Yes In My Backyard: Download Peter Evans' "micro"
Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.
Queens trumpeter Peter Evans blats on the bleeding edge of out-jazz while also circling the fringes of noise-punk, sound design, and Rothko-like colors of pure tone. Although his music leans towards the dissonant and disorienting, Evans has a tender, forgiving touch with his instrument--a gentle love cry that towers over both the herky-jerky bluster of his quintet and the punkjazz splattercore of side-project Mostly Other People Do The Killing. Earlier this year he dropped his second CD of solo trumpet pieces, Nature/Culture, an ambitious double CD of live and studio works released on Evan Parker's label Psi. Nature/Culture is a brutally stark document: sometimes working as subtle be-bop, sometimes working as blurry honkgaze fluttercore, and sometimes capturing pure, honest sound at its most fragile. Opening track "micro" manages to squeal out gorgeous dueling microtones--like Tony Conrad jamming with Pita Rehberg, maybe--and even packs an enormous whallop of Hendrix-level feedback... only, you know, it's all somehow coming from some dude's lips.
Photo by C. Neil Scott
Peter Evans on "micro"
What inspired "micro"?
Sort of difficult to say. I don't really play pieces "inspired" by any specific thing. A lot of times, whether live or in the studio, a lot of what determines what I will do in a piece is the time limitation. So in this instance I might have decided to do something in the two-to-three-minute range, which then led to a certain area of exploration and structural unfolding of sounds. I called the piece "micro" after the fact, since in terms of timbre and structure it seemed to be a miniature version of the next piece on the album, which stretches to 18 minutes and is called "macro."
When you perform your solo trumpet pieces do you think about think ambience and texture of the room, or do you think only of the notes coming out of the horn? A blurry, echoey production makes your pieces exciting--which is more of a "rock" thing than a "jazz" thing...
I definitely look at recordings as a completely separate art form than performance, which is so commonplace in the realm of pop music it doesn't even need to be stated. In improvised music and straight-ahead jazz, that mentality is not universally accepted. Disc 1 of Nature/Culture was absolutely conceived of as a recording and not a live performance; there were mics placed in many different places to give a sense of not only what the trumpet sounds like in the room, but what it sounds like to me while playing. The second disc was deliberately recorded in a way to capture what my live shows are like, so that doesn't just refer to the way the music was played, but also the choice in room and placement of mics. I enjoy the DIY sound of stuff being recorded without too much preparation. I am a huge fan and defender of Coltrane's Olatunji Concert--the "shitty" sound quality is part of the music and not a detraction!
What made you want to release a CD of solo trumpet solos--let alone a double CD of trumpet solos?
Well, the first one [2006's More Is More] wasn't intended to be an "album," it was more a matter of circumstance. I had access to a great room and a great engineer and decided to record some solos in the afternoon and a solo concert at night. The experience made me more interested in solo playing. I find solo playing to be very fun, challenging, and not totally understandable, which are qualities of musical performance I really cherish.
The idea of a double CD came about because as the studio album started to take shape, I began to realize that it wasn't really going to be a document of what I had been performing for the previous couple of years. So, I thought it would be good to kill two birds with one stone: record a live album and release both CDs together. It was pretty exhausting, but it documented enough stuff that now I feel won't make another one until the music has changed substantially again.
What do you think about when you play?
Ideally, nothing. Maybe the music but hopefully not even that!
Tell me about the quintet, what are your goals in this band? Ideally, what role do you like your sidemen to play?
To work in the parameters of Jazz music in a way that I find challenging and interesting and to find new ways of interacting with live processing. Since I started playing with various computer musicians I had an idea to take it out of the realm of totally "free" playing and see what happens when there are pre-set compositional elements. Being processed is a weird sort of musical interaction that not everyone knows how to deal with, especially when they are also trying to navigate a tricky composition. But everyone in the group is pretty tuned into what I'm going for and likes the live electronic component, so I couldn't be happier.
What's your favorite place to eat in Astoria?
Zlata Praha, a Czech and Slovakian restaurant off the 30th Ave. N/W stop. Sausages, dumplings, gulash--my kind of food. They have a lunch special from 11a.m. to 3p.m. weekdays where you get a ridiculous amount of heavy, delicious, Eastern European food for $6.95. Impossible to beat.
Download: Peter Evans, "micro"
The Peter Evans Quintet plays tonight, December 3, at The Stone.
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