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David Gilmore: Getting To The Point

By Published: January 6, 2007

AAJ: Define the audience for this project.

DG: The people who like Ritualism anyway, run from musicians to non. I know a lot of people who aren't musicians who really feel the record.

AAJ: How was the recording done? Are all the guys in the same room with the drummer so you have the same ambience?

DG: It was 16 bit ADAT in the studio. The drummer and I were in booths with Brad (Jones, the bassist) behind partitions. The horns were in another room and there was a main room where the piano and the organ were. I picked the studio because it was a nice room, acoustically, and everybody could see each other visually. It's important to have the band thing. It's pretty much all know.

AAJ: How long did it take? Like a second, right?

DG: We tracked basically for two days..

AAJ: Man, you guys are unbelievable...

DG: I went back into the studio to do "Confluence , because Imani (Uzuri-vocals) couldn't do it at the time. Actually, we aborted a previous session in January...I had James Genus instead of Brad on bass...the studio just didn't work out...the piano was out of tune...I had to pull the plug finally. I did have a finished version of "Confluence from that session but I ended up throwing it out. We rerecorded it as a trio-bass, guitar and vocals.

AAJ: How'd you find Imani Uzuri? She's been on some drum'n'bass type recordings, right? (related article)

DG: Actually, she's on Herbie's new record, Future 2 Future. She wrote some lyrics for one of those tunes. I only heard parts of that cd so far. I met her a couple of years back through friends of mine. I just always loved the quality of her voice. She doesn't do "jazz gigs..I heard her on her own gigs...drum'n'bass. She has a really rich deep kind of voice. At that point I wasn't thinking of her for my stuff, but as it turns out we collaborated and she wrote lyrics to "Confluence . That date wasn't easy for her, but she certainly managed to pull it off.

AAJ: How'd you get the rest of the band ?

DG: Like I said, Brad was a sub. Now Brad has turned out to the better choice for this kind of music. I mean I love James but Brad has this looseness from playing with Ornette.

AAJ: Ornette?!

DG: Oh, yeah. Ornette, the Jazz Passengers, Marc Ribot. So the core band was there. The sidemen made sense. I mean part of it was just that I knew guys who were willing to do me huge financial favors for the music. I knew Rodney ( from Wayne, and he has this jazzy jazzy, but funky, other way of playing.

AAJ: It's almost like prog rock at times, just all over the kit. And George Colligan (

DG: I think I met him through Binney (, who's also on the cd.

AAJ: And Ravi and Ralph Alessi are through Steve Coleman?

DG: Yeah.

AAJ: And you're on Ralph's new thing?

DG: That's not out yet. Check RKM for that ( I've got some space on that one, but I was disappointed with the amp I used for the session. That's some hard music too. Don Byron's on it as well as Nausheet Waits and Drew Gress.

AAJ: Your record seems like a natural progression from Coleman to Lost Tribe to Trilok to your own thing, as opposed to some other directions you've gone in with other folks.

DG: I guess it comes out of all those know, playing with Steve and Trilok...though osmosis it's crept into my system. But even before I met Steve and the whole M-Base thing I had an attraction to odd meter music or whatever you want to call it. I was into Return to Forever and Mahavishnu and all that stuff.

I was introduced to playing jazz when I first started taking guitar lessons at age 15, with John Baboian, a teacher at Berklee School of Music. Then I kind of worked my way backwards into straight ahead jazz. But I was always into that type of music. The stuff I'm doing now, at least the Ritualism thing, has got the odd meter stuff. I just find there to be a lot of unexplored territory, you know, with rhythms as it relates to modern jazz harmonies and melodies. I mean jazz in the rhythmic sense has been pretty much in 4:4 with the occasional 3:4 and that's...

AAJ: That's it! That's what I really want to touch on with you. This is what Steve is known for and now you. You are one of the masters regarding this aspect.

DG: Well, there are other people, but a lot of them come at it from a different angle, like Brad Shepik with Pachora and the Commuters (AAJ interrupts)

AAJ: Yeah, but they're coming from ethnic rhythms.

DG: Well, they're using things in 11 and 21 or whatever. Steve's thing has evolved within his own projects. Like it used to be "this tune is in 5 and "this is in 7 , but around "Rhythm People it evolved into polymetric tunes. It went further with "Black Science where the pianist was in one meter, the bassist was in another and I was in another and the parts would intersect at various points creating cross-rhythms.

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