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Artist Profiles

John Hebert

By Published: September 11, 2009
For Hebert, the group on Byzantine Monkey is a perfect example of the above dynamic. All the players come from what Hebert describes as "a very large ensemble that breaks off into factions and you fit yourself in somehow." He first met Waits on that initial Andrew Hill gig. Attias and Takeishi are the remaining two-thirds of Renku. Hebert has played on Kolker's last two albums. Hebert and Malaby are in Attias' group Twines of Colesion. Remarkably, considering the full schedules of all involved, booking the studio time was nailed on the first attempt: "It all just fell into place. I booked two days in the studio and everyone was in town. I mean for these cats that are on the record, to get everyone in the same place at the same time was an act of god." And to this already secure environment, Hebert added the lessons he learned from Hill. "I'm pretty loose when it comes to playing my music. Just count it off and see what happens. ...I trust that the cats in the band will interpret it in the way that would be musical."

Hebert has another recording to be released in February, a trio with pianist Benoit Delbecq and drummer Gerald Cleaver. But the bassist is not making a transition into full-time leadership, knowing full well that few performers can survive today's market under those circumstances. But he is very encouraged by his first foray. "You see that as possible. You get that first thing out of the way, okay now I see that it is possible to do and it can be rewarding, emotionally or whatever, so think about doing more things. ...It gives you something to shoot for within your own musical spectrum. So you have something to write for. That really is very important, writing your own music and getting your voice across and being heard."

Recommended Listening:

Joe Fiedler, Plays the Music of Albert Mangelsdorff (Clean Feed, 2003)

Michael Attias—Renku (Playscape, 2004)

Andrew Hill, Time Lines (Blue Note, 2005)

Russ Lossing/John Hebert, Line Up (hatOLOGY, 2006)

Mary Halvorson, Dragon's Head (Firehouse 12, 2008)

John Hebert, Byzantine Monkey (Firehouse 12, 2008)

Photo Credit

Scott Friedlander

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