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Eric Zinman's Excellent European Adventures

Chris Rich By

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Eric Zinman goes to Europe each year on his own dime for a varying array of shoe string gigs with people who mean a lot to him as colleagues. He usually works with Mario Rechtern and people from a community in Vienna that includes expatriate, Linda Sharrock.

His most recent trip was especially gratifying as he is pleased to inform us.

"For the first time Mario and I, with help from friends, were able to form a couple of truly international groups that can change the situation from my perspective by setting aside the heroic repetition, the mannered revision, the cult of the personality and the removal of politics from the music etc...(basically everything that kills an art form)."

"So I began my tour in Paris at Babilo which fortunately got a new piano that sounded good. Itaru Oki trumpet (Japan), Mario Rechtern alt, sopno, bar saxs and pumpkin violin (Austria), Yoram Rossillio Contrabass (Mor), Makoto Sato drums (Japan), Linda Sharrock voice (US) and Eric Zinman piano (US)."

"Itaru and Makoto have been on the Parisian scene I believe since the 70's. They both worked also with Alan Silva, who has been a major influence there, not just his bass playing but also piano and synth playing."

"We made a recording in a nearby studio where I was staying. It was made more in the old fashioned way of doing recordings in a column which I really liked and has a great psychedelic pathos to it that I associate with some of the best records in my life, not just in "so called jazz" but other music from the 50's and 60's that we've heard."

"Particularly in terms of not having the recording too clean but allowing the circumstances to dictate how you mix it and then emphasizing those qualities in the mix rather than to be so concerned with the perfection of each instrument so you can hear thick layers of sound that seem to wrap around each other."

"I felt this in many recordings I've heard over the years. This will come out on a label called IB Improvising Beings, France as a double CD and I think it may be the best recording I have ever been involved with thanks to the engineer and Julien Palomo as well."

"From Paris we rode together in a bus to Amsterdam. We got lost and it took 3 times longer than we thought and this stressed Linda Sharrock who is in a fragile situation with her health. I let the cat out of the bus by accident twice, once when I got up to pee in the middle of the night and slept uncomfortably across the front seats."

"The next morning we saw that the water pump was leaking water and the tour was over. However Onno Govaert and the band from Norway called Ape Club were very kind and picked us up in their cars and van and we were off to perform in Den Haag at a squatter cafe/bar called the Astronoom Centrum."

"This is of course run by volunteers. There is political art everywhere and books for sale. I owe it all to pianist Leo Svirsky who organized the concert. People were very nice, they cheered and screemed. This concert was videoed, and reviewed by Willem Minderhout in Dutch and English. You can view it on you tube."

"With the bus down our tour was over so I had to continue on my own to meet Mario with another group later in Vienna, I stayed with Burton Greene on his boat for a couple days and then took a train to Basel, Switzerland where I played with drummer Samuel Duhsler, a very fine percussionist."

"Several musicians loaned me a Korg professional keyboard and a Fender Rhodes which was very nice. In Switzerland, life is good with opportunity and good treatment. Switzerland was the only country where I sold CD's. My host was extremely fair and we were well received by his friends."

"We played at the Music Palace, which was a building in a diverse neighborhood in Basel. There were many children on the streets in the neighborhood and musicians teach in the building. It's a very good less formal way, where the teachers play with the children, just the right way to learn. The audience was very warm and appreciative."

"I took a train to Vienna where I rested for a couple days at Mario's apartment and played in a club called Fluc with Mario Rechtern (A) alt, sopno, bar, Markus Krispell (A) alto, Jaspar Stadhouders (NE), guitar and Onno Govaert (NE) drums."

"It was a tough audience but they liked us, a wild loud show, always dinner and good general treatment. These days solo and duet electronic is perhaps more popular in some ways but they screamed. On a side note, the music they are calling jazz was totally politically raped so that it no longer had any politics in it. Maybe this is why I have been brought more into playing with musicians who have played in different punk and Indy bands as well as they are often VERY political in their songs, etc."

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