Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

2,310

Marc Ribot: That's the Way I View It From New York

By

Sign in to view read count
AAJ: For the actual studio recording session that produced most of these pieces—this music is so based upon interplay. It's impossible for me to imagine this music being performed where you couldn't all see each other.

MR: We were all in the same room. It was at Bill Laswell's studio in West Orange [New Jersey]. We definitely had to be in the same room, yep.

Marc RibotAAJ: I think the song "Saints on this record is particularly great. There's a sense of slow, gathering tension and a feeling of potential energy. Of all the pieces on this record, this one acts the least like a clichéd song—it doesn't build to any traditional climaxes at all, but it still has a wholeness to it. It's self-contained. Mind you, that's a subjective interpretation.

MR: No, I hear exactly what you're saying. It's a lovely piece and that's nice. There's a tendency in this type of playing to want to build to the screaming, improvised climax on every one and that's a tendency that should be resisted. The object should be to stay in the language of the piece—not that we always realize that goal. Stuff goes where it tends to go, but that's the ideal.

AAJ: The other observation that I could make would be that a song like "Spirits, which is very celebratory to me, is a bit more solo-based than, say, "Invocation, which is about group polyphony.

MR: Yeah. We did sometimes fall into that. And Ayler is not completely devoid of people taking solos. It's like your memory of it is just people always blowing at the same time, but if you actually listen to it, that's not the case. Having said that, we probably fall into the solo format of standard jazz a little more than Ayler did, which is something we're working on.

AAJ: Well, I'm not anti-solo. Are you?

MR: I'm not anti-solo. I'm anti-cliché. I'm pro-solo when that's the right thing to do, but there are default settings for jazz players—it's the thing you do in your sleep that you hadn't thought about. You play the head, then people take turns playing solos, then the drummer solos last, you break it up, play fours with the drummer, and then you play the head again. I think sometimes that default setting works, and sometimes it doesn't. You do a whole night of that, your solos better be really something that's never been done before. The players might be really into it, but me as an audience member—I'm not into it. To see people on the default settings. There are people who are brilliant soloists. Now, whether historically that's what we need right now is another question. And whether it's better than the brilliant soloists I can go out and buy CDs by—that's a whole other question. Anything's possible [laughing].

I'll say this about the record. I'm proud of the record and I stand by it. But the story of that record is that we had a tour in Europe last year and we wanted to record in time so the record would be out, so we could sell it on the tour. In one sense, that's kind of a standard strategy; it's what we were supposed to do and we did it. In another sense, by the third night of the tour, we had so far surpassed where we were at the time of the record that, well, let's put it this way: I hope that we can do another one [laughing].

AAJ: I was going to ask you if the music was changing or mutating in performance, and now I think you've answered that.

MR: Absolutely. The band has gotten, I think, so good. For a while, we tried rehearsing, but now our latest thing is to just show up and hit. The Knitting Factory gig [that the group had just played] was okay, but this stuff doesn't really lend itself to a 45-minute format. It's like Lacanian therapy; you might go for 45 minutes, you might end up playing for 45 minutes, but you have to know that the runway is clear. You might be able to take off at a hundred yards, but you want the runway to be longer than that, because you never know.

AAJ: So you like knowing you can take a longer set.

MR: A 200-yard runway.

AAJ: You don't necessarily need to use it.

MR: You don't have to use it. You have to know you've got the space to do what you have to do. On the other hand, we did a gig at the Stone—I have a recording of it —and we've done other gigs, like one I have a recording of at Salzburg—we had people in Salzburg testifying. It was unbelievable.

AAJ: It sounds like you like playing in this band a lot.

MR: Yeah. It's really fun.

AAJ: How many tunes do you have? How many can this band play?

MR: At one time or another, we've probably gone over twenty tunes. Maybe a little more. We draw from an active repertoire of twelve, fifteen. Anybody can start any of them at any time. At the Knitting Factory, Roy was jumping into completely different tunes [laughing] in the middle of tunes that we were doing.

AAJ: I know you're somewhat over the record, since you've sort of surpassed it since its recording.

MR: No, I stand by it; I'm really glad we did it.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Michael League: Snarky Puppy's Jazz-Schooled, Grassroots Visionary Interviews
Michael League: Snarky Puppy's Jazz-Schooled,...
by Mike Jacobs
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Conor Murray & Micheal Murray: Putting Falcarragh On The Jazz Map Interviews
Conor Murray & Micheal Murray: Putting Falcarragh On...
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 29, 2018
Read Pete McCann: Mild-Mannered Superhero Guitarist Interviews
Pete McCann: Mild-Mannered Superhero Guitarist
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 28, 2018
Read Kris Funn: Bass Player, Story Teller Interviews
Kris Funn: Bass Player, Story Teller
by R.J. DeLuke
Published: November 27, 2018
Read Phillip Johnston: Back From Down Under Interviews
Phillip Johnston: Back From Down Under
by Ken Dryden
Published: November 27, 2018
Read Anwar Robinson: From American Idol To United Palace Interviews
Anwar Robinson: From American Idol To United Palace
by Suzanne Lorge
Published: November 25, 2018
Read "Leonardo Pavkovic: Nothing is Ordinary" Interviews Leonardo Pavkovic: Nothing is Ordinary
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 16, 2018
Read "Nik Bärtsch: Possibility in Paradox" Interviews Nik Bärtsch: Possibility in Paradox
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 24, 2018
Read "Vuma Levin: Musical Painting" Interviews Vuma Levin: Musical Painting
by Seton Hawkins
Published: May 8, 2018
Read "Thomas Strønen: Sense of Time" Interviews Thomas Strønen: Sense of Time
by Enrico Bettinello
Published: February 6, 2018
Read "Sidney Hauser:  Justice and Jubilation" Interviews Sidney Hauser: Justice and Jubilation
by Paul Rauch
Published: July 17, 2018