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Interviews

Project O: Pushing Creativity, Hoping for Longevity

By Published: October 28, 2003

AAJ: You guys both have other things going on besides Project O.

IJ: We are all busy with millions of different things.

JW: I’m going out with Maria Muldaur

IJ: Gary is going out with John Abercrombie, Cheryl Bailey. He’s playing with Chris Potter and a bunch of those guys.

AAJ: What do you guys think of the jazz scene in general? Is it easier, harder? Are things better in Europe?

IJ: I used to go to Europe about once a month when I first moved to New York. I see a cutback in that. That’s because they’re going through a transition. I feel like in many ways we’re going through another transition as a result of the way the industry has gone, and the CD burning and all that stuff has changed the finances of major labels and minors. I think the industry has made some mistakes focusing more on vocalists and not taking care of the instrumentalists. What’s going on now is more instrumentalists do have to work harder to get their music out there. Unless they’re being pumped up.

On the positive side of that, I feel like doing something like what we are doing out here is something that just can’t be tossed in the garbage can. It can’t be deleted off the screen. There’s a little more depth to it and a little more strength in what we’re doing as independents. I still believe it’s what you make of it and how much you get yourself out there, and how much your reputation speaks for what you’re doing.



JW: From a local New York side, it’s pretty rough. I was working more when I first moved here. And now we have a series of things that happened. 9/11. And the economic collapse of America has really affected New York, little restaurants and clubs. Doing gigs for $20, $40 because clubs are struggling. Maybe it’s starting to turn around now a little bit. I know it affected Seattle for several years. We’re talking on a smaller scale, rather than the jazz festivals and stuff. And even those have been cut back financially. Talking to people, they’re still working, but for less money.

But, we’re still making music. People are getting jobs, day gigs, or teaching more. Gary Thomas down at Peabody [Conservatory of Music in Baltimore] says people are just begging to get teaching jobs. Great musicians that are usually touring. It’s definitely changing.

Visit Project O on the web.



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