Brian Lynch: The Brian Lynch / Eddie Palmieri Project

Tomas Pena By

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I knew that someday I wanted to work with Eddie together on a jazz project. A number of years and a lot of learning on my part intervened, but now it's finally happening.
Few musicians embody the 21st Century credo as profoundly as trumpet master Brian Lynch. A respected insider within both the hard core bebop and Latin communities, he's as comfortable negotiating the complexities of clave with Afro-Caribbean pioneer Eddie Palmieri as swinging through advanced harmony with bebop master Phil Woods. Lynch has worked in recent years with Buena Vista Social Club alumnus Barbarito Torres, dance remixer Joe Clausell, and the members of the influential Latin alternative group Yerba Buena. He arranges for pop star Mika Nakashima and producer Shinichi Osawa, has written charts for Phil Woods, and has played with such pop luminaries as Maxwell, Prince, and Sheila E.

The Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri Project is the culmination of one of the most significant and rewarding relationships of Brian's life: his work with the maestro Eddie Palmieri. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Brian about the project. Here is what he had to say...

AAJ: Congratulations on the launch of the Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri Project 2005. How was the project conceived?

Brian Lynch: The idea of the project really goes way back to when I first started to play with Eddie in the late 1980s. Right away I felt there were so many things present in his music that I wanted to explore and incorporate in my own musical conceptions. Especially after a notable engagement at the NY Blue Note, where I was the only horn with Eddie and the rhythm section in an instrumental format, I knew that someday I wanted to work with Eddie together on a jazz project. A number of years and a lot of learning on my part intervened, but now it's finally happening.

AAJ: So the idea is, the participant gets an inside look at the creative process through the use of video and audio clips, downloads, journal entries, sheet music, essays, rehearsals and recordings?

BL: Yes, I think all the added content really enriches the experience for the participant. It's so much more that just buying a CD. The aim is to have the participant really feel like he or she has shared the experience with the artist—hence the name ArtistShare.

AAJ: Given the complexities of the recording process, will all the work that goes into documenting the process get in the way?

BL: I don't think so. On the contrary, the documentation helps me to think about the creative work in a different way. I feel having to explain things step by step helps me to understand what I'm working on better myself, and thus have more creative control.

AAJ: Who is responsible for documenting the process?

BL: I'm doing it all myself. I have a video camera I take around with me. I record audio both through my computer and a mini disc recorder. I scan handwritten music and make .PDF documents from the music I write using the notation software Finale, which has become my primary music writing tool over the last few years. I've become quite the media mogul here, using various software and hardware to prepare all the diverse material for the site. The ArtistShare interface makes it easy to get the content up once it has been prepared, though.

AAJ: Has this concept ever been attempted before?

BL: Yes, the ArtistShare concept of adding this extra content to the recording has been used in the other projects under the ArtistShare umbrella, including work by Maria Schneider, and Jim Hall. Many jazz artists are now using ArtistShare to put out their work.

AAJ: Will participants be able to offer their input?

BL: I certainly hope that participants will give me their input about the different stages of the project as I work through them. I'd especially like to know what folks would like to see content-wise (on the site) that isn't already there. Creatively, it's still up to me and the other artists taking part in the recording. I am open to ideas, however! My Executive Producer Participant (if I get one) will be able to dedicate the CD to the person of his/her choice, and have input into the final title of the CD.

AAJ: The Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri Project is a collaborative effort powered by ArtistsShare. Tell me about ArtistsShare.

BL: ArtistShare is the brainchild of Brian Camilio, both in terms of the concept of the listener "participating" in the creative process through access to journals, music sketches, and other documentation, and as the inventor of the software that makes it possible for the artist to execute this documentation and present his/her work directly to the audience in this enhanced form. ArtistShare is not a record company. I am putting the project CD out myself. Rather, my ArtistShare website is the main distribution channel for this work along with its related extra content. Think of ArtistShare as a container enabling the creative process to be directly presented to its audience without mediation.

AAJ: Thus far the following artists have signed on: Lila Downs, Conrad Herwig, Pedro Martinez, Robby Ameen, Dafnis Prieto and Ruben Rodriguez. Are there any other potential artists that you are interested in signing on?

BL: Let's not forget the great Phil Woods, who will be one of my very special guests on the project along with Lila Downs. And another great alto sax man, Donald Harrison who will also be on board. I still have some ideas for some other artists for the project, and there definitely be some additions between now and November. I think participants will be very happy with these additions (hush-hush for now)!

AAJ: No disrespect, but I have never known Eddie Palmieri to be at a loss for words! What are his thoughts on the Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri Project?

BL: He's into it! I really feel like Eddie is approaching this project like it's his own. There's some really incredible audio up on the project of Eddie and me working on tunes for the project at his house. You can really hear the concentration and commitment he puts into the music on these excerpts! It really knocks me out how he has embraced our collaboration.

AAJ: I should mention that there are various levels of participation, such as Studio Participant, Music Lover Participant, etc. Moreover, there is a membership fee involved which varies according to the level of participation . . .

BL: Part of the ArtistShare concept is that participants can take part at different levels. The basic level is the Studio Participant level, where the participant has access to the process throughout, and receives the CD upon its completion. But then there are Offers with additional content, designed for those participants with certain interests. The Composer, Trumpet Player, and Lecture Offers would fall under this group.

Also, there are Music Lover offers for those who want to combine participating in the project with exposure to some of my previous work. In these offers, the participant gets one of my previous recordings, original sheet music from that recording, all the Studio- level process content from the project, and a downloaded version of the project recording at the end.

Then there are the offers tailored to those participants whose interest in the project extends to wanting to provide a measure of material support for it at an elite level. These offers range in price from $100 to $7000, and all offer extended and exclusive access to the project experience. As the elite level rises, there are perks ranging from a signed folio of my compositions to my personal iPod full of my own listening favorites.

At the top level of Executive Producer, the participant receives one of my personal trumpets hand engraved and signed. All elite level participants also receive a special numbered limited edition version of the project CD, and acknowledgment of their support on the CD liner or project website.

AAJ: Obviously, you are in the beginning stages of the recording process. Have you come up with a concept?

BL: Of course the collaboration between Eddie and myself is the core of the project conceptually, Past that, it'll also be the way I use Eddie and my knowledge of his music in a slightly different way for my own music. And then, simply the idea of the interaction among all these fantastic musicians, coming from their respective places. The overall program of music will be crafted to offer variety and tell a story throughout the whole CD.

AAJ: How is this for synchronicity? A few years back I attended a Lila Downs concert at the Museum of the American Indian (in lower Manhattan). To make a long story short, you were there. I distinctly remember thinking to myself that it how interesting it would be to see you and Lila perform on the same stage. Lo and behold, it has come to pass!

BL: That was the first time I heard Lila sing in person myself! How interesting that we were both there. I think the idea of working with her started at that concert too. My wife Marissa first brought Lila's music to my attention. I think she's one of the greatest singers in the world regardless of genre, and it's going to be incredible to work with her.

AAJ: For the record, I am a big fan of Lila Downs. I am looking forward to hearing the results of your collaboration. In closing, is there anything else you would like to mention concerning your project?

BL: I really appreciate the opportunity to explain my project to your audience. Sometimes it's a hard for me to make folks understand the full nature of the project, since there's so much going on. I encourage all your readers to explore my project site and participate!

AAJ: Once again, congratulations to you and Eddie in what promises to be a unique and enlightening experience.

Visit The Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri Project, Brian Lynch and Eddie Palmieri on the web.

Selected Discography

Brian Lynch, Conclave (Criss Cross, 2005)
Brian Lynch, 24/7 (Nagel-Heyer, 2005)
Eddie Palmieri, Listen Here! (Concord, 2005)
Brian Lynch/Bill Charlap, Brian Lynch Meets Bill Charlap (Sharp Nine, 2004)
Eddie Palmieri, La Experiencia (Fania, 2004)
Brian Lynch, Fuschia/Red (Cellar Live, 2003)
Eddie Palmieri, Ritmo Caliente (Concord, 2003)
Eddie Palmieri, La Perfecta II (Concord, 2002)
Brian Lynch, Tribute to the Trumpet Masters (Sharp Nine, 2000)
Eddie Palmieri, Live (EMM, 1999)
Eddie Palmieri, El Rumbero del Piano (RMM, 1998)
Brian Lynch, Spheres of Influence (Sharp Nine, 1997)
Eddie Palmieri, Jazz Latino, Vol. 1 (RMM, 1997)
Eddie Palmieri, Vortex (RMM, 1996)
Brian Lynch, Keep Your Circle Small (Sharp Nine, 1995)
Eddie Palmieri, Arrete (RMM, 1995)
Eddie Palmieri, Palmas (Elektra, 1994)
Eddie Palmieri/Cal Tjader, Palmieri& Tjader (Tico, 1993)
Eddie Palmieri, Music Man (Sonido, 1992)
Brian Lynch, In Process (Ken Music, 1991)
Eddie Palmieri, El Ray de Las Blancas Y Las Negras (Sony, 1991)
Brian Lynch, Back Room Blues (Criss Cross, 1989)
Eddie Palmieri, The Truth: La Verdade (Fania, 1987)
Brian Lynch, Peer Pressure (Criss Cross, 1986)
Eddie Palmieri, Solito (Music Latino, 1985)

Photo Credits
Color photo of Brian Lynch: Tony Rodgers
Black and White photo of Brian Lynch: Tato Riquelme
Photo of Eddie Palmieri: Dragon Tasic.


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