AAJ: One aspect of travel that Rhapsody made me think about for the first time. The trust and faith you have to have in the people you're with, the people that drive you, the passengers around you etc. Looked at it from this perspective, travel can be seen as a metaphor of society, or life in general. But it also mirrors the experience of being in a band and trusting the musicians you play with. How do you build trust in a society? How do you do it within a band? And how do you do it with an audience? Can the experience within a band or between a band and its audience teach lessons about how to do it in a society?
BP: That's an amazing question. First off, you have to respect people. It sounds very simple, but what I mean is that you have to respect them not for who they are or their accomplishments, but just because they are. You cannot travel without having optimism about people. Otherwise, how could you possibly even get on an airplane or a boat? You know, I've gotten sick on tour and people that I didn't know have helped me, they have driven me to a doctor. Without being open to that you just can't travel. You have to have faith that people will generally help you and take care of you. So it is within a band. You just start from respect. After that, everything else becomes very clear. When you do that, people see it, they may respond to that. When I'm with musicians, I like to make them feel as good as I can. I want them to feel free and powerful, like they can do anything they like. I do that with everybody, not just in music. It's a universal thing.
AAJ: What do you bring back home after your travels and what do you hope your listeners bring back home after seeing this project live or listening to Rhapsody?
BP: How much can I ask for? I would like them to be moved in some way. That's probably as much as I could ask of an audience because what I'm trying to do is to reach them and make them feel something.
AAJ: Listening to Rhapsody at times feels like listening to a movie soundtrack, with certain themes coming back from one tune to another. You have already flirted with the soundtrack idea in Set the Alarm for Monday (Palmetto Records, 2008). And, more generally, your projects work as one organic entity, a suite or concept album, rather than a collection of tunes. As a composer, how much emphasis do you place on composition and how much on improvisation?
BP: Whenever I put together a record usually I write it all at once. My records are not a collection of separate songs that I may have written over the years or that had piled up in my drawer but they don't really belong together. I don't like those kinds of records. I always have felt records should tell a story, they should have one color, one smell, one taste. Only then you have a record that has a certain kind of a integrity.
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