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Su Terry: BLOG

UFO Trio

Posted on September 20, 2012 with 1 comment
Last year I started a "series" at the Deer Head called Meeting of Musical Minds. The first event featured myself with the great trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, with Bobby Avey (Thelonious Monk composition competition winner) on piano, Evan Gregor on bass, and Mike Stephans on drums.

I call it a series but it doesn't have a regular schedule, it's just when I decide to put an event together. The criteria for a MoMM event is that all the players have to be deep--as in profound. They also have to be free from the ego-driven stance that some players have. Because it's all about listening to each other and sharing the spotlight, musically speaking.

The idea is that when these musicians play as a group, incredible music can be made. There is a focus on improvisation, especially collective improv where everyone is creating the arrangement right on the spot. This is fun for the audience as well, because they get to see the creative process at work.

For the second MMoM, I chose pianist Jesse Green and bassist Gene Perla to be my musical partners. Anyone who's ever heard Jesse knows that he not only has chops up the whazoo, but also he is one of the most inventive musicians alive today. Gene has what we musicians call "big ears", meaning that he can hear and instantly understand whatever someone else is playing, and come up with a bass accompaniment that is absolutely perfect. He is also a fine soloist.

I asked Jesse and Gene to play acoustically so that I could play passages in the lowest register (the chalumeau) of the clarinet and still be heard. The audience complied as well, you could hear the proverbial pin drop in the rests. We played mostly standards, but we made up spontaneous arrangements. We also did some completely improvised selections that were amazing!

At the end of the last set, the audience would not stop applauding so we had to do an encore, which is extremely rare at the Deer Head because the gig is 4 hours long already! So we did a final improv, and I'm still kicking myself that I didn't record it. Gene started it with a really hip Latin-y bass line, and Jesse and I entered at the same time and it developed from there. It actually sounded like a fully-formed tune.

Because we so enjoyed this gig, we are going to try and keep the group going with some more engagements. We had had one short rehearsal at Jesse's house, and afterwards we were watching UFO footage on YouTube, so we are thinking of calling the group UFO Trio.

uggs

October 6, 2012

Your works make me hopeful and peaceful!