AAJ: The three of you are in the String Trio. What does the String Trio do for you musically that a traditional piano trio or quartet wouldn't?
MS: It gives me a base to try to pretend to be a classical musician, because I'm dealing with two string instruments, so I can kind of give off the veneer or the buzz of a modern chamber group, but yet the essence of what we're exploring is very heavily jazz.
AAJ: Recent CD releases have demonstrated a movement towards incorporating strings into avant-garde jazz music. What is it in the air, as you say, that accounts for the recent movement of free jazz players to incorporate strings into their music?
MS: I think in this period a lot of musicians, even if they would claim not to be, are into aurally assaulting people, and there have been so many negatives thrown at avant-garde jazz, especially in the power setting. At one level, that's the attractiveness and the energy and the whole thrust of the music, that it can be an assault at times on people, even though there's a lot of beauty there. But I think there's a movement to temper the qualities that are traditionally thought of in the avant-garde with the sensibility that the strings bring, which is a very sweet, tender sensibility.
AAJ: Are there people you would like to work with, inside jazz or outside?
MS: More outside jazz. We're doing a project with Philip Jeck, a turntablist. There's another turntablist, Christian Marclay. I don't know him, I've never talked with him, but I'm kind of really into turntablists these days. My major goal is to play jazz, but it's very scary playing jazz music, there are not many opportunities out here, and once you really look at the essence of that, then you're really forced to take things into your own hands to create an opening for yourself. At the end of the day, what you're aiming for is to be able to go somewhere, sit down, do a concert, be yourself, and that's groovy. That's what all of that is for.
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