Jeff Gauthier: Open
JG: Nels Cline is the catalyst for all things. David Witham has also taken great strides over the last few years, developing his electronic arsenal. They are both very dangerous musicians.
AAJ: Will Goatette be touring to support this music?
JG: Well, we've done some recent concerts in L.A. and New York, but touring is difficult with this band because Alex doesn't travel much due to family obligations, and Nels is on the road with Wilco. Fumo also tours with Neil Diamond.
AAJ: How difficult is the touring side these days? We keep hearing of venues closing. It doesn't sound good, and yet live music is the lifeblood of the music, no?
JG: Venues come and go, and musicians' fortunes ebb and flow. Things are difficult right now, but I've always found it hard to tour with this kind of music. That's what got me into organizing my own concerts and eventually presenting other musicians. The Angel City Jazz Festival should have been the logical next step, but since I can't ethically book my own band into a festival that I co-produce, it's a classic case of the violinist shooting himself in the foot.
AAJ: The Angel City Jazz Festival this year had a great lineup: Satoko Fujii, Roscoe Mitchell, Rudresh Mahanthappa, The Necks. The list is pretty stunning. Tell us about Cryptogramophone's role in this festival.
JG: In theory, Cryptogramophone and Angel City are separate entities, but festival co-producer Rocco Somazzi and I often end up booking Crypto artists into the festival because historically they represent a pretty good cross section of the West Coast new-music community.
AAJ: How much of the building and running of this festival is about "community"?
JG: Community is what it's all about. Community is how music evolves and gets from one place to the next, kind like a big game of telephone. With the advent of the Angel City Jazz Festival, our geographical community has grown, but we try to represent as many of the local communities as possible. I say communities, because L.A. is a big and disparatesome would say desperateplace, with many disparate musical and geographical communities. Balancing all of this is a difficult task that we take very seriously.
AAJ: In this day and age, how does the fact that a non- commercial festival can thrive inspire you for the future of creative music?
JG: I'd like to think that creative jazz can thrive on its own, but in truth it's the enthusiasm of the musicians and the sleight of hand of the presenters that give it the illusion of thriving. We're always trying to figure out ways to trick a largely unsuspecting audience into believing that the festival is super cool and worthy of their support. If we can somehow convince people to come to the concerts, they usually respond favorably. We did a survey at our last big event where we asked the audience which artists they'd like to see at the festival in the future. The winner of this survey wasdrum roll, pleaseKenny G! So if we can somehow lure [saxophonist] Kenny G's fans into a 1200-seat amphitheater to listen to [saxophonist] Rudresh Mahanthappa and they end up actually liking it, we've done our job and I can sleep at night.
The Jeff Gauthier Goatette, Open Source (Cryptogramophone, 2011)
Nels Cline, DIRTY BABY (Cryptogramophone, 2009)
The Jeff Gauthier Goatette, House of Return (Cryptogramophone, 2008)
The Jeff Gauthier Goatette, One and the Same (Cryptogramophone, 2006)
Various Artists, The Music of Eric Von Essen, Vol III (Cryptogramophone, 2006)
Scott Ray Quintet, Active Vapor Recovery (Cryptogramophone, 2003)
Bendian/Gauthier/Liebig/Stinson, Bone Structure (Cryptogramophone, 2003)
The Jeff Gauthier Goatette, Mask (Cryptogramophone, 2001)
Alex Cline/Jeff Gauthier/G.E. Stinson, The Other Shore (Cryptogramophone, 2000)
Alex Cline Ensemble, Sparks Fly Upwards (Cryptogramophone, 1999)
Jeanette Wrate & the Northern Lights Ensemble, Echoes of a Northern Sky (Cryptogramophone, 1999)
The Vinny Golia Large Ensemble, The Other Bridge (Oakland, 1999)
Jeff Gauthier Quartet, The Present (Nine Winds, 1996)
Steuart Leibig Quartetto Stig, Lingua Oscura (Nine Winds, 1995)
Yusef Lateef & Adam Rudolph, The World at Peace (Meta Records, 1995)
Jeff Gauthier, Internal Memo (Nine Winds, 1994)
All Photos: Courtesy of Cryptogramophone Records