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Bill Anschell: Curiosity and Invention

Paul Rauch By

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AAJ: Richard Cole plays some tenor.

BA: Yes, and Jeff Busch plays some percussion, there's a Peruvian influenced tune that he plays on.

AAJ: Duke Ellington's "Reflections in D" is a largely forgotten composition of the master, which you interpreted beautifully on Rumbler. This has always been a favorite of mine, and was thrilled to see it on the record. How did you arrive at the decision to include this solo piece? You mentioned there is no chart for the tune, and you had to transcribe it.

BA: Really, I didn't transcribe it, I just listened to it enough that I knew it.

AAJ: Certainly an underappreciated Ellington gem. So many people are completely unfamiliar with it.

BA: If you look on YouTube for it, there's only a few versions, Bill Evans recorded it, Ellington, Sir Roland Hanna.

AAJ: I'm most familiar with the Duke Ellington solo piano version in 1953.

BA: Tierney Sutton recorded a vocal version of it, that's what got it in my head. The reason I learned the tune was I subbed for Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, their Sacred Music concert. There's a tradition that the pianist always plays that song. My version is probably more abstract and ethereal than most.

AAJ: It's enough like Ellington's version though, in terms of conveying a true reflection of introspection. When I reviewed the record, I listened to his solo version, and though different, I found both captured that same conception of unity and spirituality.

BA: I listened to his the most, because he wrote it. It was so easy though. My CD was hard, I wrote a lot of hard music, it was a strenuous couple of days in the studio. Then I went to David Lang's, where I was mixing all those tunes, and I sat at the piano for a half hour and played a couple of tunes I knew, and that was one of them. It was so easy.

Another thing about Rumbler, I recorded a lot more tunes than I used. I chose the best ones for the CD. I'm at the point now that I'm trying not to write music, because it's what I habitually do when I'm not at home. But having all this music and not recording it, and playing it is frustrating. I don't need more tunes at this point.

AAJ: What musical curiosities are bubbling to the surface next, or in the future?

BA: I'm hoping to do a standards trio recording. After that, I hope to finally do a record that's basically jazz trio plus electronics, where I would make electronic pieces, and then go into the studio with a trio, and we would replace the piano, bass, and drum parts, so that there's live interaction going on, but also with atmospheric electronics. That's my plan, it will be very long in the making. It's kind of my retirement plan.

Photo Credit: Earshot Jazz

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