Mike Reed: The Drum Thing
So in a greater scheme, or philosophical level, this idea of negotiating or reconciling, the appearance or maybe overstated schism between straight and freeand of course age is there.
Changethat's more cultural. It moves really fast, more so all the time. So not change in the civil rights or post-Obama sense.
AAJ: How about "proliferation"? The first word that comes to my mind is "nuclear."
MR: It definitely has that connotation. And the band is pretty muscular, with Greg Ward and Jeb Bishop, they're a pretty action packed duo. I thought it was a powerful title, and the band's powerful. And of course, the premise is this forgotten and under-recognized music, so here's our chance to "proliferate" this idea and this music.
AAJ: You're definitely centered in a high modern jazz idiom, but you've explored so many paths within this idiom, it seems like a lifetime project that you could continue doing. Would you be happy with that?
MR: Since it could take a lifetime, I don't necessarily need to focus on it. For the most part I don't have any more plans to do that. It may come up but for now I thinkwe've done three records worth. I think we were pretty successful at it.
It will definitely come back. There's a possibility of doing some kind of a Sun Ra project, with electronics.
AAJ: Electronicsany plans for doing any kind of jazz-rock or hip-hop fusion?
MR: No. There is definitely some more modern, electronic stuff I've worked on recently with clarinetist Jason Stein, electronics, but of the '60s, like tape machines, old Casio keyboards, prepared guitarwe did a recording where we improvised and improvised and cut it up, and went back and wrote an overdub over that, and then we even had some guest parts in there. But not fusion in any sense of the confirmed way. I don't really like fusion that much. There's definitely a place in my heart for it, but not as me performing it.
AAJ: Your music, for me, it's very intellectual in its structures and its multidirectional qualities, but it's very hard to pin down because it keeps moving in different directions, and you can't really label it. Ultimately I find the best way for me to listen to it is to sit back and experience on a soulful, gut level. How would you like your music to be experienced?
MR: Each project has a different focus and a different aim. And a different style of writing comes into play, depending on it. And the different characters of the people involved are incredible for me. I think if anything, I'm good at assembling people, giving them some kind of direction. I think that's the greatest strength that I have.
AAJ: That's a great strength.
MR: I think so too. It's one of the last things people consider but it has to be worked on and crafted...I like having different friends, and I like visiting different places, and it's the same with music. My Loose Assembly is completely different from People, Places & Things. It's a lot more nimble, it can be more delicate, it can also be as powerful but it's not as muscular, as acrobatic. With Loose Assembly we don't have to play any song, or, we can just play one song. That quality is really great.
I also like People, Places and Things with its greater structure. I need to be different in different situations.
Mike Reed's People, Places & Things, Stories and Negotiations (482 Music, 2010)
Mike Reed's People, Places & Things, About Us (482 Music, 2009)
Mike Reed's People, Places & Things, Proliferation (482 Music, 2008)
Mike Reed's Loose Assembly, The Speed of Change (482 Music, 2008)
Mike Reed's Loose Assembly, Last Year's Ghost (482 Music, 2007)
Mike Reed, In the Context of (482 Music, 2006)
Mike Reed, New Jazz and Improvisation (482 Music, 2003)
Mike Reed, The Picture Show (482 Music, 2002)
Mike Reed, The Treehouse Project (482 Music, 1999)
All Photos: Mark Gorney, courtesy of Mike Reed