Jenny Scheinman: Some Serious Mischief
It's often the case that the most interesting music is made by musicians with a broad musical palette and openness to new paths and horizons. Violinist/composer Jenny Scheinman certainly qualifies in both regards. Equally at home playing folk tunes or working in essentially modern jazz setups, Scheinman also jumps at the chance to play with classical musicians, and is increasingly in demand as an arranger for a diverse range of musicians, such as Lou Reed and Metallica, Lucinda Williams, Bono, Sean Lennon, and Jesse Cutler.
A tremendous improviser, Scheinman is perhaps best known for her collaborations with guitarist Bill Frisell over the last decade, and while it is fair to say that Frisell's influence on Scheinman has been significant, her emotive, lyrical playing has also left an indelible mark on over half a dozen of Frisell's CDs and countless concerts. Like Frisell, Scheinman is not given to exhibitionism, and is instead keenly focused on creating power and beauty through collaboration. With Scheinman, as with Frisell, the song is the thing.
Since her debut recording, Live at Yoshi's (Avant, 2000), Scheinman has written plenty of captivating compositions of her own, making the leap into singer/songwriter territory on Jenny Scheinman (KOCH Records, 2008) while also working on the ambitious and compelling 13-part suite Crossing the Field (KOCH International Jazz, 2008), featuring a string orchestra. Scheinman doesn't do comfort zones, and talks of seeking "the thrill of jumping off the cliff every night." One such cliff from which Scheinman has leaped into the unknown came on a 50-date, 2011 tour with Canadian singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn, when she opened the shows with a solo set, without loops, recorded tracks or gimmickry. It's another example of Scheinman's insatiable curiosity and of her fearlessness as a creative performer.
Scheinman's sixth recording as a leader, the wonderfully titled Mischief and Mayhem (Self Released, 2012) sees her at the helm of an exciting band, which features guitarist Nels Cline, bassist Todd Sickafoose and drummer Jim Black, and which takes its inspiration from rock, West African music and surf punk, as much as from jazz. There's a tremendous energy and spark about the music, which will once again alter some people's perceptions about the ever-versatile Scheinman and she probably wouldn't have it any other way.
All About Jazz Your CD Mischief and Mayhem is a great recording. You must be pleased with the way it's turned out, no?
Jenny Scheinman Yeah, I am, definitely. I love the band, and it was a great process to make it. It was fun to make something a little bit out of control. This one was full of surprises the whole way.
AAJ: It certainly has a different feel from your other solo albums. Mischief and Mayhem is a very appropriate name, but there's a lot of subtlety in the music as well, particularly in Nels Cline's guitar playing. Could you talk a little about Cline's contribution to this CD, and your musical relationship with him?
JS: I've known him for a long time. I first met him in 1998, I think, and we toured a lot together with Scott Amendola, a drummer from the West Coast. The three of us, and Todd [Sickafoose], the bassist, are all from the West Coast, and we were in the band together. We got to know each other very well on that. We set up facing each other as we did on Mischief and Mayhem, and over the years we've developed a language of egging each other on and combining sounds to make swirly textures. There are a lot of unison gestures combined with back-and-forth sparring and dodge ball.
Nels is a very sentimental player, I think, and that, combined with the thrill-seeking in him, is really exciting to be around. He's full of heart and love, to be moved and to move people. He seems to pass the standard expectation of what is sentimental and goes into a kind of mystical zone, especially with the looping and extended technique; I don't know anyone better at that stuff, in terms of having a huge vocabulary of sounds that he can weave into a solo. He loves language and has a very big vocabulary. His solos are much like his talkinghe'll take you somewhere.
AAJ: The band on Mischief and Mayhem sounds very tight. Part of that is surely because you've known and played with each other for so long, but had you played this music much live before going into the studio?
JS: We got together in 2007, and we've done at least one tour every year, not really long tours compared to a rock band, but we've also played these wonderful weeks at the Village Vanguard, which are 12-set runs [over six nights]. You get to play 12 one-and-a-half-hour sets in a row. It's a really beautiful sonic and acoustical environment. It's an exciting place to have a powerful band because it's pretty small for a venue. I think it fits 180 or something, really crammed in there. You feel like you're really about to pop the roof off when you get loud. It never really hurts either, so it's a brilliant room. We had just done that for 12 sets in a row, and then we went into the studio, so all the material on the record we had just played.
A lot of the music was new, and I wrote it for that week at the Village Vanguard. I wrote it pretty quickly in three days before the Village Vanguard sets. A lot of those tunes we hadn't toured a lot, but we have a way of playing together as a band, and we have the advantage of 12 hour-and-a-half rehearsals, if I can put it that way, with the addition of a packed, excited audience. We had a head of steam, going into the recording.
It's like a little rock band, and in order for it to feel like it's losing control at moments it really has to have something in it that is focused. That's the tension I like in the band. If everything is wild and chaotic then, to my ear, it often ends up sounding fatiguing and not exciting. A lot of the songs have pretty simple, clear structures, and then we pump the edges of them a bit. It's part of the idea of the band, and it's also part of the nature of the players. Everybody in the band[drummer] Jim Black maybe slightly lesshas played a lot of songs. We haven't had a life completely dedicated to experimental, improvised music. I've played with Lucinda Williams, and of course I sing as well. And Nels has done all this stuff with Wilco, and Todd was with [singer/guitarist] Ani DiFranco. Todd is always doing stuff with singers, producing records and so on, so we're drawn to song form. But we also like to kind of go crazy.
AAJ: There's a great balance between form and craziness on Mischief and Mayhem. Let's talk a little about the songs. "A Ride with Polly Jean" is a brilliant start to the CD, and it sounds like the soundtrack to a road movie or even a spaghetti western. Which came first: that wonderful, loping rhythm or the melody?
Mischief & Mayhem, from left: Jim Black, Todd Sickafoose
Nels Cline, Jenny Scheinman
JS: My songwriting process is a little bit like a dream; I don't remember it very well. It sort of happens, and it almost always all happens togetherthe melody and the rhythm are linked. It's not like I had the melody in place and then I tried to add the rhythm. Very often I'll come up with something, and I'm shocked at how simple it is. Then I try to fuck with it and try to change stuff and make it fancier, and almost never use any of the other stuff. I think "A Ride with Polly Jean" sat for a day, and I thought: "Is that really a song? Or is it a nursery rhyme, or what? Is there enough there?" I write a lot of music, but most of it doesn't stick in my mind. If it's catchy somehow to meeven if it's not a catchy tune, like "Sand Dipper," which is not something that everyone's going to whistlebut if it's stuck in my mind then I kind of feel compelled to investigate. ...."Polly Jean" was like that; it was this simple little thing, but it's always a revelation to shape something so simple. The band adds all the other stuff.
AAJ: Jim Black hits three bass-drum notes at the beginning of that song which really give lift-off. Was this little touch something composed or was it in-the-moment creativity?
JS: That's a totally in-the-moment thing. The chart has a boo-bap, ba boo-bap boo-bap boo-bap [sings] rhythm, then it has the melody and the chords. There are even a few measures where the chord change is optional, so that going between E and D is slightly blurry, and that's it on that chart. It's likely that you'd read it in some folk songbook. There's form to it, and there are two open spots where we vamp, and then I cue going back to the melody. Other than that, it's very skeletal.
AAJ: There's a strong African feel to a couple of the tracks, like "Sand Dipper." What is Nels Cline playing on that track? It sounds like a kora, at times.
JS: I think he's playing an electric 12-string. I don't know what all those buttons are he presses, but he has quite an array of effects that have memory and that jump octaves and add distortion and delay and things like that.
AAJ: "Blues for Double Vee" has a lovely country- rock-meets-bluegrass feel to it. It sounds like it's a lot of fun to play.
JS The Double Vee is the Village Vanguard, and that's one of the songs I wrote several days before we did that run at the Vanguard. Compositionally, that song is tied to two players who have been part of the history of the Village Vanguard[drummer] Paul Motian, who died recently, and [pianist] Thelonious Monk, who was one of Paul Motian's biggest heroes. The performance probably wouldn't remind one of either of those players, but the composition is a kind of obsession on a certain intervallic sequence, and it's very melody based, as Thelonious Monk and Paul Motian both were. You could play the melody and not necessarily have a chord player plunking out the chordsthey sort of exist within the melody. The composition is sort of inward looking; it's looking in at its own structure, very much the way Monk worked.
The drums have a surf-punk feel, and the violin's tone wasI was really digging in. It's the least beautiful of my tones. It's pretty scrapey and intense. There's a lot of unison in it. Nels and Todd and I, for a lot of it, are playing unison. Nels wrote the bridge. I played that recently with [guitarist] Bill Frisell and [drummer] Brian Blade, with whom I spent a week at the Village Vanguard in December, and Brian, a couple of days in, said, "That tune is a kind of a punk tune, isn't it?" So, he started doing that role. It's a little spunky and humorous take on the Vanguard, which hasn't had very much music like that within its very venerable walls.
AAJ: Your violin really flies on that track. What violin or fiddle players most excited you when you first took up the instrument?
JS: I started really young. I played violin and piano, and I could already play them by the time I got interested in jazz and folk and had the idea of being a professional musician. At that point, it seemed like a pretty big hassle to change instruments, so I just ended up on violin. It was somewhat random, as my parents just started me on violin. I was interested in music, but I had never been particularly interested in violin. I've learned a lot from various violin players, and I've definitely gone through love affairs with different players. I love a lot of the American folk players. I loved Vassar Clements, a really great bluegrass player. Now I think Stuart Duncan is one of the better bluegrass players. Of the jazzier players, I love Stuff Smith and I liked Claude Williams a lot. I put myself through college playing Stephane Grappelli kind of stuff. I'm so glad he was born, but I'm not sure it's something I'm striving to imitate at all; he's not really an influence, per se. Joe Venuti was great. I got to play a lot of Joe Venuti solos in a band in New York when I was doing some old stuff with [multi-instrumentalist/arranger] Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks. Ray NanceI can't name everybody.
But in terms of musical influences, I don't know if any of those would top [saxophonist] Sonny Rollins or even some guitar players. I went through a phase of transcribing early Pat Metheny, and Bill Frisell before I was playing with him. There are just so many jazz players that I listened to a lot, probably a lot more than the fiddle players. I've always loved having the opportunity to play with great classical players. I get hired to do arrangements, so I can hire people. It's always a thrill to be in a setting with great classical players. I also want to mention Charles Burnham, who lives in New York. I think he's brilliant, and he's very under-recorded. He's amazing. And the two players I play with, with Bill Frisell: Eyvind Kang, who's a great violin player but is mostly playing viola these days, and [cellist] Hank Robertsthey are a huge influence on me. I feel super lucky to be able to tour and make records with them.
AAJ: Coming back to Mischief and Mayhem, one of the standout tracks is "Devil's Ink," which is a very interesting, edgy composition. Could you tell us about this track?
JS: One of the things I do as a sort of relaxing technique is, I write 12-tone rows. I have reams of them. Its part of my workaholic problem, which means my relaxing always involves something productive. Also, I find 12-tone rows relaxing to listen to. A 12-tone row is all 12 notes in an un-repeating sequence, so you end up playing all 12 notes without going back to any of them. It was something [Arnold] Schoenberg pioneered and talked about a lot. It ends up very often not sounding based on any chord or not based on folk music; it's slightly beyond that. I find that if I sit down and write 20 of them, I begin to recognize my own rhythmic and melodic patterns. "Devil's Ink" is basically three 12-tone rows, with a little bit of stuff in between. There are parts of "Devil's Ink" that are really peaceful, and then it kind of ramps up at the end. I added a groovy bass line for the last part of it so it rocks. I really like playing that piece, and it was mysterious enough to me that we kept playing it for a while.
AAJ: The last two minutes rock like King Crimson. Was that a band you listened to?
JS: Yeah, I have listened to them a bunch. I never quite know where the influences are coming from. They might come from all the bad radio I've listened to or all the good radio. Your guess is as good as mine as to what actually made it into my subconscious and what might pop out in a decent tune.
AAJ: Another great track is "The Audit," which is gently hypnotic and very lyrical. This might work very well in one of your solo performances.
JS: That's a good idea. It's actually a song that can be played all on violin; almost all of those notes can fit on the fiddle. It's a restful oasis in the middle of the record. Believe it or not, it actually almost didn't make the record. I'm crazy about sequencing, and we couldn't find exactly how it functioned in the record. Now I really like it as a sort of a pause in the middle of the record.
AAJ: Could you talk a little about your solo concerts, please? If someone comes to see Jenny Scheinman solo what can they expect?
JS: I did that all last summer, opening for [singer/songwriter] Bruce Cockburn, with whom I was also playing. I would mix in several instrumental songs and then do a lot of singing. I would strum the violin to accompany myself as I sang, which is something I do a lot around the house. I had a whole collection of new songs that I was doing a lot, which are going to be on my next vocal record. I did a few from my last vocal record, and there were some instrumentals. If it's just me, I can play anything I know, so it was really flexible, but there ended up being a core group of songs that worked really well. I play something like "Sand Dipper," something which has a melody but which is compelling without a big, interactive band. I might play a fiddle tune or something that is not actually a fiddle tune but which has enough bones in the melody. I was playing a lot on octave violin, which is a cool instrument; it's an octave lower than violin, and it just adds a nice texture.
When I was putting together that show, I was terrified because I'd always played with other people. I haven't turned into a diva, for better or for worse, so I'm not compelled to go out there naked. I'm always playing with other people, and I'm really fascinated by the interaction between players and the chemistry of a band. But I thought it was really important for me to do a solo show to see what was there. What some people often do is to find some artificial way of creating a band, with backing tracks in pop or loops. I have nothing against loops, obviously, because I love Nels [Cline] and Bill Frisell, but those guys are really pros, and that's part of their instrument. I considered cramming and learning how to do loops and doing something like multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird does, or singer/guitarist Juana Molina. Now there are lots of people who use loops as a way of providing more environment and more texture.
But I decided not to do that. I did exactly the opposite; I went out there super naked. I went out there with my voice and my violin, plucked or bowed, and an octave violin, plucked or bowed, and that was it. It ended up focusing me and the audience on the content of the songs, and I think it was a pretty powerful show, to be honest. It's a hard thing to do for two hours. Those weren't long shows; they were 45-minute shows. I think I could do an hour and a half, or an hour and 15, but the length is challenging. I think the shows were pretty compelling, because as terrified as I felt before I started them, I think it turned into a kind of vulnerable thrill, from the audience's perspective.
AAJ: Another knockout track on Mischief and Mayhem is "Ali Farka Touché," which is reminiscent, in spirit, not only of the great Malian guitarist/singer Ali Farka Toure but also of the Intercontinentals. That was a band which seemed to have too short a life, don't you think?
Mischief & Mayhem, from left: Jenny Scheinman, Todd Sickafoose
Jim Black, Nels Cline
JS: That was my time as an adult, playing with the African musicians in that band. We actually had a life a little bit beyond that; the band changed, and I toured quite a lot with Bill Frisell, [percussionist] Sidiki Camara and [guitarist] Djelimandy Tounkarawho was not in the Intercontinentalstwo really great West African musicians. The Intercontinentals was a great experiment, and a lot of great connections came from it. I really like the album. I especially like the track "Baba Drame," which was the biggest influence on my writing from the material from that band. I have several songs like that. If you check out the [YouTube] clip of "Jara Bi"a tune which I wrote, which actually ended up on my last record there's a great clip with Djelimandy Tounkara and Sidiki Camara, myself, Bill Frisell and [pedal steel guitarist/mandolinist/bassist] Greg Leisz, at the Barbican Theater in London, and that would answer your question better than my rambling.
AAJ: Thanks for the tip. You've talked about Frisell, and his influence is fairly well known, but you've also colored his music a lot for more than a decade now. You both seem to have a lot in common musically, wouldn't you say?
AAJ: We've already talked about one of these similarities in relation to Mischief and Mayhemthough through a slightly different lens with Bill Friselland that is this joint attraction to song and this sort of resistance to being controlled. Bill is obsessed with early American folk and country music and things that have a real power in a simple structure. And then he loves to blow the lid off things. He's not particularly fussy about genre, and he can exist in different types of music fairly seamlessly and selflessly. He always has this distinct sound which is him, but he's not uncomfortable going between and crossing over boundaries. I guess I could probably say the same about myself. It has to do with my interest in a lot of different areas but also my funky path through music which has led me, somewhat by necessity, to learn a lot about a lot of different types of music. I'm interested in the portable nature and history of the violin, popping up all over the world and all over the rural parts of this country.
So that's one thing that ties us together: an interest in a wide spectrum of music. And, I guess, there's a language that has developed between usand among a group of players that has surrounded Bill, and with whom I also play a lotthat is interactive and resistant to a standard jazz format of peer-based music where there's a rhythm section and then there's a soloist blowing over it. It's much more about humble playing, and it's much more about resisting the self, the egotistical approach to jazzfinding something in the combination of the players that really lifts the music off, rather than just the burning cock of a great tenor, or whatever [laughs].
AAJ: Another project that you did with Frisell was the tribute to the music of John Lennon and the Beatles, All We Are Saying (Savoy Jazz, 2011). What was it like touring that music?
JS: We toured that mostly as a trio without the rhythm section, and we did that in Europe a bunch of years ago, maybe five years ago. That was very difficult at first. I have to say that a lot of Bill's projects, for me, and I think also for Bill, can go through really difficult times, and one of the things that I really admire about him is that he doesn't back down when things are not working or they're really uncomfortable. Usually, that's a sign to him that there's something there to discover.
That music was one of the biggest influences on me, as it is for almost everybody, I thinkthe Beatles and John Lennon. My dad was a Beatles-head, and my first performance ever was when I was four or five years old, singing "Do you want to know a Secret?" with my dad, and other Beatles tunes. Their voices are in my head, so to be put in the position of having to play that music and those lyrics on violin was potentially very embarrassing. It's hard. It's hard to play something that people know really well, without the words, on what seems like a weak little instrument like violin. Not that I can think of any other instrument to do it better, necessarily, but it's been done so much. It was hard not to feel the shadow of all the music that you hear in shopping centers and hotel lobbiesyou know, "Imagine," played horribly on some synthesizer or soprano saxophone.
So we had to kind of get through that crust. Of course, the songs are amazing. It's really, really great music. So, once we got through that, it started being more and more intriguing and really fun to plumb the depths of something that we thought we knew really well, and get a new perspective on it. After getting the language together as a trio, it was really fun to add bass and drums because it sort of brought the audience in more and made it more popular in exactly the right wayaccessible, joyous and unselfconsciousjust great fun.
AAJ: The final song of Mischief and Mayhem, "The Mite," has a tremendous punk-like energy, and the video of the performance from the New York City Winter Jazz Fest looks like it would make the perfect set-closer. How much is the music on this CD transformed when played live?
JS: It's different every time. The spectrum is different in different genres. Compared to a song-based rock band it changes drastically, but compared to purely improvised music it doesn't change that much. Definitely the sounds we go after are sounds that we haven't heard, and we don't like to repeat ourselves, but we're also not spending all our energy trying not to repeat ourselves, which is what a lot of jazz musicians end up doing. If something works and we brought it off the last time, we might end up there again, and we'll only not go there again if it's not working anymore, which sometimes happens. If you're playing two sets a night, or just every night, there's a pattern that can develop, and you don't want to remember the night before and how much fun it was, because you can never repeat that. You have to get there through a different path. We're improvisers, so we're totally seeking the thrill of jumping off the cliff every night.
AAJ: Thank you for such a great answer. The New York City Winter Jazz Fest looks like an amazing festival, with 50 or 60 bands playing in just two days. You played in a variety of settings in the 2012 edition. What's the festival like, for someone who's never been there?
JS: It's a really fun festival. It's in a very small part of the West Village, so you're not jumping around by train. Everything's within about six blocks. It's popular, and it's weird that it's popular, because it's not particularly popular music, as music goes. It's not the kind of music that attracts thousands of partying fans, but it's got an energy, and it's got a buzz. As a New York musician, it's awesome to be able to participate with my friends in something that really celebrates what's homegrown about New York.
AAJ: Earlier you mentioned Bruce Cockburn, with whom you did a 50-date tour of Canada and the U.S. in 2011. What was that experience like?
JS: That was amazing. We were playing as a trio, so it was very barejust me and Bruce and a drummer. Bruce has a great right-hand thumb, so there was a lot of bass in it, but it wasn't formatted in a standard way, and I got to sing a lot, and I got to play a lot. The drummer, Gary Craig, was amazinga really, really great Canadian drummer. Especially in Canada we were playing big halls, like Massey Hall and all the Arts Centers, and they were generally sold out. In the States, the venues were slightly smaller, but there were some real big ones, too. Bruce really featured me. Not only were we featuring the music from the record that I had recorded on [Small Source of Comfort (True North, 2011)]and that featured me quite a lotbut he also wanted to do a couple of my songs in his set, as well as the songs that I was playing in my opening set. I love to play, and I got to play for three hours a night and play a lot. It wasn't tiptoeing around a singer who didn't want anything distractinghe really wanted content and new stuff. There was a bit of improvising and also some really beautiful parts.
He's a super-interesting person, and that surprised me. I knew his music from when I was a kid. I didn't know what he would actually be like, and I really love him. He's a toughie, but with a really big heart, and one of the greats in terms of songwriting. We were on a bus with a crew, so it was very luxurious. I've already talked about the solo stuff, but that was a super big creative jump for mea great opportunity to explore that.
JS: That's the record where I met Bill Frisell. And a little secret about that recording: we were incredibly sick, 104-or-above temperatures, and I was really, really sick. Bill got really sick the day after, and Gabriella got really sick. The only one who didn't get sickand who probably never gets sickwas Victor Kraus; he's bionic or something. I remember I was delirious, and I was also so excited to meet Bill, but I had no extra energy for being nervous around him at all. So it was all very real. One of my memories of that is laying on the floor of the studio in literally a pool of sweat, staring out through the window and looking at Bill, who was sort of hunched against a wall, with his headphones on, waiting for instructions. It was very bizarre and very dreamlike. I have never been that sick in a studio.
There's so much energy wasted as people and as musicianswasted on nervousness and social interaction. There was none of that during the recording because we were either playing and totally in the song or we were sleeping. We were just sick. It was very bonding.
AAJ: That's an interesting story on a truly remarkable recording. The results are quite sublime.
JS: Yeah, I think so.
AAJ: What are your plans for this band, touring- wise, and are you looking ahead to another recording?
JS: I'm sure we'll make another record. I think we'll stay around. Three of us have known each other for over 10 years, and we've played a lot together so there's a lot of glue there. I'm not pushing it. Nels [Cline] is very busy with Wilco, as you can imagine, and we all have a lot of other touring and recording we're doing, and two of us are having babies. Todd [Sickafoose] is having a baby; I'm having a second baby in May, so there's lots of other stuff going on in our lives. But it feels solid, in spite of that. In spite of the ridiculous schedules, it feels like something we'll do every year at the [Village] Vanguard, plus maybe another tour. We have tons of invitations to places, that we can sometimes do and sometimes can't. I'm really moved that everybody is so committed to it. As the leader, one of the things I would like to do with the band is to encourage them to integrate a song or two of their own. When we played at the Vanguard this last time, I played several of Nels' compositions. I would like to bring our approach to material that is not just mine. When this CD is out and has legs, I'll probably write a bunch of material and we'll do something else.
AAJ: So we can expect more mischief and more mayhem then?
JS: [Laughs.] Hopefully.
AAJ: And what's coming up next in your busy schedule, recording-wise?
JS: I'm on a sort of sabbatical right now, and I'm doing a lot of writing. I think the next record will be very focused on me, if that's not a weird thing to say. So many of my records have been bands and about interaction, and I'd like to do one that basically comes out of what I learned from the solo touring, and see if I can mine myself to find enough energy, charisma, content and narrative to make a record.
Jenny Scheinman, Mischief and Mayhem (Self Produced, 2012)
Bruce Cockburn, Small Source of Comfort (True North, 2011)
Bill Frisell, All We Are Saying (Savoy Jazz, 2011)
Madeleine Peyroux, Standing on the Rooftop (Decca, 2011)
Bill Frisell, Disfarmer (Nonesuch Records, 2009)
Jenny Scheinman, Crossing The Field (KOCH International Jazz, 2008)
Jenny Scheinman, Jenny Scheinman (KOCH Records, 2008)
Ani DiFranco, Red Letter Year (Righteous Babe, 2008)
Bill Frisell, History, Mystery (Nonesuch Records, 2008)
Bill Frisell, All Hat (Emarcy/Universal, 2008)
Lucinda Williams, West (Lost Highway, 2007)
Christian McBride, Live at Tonic (Ropeadope, 2006)
Jenny Scheinman, 12 Songs (Cryptogramophone, 2005)
Scott Amendola Band, Believe (Cryptogramophone, 2005)
Bill Frisell, Richter 858 (Songlines Recordings, 2005)
Jenny Scheinman, Shalagaster (Tzadik, 2004)
Bill Frisell, Unspeakable (Nonesuch Records, 2004)
John Zorn, Voices in the Wilderness (Tzadik, 2003)
Bill Frisell, The Intercontinentals (Nonesuch Records, 2003)
Jenny Scheinman, The Rabbi's Lover (Tzadik, 2002)
Leni Stern, Finally the Rain has Come (LSR, 2002)
Vinicius Cantuaria Vinicius, (Transparent Music, 2001)
Jenny Scheinman, Live at Yoshi's (Avant, 2000)
Gabriela, Viento Rojo (Intuition, 1999)
The Hot Club of San Francisco, Live MCMCV (Hot Club Records, 1996)
Pages 2, 4: Michael Gross
All Other Photos: Michael Wilson