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Interviews

Art Lande: Revealing the Infinite

Art Lande: Revealing the Infinite
By Published: September 17, 2012
Born in New York City on February 5, 1947, pianist and drummer Art Lande has been a font of creativity throughout his long and multifaceted career. Lande grew up in Long Island and started studying piano at age four; he attended Williams College, then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1969. During the early 1970s, Lande played electric piano in a jazz quintet with bassist Steve Swallow
Steve Swallow
Steve Swallow
b.1940
bass
, and from 1973 to 1986 he recorded for ECM with his group Rubisa Patrol and with saxophonist Jan Garbarek
Jan Garbarek
Jan Garbarek
b.1947
sax, tenor
, bassist Gary Peacock
Gary Peacock
Gary Peacock
b.1935
bass
and multi-instrumentalist Paul McCandless. In addition, Lande has played with a host of jazz luminaries over the years, including trumpeter Chet Baker
Chet Baker
Chet Baker
1929 - 1988
trumpet
, bassist Charlie Haden
Charlie Haden
Charlie Haden
b.1937
bass, acoustic
, trumpeter Woody Shaw
Woody Shaw
Woody Shaw
1944 - 1989
trumpet
and saxophonists Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
1937 - 2001
sax, tenor
and Ravi Coltrane
Ravi Coltrane
Ravi Coltrane
b.1965
sax, tenor
. Altogether, Lande has appeared on over 70 albums and composed over 250 songs, plus collaborated with a broad range of dancers, visual artists and poets, including Beat legend Allen Ginsberg.

In addition to Lande's prolific recording and performing career, he is a masterful jazz educator. He has taught in a wide variety of settings, including several European schools, the Cornish College of the Arts, Naropa University and the University of Colorado Boulder, and he counts among his students notables such as pianists Fred Hersch
Fred Hersch
Fred Hersch
b.1955
piano
, Kenny Werner
Kenny Werner
Kenny Werner
b.1951
piano
and Myra Melford
Myra Melford
Myra Melford
b.1957
piano
. Since 1987, Lande has been based in Boulder, Colorado, where he is helping raise the next generation of musicians. In saxophonist Danny Meyer
Danny Meyer
Danny Meyer
b.1985
saxophone
's comprehensive 2011 interview with Lande ("Art Lande Interview: Part 1"), Meyer says: "Students of Art Lande include keyboardist Erik Deutsch
Erik Deutsch
Erik Deutsch

piano
, drummer Colin Stranahan, members of Kneebody
Kneebody
Kneebody

band/orchestra
, drummer Mike Thies and just about every other great musician to come out of Colorado. Moral of the story: If you're in Colorado, take some lessons with Art Lande. Seriously."

In his recordings, performances and classes, Lande combines an incisive, wide-ranging musical knowledge with an openhearted approach to music and musical relationships. His generous spirit is reflected in his sound, which cheerfully evades all boundaries and welcomes all listeners.

Chapter Index
Sectarian and Nonsectarian Music

Playing Piano and Drums

Writing About Music

Proud of All of Us

Music and Love


Sectarian and Nonsectarian Music

All About Jazz: Can you define the difference between what you call "sectarian" and "nonsectarian" music and perhaps talk about your journey with the two?

Art Lande: Sectarian music is about style-based music, and nonsectarian music comes out of the individuals or the relationships between the players themselves. These two kinds of music are a little different, and there is also a place where they meet.

Sectarian music, or style-based music, would be saying, "OK, there is a tradition of jazz standards, or there's a tradition of salsa music, or there's a tradition of blues," or whatever. There are people who go really deep into these styles, and maybe that's all they do, or maybe they get really interested in different kinds of music at different times. I have done this, too; when I was playing in salsa bands, then it interested me more to go into salsa. I don't think I ever played salsa totally pure, because I already had my own ideas of how I wanted to hear the music, and as an improvising musician, I was always encouraged to contribute beyond what was exactly typical.

I think there's a lot of music where people get really good at a certain way of playing, and they do a lot of typical things, and maybe they add a little bit of their own self. To varying degrees, the people they play with invite or encourage uniqueness or individuality—or what I call "contributions"—to that kind of style matrix. You can feel when people are welcoming of that or when they're not so welcoming. It can be a specific club or audience or record label or player or composer. They're saying, "Now this music has to be done in this way. You would never do that in this kind of music. Oh, you're playing too many notes here." Or sometimes nobody even says anything, but you can feel whether you're invited to come out of that matrix and express yourself in that world and maybe add other things that are not usually done in that world. You can also feel when it's not so welcome. So you kind of learn through association. You play with people and you go hear music, and you realize, "This is bebop, and it's going to sound like how bebop sounded in the '50s," or "This is funk jazz, and they're not going to play any tints that don't have that backbeat in it," or whatever it is.

For me and for a lot of people in my generation, we've played and listened to a lot of music and a lot of styles. This is becoming more and more true nowadays because people have access to every kind of music, and there are musicians who are conversant in quite a lot of styles. Some people go really deeply, whether they're from Mississippi or Bulgaria and therefore know how to do that particular music, or they've just immersed themselves in that particular style. They're deeper into it sometimes than the people who originated that style.

What interests me more for my own path is to connect with people who maybe are conversant with a lot of different styles, but are more interested in their own personal music and are not style based. The styles can change from piece to piece, or even solo to solo, or moment to moment. Or there's a lot of things in the music that are ambiguous, that are not about style, and therefore it's what I call a "nonsectarian music," which is very personal. It's like: Well, what kind of music is it? It's the way I'm playing, or it's the kind of music that me and him and her are playing—which is no kind of music. It's about how we relate; it's just a style of relating.

If you play this way, the music has a sound or a way of functioning, but to me it's wider. This can be something very specific that happens for a certain tune or a specific period of time. Maybe you can't even talk about it, or maybe you can: "Oh, this is a certain world that we visit that works like this." It can sometimes be hard to pinpoint: Well, is that southern manners, or is that New York stand-up-for-yourself relations? Maybe it's discussed, and maybe it's not, but the music evolves more out of personal being-ness and out of connections with others and your experience of these different worlds of style.

So in a moment I could be more relating to Bach and then in the next moment to Jimi Hendrix, but I'm not really thinking about that. I'm just being open to the moment and being open to the connection. And if some drummer does "Ptooh!" and then I'm not so solidly in the Jimi Hendrix world, it's because something they did triggered an association. So that's how I see it.

I think there's a lot of both kinds of music going on, and then there's a lot of gray. I actually don't like it so much when people say, "Well, play it like Elvin [Jones] and 'Trane would play it." It's like, I will touch on things like that for sure, especially when I'm playing a John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
tune or a McCoy Tyner
McCoy Tyner
McCoy Tyner
b.1938
piano
tune or a tune that I wrote that has some sort of similarity to that. But I want to find my own things. I don't want to show that I know that style, and I don't particularly want to live right in the center of what somebody would say is that style. I just want to come out from it and let it reference me how it references me. This includes my friends; I don't tell them, "Play more like that" or "Play less like that." Maybe they don't know that style so well, or they hear it in a different way. I like that.

So nonsectarian music is subtler, not as easy to define, not as good for commerce. People ask many of the bands I play with: "What kind of music is that?" It's no kind of music. It's maybe a certain type of piece or feeling of the section or a certain way of sharing, a kind of interdependent way of sharing. The choices are made not so much as: Well, I better play this like this, 'cause it's what that style base needs. It's more: What do I hear now? How do I want to play this piece at this point? This can include a little or a lot of some style memory or understanding. So that's more how it functions for me.

It's useful that people have learned a lot of different kinds of music. I feel happy that I'm not uncomfortable to go into very stylized music: "Play this gospel tune" or something like that. If you listen carefully, you'll know that I don't really know it as well as somebody who goes to church every Sunday and plays in a band in a gospel church. There's no way that I know the little ins and outs of that, and I'm not trying to pretend that I know it. But the style has an effect on me to some degree.

I think for me, the thing that replaces this stylistic kind of "Who's good at it, who's not so good at it, who's authentic, who's not authentic" is principles of music. So to me, I'm interested in melody; I'm interested in harmony; I'm interested in rhythm; I'm interested in space; I'm interested in texture. So that actually goes beyond jazz or any stylized things.

In fact, the players I like to play with are curious about these things, too, whether they come more out of rock music or jazz or bebop or jam-band world or whatever it is—it doesn't matter. They will make a melody; they will make a rhythm that they care about. They will use dynamics, and they will care about whether the piece is short or long. And they will sense a spacing or a way of interacting that gives room for a forum. It might be dorky to somebody or funky to somebody or authentic or real or whatever, but to me it's just that they're coming out of those principles. It's not just the drummer does this; the bassist does this; the pianist does this—which often happens in stylized music. There are conventions about how you're supposed to function, and if all those things function well, it sounds really good, but it's still that style. For me, I'm more interested in everybody finding their way from their own sense of these principles, rather than saying, "Don't play that."

There are people who come to study with me who want to know stylistic things, and I can tell them that. I know a lot of these stylistic points, and I can communicate about them. If somebody wants to study how to play this ballad in a certain kind of modern jazz style, I can say, "Here's some of the parameters." But I like when they expand the parameters. All the great players took those conventions and did things that nobody else would do. Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
didn't play rhythm the way other piano players did. Charlie Rouse
Charlie Rouse
Charlie Rouse
1924 - 1988
sax, tenor
did not play melodies the same way that other sax players did; he had his own way of using arpeggios and doing different things that nobody had done. Same with textures; same with everything. Paul Motian
Paul Motian
Paul Motian
1931 - 2011
drums
did not play the drums the same way everybody was playing when he came up. That's what makes people interesting to listen to. These musicians knew full well what the stylistic expectations were; it was just like, "But I'm hearing this." It's not a sign of disrespect or not caring, and it's not even ignorance.

Some people say, "Well, you have to learn to play the totally conventional way in order to expand it." I don't totally agree with that. How much do you have to know it? How long? I mean, do you have to play completely like that for 20 years, and then you're allowed to actually contribute something? There are many attitudes and thoughts about this, and people have the feelings that they have. It's a whole interesting question.

These stylistic points are interesting, and there are things to learn from them. But finally, I'm more interested in the pure principles. If it's rhythmic, and the person is sensing the rhythm in a really intentional way, then it interests me. If we're playing and it's like: He really wants that rhythm! What's he trying to do here? How do I work with that? How do I work with it, even if it's awkward within the stylistic thing? So that's more interesting to me; it stimulates me more to work from the principles of the elements of music than these very set ways. For me, it gets down to the principles of musicianship and the principles of sharing space with other beings in any form, whether music or anything.

AAJ: The kind of approach you're speaking about seems almost to be an attitude of inner liberation. When you were younger, did you feel more like, "OK, I'm a jazz player, so I play this," and then you opened up to other kinds of music? Or did you always have an open attitude?

AL: It's part of my personal nature. A lot of the East Coast and New York "good-bad" and "right-wrong" stuff was in my house and in my school and in everything. But I think that somehow—I don't know what it is—I wasn't interested in being good at something or being better at something than somebody else.

It's funny, even in sports it was like I had my little quirky ways of doing things that contributed, but they weren't so typical. So I think that maybe I've realized that I'm not a cookie-cutter kind of person, and that I will always feel uncomfortable and not fool anyone if I try to say, "I'm a conventional three-point shooter." I was not; I had a funny way of doing it, but it was my way. And it worked. People either accept it or they don't accept it.

So I think it was pretty early on that I had this nature. It just seemed more interesting than always fighting to achieve this perfection or this acceptance of the society. Rather than fit in the society, it's like: Well, here I am. Can we share something and find our way? You be you, and I'll be me, and let's see what happens. And we know what we know.

Playing Piano and Drums

AAJ: You play the piano and you play the drums. Can you speak a bit about your relationship with each of those instruments and also how they bounce off each other?



AL: Well, they do energize each other. I started as a pianist, and I started playing the drums more when I was in my mid-20s. I think the attraction to the drums was that with the piano, with all its 88 keys and all these notes and all these chords and all this precision, I can't even bend a note. I can't even go "woooooo" on a piano—well, I try! But just the specific-ness of the piano, the complexity of it—it's wondrous, it's an orchestra, and it's really great to be a part of this gigantic universe, but sometimes it's too much responsibility for me.

Then I go to the drum set, which might have seven notes, on the face of it. Of course, there are gradations of where you play your snare drum or where you play your cymbal, or there are different tones. But for me, playing drums is like suddenly having a piano with only seven notes on it. Then you get creative in a different way because your choices are simplified. It's like playing a little piano. And I really like that. Maybe I should do that—just strip 81 notes off the piano and say, "I'm only using these seven tonight!" I do that, of course, on the piano sometimes. I strip it down for periods of time because I don't want such a big universe, I just want a little room. Not that the drums are small by any means, but in terms of pitches or sounds, the drums are less daunting than the piano.

The other thing is that the drums, maybe again partly because of their nature and their history, and because they have such a strong rhythmic component, is that they have something to do with the motor of things. As a drummer, that's what I focus on. I do care about the other things the drums can do, but when I play drums it's kind of like: If this piece is an animal, how does it move? Is it a fast thing? Is it slow? Is it limping? Now it's slowing down, and now it's getting stronger. So without all these notes and chords and things, I can just focus on being the motor. Like, how does this baby want to move?

If a piece of music would be a character, the piano would tell all these things about what the character says and does. With the drums, it's more: Is the character angry or running? Or is it dark in the room? Is it light? I can communicate those things on the piano, but they're not as potent as on the drums. The drums are more a feeling space. With the drums, I can affect the general mood and atmosphere more by doing less, by doing some very simple decision about speed or timbre. And I like that. It simplifies; it brings out my musicianship in a way which is sometimes more heart, more feeling, more physical and less brain and less detail than piano.

So to me, the drums are more primal, more basic. The specifics of the drums are not so refined, to me. I mean, of course they are; but for me, that's why I like to go back and forth. Then suddenly it's like, "No, I want the 88 notes! I'm going to play a D-flat." I can't play the D- flat on the drums. I can go "Rrrr!" I can go "Bom bom!" Or I can go "Ding!" But I can't play D-flat—or maybe I sort of can! So when I want that, then the piano is a good place to go. Then we can talk about exact syntax; then we can talk about how D-flat relates to C-sharp. So it's a little different brain-and-feeling level that I go to on each instrument. And they refresh each other.

The physical part of both instruments is very similar because there's a lot of independent skills on both piano and drums. Being able to play what you really want to play on each instrument has to do with independence of body parts, and I like that challenge. The hands are doing different things, or the hands and feet are doing different things. And the two instruments help each other: the fact that I can do certain things with my hands on the piano, I can do them on the drums, too. The feet are involved on the piano, too, at least for me, because pedaling is such an important part of my piano playing. So they're the same thing.

AAJ: What about in terms of composition? Are your compositions piano based?

AL: It depends on the band. In a band where I'm the drummer, the compositions are coming out of that. I play in a number of bands with no piano, so then I'm hearing that ensemble. I don't know if I'm thinking more about my instrument; I'm thinking about all the instruments that play within the band. If I write for the band, I want the band to be intriguing, to sound exciting for that ensemble, so I write with that in mind. Then with the compositions that I write from the piano, it's the same process—I think of the band that I'm playing with. But I'll also just write because I have an experience, or some guest is coming who plays the trumpet, and I hear trumpet in my ears. So I write for specific people, for specific ensembles and for specific events. I might write a Halloween song or a birthday song or a song of fall.

I was just thinking of this trio that we had with saxophonist Peter Sommer
Peter Sommer

sax, tenor
and bassist Derek Layes, which is no piano—just drums, saxophone and bass. So those compositions have a lot of counterpoint music with different lines intersecting—and no, there's not chords in these pieces, because we had no chordal instrument. Whereas if you had a band with a guitar and a piano, then maybe you'd do something very different that suits that sound. So you conjure up that sound and those people in your mind, and then you write something that'll bring some fun, that'll give people joy to make that music.

Writing About Music

AAJ: You've written quite a few liner notes for other musicians. Can you speak about the art of writing about music? For example, when you're asked to write liner notes for someone, what's your process?

AL: Well, my process is to listen, especially in a poetic way. When somebody gives me a CD, then I like to really let that wash over me, just as I would with a poem, and see what images of life come to me. I almost get a story line: Do I feel cold or dark? Am I out in nature? What time of day do I feel? Is it city world? Is it country world? Is it innocence? Is it human? Is it animal? Is it plant-like? So I'm not analytical at first at all.

The people who have asked for me to do liner notes, or even when I've done them for my own bands or for my own projects, they know I'm not going to put my seal of approval on something as worthy. I know that liner notes are done sometimes in a different way, like as a commercial: "Well, write it so that people will think we're great or that the CD's great." I'm not very good at that; if that's what you want, you wouldn't ask me to write liner notes for you. I more go at it as a fellow artist and a poet. So that's the first thing: What does it touch in me as a human being?

The second thing is: What do I notice musically? What do I notice just about different compositional things or orchestrational things: "Oh, that felt really exciting to suddenly hear the bassist state the theme. That was really a nice time for that, because we'd heard all these high notes." Just things that actually turn me on as a fellow musician, things that intrigue me or surprise me: "That surprised me when they did that last theme, and it was so short, and it just ended abruptly. That was kind of unnerving." It's about: How does the music affect me as a kind of innocent listener, not as somebody who knows stuff but as somebody who doesn't know anything. I try to listen like a four-year-old or like a farmer from Oklahoma who never heard this kind of music. Those are the strongest things to me about really sensing the music.

It's the same if I go to hear a band. If you're glib about, "Well, it sounded kind of like that," and you reference all these labels and these styles, and then you say things about, "Oh, are they good?" or "They sound like so-and-so"—these things, to me, are part of commerce world. They're not part of artist or human world. I'm a horrible commerce person. I'm probably America's worst consumer—I spend the least money, I make the least money! So for me it's more about: Does it touch my heart and soul? Does it wake up my imagination? Does it touch a part of me, kind of a simple, innocent part of me that's vulnerable, that can feel, that can hear, "Wow, those high sounds made my ears kind of crinkle"?

So that's what I try to do, to experience the music and share that experience in a way that anybody can understand, rather than writing for hip jazz people or writing for people who are trying to decide whether it's worth the 15 bucks to buy the CD. I'm not so good at that because I don't know whether the music's right—I just know what effect it has on me. And I'm willing to let the music have that effect, to be open and then share what I've experienced. That's the way I've done liner notes. The people who ask me are my friends, and so they like that approach, and they think that it contributes something to their CD or whatever the project might be.

Proud of All of Us

AAJ: Looking back on your life as a musician, what are you most proud of?

AL: [Long pause.] "Pride" is not a word that I use— because I'm more proud of other people. I feel it about some of the bands that I've been in. "Proud" is close to "lucky." I feel privileged to have had the experience of being in really wonderful bands that have sustained over many years, and to have had musical relationships that have sustained over many years. These bands and relationships keep giving; they keep getting better—"better" meaning that I keep getting more and more nourished as the years go on. Rather than the band being kind of hot for a couple years and then ending in dissipation, or even not liking each other or not knowing what to play anymore, these things just keep expanding and keep getting more profound, deeper, funnier, with more life energy and the music more amazing and surprising.

I don't think everybody's even had this experience—of being in a real band that's a beast, that's an animal of its own, that's one mind and one body with all these different aspects, arms and legs, with a kind of unified aesthetic that develops over time and a way of functioning that's completely organic and reliable. And it's always fresh. It's not just a thing, but it's a living organism that keeps expanding. So to me, that's the highlight; I think that's the strongest.

I think the things that make me feel the best in my musical life are these things that sustain. It's just like in life, in my relationships with my kids or my wife or my best friends, they have a similar quality—they're things that stay. It's the same for me as a drummer or as a pianist. I keep getting more out of the instruments, rather than bored, or I don't know what to do, or I've run out of things to say. These instruments just keep expanding and showing me more.

I think it's about staying with the things that are nourishing so that you get the real goodies out of them, until it's endless, until it's infinite. This is what makes me the happiest. And therefore I'm proud of all of us that we've been able to do that—that we don't abandon the band, that we don't abandon the friendships, that we don't abandon our curiosity about, "Oh, this is a new chapter. Now we're into this." People sometimes say, "God, you guys sound so different than you did five years ago!" It's like, "I hope so!" Because we change, and we get interested in different things, and different people develop or change in different ways, and the band's big enough to expand that.

Similarly, I feel this with the audiences, and even the presenters of the music that have sustained over my life: there's places that I've played for 30 years, and audience members who had their first date listening to me and now are in their 60s and are still getting the hit out of the music. Not getting the old hit, but like, "Wow, what you did is really different, but it's still exciting for me." And even the critics! I'm thinking of someone like Phil Elwood from the San Francisco Examiner, who died some years ago, just how loyal he was. He didn't care whether it was this kind of music or that kind of music. I played so many different ways and so many different kinds of things, and he was always ready and open and curious and interested and excited, even if the music was out of his usual comfort zone.

So any of those things make me the happiest, whether it's staying with my instruments for my life, developing my friends, the bands, the audiences, the venues. It's something about loyalty, but loyalty not for the reason of politic. It's loyalty because it keeps giving you the goodies; it keeps giving you what energizes. It's something about hanging in there with the things that actually are worth hanging in for. Not to prove anything, but because it keeps giving you what you love. So I'd say that's what I'm most proud of on a communal level: when we support each other and we can share over time for it to finally reveal, I think, the infinite—reveal it to where, wow, this thing is going forever into realms in which you have no idea. I guess I'm proud of that, that there's people willing to do that.

Music and Love

AAJ: What is the relationship between music and love?

AL: [Long pause.] Well. The first word that came to mind was "acceptance." Again, I don't think often that I'm a professional; I play with the people I love and who love me, and we love things in common, so that's a link, for sure. That's why these things sustain.

People have affinities: they have affinity for other musicians, for their sound, for their way of expression. When you say, "I love how you play," or "I love pomegranates," or "I love Vermont," whatever it would be, it's something primal. There's something of natural affinity as an animal that draws you about the way the person conducts their business, the way they make their sounds. I mean, the people I play with who I love and who I love playing with, we notice the subtlest things: "Oh, I like the way they phrase, I like the sound they get, I like their ideas, I like the way the rhythm feels, and I like the way we respond together, the way we sense each other."

So acceptance means I want you to play what you really want to play. I don't want you to pretend anything for me. Don't do it for me. Do it because it's what's you really hear or the way you really want to play it. The players I love to play with want that for me, too; they want me to play exactly how I hear it. That's acceptance. Even if it's like, "Oh, I hated that part you played!" It's like I love it and I hate it at the same time. They might smile at me, knowing that I hate it, like, "You really hated those awful eleventh chords, didn't you?" They're laughing because they know that I'll go wide enough to say, "I know you did that on purpose, and I accept. I'm accepting of that." So yes, it's acceptance and kind of an invitation: be who you are.

The other part is to stay in contact. So even if we're making music and someone is purposely ignoring me, if they're playing in the wrong vibe of my soft, beautiful thing and making these horrible [makes cracking sound] electronic noises, they're totally in touch with what I'm doing and what my process is. They might even know that those sounds are meant to be irritating, not to me but as an artist. As an artist, they're for all this irritation to go with the beauty. And they know that I'm wide enough to say, "God, that's awful! I love it. Thanks for doing that; I would never have done it." Which makes a wide scope.

That's the way love works; that's the way love of my friends and family works. It's like: Just be who you are. Do things I would never do. I trust you. I know who you are at the core. I know what you mean. I know you care about me, and you're paying attention. Those things are all exactly the same in relationships, or when the relationships are enacted in musical form. There's awareness, there's intention, there's acceptance, and there's connection. Then you've got love, and you've got people who you love to play with. That's why it's all so fresh and alive, and it's not stuck.

Back in the old Rubisa Patrol days in the '70s, at one point Mark Isham
Mark Isham
Mark Isham
b.1951
composer/conductor
was getting into playing 45-minute trumpet solos. He admittedly wasn't sure that they were working, but he just wanted to try. People would say, "How do you let him do that? He's playing too long, and I don't want to hear it." I would say, "Go home, then. I accept that he's working that. And I don't even care whether it's any good or not. He's onto something; he cares about something. He has that leeway. I want him to do it." Why? Because he really wants to do it, and it intrigues him. And he's serious about it, and he will grow. Or he will see that it's not a good thing. But whatever it is, I'm into the process.

So this is that acceptance or the wide range, just like I want that for myself. If I'm playing with someone and it's like, "God, Art's just playing those same three notes no matter what happens," they know that I'm trying to find out something. And maybe I find out that it's stupid, and it doesn't work, and it wasn't a great idea, and it didn't help. But I can't find all that out without enacting it. So these things are the same in love, with my kids or anyone else. They go through these things; they have to find out by living. And I want them to find it out, rather than say, "Don't" or "It's bad" or "I don't like it." Who cares if I like it or if I think it's good? I believe in them. So it's this sense of trust that there's enough integrity and attraction. That's what the love is. I love how this guy plays, and even if he plays a certain way that I don't like, it's OK. There's room for that. I can grow past "I don't like it." That's my thing to deal with, so it doesn't shut the music down. Same with the audiences—it's like, "God, you're going through this funny phase in this band!" It's like, "Hang with it! Or you can go home."

That's what I think trust is. Trust is like: I know what you are; I know what we are. So you have a really wide range that you can do, that I'm cool with. Like, infinite. That's true even if I don't get it. If I don't get it, maybe I'll figure it out another time. Or maybe you're just off. So that's how music and love relate.

I think that with this whole thing of bandleaders and people's own music, of trying to get people to play your music in a certain way, then these things narrow: "Well, that doesn't fit my concept of my piece," or "That doesn't fit my concept of the band," or "I want you playing more like that," or "This piece needs you to do that." I might say something like, "You might try this," or "I think if we play a little softer on this piece, it might be more powerful." But maybe I'm wrong—I feel even humble about that. So it's a forum for me; it's not a bandleader thing. Even if it's my tune, I'm willing to find out something, and I'm playing with these people because I trust that they have a point of view that can enrich me. So even if I would say something about the music, at the same time, I want them to tell me something I don't know about that piece or even that I don't really understand about the band.

Again, back to Rubisa, when saxophonist Bruce Williamson and Isham started bringing their synthesizers to the gig, suddenly the band got wildly electric, and that was kind of surprising. People would say, "Well, that's not your band! Your band is this other thing." But the band is alive, and this is what the guys in the band are into, so that's what happening. Even the bassist had to kind of stop playing with us for a while because it was too overwhelming. And then it changed. But it's not like, "No! It can't be like that!" It's like, "We'll figure it out. Let's work with it and see what happens."

So to find out things through living them, this is connected with your relationship with the people you love, rather than controlling your comfort zone or your ideas of what works and doesn't work or good and bad. That's not a good basis for love. To me, that's harder. It's harder if the only way that you feel I'm OK is for me to do things in the way you're totally comfortable with. But if we have basic affinity, then the palette gets really wide. That's how music and love connect for me.


Selected Discography

Art Lande/Dave Peterson, Polar Opposites (Self Produced, 2011)
Peter Sommer/Art Lande, Sioux Country (Tapestry, 2006)
Nguyên Lê, Walking on the Tiger's Tail (ACT, 2005)
Rosalba Bentivoglio/Paul McCandless/Art Lande, Taja (Aleph [Italy], 2001)
Art Lande, Friday the Thirteenth (Vartan Jazz, 1996)
Russian Dragon Band, When Kentucky Was Indiana (Synergy Music, 1994)
Meg Ryan/Art Lande, Red Riding Hood & Goldilocks (Rabbit Ears/Windham Hill, 1990)
Paul McCandless, Hearsay (Windham Hill, 1988)
Mark Isham/Art Lande, We Begin (ECM, 1987)
Art Lande/David Samuels/Paul McCandless, Skylight (ECM, 1981)
Gary Peacock, Shift in the Wind (ECM, 1980)

Art Lande/Jan Garbarek, Red Lanta (ECM, 1979)
Art Lande and Rubisa Patrol, Desert Marauders (ECM, 1977)
Art Lande, Rubisa Patrol (ECM, 1976)

Photo Credits

Page 2 (With Funko Moderno): Courtesy of Funko Moderno

All Other Photos: Courtesy of Art Lande
Art Lande
Art Lande

piano


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