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Allison Au's Migration Project: Transition, Trauma, and Transcendence


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A lot of art is intrinsically political, but it's not coming from a place of intention. When I create, when I make music, it's coming from a place of compassion and trying to understand and empathize with where people are coming from.
—Allison Au
"Human beings are both fixed and wandering, settlers and nomads. Our history is the story of the nomad giving way to the settler but when people are unsettled, they have to migrate." (Ruth Padel, On Migration, 2013)

Human migration has exerted a profound and far-reaching influence on the evolution of our civilization and the shaping of our cultural landscape. Much has been written about the Great Migration of the first decades of the 20th century, in which millions of African Americans left the South and settled in Midwestern and Northeastern cities. Musicians were among the throngs of people seeking a better life and economic opportunities. A substantial body of literature exists on how this migration served as a catalyst for the evolution of jazz, allowing for the fusion of diverse musical traditions and the spread of jazz music nationally and globally. In addition, the theme of migration has been central to the works of many artists. For example, Jon Jang and the Asian Improv movement celebrate the cross-cultural synthesis of musical styles. They also give voice to the living reality of misunderstanding, racial intolerance and societal marginalization. More recently, Antonio Sanchez's Migration project blends the personal and political in the celebration of Mexican culture and expressions of anger with the growing waves of xenophobia.

Allison Au is a highly regarded Canadian Juno-award-winning saxophonist, composer, and arranger. She was born to a Chinese father and Jewish mother and raised in the multicultural metropolis of Toronto. To quote from the biography on her website: "Struggling to find a sense of belonging in her biracial identity, the unhinged freedom of improvisation captivated Allison and quickly became her lab for self-expression and exploration." Migrations (self released, 2023), her fourth and most ambitious album to date (review here), presents a suite of music and text that mirrors her own personal journey. At the same time, it encapsulates the collective experience of the movement of people in pursuit of a better life. This movement requires confronting the generational trauma associated with displacement, adaptation and racial bias. However, it also provides the chance for blending cultures and forging new identities and creative artistic expressions. This is Allison's story.

All About Jazz: Can you tell me a little about yourself and your history?

Allison Au: My name is Allison. I'm a Toronto-based saxophonist and composer. I was born and raised in Toronto—which is not common to hear amongst many of my peers in the community in the city. Many people come from elsewhere in Canada: Halifax, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Montreal. Toronto serves as a hub for many of these talented musicians. But I feel very privileged to be from Toronto. I'm really proud of the city that I grew up in. It's one of the most multicultural cities in the world. My existence is also a product of two cultures coming together. So, I feel I very much epitomize Toronto in certain ways. My father is an immigrant from Malaysia via England, where he did his studies and then came to Toronto looking for work. He met my mother, who is from Montreal. She is a child of immigrants from Poland. My parents met in Toronto. My parents are not musicians or artists but are lovers of art. My mom had a lot of books in the house, and my dad had a huge CD and vinyl collection.

So I attribute my passion for the arts now to their cultivation of art in the house. There were just things in the house all the time that I had access to. I would credit my dad with exposing me to music at a very young age. He just had music playing all the time in the house. My parents enrolled me in piano lessons when I was six, like my brother and sister before me. That was my first exposure to formal music training, albeit it was very fun and engaging with the teacher I had at the time. It was always an expectation in my house to keep going with piano, and that I did do my lessons and I did do it up until the age of 18. So, I studied piano for 12 years. I was fortunate to be enrolled in an arts elementary school public school, following in the footsteps of my older sister and older brother, who also attended the same school before me.

AAJ: Are they active musicians?

AA: No, they're not musicians themselves. But all of us learned piano. And then a second instrument was expected of us at home and through the school we attended, too. So, when it came time for band or strings, this school had both. I, for some reason, had this notion of wanting to play saxophone at a very young age. I think it's honestly as simple as seeing Lisa Simpson playing saxophone on The Simpsons. I remember seeing her, and she had that mentor, Bleeding Gums Murphy, and I was like, that guy is so cool.

There was this aura around the saxophone that I had seen and, you know, different, I guess in different media at that time. And it just honestly, it just looked cool. I really don't know what else drew me into it. But at this art school, the band teacher just happened to be a woman who played saxophone. I had seen her playing, and I knew she played with the student bands and she would demonstrate stuff in the band classes in the grades ahead of me. It just pulled me in just to see another woman playing saxophone.

AAJ: Great. So, did you gravitate to the alto?

AA: I didn't know the difference between the saxophones at that time, and when it came time to try the instruments, I knew I wanted to do band. That was like a no-brainer. And then we had the opportunity to try a lot of different instruments. So, at that school, it was the expectation that If you wanted to play saxophone, you had to be somewhat proficient or get an initial sound on flute or clarinet. Fortunately, I was able to make a sound on clarinet. So that was my top choice. I remember also choosing trombone (which was second on my list). We had to pick three instruments. Fortunately, I got clarinet and then I was permitted to switch to alto saxophone by grade seven.

AAJ: Do you still play flute or clarinet?

AA: In a very limited capacity, yes. When I went to college for music, I was expected to work on doubles. So, I had to pick up the clarinet again after not playing it for many years. Then, I started playing flute in college as well.

AAJ: And occasionally when performing?

AA: Yeah. For example, last night I just played at Koerner Hall with a Palestinian singer, Omar Kamal, and the book was alto clarinet and flute.

AAJ: Oh, cool.

AA: So I revisited that and occasionally, you know, for big band situations or otherwise. Yeah, the call is for some doubles sometimes.

AAJ: Could you talk a little bit about the genesis of this project?

AA: Yeah. So, this project was rather serendipitous. But really, it all came about with the artistic director at Koerner Hall, whose name is Mervon Mehta, who's a wonderful man. He's programmed incredible music at Koerner Hall. I had done the postlude series (following major performances) at Koerner Hall. I don't remember what year, maybe in 2014. After a scheduled performance, local acts would be invited to perform in the lobby area.

So I had done, I think, a duo or a trio—I can't even remember now—for one of their postlude series. I had reached out to one of the programmers of that series, expressing interest in doing another one. So, they very kindly included me in a slightly bigger series at Mazzoleni Hall, which is their acoustic concert hall they often use to showcase recitals of the Glenn Gould students. They have a Glenn Gould classical music school there. My quartet performed for a Sunday matinee series in Mazzoleni Hall, where they programmed a mixed-genre series. That is when I met Mervon, and we kept in touch. A couple of years later, he reached out to me to do a commission, which was very, very kind, and I graciously accepted it. The commission's goal was to present something for the 21C Music Festival in January, which they hold in Koerner Hall. The whole idea behind 21C is to have new collaborations. They feature some new classical music, they have some jazz artists, they have contemporary experimental composers, a whole mix of things.

But the idea is to do different collaborations, either with an artist you've never worked with before or for their commission series, music that maybe you wouldn't have written otherwise. He very kindly reached out to me and asked me to write something for this series and perform as an opening set for Danilo Pérez Global Messengers. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity. It was one of the first official commissions I've ever done. He gave me free reign. He said, "You know, you're welcome to perform with your quartet, but if you think of any other artists you love to collaborate with, let me know, and then we'll figure out how to present it. When I was looking for inspiration as to what to do, I checked out Danilo's music, trying to get a vibe for that. I thought it would be a good idea to put something together that would be in line with Danilo's project. I considered many ideas but didn't have to look very far, and I thought it would be interesting to pull from my own family history in light of Danilo's Global Messengers theme.

Mervon reaching out to me to write some new music planted the seed. After considering different possible directions, I decided to draw on my own family history. I thought of incorporating lyrics, which I had never done before. Of course, I needed to find a vocalist. Well, I met Laila Biali in 2019 at the Juno Awards. I've been familiar with her work for many years. I thought this would be a great opportunity to reach out to her. So that's kind of how that came to be. Working with lyrics presented a challenge in my writing process. I thought that Laila was perfectly suited to bring that to life. Incorporating strings was also an idea that came to me just as a new, you know, something that would be totally different. The strings and vocals were new elements inspired by the commission.

AAJ: Presumably, you drew on a set of texts for lyrics. How did you make those choices?

AA: Yeah, that's a great question. I paid a visit to the Toronto Public Library, the reference library at Bloor and Yonge, which is the central library in Toronto. I went looking for poems. Well, as my first time working with lyrics, I didn't want to walk into this project, presuming to write my own lyrics. I thought that would be too ambitious. I thought the next natural choice would be to borrow the poets' lyrics. I went to the library with the intention of being open to whatever I might stumble upon. Of course, I was looking specifically in the poetry section, and I asked the librarian there to direct me to any poems dealing with words about migration. I was trying to think of whatever thematic material might come up in a search. I found some incredible poetry in an anthology of Canadian poets of Indigenous and native Canadian backgrounds, which I ended up using. I stumbled upon poems by Langston Hughes, which I also ended up using, some other poets from the Harlem Renaissance, and some other incredible American poets of, which you'll find on the album. And then a British poet named Ruth Padel, who I also used, writes a lot about migration, the act of moving. I read a lot of different works. And I think what I was looking for and what I ended up using were just poets that resonated with me and used vivid imagery [and] captured emotional elements that I really felt stuck with me, and I felt would possibly capture some of the emotions that maybe my grandparents felt. So, I was really trying to channel family emotion.

AAJ: Ruth Padel is a powerful voice on matters of migration. I knew of Chief Dan George, a Canadian actor best known for his role in Little Big Man. But I knew nothing about his history as a poet and activist. Very interesting.

AA: Many of these writers have very interesting backstories I was unfamiliar with. I found the poem first. That was my first interaction with all of these writers. I learned about these writers when I did the research to write the credits for the album.

AAJ: Can you elaborate on why you chose Indigenous Canadian writers?

AA: I chose to use those poems because they spoke deeply to me on an emotional level. In addition, as a Canadian musician, it was important to me to include/spotlight some incredible Canadian writers and ultimately showcase voices that shine light on some of the most difficult conversations to be had in the Canadian contemporary cultural landscape: truth and reconciliation with our native people.

AAJ: Coming back to your ancestors, your parents, and your grandparents, did you hear stories of the old country or of migration growing up?

AA: Yes, very much so. In my household, both of my maternal grandparents are Holocaust survivors. On my father's side, I never met my grandfather, my paternal grandfather. He passed on when my dad was around nine. I did, however, meet my maternal grandmother, who spoke no English, but she would visit Toronto occasionally. And by that point, she was already in her 70s or 80s, and I was just a little kid. I heard stories from my father about his family and then, of course, my uncles and aunts when I would visit Malaysia. But I heard a lot of stories from my maternal grandparents, who ended up moving to Toronto in their later years. I know the subject of the Holocaust is never discussed in many families. In my household, my grandfather talked about it all the time, and my grandmother talked about it all the time. So, we heard a lot of stories. And it's very interesting because when I met some other young Jewish people my age, those conversations did not happen, or they only heard those stories much later. These stories were very much part of my family gatherings.

AAJ: How did it come to inform the creation of this music?

AA: This is the first project where I was able to tap into a part of my identity that I haven't been able to express before. I ultimately feel like every composer and music maker is the product or the sum of everything you've ever consumed, you know, both figuratively and literally. All of my music is a product of who I am. Like any artist, art is a product of who they are inevitably, no matter what you try to control or intentionally try to do with your voice. So, I can't say my other music has not been informed because it inevitably has been informed by everything I've listened to and everything I've read, eaten, and movies I've watched—it's all in my music. But this project, in particular, just had a very literal way of coming out because I was thinking about family as I was writing it, more literally than I would [in], say, previous projects. The stories of my ancestors have a lot of pain and trauma. But the best thing they could have done—maybe I should say the best thing my grandparents did for me—was sharing these stories and not being afraid to talk about very difficult subject matter and for me to know there is pain. But you can talk about it. And you can share these things and shine a light on them, so it's not obscured in shadows or darkness. On my father's side, my grandparents could not articulate their stories directly to me, but I heard them through my father. For me to communicate that through music is another way to shine a light on it. It was like taking those stories and then trying to amplify them.

AAJ: Given these themes, it's impossible to get away from politics. Migration is a topic that has been heavily politicized. It's a very current topic and has been a focal issue for many decades. I assume you're trying to straddle a boundary—your music is more personal than overtly political. Is that a fair characterization? Not that you can escape politics, but you're coming at it from a personal place.

AA: I think you're right. A lot of art is intrinsically political, but it's not coming from a place of intention, or that's not my intention with the message anyway. When I create, when I make music, it's coming from a place of compassion and trying to understand and empathize with where people are coming from. When I really boil it down to when I'm the most inspired to write music, or I mean, I hope I emulate that when I perform as well. But I think it's a very different approach in the writing process. But often, the most inspired moments I have come from thinking about how other people must have felt in certain situations. Or maybe I read a story about a character who went through some crazy obstacle in the story, and I feel very motivated to go to the piano and write something. I feel like those have been my most inspiring moments. For me personally, my creative drive stems from a place of compassion and empathy. And you're right; it can inevitably be political on the interpretation of that message or that piece of art I have created, but that's not where it's coming from. If we remove all the categorical titles and how we label things, it's just about human interaction and basic emotion and feeling.

AAJ: Very well said.

AA: That's where it's coming from for me personally.

AAJ: I believe Antonio Sanchez's Migration project wasn't overtly political at first. But then, over time, he responded to the circumstances and the toxicity around the issue of migrants and, in particular, the denigration of Mexicans. Are you familiar with the Asian Improv Scene?

AA: I am not familiar with that.

AAJ: They are a community of artists centered in the Bay Area led by Jon Jang and Francis Wong. They addressed some of the same issues of hardships, dislocation and racism. They put out some great music. Jon Jang's Tiananmen (Soul Note Records, 1993) is like an Ellingtonian suite and is beautifully realized. It uses a lot of Chinese musicians and traditional Chinese instruments, and it's just a breathtakingly beautiful album.

AA: Oh, cool. I will check it out.

AAJ: Have you given thought to, at some time in the future, incorporating folk ethnic themes and traditional instrumentation, either Chinese or Jewish motifs and instrumentation?

AA: Yeah, I would most definitely consider it. I mean, it hasn't . . . you know, like I was describing this project, it was kind of an accident of several factors that led me down this path of even thinking to incorporate lyrics because they are a challenging element for me. This project pushed me in that direction. I have thought of incorporating different instruments. I'm just not sure in what way that would come to fruition quite yet, but I would certainly be open to it at some point down the road.

AAJ: Can you talk you a little bit about the issue of identity and the concept of ethnic hybridity?

AA: Yeah, that's a big subject. But I think... how to distill it? I think growing up biracial is obviously a very rich cultural experience, and I think my parents did a wonderful job. Now that I'm an adult and have some hindsight and perspective on my upbringing, I had a very happy childhood. I really couldn't have asked for anything more, and my parents did a very good job sharing their respective cultures in our household. We celebrated Jewish holidays, albeit not religiously. We're not affiliated with a synagogue. My mother was raised very secularly, if you will. The High Holidays were celebrated with family, but it wasn't a very religious experience. She tried to do the same thing with us. Like I said, she had a very extensive book collection, so we read a lot of stories. She encouraged us to, you know, read more about our cultural history. Of course, my grandparents were around when we were younger. We would be taken to all sorts of events in Toronto, both Jewish-related and Asian-related, you know, and on my father's side, he's a very avid cook. My dad is the cook in the house. He would cook all the meals. So, we grew up eating a lot of Chinese cuisine, and we would go to other cultural events on his side as much as we could. And aside from the cultural things, we would go to music theater, and they would take us to the local festivals downtown and stuff. So, I feel like we were very exposed to many different things growing up in Toronto and within our home.

AAJ: Were you exposed to the traditional folk music of your father's homeland.

AA: Yeah, not so much Chinese traditional music. I mean, I would have watched films, you know, that my parents would have exposed me to with, with, you know, Chinese themes and stuff like that. But I don't remember him having specific Chinese traditional music in his music collection at that time. He certainly would be open to it because he had a very eclectic taste, but not specifically Chinese traditional music. All that aside, I really had a very wonderful childhood. However, I grappled a lot with identity issues. And as happy as I was, my experience was growing up, I remember feeling instinctively, You know, going to Jewish cultural events and family, friends or friends commenting on, oh, you know, "Allison, you look so much like your father." As benign as it was, you know, and as well-intentioned as a comment like that is, those things stay with you. Going to Chinese cultural events or hanging out with family, you know, "Why don't you speak Chinese? You know, your father speaks Chinese. You don't know any Chinese." So, like all these kinds of comments from family members and friends and, you know, very loving people in my life saying little asides and little comments and you feeling like "other" in situations where you're amongst friends and family.

AAJ: Interesting

AA: I think biracial individuals deal with those kinds of things all the time. And in the grand scheme of things, they are very innocent remarks and are really not bad. I know that now as an adult. But they had a very big impact on how I grew up, especially in my adolescence, and being hormonal and going through, you know, who I am. Who am I as a person in general, despite what other racial and ethnic affiliations I may end up identifying with, I had a lot of trouble just trying to figure out who I was and where I belonged because I felt like I belonged nowhere and everywhere at the same time. So yeah, I'm just coming to terms with that. Growing up, obviously, I had my brother and sister who, to this day, I still believe are the only two other people who really understand who I am. Because your siblings are the people you know, know your parents, and know exactly that space you grew up in. But I think that was my experience with my identity: not having an outrightly negative experience, but having lots of little things to make me question and still make me feel othered.

AAJ: Feeling othered is a perfect description.

AA: Yeah.

AAJ: That really distills it and captures it well. Americana singer-songwriter Allison Russell, who hails from Montreal, describes herself as Scottish/Grenadian/Canadian. She views it as an essential part of her identity and history. Russell speaks of similar experiences where people question her identity. She speaks very eloquently about it. Obviously, she had a very different, very difficult childhood, partly for those reasons. Hybridity was a reality in her life and part of her formation.

AA: Yes, yes. Like I said, you know, I acknowledge now in my older age how those experiences were mild compared to what so many other individuals encounter in their own paths in life. But I think of those experiences, as small as they were, objectively speaking...

AAJ: These experiences seem formational in an important sense?

AA: Yeah. Like, they informed me, made me more aware. I'd like to think, you know, [they] made me a more compassionate person to others who are experiencing those things in a more amplified way. So, it changed my awareness overall as a person.

AAJ: Migration remains a very consequential matter. At some future date, could you see a presentation of your music as part of an effort to raise awareness?

AA: Yeah, I truly hope so. We've only had one live performance with this ensemble, which was the debut of the music for the 21C Music Festival back in January 2020, just before COVID hit. So, we haven't had a chance to perform this music live. And then, of course, we jumped into the studio during COVID and recorded it as soon as possible. But my ambition with the project would be to try to branch out in terms of our performing opportunities into other creative spaces that may not be music-specific. So, I would love to share the music in other contexts. You know, when I read a book by a new author, or when I watch a film I've never heard about, a foreign film or otherwise, I hope to be exposed to that perspective of that creator. And I hope to have a sneak peek into a world that I know nothing about. By reading that book, watching that film, witnessing a play, or whatever the piece of art is, I hope to walk away with a totally new perspective or a new way of thinking, challenging or even shattering my preconceived notions. So I think with this project, I mean, if there is a chance for this ensemble to perform live in other spaces that are not necessarily music-specific—by that, I mean music venues or music festivals—I hope that once other people see this band perform or listen to this music on recorded media, it will challenge their preconceived notions and perhaps change their perspective.

AAJ: It's an interesting balance because, as you speak, there is real generational trauma, dislocation and many other things that people experience.

AA: Yes, absolutely.

AAJ: It brings together both the harsh realities and the cultural celebration.

AA: Exactly, exactly. And I think the art that I have consumed that tackles different issues, I think the art itself is a celebration of it and is an attempt, again, to shine a light on an otherwise difficult subject matter.

AAJ: When I was a kid, Toronto in the '70s seemed like a very white conservative place, and there was some racial tension. Its transformation into this incredibly cosmopolitan city that celebrates its remarkable diversity is amazing.

AA: So amazing! I mean, it's interesting you describe Toronto in the '70s and the demographic at that time. I feel as a woman who identifies as being biracial, I would say it still feels like that. Of course, I wasn't around in the '70s, and being a woman is certainly a lot more common these days in the music scene. I can only speak to the jazz scene, where I work most of the time. I would say 95% of the time, I'm alongside Caucasian males on the bandstand. Which I think is still very commonplace. So I've accepted that, and I should say I've not had any negative experiences. I look around me and understand that that is the demographic of my immediate community, my working community. It's still taking time for the jazz scene to reflect the demographic of the city of Toronto itself. And of course, many factors play into why people pursue music, who pursues music, and what type of economic, ethnic, racial and religious background they come from that leads them to pursue a career in music. So I understand there are a lot of factors that contribute to that. But I would say the demographic of the jazz scene doesn't reflect Toronto as a city yet.

But it's changing. It's changing. But when I see other women and more people of color in this scene or on the gigs that I do, I'm like, great. Yes. It's like starting to mix things up a little bit. And that's not true for every music scene in Toronto. I'm just speaking from my own personal observations.

AAJ: You write great compositions, and they're rather complete compositions—not merely vehicles for improvisation. Not to suggest that you don't leave room for improvisation. Is that something you deliberately seek to do? For example, I think of Wayne Shorter's compositions as more fully formed as compared to some of his contemporaries.

AA: Well, that's kind of cool. You mentioned Wayne Shorter. Wayne Shorter is a very big influence of mine, as are a lot of composers of that era, like Herbie Hancock. I like Jaco Pastorius' writing. I've gravitated to a lot of Brazilian composers.

AAJ: Can you name a couple of Brazilian composers that influenced your work?

AA: Well, I mean, Antonio Carlos Jobim. I really like Ivan Lins, Milton Nascimento... There's a lot I'm not mentioning right now. I really loved that music. It's very lush music. It's really...

AAJ: Beautiful music.

AA: I think Herbie Hancock, too, is someone who's at least of that era with Wayne. A lot of those collaborations. I'm trying to think. And even later, later, Wayne Shorter, Atlantis (Columbia Records, 1985), Um. Oh my God, what's the other one?

AAJ: Native Dancer (Columbia Records, 1974).

AA: Thank you. Yeah, that's a fantastic album. Yeah. Those records, you know, have had a really big impact on my writing. And then actually, maybe I should mention that soon after graduating from Humber College in 2008, I was very fortunate to participate in the Metropole Orkest Arrangers workshop in 2011. So, just three years after graduating. They selected eight participants internationally, and I was one of them. I had a chance to work with Vince Mendoza and the Metropole Orkest in Holland. And in that process, I got familiar with Vince's writing, and he very kindly hired me for a few copying jobs after that workshop. So, I worked with him in some capacity, albeit remotely. I did a few copying jobs for him, translating a bunch of his scores into Sibelius and seeing what his scores looked like. And then, I sought out and listened to his music afterward.

And he's had a big influence on my writing too, kind of subconsciously, in a weird way. So I think the writers I gravitate towards naturally have a very rich approach, I suppose, for lack of a better description. And I think my writing is very much informed by jazz, inevitably, because I studied jazz. I play the saxophone. I love that music, but when it comes to writing my own music, I don't consider myself a jazz composer. In fact, I don't know how to characterize my music in terms of a genre. I truly feel like I write, like, Allison music. I feel like I've said this before. It's just what I write. I think it's informed by jazz. But I don't really think of my music as jazz. Unfortunately, when I release music, I have to put it in some kind of category because we have improvising, and for the most part, the three previous albums I've done have featured a very traditional jazz combo instrumentation. But I have felt very strongly that I don't know if I write jazz music.

AAJ: I hear you. I understand what you're saying.

AA: I love the notion of head, solo, head, out, which I do feel I follow in a lot of my writing. However, I approached it slightly differently with this project, perhaps because of the instrumentation. But I really felt like for this album, I was thinking more holistically or trying to have a lot more of a through-composed approach with moments of soloing, but it's very much fixed in that way. It's more the solo leaning into the piece, rather the piece providing a canvas for the solo, which is an approach I've taken before.

AAJ: Very well stated. But I see a certain continuity with your last album Wander Wonder(self released, 2018). The music is, certainly not through-composed, but maybe fully composed is a better description. I don't know if that resonates with you.

AA: Yes, and, admittedly, what I'm trying to actively do as I continue to compose and work on the process of composition in general is not to overwrite because sometimes that's my biggest crutch, too. In the editing process, I often must take out things. Sometimes, on listening back and revisiting pieces, I must remove elements because sometimes, in my ear as well, it's very rich, and I'm trying to edge myself towards a more minimalist approach. So that's something I'm actively trying to work on.

AAJ: Any concluding thoughts?

AA: This album in particular marks somewhat of a departure for me. Of course, the seed was planted when I was approached to do the commission. The objective of this writing, the compositional commission, was to do something I hadn't done before. The album also marks a departure for me in terms of using voice, text and instrumentation and integrating something very personal into my music, which I have done in spurts and bursts previously, but never anything this fleshed-out before. I hope this is the beginning. Of course, I will continue to record in the quartet format, but I am also inspired to do another project of larger instrumentation, perhaps sometime down the road, budget permitting.

Every album I complete, when I look back, it's important to record because, I mean, if anything, I'm happy to share music with people, but it's also a very selfish process for me. I need to finish the recording and release it to the world so I can move forward and have the perspective to know what to do next. So, the fact that we've captured this music at this point in time is really important for me to see that it's been documented and gives me an objective perspective to go forward. Now, I can hear it objectively. It's out of my head. It's inspired me to want to work with this kind of instrumentation again.

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