Interview with Dan Oestreicher, currently with Trombone Shorty but also, saxophonist at large

Dan Oestreicher first hit the radar for this writer when he presented himself at a Naked Orchestra show at the Mermaid lounge and made clear that he should be playing with the group.  He did that for the rest of that evening and for a long time afterward.  

He played with many of the most forward thinking New Orleans musicians and frequently he is there right when they are looking the most forward.  This includes the The Other Planets, The Magnetic Ear, 3 now 4, James Singleton, Irvin Mayfield's New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Roger Lewis's Baritone quintet (where Dan is playing Bass sax instead of his more heard, Bari sax,) The Naked Orchestra, The Jonathan Freilich group, his own group- The Diesel Combustion Orchestra, and more.  He is seen playing some tuba and really tends to go very deep when he is exploring anything, but especially music.  He also knows a good deal about saxophone lore and trade as well as the other end of the spectrum, analog synthesis.

As he is in Trombone Shorty's band, touring constantly, he is in a unique position to discuss the current meanings and associations in the idea of New Orleans music (if there is really such a thing at all) and improvisation. His perspectives are well informed and if nothing at all show a blazing mind for inquiry and a fearless and healthy statement of opinion.  He could go anywhere from here.  If you were into horse racing you might see him listed in the racing form as one to watch.  

 

...Look to the end for heated debate.

 

The Interview (5/2/12)


Part 1-What Dan is up to now; the Roger Lewis baritone sax quartet+ bass sax; Roger, Tony, tim green, calvin johnson, shannon powell; jazzfest as a showcase for acts that aren’t playing around very much; “the guardians of the vault”; playing with Trombone Shorty and the perception of New Orleans in the world; ponderings about why Trombone Shorty is the current poster child for New Orleans music; the limitations of the idea of New Orleans music; bandleader, Trombone Shorty; Dan’s other musical lives in the past; New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and peoples’ perception of that in relation to the New Orleans music categorization; more on the liberations and restraints of being identified as a New Orleans musician; jazz in academia; musical priorities; the position of precise execution in the New Orleans instrument player’s aesthetic; brass bands and depth of rehearsal- Hot 8 Brass Band; Soul Rebels Brass Band.

Part 2- How Dan ended up in the Naked Orchestra; militant attitude towards certain music for growth; growing out of the results of mistaken assumptions; limited paradigms in jazz education; freedoms and an agenda unveiled in New York; Tony Dagradi and further doors opening with James Singleton's band; discussion of ideas for another approach to music education; The Other Planets and the "confluence of the downwardly mobile"; what is going on with "trad" in New Orleans in in the current scene; Anthony Braxton's 3 types of people that have to exist in music; "trad" musicians as an insular, isolated community; why is trad being chosen as the form of expression?; local economics of "trad"; the "trad" scene dissolution and what is coming in to replace it; the look of the Frenchmen scene; how Dan markets himself; how Dan became interested in traditional jazz at all.

Part 3- Changes in the current New Orleans music scene that are caused by economic changes; rehearsals instead of pick-up bands; trad and revisiting Aurora Nealand's (see her interview) discussion of gender role solidification; heated debating over the preceding issues; music becoming populist and away from the seperatism of bebop- more heated debate!; "in 2012 to be poulist is to be subversive!"; the central features of the expression of the Trombone Shorty band; egalitarianism in New Orleans brass band music; what Dan is working on now; Chazfest and the continuance of post-katrina community survival mechanisms; the constant influx of creative people to the city; search and restore.

Interview with Jeff Albert, Trombonist and curator of the Open Ears Series. Parts 1&2

Jeff Albert is more than a musician.  Like a few others interviewed here he has contributed to the New Orleans music scene through the Tuesday Open Ears series at the Blue Nile.  The series allows an open forum for a wide variety of musical performance.  It is a rare night where one can witness any sort of musical exploration. Through improving the breadth of what is presented he has contributed to  the formation  of musical groups and associations of musicians that otherwise would not have a place to develop their playing and ideas.  It also brings in adventurous groups from outside New Orleans.  Jeff has developed his own expression and his self- understanding steadily over the years.  He has learned a great deal from his own associations with musicians and gigs and he shares a lot about those experiences here.  There is also interesting information about the trombone and electronic music.

 

Part 1- How the open ears series came about, what it is, whether it is still doing what he wants, what it's relationship is to the reconstruction after Hurricane Katrina; influences of Chicago improvising musicians and how he formed alliances with those musicians; improvisation itself, what the relation is to jazz; tradition and lineage in improvisational music; early biographical information -growing up in Lafayette; starting trombone in band class and the pros and cons of that level of music education.

Part 2- musical aspirations as a starting trombone student; becoming conscious of jazz music; decision to be a musician and go to Loyola University over University of North Texas; J.J. Johnson; Clint Maedgen, Coltrane Live in Japan; studies with Dick Erb; early rewarding professional gig experience in horn sections; Pedro Cruz and latin music scene experiences; the feeling of being a professional musician and enjoyment of the lifestyle; urge for self-expression bubbling to the surface; comfort with computers and meeting John Worthington, the computer guru; becoming aware of the greater relative power of emotional playing; UNO for a masters degree and improving composition; learning strengths and limitations.

 

More on Jeff and the Open Ears Music Series can be found at www.openearsmusic.org

"Coherence Creating Scenarios." Interview with Dr. James "Jimbo" P. Walsh- composer, bassist, pianist, teacher

   ...fascinating from the second the record button goes down! Deep humanism...

Folks...This is not dumbed down.  If you really want to know about musical thinking check this!

   Jimbo Walsh plays around town with a lot of people. Amongst those are Washboard Rodeo, The Naked Orchestra, the real Davis Rogan, The Other Planets.  He also is a very deep and adept composer with a fascinating background that informs that practice as well as what he brings to the various "social music" groups.  that he plays with.  He has a heavy understanding of electronic music, and integration with the rest of the 20th century classical music dis-continuum.  

This is a very interesting interview in that it really examines concepts and ideas in music while relating it to Walsh's early biography.  Jimbo has the capability to integrate the highly complex with the very simple and he has no boundaries in the kinds of music that he is interested in or could become interested in.  He has made really interesting connections across the academic world and the world of the "alternative" scene.

The biographical arc to this interview only gets as far as the end of high school for Walsh.  We plan to get another one in to get a little further and definitely get deeper into ideas.

Part 1- Coherence creating scenarios, consciousness as a rationalization for pre-conscious mechanisms, music compositional systems as an analogue to the coherence creating system in society, how different coherence scenarios clash and cause difficulty in musical appreciation or communication, coherence and incoherence as a concept in western composition and how it integrates with other cultures, Pat Carpenter, Schoenberg's concept of the musical idea and organic unity, study and analysis of western musical classics, the heresy of organic unity in the post-modern era, beginning playing experiences, music in his family, affection for the Beatles, family dynamic, influence of Father and his engagement with philosophy.

Part 2- early biographical information relating to music; piano lessons, fat people on low instruments, first ideas and exposure to improvisation, lessons with Arthur Cunningham in jazz, the differences between that previous classical training, beginnings of recomposition and reharmonization, talent for music theory, the problem with current music theory teaching, becoming aware of relationship between music and society, exposure to Charles Mingus, Tony Williams, John Mclaughlin, LSD. 

Part 3- Complexity in music signifying consciousness expansion, opinions of LSD, more on aforementioned artists, "rocking," virtuosity, seeing the Rolling Stones/ Stevie Wonder, first experiences playing in New York live music scene, blues and emotional power, heyday of progressive rock/ fusion and backlash against it, more on Arthur Cunningham, Gullah community.