Meet John Kelman
Aside from jazz, what styles of music do you enjoy?
Pretty much anything except opera (subject to change!). Grew up on and still love progressive rock, with a lot of love for Steven Wilson these days; am particularly fond of singer/songwriters who have a way with words like Richard Thompson (a terrific guitarist also), Lyle Lovett, Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, Tim Elsenberg of Sweet Billy Pilgrim, Shawn Colvin, Rickie Lee Jones (when she's on), Bob Dylan (though prefer his words to his music), Paul Simon, Neil Young and Peter Gabriel. Have a huge love of traditional folk music, whether it's British stuff like Fairport Convention, Bellowhead, Home Service, Albion Band's numerous incarnations, June Tabor, Martin Carthy, Dave Swarbrick or Sandy Denny, Irish music like Planxty, Bothy Band or Moving Hearts, American music from Nickel Creek, Punch Brothers, New Grass Revival, Jerry Douglas, Alison Krauss, Sam Bush, or Scandinavian folk musicians ranging from Sinikka Langeland, Karl Seglem (a great jazz musician who has a way with a goat horn!), Daniel Herskedal (who'd have thought tuba could be a credible folk instrument?) and others.
Also love some hard rock and pop like Led Zeppelin and 10cc (going through a huge revival these days); British popsters like David Bowie (certain periods) and American groups like Talking Heads; American roots-oriented bands like Little Feat and The Band (well, that's mostly a Canadian band), as well as Ry Cooder and David Lindley; more esoteric stuff like Jon Hassell, Brian Eno and David Sylvian; soul/blues artists like Etta James, Taj Mahal and Stevie Wonder; and classical music, leaning towards chamber music, such as Alexei Lubimov's incredible Debussy Preludes, Arvo Part and Kronos Quartet, as well as vocal music by Veljo Tormis and others. Finding myself reacquainting myself with the Grateful Dead these days, largely due to AAJ contributor Doug Collette.
On the Norwegian scene there are too many to mention, but amongst them: Nils Petter Molvaer,Arve Henriksen, Per Jorgensen, Jon Balke, Jan Bang, Terje Rypdal, Sidsel Endresen, Stian Westerhus, Stian Carstensen/Farmers Market, Trygve Seim, Supersilent, The Core, Elephant9, Bugge Wesseltoft, Eivind Aarset and so many others.
It's a big musical world out there and I want it all!
What are you listening to right now?
Amongst the many: getting ready to review an upcoming Paul Motian box that collects his first six ECM albums together, from Conception Vessel to It Should've Happened a Long Time Ago. Also other new ECM titles from Eleni Karaindrou, Stephan Micus, Stefano Battaglia, and Tomasz Stanko; New recordings from drummer Antonio Sanchez (New Life; what a record!); In the Country and Splashgirl's latest, the forthcoming Jaga Jazzist/Britten Sinfonia live album, new music from Finish pianist Alexi Tuomarilla, Norwegian pianist Andreas Ulvo, saxophonist Marius Neset, saxophonist Martin Speake, bassist Mats Eilertsen, new Norwegian group Grand General, Taj Mahal (for a forthcoming box review), pianist Kit Downes and so much more. Folk music from Fay Heild, Bellowhead, Lau, Sam Lee, Kate Rusby, The Unthanks, The Punch Brothers, archival Fairport Convention. New boxes from Norwegian improv group Spunk, Tubby Hayes. There's more but that'll do.
Bottom line: I am listening to music at least 12 hours a day. Like the drug addict who, when asked what his drug of choice is replies "more," when asked about music, my answer is the same.
Which five recent releases would you recommend to readers who share your musical taste?
Wislawa (ECM) by Tomasz Stanko New York Quintet;
Grand General (Rune Grammofon) by Grand General;
The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) (Kscope) by Steven Wilson;
Guillaume Perret And the Electric Epic (Tzadik) by Guillaume Perret;
Arcade, Abercrombie Quartet and M (ECM) by John Abercrombie Quartet, to be released as a box set by ECM in the early summer.