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Jessica Lurie: In It For The Long Haul

Paul Rauch By

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"God bless the iphone for instantaneously recording ideas. Often when I'm moving, like if I'm on my bicycle, or I'm walking, or running, I'll get melodic ideas and I'll record them. I sing into my phone. Sometimes when I'm riding my bike I'll have a recording device stuck in my bra strap! On my CD there's this whole section before "Rare Flares," where at Union Square there were like three things going on spontaneously and I recorded it, and sent it to Todd and we mixed it. You can hear my bicycle horn go off. I like found sounds, they inspire me, I have some incredible recordings of frogs from New Orleans where they are seriously going clave, it's hard core clave, and I thought that I had to do something with that. I sort of let the tangents happen and acknowledge that there's influences coming from different places. I asked Brian who plays on a lot of John Zorn projects, 'Does this sound too much like John Zorn?' I love John Zorn's stuff. When you compose you don't want to sound too much like someone else. Am I plagiarizing, or inspired and influenced by? I think in my composing process I ask myself if I'm quoting myself from my other songs, or did I quote someone else. Lately I've been listening to a lot of Cajun music, and I'm working on a song that sounds alot like a Cajun tune, and that's OK. If it moves you in some way, if there's a narrative, if there's emotion that's connected to it, it's perfect," expresses Lurie, connecting strongly her musical persona with her everyday discipline of artistic being.

We are living in a time when the principles of compassionate living are under constant attack by the power brokers seated in congress, the White House, and on Wall Street. Music has always played a major part in providing a narrative for social responsibility in times like these. Jazz artists have historically been a vibrant voice for social and creative justice, with today's activists in the jazz community fully engaged.

"In New York a lot of musicians are hitting the streets and marching. I think as an artist it is very important to not be silent, it's very important to be vocal. Some people will complain that they don't want to hear about politics, that they just came for a concert, but it's too late for that. It's not to preach, I'm not here as an educator, but as a reminder of what you already knew, and what somebody is trying to make you forget. I believe in Laurie Anderson's quote, 'History is like an angel being driven backwards into the future.' Music is galvanizing, it's a catalyst," remarks Lurie, citing a prominent sentiment in the international jazz community.

The music of Jessica Lurie is disciplined, yet carefree, intense, yet passionate and adventurous. Her musical voice is strong and determined. It is a direct connection to these same traits that possess Lurie's humanity, her personage. Her personal "long haul" defies the passing of time. It expresses emotion that calls to attention what you are feeling in the now, and what is the truth of the moment.

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