Eric Zinman: The Piano as Endangered Species
EZ: The short answer is: no. Just read the interviews with other creative players in the US. Of course that's a subject that could get me into trouble, because no one wants to hear the truth about this. The potential to get reviewed in any print media has worsened. Of course I'm not a chick, I'm not just starting out, and I play the piano, which you do not hear much about, and I'm not really an academic, though I teach privately.
There are a lot of fanzines still out there. Some of the better known ones are quite crooked. But you get the some of the same problems here that you get in Europe. It's been my opinion that the American writers prefer to write about you when you are better known, because in some way it is about them. As your work develops through recordings, rumors and innuendos surface, and people talk. Then, they might decide to write about you. There are very few writers and publications that write about music simply because they like it. You can't be in this music unless you are ready to face rejection. These countries and labels in the EU want to promote their artists. There is a quota for American artists. You have to accept that, and [that] people will try to manipulate you. You have to make recordings and they have to have distribution.
The Boston scene is good. There are some very good players. One of my local groups is the New Language Collaborative, with myself on piano, Glynis Lomon on cello and Syd Smart on drums. They are amazing musicians with long histories. There is no real support. At least nothing that I would call advocacy. I think the city would like to be proud of its artists, poets and musicians, but generally the money goes only to "culture." There is of course always some private, "hush hush" support, and perhaps that is the only way things will continue as [they did] in the past.
There does seem to be some changing of the guard, as certain musicians previously denied have been accepted at festivals like Newport. It's too early to tell what this might mean, but it stands to reason that you can't keep giving people the same crap year after year.
Eric Zinman, Eric Zinman Trio (Studio 234, 2009)
Eric Zinman, Wakte Oglaka (Ayler Records, 2009)
New Language Collaborative, Unified Fields (Ayler Records, 2008)
The Great Divide, The Great Divide (Studio 234, 2006)
The Eric Zinman Ensemble, Live at Zeitgeist Gallery (Studio 234, 2006)
Eric Zinman, Eric Zinman Ensemble (Cadence Jazz Records, 2006)
Various Artists, Autumn Uprising (Tautology Records, 1997)
Page 5: Eric Zinman with Bill Dixon: Stanley Jason Zappa
All Other Photos: Courtesy of Eric Zinman