Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

436

Anat Fort: Make It Happen

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Growing up on Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and the like I have always dreamt of playing with longtime associate of both pianists - drummer Paul Motian.
By Anat Fort

Confusing place, New York City. I may be planning on an early night (you know, going to bed around 12-1 am) when I get an email from a burning group that's playing somewhere. Soon enough, my phone rings and it's a friend, going to see this "really amazing band, you got to come check them out while their shows are still $10". And, as if that is not enough, I will just be browsing the paper while realizing five or six more "real happening shows" are going on. Or more. Urgh!! It is so hard living here, sometimes. And yet, nothing compares. We are all drawn here because of it. And because everybody is here, everybody else wants to come and join those who are here already.

The result, as many of you know, is an incredible amount of talented people, and not enough venues to play in. Musicians get treated like dirt because there are simply so many good ones and we all want to play. Many of us come here fully driven and motivated to "make it". And gradually, after many years of what we consider disappointments, we lose our self-confidence, hope and trust. Not to mention (especially if we happen to be bandleaders) money.

It seems like in the "old" days things were different. For one thing, there were not so many of us. And those who were seem to have been more connected, more together somehow. Musicians were out every night listening to each other play, finding situations to come together and support, sit in and jam. And the older ones would get out there and seek young blood, the new names on the scene and, if they liked them, helped pave the youngsters' ways through some of the hassles that the wonderful jazz world has to offer. That was how the music naturally grew and developed, not only here but in the rest of the world as well. Some of it is still happening today. But it seems to me like there are so many beautiful players around and yet a lot of us stay "stuck" at a certain level. And I am not talking about the level of playing. What I am talking about is the common assumption that "if there is something good out there, it is not for me/it will find me somehow" (depending on how we feel about ourselves at that moment). Well, that may be true, but it certainly does not diminish the greatest responsibility we, as artists, have: getting ourselves out there and saying what needs to be said. And at some point, it is not only about practicing anymore. The real work becomes seeking opportunities, creating situations and finding the right people who can help us help ourselves.

Growing up on Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and the like I have always dreamt of playing with longtime associate of both pianists - drummer Paul Motian. It was not long after I met bassist Ed Schuller that I asked him how this kind of thing could possibly be arranged. Would Paul even consider doing a record with someone he knows nothing about, based on Ed's recommendation? Would I have to send him some music of mine and pray that he liked it? Am I asking too much and should I just forget the whole thing? Well, Ed made it sound like if Paul agreed to the basic idea of it (knowing absolutely nothing about me or my music) and basically depending on his mood at the moment, it might just happen. And I got lucky...Paul agreed. At that point it became "just" a question of affording him and putting the project together, which took a lot of work and effort. But a couple of years later I was ready.

Going into the studio with one of my idols was an unbelievable experience. And yet, I could not let myself go there while playing with him. By "there" I mean that place of freaking out because you are playing your own music with your dream drummer of so many years. But there was no need in freaking out playing with Paul. He really enjoyed the music and the playing and was simply, and in the most casual and natural way, into it. Making a record of all original (and sometimes very difficult) music without ever rehearsing...can you imagine? We spent two days recording, and toward the end I told Paul I wanted to record a couple of standard tunes, which I very rarely play. My thought was more commercial than artistic but Paul recognized it immediately. "I won't do it, man", he says. "Your music and this project are complete. Now just go and get it out there, you don't need anything else"...

But I did need something else, and without asking Paul directly to do it - he did. After the CD was recorded I was getting ready to shop it around, hopefully find an interested label and, if need be, put it out myself. But thanks to Paul I did not have to. Two weeks after we did the recording he called to let me know he contacted ECM records, my dream record label, and that they were interested in hearing it. Two months later it was a wrap - they decided to release it. In one phone call Paul has changed the entire course of this recording and, consequently, of my career.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Podcast
Interviews
Album Reviews
Megaphone
Read more articles
Colour

Colour

Sunnyside Records
2019

buy
Birdwatching

Birdwatching

ECM Records
2016

buy
 

And If

JazzMa Records
2011

buy
And If

And If

ECM Records
2010

buy
A Long Story

A Long Story

ECM Records
2007

buy
Peel

Peel

The Orchard
1999

buy

Related Articles

Megaphone
The Creative Music Studio Goes To College!
By Karl Berger
September 10, 2015
Megaphone
Wein, June & Jazz
By AAJ Staff
June 13, 2010
Megaphone
Clean Feed Records: Looking Outwards
By Pedro Costa
May 16, 2010
Megaphone
Discoveries Along The Pitch Continuum
By Amir ElSaffar
April 11, 2010
Megaphone
Either/Or (No More)
By Darcy James Argue
February 28, 2010
Megaphone
The Power in Music
By Steve Colson
February 3, 2010
Megaphone
Latin Jazz: A Legitimate American Music
By AAJ Staff
January 20, 2010