or an attempt at humor—whether people find it funny or not. But to me, it's more about the variety of all those things, of being able to move within, and in and out, of those things. And that's also true with some of the other musical projects that I've done, and also, I would say in general, with music that I enjoy. There's an element of transforming things and moving in and out of different feelings, and that's certainly a part of this project.

But how people judge that—it's sort of out of your control. It says more about the people that are making the judgments. And, you know, I'm a believer in the First Amendment, so everybody has the right to comment on it and say what they want to say. I think that as musicians, you try your best to do your thing and you leave those commentaries to other people. I'm not saying that I don't take those comments seriously, but there's not much you can do once you put the record out. I think there are certain criticisms that people make that I might even agree with, because you feel some things when you're working on something, when you're in the heat of it and trying to deal with it. Then, over time, you change your opinion—and again, that would go for many of the projects that I've done. Things change, and your opinion of things change.

But I'm not sure that you can really do very much about somebody seizing on it and saying something. Like, for instance, a certain article said that it sounded like the music for a porn soundtrack. It's not we set out do that that necessarily, but, in another way, that sound—or the sound of music from certain movies, or television shows, or certain aspects of [trumpeter] Miles Davis or Weather Report—it would be natural that that would creep in to any music that's dealing with electronic music, because of the association that people make with it. But I think that in certain cases, people are being a little simplistic about how they're judging it—because for the purpose of their review or their analysis, they're seizing on things that seem to me to be much more on the surface. I think for musicians, it's a little bit more complex than that.

AAJ: I think it's hard for some people to understand that one can approach a style, or many styles, playfully but affectionately. I think some people are confused when a musician has the ability to approach a music that has cheesy elements and play the hell out of it. And no one would bother to play music that they had no respect for at all.

UC: Right. Part of me totally agrees with that, in the sense that there are certain artists that I would think of that, when I was growing up, people around me would say, "Oh, that is so corny, so cheesy. How can you be into it? But then, if you really start to investigate and somehow get past that, you see that there's a lot of not just technical skill, but imagination going on. It's one of those things where you want to say, "Don't knock it until you've tried to get into the inner workings of it. And again, that goes for so many different types of music. There are always going to be certain people who are saying, "We want the hard stuff —the thing that seems to be the most uncompromising. But that also changes over time; things that seemed that way to one generation quickly become cheesy for the next. That, to me, seems less important than the actual building blocks of the music. It becomes really fascinating, if you're a musician, to see how things are made. It doesn't mean that everything in that world needs to be praised, or that everything's equal, because I certainly don't think that way. And part of me is also into the hard, uncompromising music. But I think it all comes down to that thing that's sort of indefinable—you like it or you hate it, and then you have to find the words and the emotions to explain it.

Again, different critics have different constructs for what they believe to be good and bad music, and, again, I think it says a lot more to do with where they're coming from. Which is all valid; I'm not saying their criticisms aren't valid. It just has a lot more to do with their own personal agenda than it necessarily does with the intrinsic value of the music. That doesn't make it pleasant to read those things sometimes; when you feel that you've been misjudged or even dismissed. And certainly with some of the classical music things I've done, I've endured the same thing. Especially if you think of yourself as a musician playing with other musicians. You're on your road; you're trying to figure something out in your own way through playing—not through talking or writing, but through actual music-making. And the process is interesting, and fascinating, and wonderful on those terms, so that fact that other people comment on it is interesting. But it's not essential.

AAJ: One thing that I love about Bedrock and the Shelf-Life record is that the tunes have quite a few different parts in them. The songs change; different things happen, and it's interesting and fun. For example, "Wolfowitz in Sheep's Clothing has a sparse, stuttering, almost dubby vibe, with a crunching funk groove, but switches into a more driving double-time electronic drum section farther on. How is something like this written? Does the group write collectively? Does it come out of improvising?

Uri CaineUC: It depends. A lot of the time, one person will bring something in that, when we start to play, becomes transformed. Other times, the pieces are sort of constructed out of improvisations and then fixed—so we find ourselves playing things that were originally improvised, or at least the feeling was improvised and we try to fix it into a different thing. But I think that that's an important thing—that this transformation, or progression, or moving into something else, just to give the feeling of momentum or direction, is important. Of course, a lot of times when you're dealing with groove music, it tends to stay in the same place. That is the structure of the piece, and it might have different sections, but, fundamentally, that's the unity in the piece.

But for us—I don't think that we're necessarily doing that all the time. We like to make a cleaner type of song form, but other times we want them to reflect that it started here and went there. For the whole authorship thing, we just decided from the beginning that we would always say that all three of us wrote it. Because of, in a way, the fluidity of how we're dealing with it in the first place. But some of those songs were really written by one person and then became transformed by the group. Other songs really have to do with us getting together and adding on to what other people have started, let's say. That would be one process. Or we just get together and start working on something together, adding different parts, and as time goes on, we think, "Okay, this part we don't need anymore. We should add this—we need this line here, we need another bass line here, we need another sound there. And it just grows by listening to what we've done and adding to it or changing it—and then, pretty soon, you have some type of form and then you think about whether or not that's going to be the way it is.

In a way, it can be so open-ended that making the CD becomes this thing of us having to decide. Whereas when we play live, we don't really have to decide. Things just sort of flow, and we want that to be that way. But on the other hand, because we've played together a lot, you get something that's very cue-based. It's a very cue-based music in the sense that if I press this sound, we know to play this song now. That doesn't mean we'll play the whole song; someone else can interrupt that with their sample, and then, boom—we're off into that song, and then we return to the first song, or we never return to the first song, or we take a long solo because we just feel like doing that, and then it never really goes back to the form. So I think that that type of flexibility is a good thing. Sometimes it doesn't always work! Sometimes we say to ourselves, "Wow, last night we were so free-form—let's try to come back more inside tonight. Then we'll say, "No, that was too organized; we don't want that, either. We're still always going back and forth between those two things.

AAJ: Do people dance to this music when you're playing?

UC: Well, we've had some really nice concerts. When we played the San Sebastian Jazz Festival on the beach, we had thousands of people dancing. Sometimes we're sort of playing in these environments where it seems more like a concert, or more like a jazz club, and chairs are set up. On this last tour in Europe, I saw a lot of people who were dancing. That depends on more than just the music sometimes. But if we say to people, "You can dance, I'm not sure that people in a certain jazz club who are there to hear the music wouldn't be confused. But some of the most memorable concerts that we've done have been in those types of situations where people were just going crazy. I mean, it's not necessarily dance music, but people in certain clubs definitely do respond to it in that way. And when we're booked in those types of situations, I do think that actually the concerts are better.

AAJ: Well, there is a physical quality to the music. But these are very delicate conditions—to dance or not to dance, to sit or to stand.

UC: Exactly. That's a thing that's different with the club and the situation. And it actually changes night by night. It's kind of similar to me to some of the classical situations that I've done—if you're being presented in an avant-garde festival, people are relating to what you're doing in a different way than if you're being presented, let's say, in a Bach festival where you're playing your Bach thing. The context has lot to do with the way you're being perceived.

AAJ: Yes, the presentation—and what something is expected to be—is enormous.

UC: Also, how the people are behaving within their own thing. I mean, if you come into a club where something is seen as normal, and not strange, and people get up, then it's okay. If you're sitting in a very formalized club, and everybody is sitting down and paying for their drinks, that's a very different situation. Again, it's another one of those things where, as a musician, you're thinking, "I just want to play. But how people react to it, and decide whether it's good or bad, is up to them.

AAJ: Shelf-Life is a fantastic-sounding record. It's great on speakers or headphones. Who mixed it?

UC: I would say it was mixed mostly by Zach. All of us were sort of deciding how we wanted to do it, and some of the tunes were also mixed in Europe with [Winter & Winter label head/producer] Stefan Winter and his engineer, Adrian von Ripka, who recorded it at the Magic Shop, which is a studio in New York City. So it was sort of a joint effort—but Zach really deserves most of the credit for mixing.

AAJ: Let's talk about your jazz trio. This group consists of yourself, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Ben Perowsky. Live at the Village Vanguard is the only one from this version of your trio; it came out in 2004. This is your acoustic jazz group, another band that's still working together. I think you played out last month.

UC: Right. We played at the Village Vanguard again, and other places in New York City. I guess the last long tour we did was in Europe last year. And we played at Yoshi's; we've played some on the West Coast, and at other festivals around the United States and Europe. It's still an active group.

AAJ: I think it's increasingly challenging to find something new with an acoustic piano trio, because there are an awful lot of them. On the other hand, it's a perfect format for jazz music, and I really like this group. Tell me about this band—about Drew and Ben and what, if any, your intentions for the group might be.

UC: Well, we have been playing together for a while, not as a trio, but in other people's groups. I think that's how we met; I know that I met Ben, and Drew also, probably in the early nineties, just functioning as rhythm sections for other people. And then playing a lot in each other's groups as well. Since I've started playing music, I've been into playing straight-ahead acoustic jazz. I grew up playing that; that was one of the foundations of my music. It's something that I've always been interested in, so I guess I've just continued to develop that. We've been playing together as a group, even before that record, for the last five or six years. I like the freedom that we have. Even though we also play compositions and standards sometimes, we're just sort of using that as a springboard to play in a very loose and free improvisatory way. I think that this is, again, a really cue-based music, where we might be playing in a certain area and then somebody will signal, and then off we go into this other type of section or this other feeling. So it changes up.

I guess, similarly to Bedrock, there's this idea of trying to transform things, to change grooves, and not to stay in the same place—but also, using the structures that are implied by playing standards or even original places that go into certain grooves, certain time signatures, or a certain feel. Especially since playing with musicians like Ben and Drew, who are very flexible and can play in a lot of styles, allows a certain freedom. We don't really plan out what we're going to do before we play. We have a certain repertoire and certain pieces that we know that we've been playing, and then we just go for it. Again, it's one of those things that sometimes sounds tighter, and other times sounds pretty loose. And even though I know that it's a form that many people, many musicians, many great pianists have done, it's still something that is really fun to play.

And I'm still trying to develop in that area, you know—I keep on practicing the piano and writing music for the group. I think that we enjoy swinging in that group. That, to me, is the joy of playing in that group: that we're trying to somehow keep that spontaneity going. And also refer to a lot of the music that is coming out of the jazz tradition. Not just standards, but the feeling of the blues, the feeling of swing, and also maybe a freer type of playing. A playing that's not so harmonic, that's not staying in the same time signature all the time. It feels like something that's growing, and I'm still interested in investigating it. So hopefully, that will continue. I've definitely tried to continue playing in that form. Maybe I would add more horn players in the future; I've made some records in the past that had larger groups. But the thing I like about the trio setting is that it's very open, especially if you're playing with other musicians that are really sensitive to that. It can be a very spontaneous thing.

AAJ: I like the originals that are on that record. Do you write specifically for this band? Were those songs composed for the trio?

UC: Yeah. A lot of times, when I'm just writing, I can imagine it being played by bigger groups with horn players. I'm not necessarily thinking of the trio when I'm first thinking about writing pieces and working them out. I guess, since it's the group that I'm playing with the most, a lot of the things that I'm writing end up being played by that group. You know, if I'm dealing with other projects where people are saying, "We're getting together a group and we need some music, or if I'm writing for a very specific concert or occasion, where I have a different instrumentation, then I write in that situation too. And then I later transform it back for the trio—just playing it on the piano, trying to approximate what that would sound like. But I think a lot of times what happens is that when you're on the road, that music you're playing there is in your ears. That group is in your ears. So naturally what ends up coming up when you're composing is for the group that you're thinking about at that point.

AAJ: I think we're going to be moving into a rather large area now, because the recording that came out before the trio set is your Gustav Mahler exploration Dark Flame, from 2003. This continues your creative interaction with Mahler that began with 1997's Urlicht/Primal Light, and your overall engagement with various classical composers that include Wagner, Beethoven, Schumann, and Bach. I get the impression Mahler's your greatest love, however—and Dark Flame is really too remarkable, too dense, to sum up in a few lines. Let's just say you've composed pieces that utilize Mahler compositions and that include lyrics, both sung and spoken by a variety of sources—Mahler and his frequent librettist Friedrich Rückert, of course, but also from some contemporary poets and some ancient ones as well. The arrangements cover a variety of styles and instrumentation—it's pretty fearless and very good. Your approach to these composers isn't always the same, but there is always a willingness to use the materials to create something new. Any insight into this area of your career, and into this work in particular?

UC: Well, as you said, the first Mahler record that I made was back in '97. Since that record came out, I've had the opportunity to play that music a lot on the road and to sort of develop it with a core group of players. And because Mahler's forms, especially his symphonies, are so long and complex, in the beginning I was gravitating towards his songs, which are shorter forms, but which really encompass a lot of different types of emotions and feelings. So I think that Dark Flame was an attempt to make a CD that was really derived from Mahler's songs, which, in a way, have certain forms and certain references which I used as a jumping-off point to make my arrangements. So all of the pieces—almost all of them—include some form of lyric and some form of either singer or poet who's being supported by this group. Certainly, there are many strands of thought in Mahler's songs, as well as his symphonies. You've got some of the Kindertotenlieder that have a very folk-based feeling referring to Bohemian folk music, maybe klezmer music. There's the "Song of the Earth ["Lied von der Erde ], which was the big song cycle which he wrote at the end of his life based on Chinese poetry—which is interesting because a lot of Mahler's chinoiserie, based on that idea that he was going to capture Chinese music, ends up sounding very much like another type of folk music. So I just thought it would be interesting to take the songs that had the most, I guess, stereotypical Chinese sound, the pentatonic scale, etc., etc., and actually have Chinese musicians play that music as if it were folk music.

AAJ: Like on "The Lonely One in Autumn.

UC: Right. And it was very interesting to work with musicians who didn't necessarily know who Mahler was, but who, by the end of the session when we listened back, said it sounded like Chinese folk music. Then, when I played them the original Mahler, they were shocked. That's something that happens a lot to the musicians that play in my group. I mean, some of them know Mahler very well, but some of them don't—and I think if you present it as a certain form and let the improvisations give it a life of its own, and then when they go back to the original Mahler, they see what transformations have taken place. I guess I met Sepp Bierbichler about five years ago when I did a concert at the Munich Opera. He's an actor who's sort of a singer, but also he declaims the poetry, and working with him was really interesting, so I included him. In a way, some of the arrangements for his songs are straighter, but it's the idea of, instead of having this operatic singer singing them, to have this German actor declaiming them—sometimes in a kind of cynical manner. Because the lyrics reflect that. So he's talking as if he's a soldier going off to war; he's a drummer boy that's going to be killed. Or he's a prisoner in the tower, and doing this sort of duet with the poet Julie Patton. It gives him a chance to declaim, but the music has been transformed to reflect his distress. Other things, like taking a Kindertotenlieder—this is a well-known part of Mahler's mythology, he wrote these songs on the deaths of children, and then one of his children died and he felt that he'd jinxed the situation and even caused his child's death.

AAJ: Yes, invoked it.

UC: Exactly. Then to think about the implications of that, and then have a poet who's, in a way, making up poetry against the music, but dealing with other ways in contemporary American society of children being killed—like the four little girls in Alabama during the Civil Rights struggle, or just the general situation in American society where so many young people are killed at Columbine or in gang-related warfare. I also wanted to play with singers. I've played with Barbara Walker; she's a gospel singer from Philadelphia that I've known for a long time.

AAJ: Oh, yes, she sings "Sweat on the Shelf-Life record.

UC: Right, and she's also on The Goldberg Variations (Winter & Winter, 2000), singing some of the gospel songs. But in this case, when we were doing concerts in Germany, I got together with a German choir. I arranged the song "Only Love Beauty for them singing their part in German, the original Mahler, and she improvises. And the effect in a live performance was really emotional, so I wanted to include that on the CD. Actually, I think that song was recorded live; it was taken from a live performance, because when we did it, the crowd went so crazy—they just kept asking for an encore again, and again, and again. It really became a tearful thing, really. It was just a very emotional experience for the musicians and also for the audience. So a lot of those pieces are ones that we've played a lot. Some of them, not so much.

But the underlying aspect of that record is the idea of his songs. Since then, I've also done arrangements for—well, I haven't recorded these, but a couple of months ago, we played a version of Mahler's Sixth Symphony in the same hall in Essen, Germany where he premiered it exactly 100 years before. They'd asked us to do a version of the Sixth Symphony to sort of celebrate the 100-year anniversary. And that's a different type of challenge, to take a really long form and try to break that down and somehow integrate it into a group—so you can have improvisation and give the musicians a chance to play their stuff, but also somehow approximate the form that Mahler himself is having. Because one aspect of his music, especially in the longer pieces, is that there's a constant transformation. He'll take very simple elements that he introduces and then he's constantly developing them, repeating them in different forms and then repeating those for repetitions, and transforming them more. It's an aspect that some might find kind of exhausting, I suppose.

That challenge of having to deal with those longer forms is a different one from dealing with the song forms. And each sort of implies a different way that we can play them. As you were saying, it's sort of an ongoing thing that I've had the opportunity to play. And I think that also the group that I'm playing with, which is usually the septet on that record—we're all fundamentally playing as improvisers on some level, but the type of improvisations, and the feeling that we're getting from playing in that group is different from playing straight-ahead jazz. And that was really the thing that started me on it in the beginning—just to try to find different contexts for that type of improvisation to see if it could illuminate the music, and also give us a chance, as many jazz musicians do, of taking a text, a song, a structure, and then transforming it through improvisation.

Uri CaineAAJ: When you're dealing with voices, and a larger group like this one—there is improvisation, but there is also structure, sections, parts to this music. I'm curious as to how it's kept together. Are you conducting or cueing the musicians as you play?

UC: Well, we don't really have a conductor, but I think there are cues, and some parts of the music are strictly written out. I mean, over time, it does transform—people start playing their parts in a different way. The inflections develop and change. But it's pretty written out in some places, although there are sections that can be pretty free and open. And then there are sections that are either straight arrangements of the Mahler, just for a smaller group—since he wrote these pieces for a huge orchestra—or some sort of an approximation, like, let's say, the melody. Or the certain groove that's set up is continued, either through something that I've written, or, you know, telling three guys, "Okay, you play this part and then the other three people improvise. Or, "In this section, the deejay should go for this type of sound, and then we'll wait until he's done and then go into section A. There are different ways you can structure it. Sometimes it can be loose—but again, if you're playing with musicians that are really open-minded, you have a lot of flexibility. This is as opposed to how classical musicians play it. For them, a lot of this stuff that we take for granted as improvisers doesn't apply—it's really a different thing.

AAJ: Yeah, the sensibility can be very different.

UC: The sensibility is different. The ability to, let's say, improvise over harmonic progressions or just play in a free, interactive way, is different. And so I think that that's another thing that's interesting about the group, because all the players have had to adapt from what they normally play, or what they often play, when they're playing this music. Even the deejay, who's sort of dealing in another world, has to think in a different way. It's not just a question of mixing some Mahler records and having us play against that, although that also can sound really interesting. It's about having to learn the music in a certain way, and knowing what to do and when to do it. But with a lot of it, I don't want to necessarily impose that much, because I feel this sort of pushmi-pullyu thing—where if I'm writing these arrangements where things are very specified, then there has to be a section where people can play in a way that's not so specified to balance it.

AAJ: I don't want to dwell too much on people's take on what you do, but I can't help but be curious about something. God knows jazz people can get uptight enough about anyone messing with what they call jazz—how does the classical establishment respond to these rearrangements and adaptations of their heroes' compositions?

UC: I think it's a mixed reaction. I think that I've gotten over-praised for certain elements of it, maybe because people from that world aren't so familiar with the fact of people that know how to improvise and transform things. Many people look at Mahler's music, and, really, all compositions, as things that are fixed, unchangeable—you can't change it. So they don't like it at all; they think that I'm either parodying it or somehow disrespecting it or they just don't like the idea of it at all. And I understand why people have those deep feelings about it, because people care very deeply. Those that do care that much are going to have strong opinions about whether this is a valid thing to do.

And also, there's that other reaction, which is "My god, this is incredible. So you really just sort of remember all the good and the bad and just keep on going your own way. Especially if you're going through a typical tour. One night you're playing in a Mahler festival where you have a lot of people listening in the audience who are maybe reading things into the music that either aren't there, or that you meant to do, or that you didn't mean to do. People argue, "Are you trying to say that Mahler was a Jewish martyr? All these things that come up. The next night you're playing at a jazz festival and the comment is, "wow, you have a deejay on stage. The next night you're playing at an avant-garde festival, and people are saying, "Oh, you're deconstructing this beautifully.

You know, that first Mahler CD won the best Mahler CD at this Mahler festival that's held every year in Toblach—one of the small towns he used as a summer home. Actually, it's called Dobbiaco—it's in Italy now. It used to be in Austria. And I wasn't there, but I heard that there was a tremendous amount of controversy that they picked it as one of the best CDs. So when we went to play there, we were expecting opposition—and the people really loved it. But then other times, we've played it in those types of contexts, and some people really don't like it; they get up. I've learned to sort of distance myself from it, because I want to just think about the music. But I do understand why people have different reactions and, again, everyone has the right to have those opinions.

I do save some of these reviews that people send me or that I've seen—ones that are so over the top where they're just hating it. I save them just to remind myself that, you know, everyone has their own take on it. I try to deal with it—or I'm trying to deal with it—much more on a musical level. I'm trying to try different things. Maybe not everything succeeds, but as musicians, we're having a really interesting time, and really a good time, playing it and trying to bring something else to the music. If there is any message to it, it's that that the music doesn't just belong to the self-appointed guardians of that music. That becomes very stiff after a certain point. I mean, certainly there are many musicians from all types of disciplines who have been influenced by Mahler and by other classical music that they enjoy. They shouldn't have to explain why they're treading on this ground. So it's one of those things where you have to sort of filter out the bad reactions and just go your own way.

AAJ: You rearranged Beethoven's Opus 120, the Diabelli Variations, for your 2002 CD of the same name. You performed this work with Concerto Köln. These are Beethoven's variations on a Diabelli waltz, and it's certainly one of the best sounding records I've ever heard—the 1839 piano you play here being a huge part of that. I'm no expert on Beethoven, but I particularly like Variation XIX and XX; they're wonderful arrangements. I will say that I was struck by the information being carried in your piano work here—I heard bits of Wagner and Mozart, for example. Variation VII alone contains quotes from Beethoven's Fifth and Third symphonies. It's remarkably dense and information-packed. Was there any intention behind this?

UC: I guess that I tried this in another way with the Goldberg Variations. But the connect between theme and variation is a form that's used in classical music where a simple theme is then developed. The harmony of the theme is used as sort of the underlying grid upon which the composer then composes many different pieces in different styles. But using that same recurring harmonic pattern really recalls how jazz musicians take standards and then use the harmonic pattern of that song to generate chorus after chorus of improvisation. There's sort of a direct correlation between those two things. I'm not saying that jazz musicians study theme-and-variations, but when we realize that we can improvise on these songs, it's the same principle of harmonic structure yielding a whole flow of different pieces.

And in classical music, it's a much different form than, let's say, the more developmental forms like the sonata form, where the composer will propose one or two themes and then develop them, and then conclude with those themes—so you have this whole journey where these themes are subjected to all these different changes. In a theme-and-variations, especially in the really great ones written by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms, it's more about showing the composer's versatility. The variations—and usually these are short pieces—follow one another, and they're seemingly disconnected. You can go from something that's very complicated to something that's very simple to something very contrapuntal to something that doesn't have any counterpart to something that refers to other composers' styles. But underlying it is the same harmony throughout the whole thing. It's static and also very changing. So it has a different feel than the sonata form.

I read a book about the Diabelli Variations [Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Oxford University Press, 1989] by a pianist named William Kinderman. He now teaches at the University of Illinois. It's really a wonderful book. He takes the sketches of Beethoven and he sees how Beethoven is struggling. A famous story is that there was a publisher in Vienna named Diabelli who wrote a very banal waltz and then asked 50 composers in Vienna at that point to write one variation and he'd put them all out in a folio of all 50 variations by all the composers. And when he asked Beethoven, Beethoven famously refused and said, "I'm not one of 50! And then, in total sarcasm, started writing these variations that parodied what he thought were the banalities in Diabelli's theme. Then Kinderman starts relating how Beethoven stopped; he didn't finish the piece. He went on to write other pieces, but in the meanwhile, he'd become fascinated again by Bach's counterpoint—he was studying that. And that's reflected in a lot of his later works. Then he went back to the Diabelli Variations and added these very contrapuntal pieces that, in a certain sense, are sort of an archaic idealization of Bach. So it goes from being these very cynical, sarcastic pieces to these very, very contrapuntally intense pieces.

So when I read that, I was thinking about that maybe it would be interesting to take this piano piece and orchestrate it—but have the piano be sort of the free agent that could parody the parodies, but then, by the end of the piece, add counterpoint to the counterpoint. And then also have variations where the pianist would be playing by himself and again, make references, using the same harmonic framework that the Diabelli theme had—to quote other pieces by Beethoven to refer to other music. So Variation XVI has this bass line that Fats Waller could have played, and when I've played it after that recording was made, I've usually played it on a modern piano and with a modern orchestra. But if I felt like commenting on different elements, if I was playing in a certain place, I could do something else—in other words, it's a very flexible form because you can use the chord changes to make up your own variations. Then, while the orchestra is playing the Beethoven arrangement, you can still improvise against that.

I think it's a really different idea than the theme-and-variations I did with the Goldberg Variations; there, I really wanted to emphasize the fact that in that piece, every variation is played by a different ensemble in a different style. Even when we're playing the Bach original variations, we're using different instruments, sometimes adding improvisations, sometimes adding electronics. And then I was writing my own set of the variations also based on the Bach theme. But in the case of the Diabelli Variations, it's much more static. It's more like a piano concerto. This was written for Concerto Köln; this is a group that plays ancient instruments. They're not improvisers. And this was my solution to that problem; I would be the improviser and it would sort of be this mini-piano concerto.

I have to say that I've had the chance to play that piece with a lot of different orchestras at this point, really all over the world, and it's interesting to see how the players respond to it. Because usually, you're playing it with classical symphony orchestra musicians, and you can tell that some of them are scandalized by it. You know, like, "How can you be playing all this stuff over Beethoven? But on the other hand, to those that understand about improvisation, it's okay. And you can bring in moments of Beethoven's sarcasm by, as you say, bringing in other elements that are, I guess, meant to be humorous. But then, there are other times where the music becomes very solemn and very—well, I use the word "archaic, not to mean old-fashioned, but in the sense of that veneration of the past, that idea of referring to tradition without it being a straitjacket. You're actually being liberated by being able to refer to all these glorious monuments from the past in a contemporary way.

AAJ: What's interesting about this approach, and this particular work, is that the listener can go as deep as he cares to. Someone knowing nothing about any of this can still respond to, say, the sighing string chords of Variation XX. And someone could enjoy the entire piece without recognizing any of Beethoven's or your references. You can swim down as deep as you care to.

UC: That is the challenge. All of these attempts should make sense no matter what. If you didn't know any Mahler, if you didn't know any Beethoven, it's a success if it still sounds like something that can work. And, of course, if you know what the references are, or at least the history of the composers and how people are dealing with that through time and tradition, there's also that something there.

AAJ: Tell me what you've been doing recently. I know you premiered a double piano concerto in May with the L.A. Chamber Orchestra.

UC: Well, that started maybe a year ago. I was their composer-in-residence, so part of that meant I was composing music to perform with them. The conductor of the L.A. Chamber Orchestra is a musician named Jeff Kahane, who is also a great pianist. I think he was originally a pianist, but he's become the conductor of this group and now also the Colorado Symphony and other groups. This year is Mozart's 250th birthday, and the L.A. Chamber Orchestra played—or are playing, they're still in the process of doing it—every piano concerto that Mozart wrote.

So this piece was to be premiered on a concert where two other Mozart piano concertos were being performed. Not that the piece really refers to Mozart in any way, but the idea of writing a piano concerto fit in with these other works. And also because Jeff is a great pianist, one who improvises. I'm not sure that he would consider that his main thing, because he is primarily a classical pianist, but he does improvise. He's really a fantastic pianist. The idea was to write a concerto for the group which would have two pianists.

Actually, Mozart did write a two-piano concerto—there's not really any reference to it in this piece, but the form of it could be seen as reflecting that. Anyway, all of the orchestra parts are written out, completely composed. Jeff's part is almost totally composed, although there are some improvisational things where we're playing sort of back and forth. And my part is written, but there is also a lot of improvisation. The piece is written in three movements. I hope we'll be able to record it because it was a lot of fun writing and practicing and playing it, and it's a very good group. Some of the projects that I've done in the last couple of years have involved writing more for classical groups, and that's a challenge because it's dealing with composing in a different way, learning about orchestration. So for me it's been a really interesting experience.

Now I'm writing another piece that we're supposed to go on tour with next year in Europe. I'm going to be writing the piece mostly, I think for their principals; in other words, it'll be a chamber piece with maybe five strings, wind players and some of the horn players. And just one piano—me—with Jeff conducting. So my relationship with that group continues. And it's also really interesting because I get to go out to L.A. maybe three or four times a year, and a lot of the work involves teaching in schools where there are really no music programs at all—so you're just really bringing music to kids who maybe have never heard any live performers in jazz or classical or other types of music. And also, to try to involve them in some of the software that allows them to deal with the music that I know they're really interested in, so they can create that music. So there's that element. Also, playing around in different parts of L.A. So for me, it's the first time that I've ever done something like that and it's been a really interesting experience.

And in terms of other pieces that I've written for groups—before this, I wrote a piece for the BBC Orchestra which we played at the London Jazz Festival last November, which was a 25-minute piece with the trio with Ben and Drew as the soloists. So we were improvising a lot while they were playing the written piece. And I've also gotten a chance to write for other smaller chamber groups, like the Beaux Arts Trio. I wrote a trio for them which was premiered last year. And I wrote a piece based on the life of Isadora Duncan for two pianos that was premiered in Germany. I haven't really recorded that much of this music. Hopefully I will, because I sort of have a backlog of other stuff that I've done for Stefan Winter, and I don't want to just put out classical-type stuff. I want to be able to have a balance between a lot of the different stuff that I'm doing. So we'll see. I hope that it comes out.

In Rome, there's a new auditorium designed by Renzo Piano; it's this incredible concert hall with many different performance spaces and I'm doing concerts there this year. One of them is a piece that I wrote last year that's based on aspects of Luciano Berio's music—the Italian composer who passed away two years ago. He was working with an electronic music studio that he founded, which is, I guess, the more traditional, old style of electronic music studio where they're transforming live musicians. So the piece involves Jim Black on percussion and Ralph Alessi on trumpet as well as Julie Patton as a sort of vocalist and me on piano—with the electronic element transforming what we're playing as we're playing it. So I think that that piece will be recorded when we play it live again in Rome in November.

So in terms of writing concert music, that's one of the activities I'm doing. And in terms of writing for other forms, I'm writing some big-band music that's going to be played next year. I'm doing a project based on Hungarian music; it was originally supposed to be sort of around Bartók's music, but it's now transformed itself more into taking Hungarian music and playing it with a group of improvisers. We'll be doing it in a couple of months in Hungary.

I also do some theater stuff, mostly in Europe. I wrote a ballet for the Vienna Volksoper which is based on the story of Noah. Again, it hasn't been recorded. But hopefully it will be. And I would like to do some other CDs which have bigger groups in them—with improvisers, and maybe involving some of the musicians I'm playing with. But maybe adding more horn players.

AAJ: Are we talking about, say, a ten-piece?

UC: Something like that, or maybe even smaller than that. It all depends. I have music all ready for those types of groups. It's just a question of the economics and the time to make the CD that will come out in a timely way. We'll see what happens.

Oh, and incidentally, my next CD is a series of arrangements of Mozart's music that was just recorded at the Holland Festival in June.

AAJ: Are you doing less sideman work than you used to as a result of all these projects?

UC: I would say yes. Especially compared to when I first moved to New York, because then, that's all I was doing. I still play a lot with Dave Douglas and with other groups from time to time. When you have less time to do it and to be available, it maybe takes you out of that loop a little bit. I really like doing it, because that's the way that I came up playing. I like playing in bigger groups. But in the last couple of years, the answer would be yes. But I do do things with other people. And I have some stuff coming up with different musicians. I used to play in Don Byron's group all the time, and I haven't really been playing in his groups in the last few years. But we have a gig coming up at the Tel Aviv Jazz Festival playing duo—although given the political situation there now, I wonder if this gig will happen. I am doing a tour in a couple of months with a trumpet player from Italy named Paolo Fresu. He's really popular in Italy. We'll just be playing duets.

Another thing that I've done a lot more than I used to do is play solo.

AAJ: Right, you did a solo record called Solitaire that came out in 2001. This, then, is something you still pursue.

UC: I used to do that a lot when I was really just starting out, playing in bars, playing solo piano, doing that type of thing. Then I sort of got out of that; I ended up playing a lot more in groups, doing that thing. But since that record came out, I am doing it more. I do really enjoy it in a way, because there's total freedom, and in that setting I can play a lot of the different music from a lot of the different projects that I've done. But it's also sort of lonely. But I think I'll be doing a solo tour of England—something like ten concerts. And, you know, it's another way of doing your thing. I've been playing the piano since I was seven or eight years old, so it's still really a part of what I'm dealing with.

AAJ: There are a lot of Rhodes players who aren't particularly known for being piano players, and vice-versa. But you seem to be perceived pretty equally for doing both, or either. Do you have any preference as to instrument, or is it all just a matter of context?

UC: Well, it's certainly all in the context. Especially if you're a sideman. Then, people say, "It's an acoustic group; can you play piano? Or, "It's an electric group; can you play electric? That's one aspect of how people begin to think of you in those ways. When it's up to me, I've chosen both. I was never one of those people who thought that if you're a pianist, you can't and shouldn't play electronic instruments. I just looked at them as sort of different things, or different aspects of the same thing. But I also know that each of them has its own discipline. Especially the piano; that's something that I've really tried to work on, just because there are so many different aspects to it, so many things to deal with in terms of the sound qualities that you can get—touch, pedaling, all the different aspects of it that are really interesting to me. And ever since I started playing out there, even when I was playing straight-ahead jazz in Philadelphia, a lot of the clubs that I played in didn't have pianos, so I had to bring my Fender. That's how I started really playing a lot of Fender Rhodes, and not even in funk or electronic settings. Just in straight-ahead jazz settings where that was just the instrument that was there.

There are certain things that you can get on the electric piano that you can't get on the piano, and vice-versa. And rather than get into this thing—I remember back in the day, that was a really big argument, and a person would choose to play one and not another—I just think that you don't really have to make that choice. It's more a question of really researching, and practicing, and thinking about what every instrument has to offer. Those types of arguments are not really valid; it's more that in a certain context, electronics sound great, and likewise, acoustic piano. And often, both. It's not really a question of having to decide between one or another. You just really research both.

Uri CaineAAJ: You're a product of the Philly jazz scene, which has, I think, a reputation for swinging pretty hard, but may not be overly notorious for experimentation. You've always done what you pleased artistically. Do you think you had to leave Philadelphia to do what you do?

UC: Well, I wouldn't say I had to leave it. First of all, even when I was growing up, you had the Sun Ra crew that was really prominent in Philadelphia. Even among the straight-ahead jazz musicians, there were people like [bassist] Jymie Merritt, musicians that I encountered when I was younger who were always trying to break the boundaries. There was the legacy of Coltrane, which was very strong in the city. But you're right—there was a certain emphasis on certain aspects of music there like straight-ahead bebop, or even in the R&B scene, that certain Philly sound that defined it in many people's minds.

I moved to New York mostly because Philadelphia is 90 miles from New York, so the question became, for a lot of the musicians growing up, is it time to move to the big city and see if you can make it there? I wasn't so much leaving Philadelphia because I thought it was provincial or didn't have all these types of music. It's just that I started coming up to New York, and I would say more importantly, meeting musicians who were coming down to Philadelphia to play. And I would be, let's say, the rhythm section guy—part of the rhythm section. And, you know, many of them were encouraging me; they said, "man, you should move to New York, because not only is there a great variety of music there, but there's people from all over the world. When I starting going up to New York as a teenager, I saw that it was a different feeling there.

Certainly, when I first got here, it was not what I had expected. The paradox was that I was working a lot in Philadelphia, and didn't have to really do gigs to just survive. But when I first moved to New York, I was scuffling a lot, doing gigs that I probably would not have done in Philadelphia. But I was able to fall into certain scenes that needed keyboard players, and one of them was definitely the Knitting Factory scene. It was pretty open-ended and included a lot of improvised music, but had a lot of different people from different parts of the country and the world dealing with a lot of different types of music, trying to come up with another type of thing. I think that that type of feeling symbolized an openness to me that I really wanted to embrace. But I was also, at the same time, trying to play with more straight-ahead jazz musicians and also was playing with more electronic people. I mean, a lot of the stuff that I'm doing now was definitely based on meeting other musicians in New York who were trying to do the same type of thing.

I wouldn't say that New York is the only place that that's happening, because certainly there are so many other places in the world. I mean, Chicago, Paris—they all have this certain scene where you have all these types of things going on and people who are much more traditional and say, "this is what we do here." And other people who are breaking out of that and trying to be more inclusive. So in that sense, maybe New York was just that place for me because it's so close to Philadelphia. But I wouldn't say that I left Philly because I found it to be so limited. It was just that New York is just right up the New Jersey Turnpike, so it was no thing to try to live here and see what was going on.

Selected Discography

Dave Douglas, Meaning and Mystery (Greenleaf Music, 2006)
Mark O'Leary, Closure (Leo Records, 2005)
Joel Harrison, Harrison on Harrison: Jazz Explorations of George Harrison (HighNote, 2005)
Dave Douglas Quintet, Live at the Bimhuis (Greenleaf Music, 2005)
Uri Caine/Bedrock, Shelf-Life (Winter & Winter, 2005)
Uri Caine Trio, Live at the Village Vanguard (Winter & Winter, 2004)
Dave Douglas, Strange Liberation (Bluebird/RCA, 2004) Ben Perowsky, Camp Songs (Tzadik, 2003)
Uri Caine, Dark Flame (Winter & Winter, 2003)
François Carrier Trio with Uri Caine, All' Alba ( Justin Time, 2002)
Dave Binney, Balance (ACT, 2002)
Uri Caine & Concerto Köln, Diabelli Variations (Winter & Winter, 2002)
Dave Douglas, The Infinite (Bluebird/RCA, 2002)
Uri Caine, Bedrock (Winter & Winter, 2001)
Marty Ehrlich Quartet, Song (Koch, 2001)
Dave Binney, South (ACT, 2001)
Uri Caine, Solitaire (Winter & Winter, 2001)
Drew Gress, Spin & Drift (Premonition, 2001)
The Philadelphia Experiment, The Philadelphia Experiment (Ropeadope, 2001)
Uri Caine, Rio (Winter & Winter, 2001)
Don Byron, A Fine Line: Arias & Lieder (Blue Note, 2000)
Uri Caine Ensemble, The Goldberg Variations (Winter & Winter, 2000)
Dave Douglas, Soul on Soul (RCA Victor, 2000)
Uri Caine Ensemble/La Gaia Scienza, Love Fugue (Winter & Winter, 2000)
Uri Caine Ensemble, The Sidewalks of New York (Winter & Winter, 1999)
Zohar, Keter (Knitting Factory, 1999)
Uri Caine Ensemble, Gustav Mahler in Toblach: I Went Out This Morning Over the Countryside (Winter & Winter, 1999)
Frank London/Lorin Sklamberg/Uri Caine, Nigunim (Tzadik, 1998)
Peter Herborn, Large One (Jazzine, 1998)
Don Byron, Nu Blaxploitation (Blue Note, 1998)
Uri Caine Trio, Blue Wail (Winter & Winter, 1998)
Uri Caine Ensemble, Wagner e Venezia (Winter & Winter, 1997)
Dave Douglas, Stargazer (Arabesque, 1997)
Ruth Naomi Floyd, With New Eyes (Contour, 1997)
Uri Caine, Urlicht/Primal Light (Winter & Winter, 1997)
Randy Johnston, Somewhere in the Night (HighNote, 1997)
Mike Boone, Old Head (Encounter, 1996)
Don Byron, Bug Music (Nonesuch, 1996)
Gerry Gibbs Sextet, The Thrasher (Warner Bros., 1996)
Don Byron, No-Vibe Zone: Live at the Knitting Factory (Knitting Factory, 1996)
Terry Gibbs, Play That Song (Chiarascuro, 1996)
Uri Caine, Toys (JMT, 1995)
David Binney, The Luxury of Guessing (Audioquest, 1995)
Dave Douglas, In Our Lifetime (New World Records, 1995)
Mike Boone, Better Late Than Never (Encounter, 1994)
Ruth Naomi Floyd, Paradigms for Desperate Times (Contour, 1994)
Gust William Tsilis, Wood Music (Enja, 1993)
Uri Caine, Sphere Music (JMT, 1993)
Don Byron, Plays the Music of Mickey Katz (Elektra/Nonesuch, 1993)

Related Articles
Uri Caine (Concert Review, 2004)
Uri Caine's Bedrock 3 in Tampere (Concert Review, 2003)
Meet Uri Caine (Interview, 2002)

Photo Credits
Top Photo: Courtesy of AAJ Visual Arts Gallery
Second Photo: Jos L. Knaepen
Third Photo: Juan-Carlos Hernández
Bottom Photo: Bill Douthart

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