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Jon Armstrong: Limitless Enthusiasm


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Of those jazz men who are still left (of course today is a new day and jazz is dying again), the Jon Armstrong Jazz Orchestra's debut album Farewell, is something new to say hello to. The end is the beginning you know. Jon Armstrong has a (so-far) limitless enthusiasm for being in the thick of music, he is both mature experience and child psyche, surrounded by the vibrant Los Angeles music scene, gifted with Dan Rosenboom as his inspirational label manager and band mate, and playing for long enough that his chops are tighter than a banker's liability insurance. This isn't hyperbole—Christian McBride likes him too—so we're good to gush. The premise of Farewell is as follows, bandleader's wife shares home truth; husband enlists it as inspiration—wife is eternalised as a smart lady.

The vivaciously undead-jazz man Jon Armstrong had a wee chat with us recently, and this is how it went...

All About Jazz: Hello Jon, how are you doing today?

Jon Armstrong: Hello, things are really good right now, there are lots of exciting people around, it's been really nice.

AAJ: I interviewed trumpeter Dan Rosenboom a few months ago.

JA: Yeah, he's a good friend and a frequent collaborator.

AAJ: Would be good to hear about your background leading up to your relationship with the Orenda Records label via Slumgum.

JA: In a nutshell, since I've been in LA I've focussed most of my time on developing the quartet Slumgum.

AAJ: Are you the originator of that quartet?

JA: Actually, all four of us are. It just started from us playing together, we tried to improvise together, bringing in original music, and seeing what we could do with standards. What seemed to be the best part about it is that all four of us have a pretty unique perspective on music to bring to the group. So we all made a conscious decision to not let any one person's view on music dominate. We were very curious to see how it would develop organically. We did a lot of touring, I'd say from 2008-2013.

AAJ: You've done a lot of touring, it's nice to have that unity for such a long time, to develop as a group.

JA: Yeah, each batch of tunes that would come in were totally different. We also got to a great place where people felt comfortable bringing in sketches. We just tried things out because we were performing so much because we were on the road. We could really let things manifest between all four of us, so no one's ego took centre stage. That was a blast. Sometimes I talk about it in past tense because our pianist moved to Vancouver, Canada.

AAJ: Ah he's the guy with the crazy piano in your YouTube videos...

JA: Yeah right, that wasn't actually his, it belonged to a venue that has since gone---The Royal T's Café. It's great. It was a decent piano and certainly a work of art. That was a funky Californian fusion/Japanese restaurant. The best part was it was being booked by Rocco Sumazi who does the Angel City Jazz Festival—he used to book music in Oakland, at a place called Duende. He's basically been an incredibly important music agent and booker in LA for about a decade.

AAJ: In the same vein as Joon Lee.

JA: Exactly, absolutely. And right around the time Rocco moved to Oakland the Blue Whale and Joon Lee really took centre stage in LA. The two of them are very good friends. Rocco in fact booked a lot of music at the Blue Whale to start with, I'm sure Joon learned a lot from that experience.

AAJ: Just thinking there's some Buddhist connection, nice philosophy to have, fusion between trying things out, food, music etc.

JA: I would agree, Rocco and Joon are kindred spirits in that way, they think very highly about the experience aspect of music which is not talked about so much. People always talk about how hip or how fast or how ingenious a player can be, always considering the history of the development of the music or star power. But both of them always, regardless of someone's reputation, will sit and give it a really good experience and ask what journey is this band taking me on, that's at the centre of both of their passion, which is very Buddhist.

AAJ: Nice way to be, as a member of the clientele, you can trust the programming, it's fun to listen to, nice newness to it.

JA: In both their places, even the Blue Whale, it's very stark, very beautiful, you sit on cubes. You know if you go there you're going to have a good time, bring a date, there's going to be good food there and some interesting music. There's a trust level there for sure.

AAJ: UK venues are largely more old school re food and music. Not to say great musicians don't play but the crowd are most often upwards of parents and grandparents.

JA: It's funny, jazz music in general has turned itself off to the younger audience. I wonder, some of it may be our fidelity to our history, trying to sound like this guy or that woman. Some of it is also, not to be critical, just the nature of how most young musicians are being developed, in academic situations all over the world. When we get out into the real world we're almost spoiled because, in school we can put on a live avant-garde event, something like a live improvised silent film show and 70 of our friends will show up and pat us on the back. The real world is hard to get people to give you their time if you're playing this esoteric music. Music students need to realize that school can be a bubble.

AAJ: If those 70 friends are all musicians, how do they pay? That's a big guest list. Must happen in academia. You must see half of your class that are still musicians but they didn't quite make it because they rely on the bubble and not going to find their own work more often.

JA: Boy, it's tough, it's funny that you say that. Sometimes I think we could just exchange $10s and not go out. I had two experiences in academia. One was in the University of Washington, which was a traditional jazz school. Since I left, a man called Cuong Vu, the trumpet player and a brilliant musician with a very high aesthetic. He took over program, and put it on a completely different trajectory. While I was there they taught standards, major and minor scales, long tones, in fact they didn't go that far, but it's similar to most schools who say "You're going to play one ballad, upbeat, Latin, etc." They would state you need to do all this in order to survive out there, but that's like a 40 year old business model.

You can't release these kids knowing how to play a Latin song on to the world. Essentially what we're doing is releasing them and they leave to be in wedding bands or play casuals. Kids coming out of UW now have gone on to create a very vibrant scene, a happening scene not necessarily populated by musicians. There might be a computer programmer, who likes to listen to this noise, avant-garde electronic music. There's a great band up there called Bad Luck, that's just sax and effects and a drummer, just a duo, and they come up with brilliant soundscapes and brilliant journeys. Going back to the idea of an experience, you sit there in a Bad Luck show and I've seen them about a half dozen times. You're going to get an unbelievable experience that no jazz band can get to. A lot of that came from this Cuong Vu influence that is fostered in Seattle, whatever the audience does as a day job they are going out and will treasure and value that experience.

AAJ: That trust factor getting an audience, primarily bombarded with mainstream pop and classical to invite that curiosity on a regular basis. The Seattle situation sounds ideal, but LA and Seattle history is different. In the UK there are plenty of wedding band musicians coming out of Uni. And you can spot the ones on a lifelong trajectory but some are playing avant-garde with no vehicle for their music. It's difficult to perform that when there aren't venues to support them and try it out. Is it like that there, are Bad Luck welcomed everywhere or just Seattle?

JA: No they've really touched people. In LA I used to play with an electronic band where I played mostly sampler with an MC and vocalist, underground art parties in downtown. Hip hop and records, and they would do these listening parties. Bad Luck was coming through town and I invited them to play at one of those parties. Not many people there, it was in a loft in downtown LA with a DJ spinning electronic dubstep, we played our set and they played afterwards. We're talking about non musicians—not people of this scene; a totally different crowd. And these guys and girls in the loft, they were transfixed, everyone had a very, I almost want to say a spiritual experience.

The way they would listen to this group, and afterwards they were shaking their heads, they said they'd never experienced that before. They bought in. Some of it's to do with the strength of that band, they have been developing for years, similarly like Slumgum. I really believe that you could put Bad Luck on at the Glastonbury Festival. And even with 20,000 people even if some were put off, most people would be won over in 30-40 minutes. People want to discover something new.

AAJ: The discovery factor is a big element.

JA: Most definitely. That is a really big part of it. If you're in the concert and it's new in any way. If you can give the audience something to hold onto, or you invite them in in any way, it's going to have a positive effect on how they experience the music.

AAJ: Do you see the same kind of parties in other places around the world? Like the UK?

JA: I did a study abroad year at the University of Hull, 2003. I played sax in a proper drum and bass band. It was just a DJ a few MCs and I played sax these at drum and bass parties. We would play a lot of concerts around Hull. It was an outfit called Bass Behaviours, they would get a gig, 3 DJs would show up, me and my sax, two MCs and a vocalist. And we would just improvise over Drum and Bass music.

AAJ: You were quite aware of the drum and bass scene in Britain, that was quite novel for an American I guess?

JA: Somewhat. I got a crash course. In 2003 it was like nostalgia, Drum and Bass had been around for years. Lots of people would be at these clubs, and they would be dancing.

AAJ: Still a nice buzz off the movement.

JA: Yeah, most definitely, lots of people at these clubs dancing, and that informed my opinion of what music can be. You can still relate to people, there's always a way to relate. ...Quickly going back to listening parties, especially with Slumgum we played such different environments. We would play lots of places, jazz club, coffee shops, back houses of people who really wanted to share the music, they put music on, almost like a dinner party, like hey check out this band, we like them and want everyone in Albuquerque to hear it.

AAJ: Do you get those kind of requests quite often?

JA: Not necessarily, but it does happen a lot though. We don't do tours quite as often anymore, Slumgum are not on the road because Rory our pianist has moved to Vancouver, so we do less of those tours. As that band moved onto something else I've been focusing my energy on large ensemble writing. That's what I want to create more room for as I get older as a musician. That's the thing that I want to be spending my time on.

AAJ: Were you daunted by setting up this huge orchestra to do public work in this time? It's quite a challenge for a young guy? Surely it would be easier to get cash working in a quartet....

JA: Yeah, I know what you mean. I haven't made money on the orchestra. It is daunting. I'm 31, so I still have a couple more years before 40. I remember turning 27, and I'm like "I turned 27 and son-of- a-bitch I'm basically 40." You could just see the next 13 years just brush by.

AAJ: That's a long view for a 27 year old...

JA: Not even in a dark way. I guess a lot of times when you play music out. Basically there was a time in my life when I would pay my bills playing music out. I would play Seattle gigs, 5-6 nights a week, making $75 here, $150 there. Oh cool there's a $300 gig comes around, squirrel it away. Oh there's food at the venue, I'm going to pack 4 boxes to take home. Ok I'd take a bus boy gig for a couple of months just to get by, stuff like that you can do that for so long. When I was 20 I was playing bars in Seattle, I saw a 30 year old dude smoking outside the gig, he was so sad, his eyes were bloodshot...

AAJ: Are you him now?

JA: No. Almost. But that's the thing, I don't want to be him. Cos he said "I fucking hate playing in bars...." I wasn't even 21 and I loved it, I got to drink, play soul music, or whatever I got to do. I was like "Are you kidding me, this is the greatest thing ever...you get to play in bars and drink beer."

AAJ: The shine has worn off that then...

JA: Some of it, yes, exactly. When you see working musicians in their 40s and 50s and they are struggling to pay bills, and they have no healthcare, and they are trying to make it work, even if they have kids. It's a tough road man. Even gigging out, making that scratch here and there. I've been talking to musicians in LA who have been getting the same $100 gig for 30 years. That gig is not going on. And there are less people working on New Year's. If you hang around Musicians Union in Hollywood on New Year's everyone is like "F this, F that, I can't get a gig on New Year's anymore." It used to pay a lot better, it used to even happen. That thing's tricky. Of course there's the studio scene, really nice but you also have to be available at the drop of a hat.

What I've found over the years is that I really do enjoy teaching the most for making rent. At some point you have to compromise in order to make rent and pay bills and out of all the things I've done the most satisfying thing I've found is teaching. Right now I'm involved with 2 non-profits in LA that provide free music for kids in rough neighborhoods. I am the Jazz Program Coordinator for Heart of Los Angeles and I am the musical director for the Funk Orchestra for the Harmony Project. Giving these kids everything that I've gotten in these communities is incredibly satisfying and I'm very proud of the work I do in those places. I do less private sax one-on-one and I do a lot of ensembles and I do some work at a community college so I can piecemeal things together now.

But quickly, to do the big band. That came from the thought, if you're 27 you're thinking I got 13 years until I turn 40, do I want to pick up more wedding bands, do I want to work my way into more recording, or do I want to create an economy of myself. Certainly the riskiest proposition is doing that with 23 other human beings. It's extremely risky, but it's worth the gamble. At least at this point, at 31, if I really push, write new music, hopefully do some touring; even if it's just me going to different bands as a guest artist. If I can create some kind of economy around a large ensemble, that's what I want to be doing at 40. So I'm trying to make that happen. Because writing is the most fun thing in the world to do.

AAJ: People dismiss readily, we're so used to listening to big bands for adverts, films, TV, not many pay attention to go and listen to them live any more...Do you think that's something that a guy from your age group can make resurgence for?

JA: I DO! I think I am dangerously optimistic about it.

AAJ: It's very refreshing.

JA: Yes, totally, at least for now, talk to me in 5 years! Most universities have a big band. There are big bands all over the world now. There's this great band from Norway, Helge Sunde Ensemble Denada. They're outstanding and I love it. And there's an Austrian big band record I heard recently, the Marius Neset with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Lion. I was reading the New York Record recently. It centers mostly around NY scene but it reviews all these albums, man I saw 5 album reviews for big bands one in Pittsburgh, one in Philadelphia, ones in Norway....so many, it was insane.

AAJ: Are these new bands that you are seeing, or have they been around for some time?

JA: I think some of them have been around for a while but I don't know of them. For instance, Orrin Evans has a band in Philadelphia, and I've heard that name before, but I didn't know he wrote big band music. I recently checked it out it's fantastic. Then there's Dick Hyman, he has a new band, there again I've heard him in jazz, not heard his big band album. The John Lurie National Orchestra (he of "Paris, Texas" fame)..

AAJ: ...and Darcy James Argue.

JA: Oh yeah, Darcy Argue, he's got a great band in Brooklyn, the Secret Society...

AAJ: That's the one.

JA: That's a great big band in Brooklyn. I really do think its undeniable man. At the last concert I had, which was the CD release in July, we had standing room only at Blue Whale. A lot of people came out, not just my friends. Of course my friends and colleagues came out, but also a lot of people that I did not know. And a few of them that I was able to talk to after the show said "Hey I've been hearing about your band and I came and checked it out before and I just really like it." Or some older people, they obviously came of age in the 70s, they were talking to me about some other bands that I remind them of, one man in particular was saying, "This is an event, this was a really special evening." I really have a feeling that if people go out and see Darcy Argue's band, or Orrin Evans, this is a really cool band, the The Captain Black Big Band, it's a really amazing band -it seems that these are experience-based ensembles. The writing that I'm hearing, and certainly the writing I'm interested in doing isn't necessarily like a Thad Jones chart, because it's really tough for people to get their heads around that. I mean non-jazz musicians just don't have a frame of reference for what a big band chart is.

AAJ: Ohh! That's not fair.

JA: Well...

AAJ: I mean sometimes they do. OK, may be the under 30s might not reference it that much but there are still people 30-50 years old who haven't necessarily grown up with post-war big bands who would get it.

JA: Yeah, that's what I mean , I think that the newer stuff relates to more audience members as opposed to just the traditional big band chart. For instance, at my last concert a colleague and good friend of mine came with his wife. I play in LA traditional big bands with him and he writes great charts, and he's an amazing musician.

He came with his wife—who is not a musician at all. And he comes up to me after a gig about a week later when I'm at a rehearsal with him and he's like "Man I didn't really get your music, but my wife had her eyes closed the whole time and could've written poetry about it.." I asked him why he couldn't get his head around it and he said he was expecting more jazz changes, which for instance like the album Farewell, there are not a lot of jazz changes going on. More mood, more textures. And I told him "I'm really writing the music for your wife, rather than you."

I want to write music that is undeniable to any listener. The idea is that I'm writing music that I really genuinely heard. So that I could go on a long walk and sing through the whole composition in my head and if it would work all the way through in my head, then I knew I could go home and write it all out and work out all the details.

AAJ: Does Erin agree with you on that?

JA: My wife...Yeah, she does, absolutely. In fact, without getting mushy, she has my favourite ears. She can hear so deeply, she hears past technique, she hears past history, like 'Oh that's cool how he referenced that.' She listens right past all that and she can really hear a musician's intent. We can go to any concert and I love listening to what she heard. She can really read a musician and she feels music very, very deeply.

AAJ: I should talk to her next.

JA: She's incredible. Here's the thing, she does a lot of contemporary music but she doesn't improvise much at all. She has a woodwind quartet in town. No offence to any musician but I wouldn't insult her by calling her a musician. She's a spirit. She toured on a circus boat based out of New Orleans that had contemporary theatre, and she would act and play clarinet. She's been a sailor for a while; she's worked at a whaling museum. She's done all kinds of other things besides music with her life. She just happens to play clarinet, flute, saxophones, bagpipes and didgeridoo. And when she listens to music, she just listens right to the heart of it. So I guess in all of this music that I'm writing in some ways I'm trying to write something that my wife could enjoy. That to me is one of the highest tests.

AAJ: You're basically saying —coming from an academic point of view, I'm trying to use common sense here and trying to create as large a target audience as possible. Otherwise who are you going to play to?

JA: That is totally true and I would totally agree with you, that there is just a pragmatic approach to that. But then also, not only that, inside of myself I don't necessarily like to listen to academically dry music either. So why would I ever write music that I wouldn't even want to listen to? There was a time when I was doing these complex serial math problems on my own, and writing this music that I'd go back and listen to it, and say "You know, that's actually not very interesting."

JA: I can understand you doing that because you've gone through several intense years to deliver a reliable sound, put down muscle memory and practice....the fact that you've played with all these big players, you've gone through iterations and development. Some people don't see it as a step to get to the person they are at the end. It's all about balance isn't it?

JA: Do you mean when people get stuck in a rut, you mean musicians themselves?

AAJ: Yeah, from the beginning of our conversation to now, this barrier of academic idea, won't say prowess, but sharing of information, to use it in a beneficial way whether it's processing being in the tradition or moving on and trying to develop themselves in a more contemporary way....some musicians just stick with a concept and believe that is the crux of what everything is...and they just play it technically all the time.

JA: Yeah it's so true. By no means do I think academia is negative. It's almost just a natural artefact of having a structured system to teach a vibrant, wild music that came about through expressing pain and disenfranchisement; it's a raw emotional music. And when you do stick it in an academic setting the temptation is to talk about patterns and altered scales and musical concepts...

So all these musicians, I don't blame them, you get sent out into the world thinking "Hey, I'm the hottest tenor player at my school because I was able to internalise all these really complex patterns and so that's going to translate to real world success. " Well one of the greatest things a musician can do is play a ton of gigs and play a ton of gigs for audiences that aren't listening, and gigs of music that they hate, like the more shitty gigs you play as a musician, hopefully the more you can hone in on what it is that you love about music.

The thing that we (academically trained musicians) get myopic about—is the training, our specific approach to music is 'this,' and that's important because it set us apart at our university. But we have to consider how people listen to music, which is emotionally. At the end of the day we are designing an experience, some ten minute experience for people, even if we're playing a standard with a quartet. We're going to do ten minutes; five choruses each, something like that. We still have to take the audience somewhere, we can't just rely on the fact that we have been trained, we have a great sound and we can play triplet ideas. That's not how people listen. In fact that's not how most jazz musicians listen. They honestly listen emotionally too, like when they get right down to it.

AAJ: Well you have to, you are human.

JA: Exactly, that's the thing. It's a human experience. It's very difficult when you've been trained in that way. You know an equivalent would be like if you go to get a Master's degree in Psychology like Advanced Psychology, you're going to write some paper on a complex subject. If any lay person tried to read that paper they just wouldn't be able get past the language. Too many words they don't know, to understand the piece you would have to have another 20 minute lecture just to understand the piece. But then Malcolm Gladwell can write a pop psychology book with Outliers. Perhaps that psychology student would look down on Gladwell because "he's just writing pop psychology for the masses." Well, Gladwell is expressing some profound concepts to people, even if it's bubblegum to these really smart psychology majors.

At the end of the day if we have a Masters in Jazz we still have to convey a human experience for humans. We're not going to get hired to just think about Jazz at a Jazz firm. There are no think tanks for us to just go —aside from academia.

AAJ: Bringing in the other elements. In terms of all the other genres of music, you did a lot of soul gigs early on, a lot of these stepping stones, so-called pop jazz, this is the way people get into the deeper stuff anyway and they end up getting to the point that is complex at some point..

JA: I think the sweet spot, at least that's what I tried to do with Farewell, is that I hope someone who doesn't usually listen to jazz can still get something from it. They may think some of it sounds kind of weird but they can just listen to it and there's some tuneful stuff and some melodies. They can go home and be like "wow that was an interesting listen." And if they were so motivated, that by the sixth or seventh time they listen to it —now again, this is like a fairy-tale that people will listen to a tune seven times —they would get more information and depth out of it every time.

So I guess moving forward I'm really interested in not compromising, in writing something that really resonates with me, that I know is musical —that I know is beautiful. So that someone can listen to it just one time and have a surface appreciation for it. However, I always want to put enough depth in there and hopefully sophistication in there that if even a hard lined musician who's been around a long time and loves Sun Ra could even listen to it and they could get a lot out of it as well. I mean it's not necessarily something that I've achieved but it's definitely what I'm going for moving forward, is to have that so that it's good enough on the surface but there's tons of layers.

AAJ: Mentioning Farewell the final track on the album, Joon Lee is already a singer as well as a proprietor, how did that happen to get him on the album?

JA: I'd seen Joon play a few times. He would gig with a quartet they would play a 7 min stream of consciousness for a tune like "Stella by Starlight." Joon is a very inventive improviser and singer and I'd never heard anyone approach the vocals like that.

AAJ: You choose great voices, I watched your YouTube with the singer Dwight Trible.

JA: He's genius, brilliant. He's one of the greatest, no one sounds like him. Dwight uses his voice in a similar way, on a different end of the vocal male spectrum, where he is powerful, and also sensitive, Dwight has such an unbelievable vocal dynamic range. Joon and him both think of the voice as an instrument, they both use syllables, long notes and timbre shifts in order to work it in. Both of those singers are so fun to play with for that very reason. They aren't trying to get their song in their key where they sound the best, they're just musicians trying to find some fun territory that they haven't been before.

AAJ: It's a pleasure to listen to Farewell. The title track itself is fun to listen to, a mood, a good journey for such a long track it's not common to hold your attention for that length of time.

JA: I appreciate that.

AAJ: Can you mention something about Pitchlike Masses, that sounds like a fun band.

JA: Sure, there's one bandcamp pageThat band was only around for 3 years. It was all improvised around another vocalist, Billy Mark, he's since moved to Detroit. He's a brilliant vocalist, singer, rapper, and poet. I would play bass and chordal stuff on my MPC Sampler, and there was a drummer and a sound designer who did pro sound design, Ableton live stuff. We got off that topic. In LA in mid 2000s right as mid-town was gentrifying, there were a lot of these art parties, loft's and speakeasy's, where you'd have to know a password to get in and they'd go from 2-6am. We were playing these fringe, hip hop—noise scene parities. We were part of that. We did a lot of gigs around that time, we played a lot. We even scored a play at some point.

AAJ: In terms of the work you do in schools..., you mentioned that you do work with charities and young people. Sometimes it reads old to say you get a lot out of teaching those groups of young people, what's the progress rate like for young people trying to learn music? Do you see them persevering at playing where they may not have done so in the past?

JA: It's funny, when you teach at non-profits it's a trap to think I'm going to create a bunch of pro musicians, although the one good thing about that is you want to keep the bar incredibly high because a lot of times when you get kids from a not particularly good school, they aren't coming from places where upward mobility is being enforced all the time for a variety of reasons, that's another conversation. If you keep that high bar it's incredibly powerful. But more importantly there's so much that happens in a developing brain with music education that's so profound. If I can give them an experience to be proud of, getting them chances to solo, less talk about scales and more talk about expressing themselves, getting out there and coming up with ideas.

A big part of all my programmes is to encourage them to write either backgrounds for solos, or full composition and I'll help them develop it. If they get those experiences, even if they become a lawyer, I would like to think that the experience in the band, creating something beautiful with a lot of other kids is helpful to their brain development and confidence...If I can just provide a community for them to thrive in, that's what I'm going for. It's less about me coming home and saying "I did good work for underprivileged children."

AAJ: Sounds good. Some lucky kids learning music in LA.

JA: This is the last thing, I wrote this down a while ago and I think I say it more eloquently on the liner notes, but I want to say something about when musicians get in a rut, they say "This is what I do" and then they bang their head up the wall for 20 years and end up as jaded 40 year olds.

The whole concept of Farewell, that whole song was written about tearing down whatever you've built up about yourself, this vision that you present to the world, this is who I am, and this is important for these reasons. It's so important to purge, and let all that go, and kill this idea of yourself, and accept new things that come.

At the time I was writing that to say goodbye to a previous more adolescent version of myself, actually, in order to have a more successful intimate relationship with my soon to be wife. Musically, it was super important for me to let go, the academic in my head can be judgmental. If the music is not sophisticated enough it is going to want to marginalize it, say it's cheap, or compromised, or it's too pretty.

AAJ: Yeah but you've had accolades from Christian McBride now so that's not going to wash...

JA: Yeah, that's the hope. The idea—to continue to purge, continue to accept ideas that come out, it is a super important thing.

AAJ: It's nice that you use a quote from your wife because she's there in the background.

JA: Dude, she sure is.

AAJ: Cool. Thanks Jon. It's been great to hear about your album and your projects. Look forward to following your work with the orchestra.

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