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John Seman: The Story of Monktail

By Published: November 21, 2012
In college, my composition professor was Richard Hoffman, who was Arnold Schoenberg's amanuensis. He was his assistant at the end of his life. So Schoenberg weighed very heavily on me in serialized music and we delved pretty heavily into the late-period Schoenberg works, the string trio. You get what you get out of it, but it has been interesting to try to apply that to the jazz sextet. Given the added hustle in working in my own studio plus having my own group-that is still Monktail but is kind of something new, where we are not just improvising [but] we are playing compositions-and then playing in some other groups where I am really just the bassist, that has been profoundly satisfying but at the same time inspiring. I kind of want to find out what else is new.

Plus, everyone in Monktail is finding different roles; Fandrich putting together a different weekly, and everyone else from the original core finding new things, Stephen Parris moving to California to be a composer, Izaak Mills moving to New York as a professional musician. And then what is going on in Seattle over all in the last 10-15 years, you see these cycles. There is a lot going on, like when I moved here in 1999, 2000, 2001, between the Speakeasy, I-Spy, and the Oxygen series, and then things sort of fell apart. We had the Messiah going on for a while, and then there was Polestar and Gallery 1412. It seems to me that we are on an uptick again, between all of the different monthly and weekly series plus seasonal programs of creative music. It has got to be the best time to be in Seattle yet.

Selected Discography

Ask The Ages, Ask The Ages (Ask The Ages, 2012)

Floss, Vitamin A (Monktail, 2009)

Deal's Number, Show Me What Ya Workin With (Monktail, 2007)

Special O.P.S., Arm Me (Monktail, 2007)

Floss, Unwaxed (Monktail, 2004)

Monktail Creative Music Concern, Non Grata (Monktail, 2003)

Non Grata, Live At Chop Suey (Monktail, 2002)

Photo Credits

Page 1: Courtesy of John Seman
John Seman
John Seman

bass, acoustic

Page 7: Daniel Sheehan

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