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Skerik: Concept is All Anyone Cares About

By Published: October 16, 2006
AAJ: Yes. Jazz isn't dead, but some of them are embalming it anyway.

SkerikS: Yeah, there's definitely some grave-robbing going on. Especially when people don't have ideas. A lot of people spend so much time working on the technical facility of their instrument that they're not investing any time on life, discovering life. Go traveling! Go get into trouble! Go do something different; do something you wouldn't normally do. So many jazzers for the last 30 years come out of this scholastic environment where they have this syllabus. And they live by the syllabus. They don't have drivers' licenses—they just practice eight hours a day. But they don't sound like anything. They just sound like what they've been practicing. They sound like who they've been mimicking. And it's really sad, because a lot of them are so talented, with so much incredible, natural ability. But there's no concept attached to it. And concept is all anyone really cares about. No one cares how well I play the saxophone; it's more like, "what are you playing this night? Are you playing for me, or are you just practicing today? What are your opinions? What do you care about? That's what I want to hear when I hear a band—I want to feel that. I don't know; instrumental music and jazz just seem particularly to fall victim to certain circumstances—more so than other music, I think.

AAJ: So what are you going to do in the next few months?

S: Well, Garage A Trois is going to Brazil in the fall. I'm going to do a Bobby Previte tour with Charlie Hunter in November. Then I have a little trio with some guys from New Orleans called Maelstrom Trio; we're going to do some gigs. Critters Buggin' are doing some gigs in December. And I'm just looking forward to going back to New York and practicing and studying with as many people as I can. And, of course, the Syncopated Taint Septet is going out on tour in October.

Selected Discography

Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet, Husky (Hyena Records, 2006)
Les Claypool, Of Whales and Woe (Prawn Song, 2006)
Bobby Previte, The Coalition of the Willing (Ropeadope, 2006)
Stanton Moore, III (Telarc, 2006)
Garage a Trois, Outre Mer (Telarc, 2005)
Benevento/Russo Duo, Best Reason to Buy the Sun (Ropeadope, 2005)
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Symbiosis Osmosis (Kufala, 2005)
Critters Buggin', Stampede (Ropeadope, 2004)
Barrett Martin, The Painted Desert (Fast Horse, 2004)
Mylab, Mylab (Terminus, 2004)
Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet, Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet (Ropeadope, 2003)
Garage a Trois, Emphasizer (Tone Cool, 2003)
Skerik, Left for Dead in Seattle (Vivid Sound, 2003)
Jacek Kochan, New Expensive Head (Gowi, 2003)
Stanton Moore, Flyin' the Koop (Blue Thumb, 2002)
Les Claypool Frog Brigade, Purple Onion (Prawn Song, 2002)
Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, The Bridge (Relaxed Records, 2002)
Critters Buggin', Amoeba (Loosegroove, 1999)
Ponga, Ponga (Loosegroove, 1999)
Stanton Moore, All Kooked Out! Fog City, 1998)
Critters Buggin', Bumpa (Loosegroove, 1998)
Critters Buggin', Monkeypot Merganser (1997)
Critters Buggin', Host (Loosegroove, 1997)
Critters Buggin', Guest (Loosegroove/Sony, 1994)

Photo Credits:
Top Photo: Josh Miller
Bottom Photo: Courtest of

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Download jazz mp3 “Don't Wanna” by Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet