Monday, June 24, 2013

Chamber Music America announces 2013 New Jazz Works grants

Michael Blake of World Time Zone
Photo by Andrea Boccalini
Hurray for nonprofits that support jazz! Like Chamber Music America. Founded in 1977 by 34 musicians, CMA has included jazz musicians and presenters among its grantees since 2000. Current jazz programs support composition, performance, and career development.

CMA today announced $208,500 in awards to nine jazz ensembles through its New Jazz Works program, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. From the press release:
The 2013 grantees are: World Time Zone, a saxophone trio led by Michael Blake; the Sheldon Brown Group, a Bay Area-based quartetthe Robin Verheyen NY Quartet; the Ben Kono Group, a quintet led by Kono on woodwinds; Manuel Valera and New Cuban Express; pianist Andy Milne’s hip-hop and rock-influenced Dapp Theory ensemble; the Alan Ferber Nonet, led by trombonist Alan Ferber; the Jacob Garchik Trio, joined in its commission by the Caravel String Trio; and Sicilian Defense, a quintet led by the trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson.
Earlier this year, CMA awarded an additional $116,8975 through its Presenting Jazz Program to concert presenters that engage U.S.-based jazz ensembles. From the press release:
The 2013 Presenting Jazz Grantees are: The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, presenting the Claudia Quintet;Carnegie Hall, presenting the Vijay Iyer trio; The Flushing Council for the Arts and Culture, presenting Jason Kao Hwang and Edge+4; the Jazz Bakery, presenting the Dafnis Prieto Sextet; Outpost Productions, presenting the Mary Halvorson QuintetOutsound Presents, presenting Kyle Bruckmann’s WrackRoulette Intermedium, presenting the Joel Harrison Groupthe Rubin Museum of Art, presenting the Samuel Torres Group; San Jose Jazz, featuring the Vijay Iyer Trio; Stanford Live, presenting William Parker’s Special Edition; and the Walker Art Center, presenting the Craig Taborn Trio.
Each Presenting Jazz grantee also received $5,000 to support general operating expenses related to their jazz programming. Presenting Jazz is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, which likes jazz a lot. Earlier this year, the foundation named the 2013 Class of Doris Duke Artists, and 7 of the 20 winners are jazz musicians and composers: Anthony Braxton, Billy Childs, Amir Elsaffar, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Miya Masaoka, Myra Melford, and William Parker. Each received an unrestricted, multi-year cash grant of $225,000, plus as much as $25,000 more in targeted support for audience development and $25,000 beyond that for personal reserves or creative exploration during (as the Foundation puts it) "what are commonly retirement years for most Americans." When do jazz musicians retire? Let's ask Wayne Shorter or Sonny Rollins.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cecil Taylor wins Kyoto Prize

Cecil Taylor at Moers Festival 2008
Photo by Michael Hoefner
Wikimedia Commons
Ben Ratliff's post in yesterday's NY Times:
The improvising pianist Cecil Taylor, a pioneering, influential and highly experimental musician and a longtime Brooklyn resident, is one of this year’s recipients of the Kyoto Prize, awarded each year by the Inamori Foundation in Japan, the foundation announced on Friday. Mr. Taylor, 84, is this year’s laureate in the category of arts and philosophy; different fields across technology, science, art and philosophy are considered on a rotating basis, and there has been a recipient in music every four years. (The last musician laureate in 2009 was the conductor and composer Pierre Boulez.) The prize comes with a cash gift of 50 million yen (approximately $510,000), to be given at a ceremony in Kyoto in November. This year’s other laureates are the electronics engineer Dr. Robert H. Dennard and the evolutionary biologist Dr. Masatoshi Nei.
Howard Mandel, author of "Miles Ornette Cecil: Jazz Beyond Jazz," was interviewed by BBC Newshour that night. Mandel noted that the Kyoto is Japan's Nobel, except it also includes musicians. This is the first time Japan has awarded this prestigious and lucrative prize to a working jazz musician. You can hear Howard's vivid profile of Cecil here, starting at 45:29.

Synchronicity: On Wednesday, at a reception for Ragamala Dance and saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa, who are working together on a new Walker Art Center commission, I met Herman J. Milligan Jr., an arts supporter, Artspace board member, and jazz musician who was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison when Taylor was artist-in-residence there. (Hiring black faculty was among the demands of striking students at UW-Madison in the late 1960s.) Milligan spoke about playing in an ensemble with Taylor, transcribing his music, and spending countless hours in practice and rehearsal.

I've seen Cecil Taylor live only once, at the Ted Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis on February 19th, 2000. The now-on-hiatus Northrop Jazz Season and the Walker Art Center had partnered to bring him here. According to the Walker website, he performed with his new quartet: Joe Locke on vibes, Santi Debriano on bass, Jackson Krall on drums. Another website, Cecil Taylor Online Sessionography, has him playing with his trio that night, with Dominic Duval on bass and Jackson Krall on drums. Which is correct? I'd love to know, since the question of who Taylor played with that night has come up in conversation many times since then.

Cecil Taylor Online Sessionography posts this set list for the Ted Mann performance:
1) Untitled Improvisation (Taylor) 55:10  
2) Untitled Improvisation (Taylor) 34:00 
3) Solo - Taylor (Taylor) 1:40 
4) Untitled Improvisation (Taylor) 6:50
I remember that 55-minute opening improvisation, because as soon as it ended and intermission began, people fled the Ted Mann en masse, which meant that HH and I could move closer to the stage. I was fascinated. I had never heard or seen a performance like that in my life. I seem to recall his bassist (Duval or Debriano? I'm pretty sure it was Duval -- I'm picturing a white man, with long hair) laying his bass on the floor and kicking it, but that could have been something I dreamed later. When the concert was over, I felt I should receive a diploma -- that I had graduated from a crash course in free jazz/improvised music. Taylor reached into my head and opened my mind. He opened it in such a way that it has stayed open ever since. I knew from that point on that I could listen to anything. That didn't mean I would like everything I heard, just that I could listen without being put off or intimidated.

In March 2009, I spoke with photographer and filmmaker Chris Felver, whose documentary film "Cecil Taylor: All the Notes" was screening at the Bryant Lake Bowl on March 5. Felver said it took him "probably 20 years" to make the film, and that "I had to hang out with Cecil for 10 years to find out what the hell he was doing." Herman Milligan remembers meeting Felver when he was following Cecil Taylor around.

These are all small stories, the sort that many people who hear a lot of live jazz gather over the years. You store them away and forget them until something like the Kyoto comes along and you remember them again. I'm glad to learn that Taylor, now 84, has won this award. Maybe more people will become aware of him as a result. Maybe someone can update the information that pops up when you do a Google search for his name. He didn't die in 1981, and his last album was not "Jazz; The Smithsonian Anthology." If you happen to be in Willisau, Switzerland in September, he's playing a solo set there.



Filmmaker Chris Felver to attend local screening of his Cecil Taylor film

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reid Anderson's "The Rough Mixes": Concert review

L to R: Steven Copes, Sunmi Chang, Tony Ross,
Jeff Ballard, and Reid Anderson
Video image by Cristina Guadalupe
Photo by John Whiting
Anticipation was a theme of Reid Anderson’s “The Rough Mixes,” a new work for chamber ensemble, percussion, electronics and video that debuted at the SPCO Center earlier this week. 

It was for those of us who know Anderson from The Bad Plus, for which he plays bass and composes. (This would be his first public performance on electronics, his first composition as a jazz artist to include classical musicians. Would he still sound like Reid?) It must have been for Anderson himself, who has been working on this project for more than two years. And for presenter Kate Nordstrum, who kept it alive through her own job changes and a labor dispute at the SPCO that lasted several months.

How was the show? Probably not what some people expected, based on where electronic music has been. “The Rough Mixes” is not, for example, "Switched-on Bach” (traditional music made with synthesized sounds, but still totally recognizable) or Varése’s Poème électronique (a mosaic of found and new sounds linked by pitch and repetition). It’s not Subotnik’s all-electronic “Silver Apples of the Moon." And it’s not trance, although I wondered briefly if it would be, because earlier I stumbled across two trance/techno pieces written by someone else named Reid Anderson. “NOT mine,” Anderson wrote in an email. “I just listened for a few seconds… Not mine.”

His opening phrases on synthesizer were so melodic and warm that you knew you were in for Reid-style beauty. Jeff Ballard softly shook a small rattle, and then came the strings: SPCO concertmaster Steven Copes and Sunmi Chang on violins, Minnesota Orchestra principal cello Tony Ross. There were seven movements, some of which flowed into each other and some of which seemed made up of several short, discrete parts. 

It sounded like contemporary classical music acquainted with jazz. It was minimalist and complex, smooth and spikey, baroque and Bach-ish, melodic and abstract, soaring and elegant. Varied in tempo and mood, it was a lot of things. The classical musicians had plenty to do, which doesn't always happen in mergers like this one. Occasionally, Anderson said afterward, they improvised. 

Cristina Guadalupe’s video enhanced without distracting. From a Rorschach-like pairing of trees and sky falling into each other to drops on a window, floating heads, a fencer, waves on a beach and snowy fields, it made the experience of listening larger and more immersive.

The electronics were the biggest surprise. Anderson used his laptop, synthesizer, and controllers like delicate brushes, shading, refining, framing and filling in, adding dimension and color but never overpowering the other musicians. If anything, he might have been too subtle. Maybe because “The Rough Mixes” is an initial effort, he acted at times more like a conductor than a member of the ensemble. He could have given us more of those interesting electronic sounds.

Seated between the chamber ensemble (to his right) and Anderson’s table of equipment (to his left), Ballard stitched strings and electronics together with the finest of threads, adding intricate polyrhythms, his own vibrant colors, and the shimmer of brass. His imagination seems limitless, and he’s fascinating to watch and hear. In fact, Ballard is so compelling that he could have stolen the show. He didn’t, but I can’t imagine “The Rough Mixes” without him. 

Later, Ballard described how it was to play the piece, using words like “landscape” and “geology" and "layers.” He's forming a new band with Tigran Hamasyan, Lionel Loueke, and Anderson – on electronics.

Combining electronics with classical and jazz instruments in live performance, making electronically generated and altered sounds part of the mix (rough or otherwise), seems inevitable. Anderson’s piece is part of that process, a natural evolution in music. Other composers might look to "The Rough Mixes” as an example of how it’s done.



Sunday, June 16, 2013

More from the Reid Anderson interview

Reid Anderson by Cristina Guadalupe
On June 18–19, musician and composer Reid Anderson will perform a new work called “The Rough Mixes” as part of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s “Liquid Music” presentation series curated by Kate Nordstrum. 

“The Rough Mixes” is an evening-length piece for chamber ensemble, percussion, electronics, and video. The chamber ensemble includes SPCO violinist and concertmaster Steven Copes, SPCO violinist Sunmi Chang, and Minnesota Orchestra cellist Anthony Ross. The percussionist is Jeff Ballard, currently a member of the Brad Mehldau Trio, Joshua Redman’s Elastic Band, and Fly with Mark Turner and Larry Grenadier. Cristina Guadalupe is the videographer. Anderson, best known as the bassist for The Bad Plus, will play electronics.

Until now, electronic music has been a personal passion for him, his "other life." You can hear bits of his work with electronics at the start of “On Sacred Ground,” The Bad Plus’s reconstruction of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring,” and at several points during “Made Possible,” their most recent studio album. But these are never performed live. On the road, the band remains acoustic. 

I spoke with Anderson by phone on June 4 for an article that appeared in the Minneapolis StarTribune on June 16.

PLE: Let’s start with your background and fill in some details. You were born in 1970 in Golden Valley, Minnesota. Where did you go to high school? Did you graduate from Curtis?

Reid Anderson: I went to Armstrong High School in Plymouth. I did graduate from Curtis [the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia].

At Curtis, you studied classical music. When did you turn to jazz?

I took a sort of unnatural path from jazz to classical music and back to jazz. I was interested in jazz first and foremost. When I was finishing high school, I was very much interested in jazz and playing electric bass; I didn’t yet have an acoustic bass. I thought I should take some lessons and contacted [Twin Cities bassist and educator] Gary Raynor. He said, “You should get an acoustic bass, come back, and we’ll start with basic classical techniques.” I got together with him and took to it naturally. Then he suggested I seek out Jim Clute with the Minnesota Orchestra. [Clute was the Orchestra’s associate bassist; he also taught at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, at St. Olaf College in Northfield, and at the University of Minnesota.]

I entered the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire with the intention of learning how to play jazz. To be a music major, I had to be in the orchestra, so I was doing that and studying with Clute. One day Clute said, “I think you could get into Curtis if you wanted to.” He had sent a couple other students to Curtis. I made that my goal. I really wanted to get to the East Coast, and I saw that as my ticket out.

I got into Curtis and was sort of a rarity there. I had only been playing bass for a year. Everybody else had been playing all of their lives. And I had no experience playing classical music – a little bit at Eau Claire, but on a very limited basis.  So I went to Curtis totally inexperienced and also a bit conflicted because I felt I was setting myself on a course I wasn’t sure I wanted to be on.

I couldn’t deny the fact that in my heart of hearts, I couldn’t see myself as a classical bass player. It just wasn’t the kind of creative space I personally need in my music-making. After three years, I told my teacher I wanted to graduate and leave. [By then] I had enough credits. I could have stayed another year but decided I needed to pursue this other thing in my life.

Up to that point, for the years I was in Curtis, I hadn’t even thought about jazz. Toward the end, I started thinking I’d better figure out how to be a jazz musician. I started playing around Philadelphia with some great musicians there, then moved up to New York, and the rest is history.

You have very little web presence. Even your article on Wikipedia is a stub. Why is that?

I’m not somebody who has the energy to put into that. Anyone who knows me knows that if you send me an email it could take me two weeks or more to get back to you. I want to put my energy into other things.

For a lot of artists I really like, there’s a lack of information out there. I find that appealing. We don’t all have to be fully exposed, fully knowable to everybody. These days, there’s a lot of pressure to have a Facebook page and a Twitter account and update your Wiki. I think there’s another side that’s also valid and to me more interesting.

This isn’t a personal philosophy. Maybe it’s just pure laziness.

Will “The Rough Mixes” be your first public performance as an electronic musician?

I’ll say yes. I did one little thing a couple of months ago where I made noises with a friend in a bar in Brooklyn. I was happy that when I plugged things in, everything worked. I considered that a trial.

What do you mean by “The Rough Mixes”?

It can mean a lot of things. Something happens when you’re creating anything that’s sort of that first draft. It always has something magical in it. It’s full of potential. I like that state of things. It’s a fragile state.

I don’t want to get too wordy or philosophical about the title. I just like the energy of those moments. Confluence happens, congruence happens, and something comes out of that. It’s all individual elements, and they’re completely indifferent to each other, but there’s a meeting point. I see it as a society where all of us individuals are doing things. We encounter each other sometimes and interact with each other and move on, but just because we move on doesn’t mean there isn’t some kind of larger interaction going on.

In the end it’s music, and music is abstract.

It’s an incredible opportunity to perform your first music in front of an audience, in a very public forum. It’s something I have worked on for a long time, but it’s high-risk.

I’m deeply interested in and have a real love for … I can’t say “electronic music” because that’s such a wide thing, but I love the potential of what you can do with those kinds of sounds. It’s still such new territory, but I connect with it personally.

You’ve said that Charlie Haden was your main inspiration for playing bass. Did you have a main inspiration for playing electronic music?

Yeah, of course. It feels clichéd to say this, but Richard James of Aphex Twin is truly the untouchable master as far as I’m concerned. That’s the music that really turned me on to electronic music, and I still find it deeply moving.

Talking about your influences is a funny thing. On a number of levels, you can’t be what you love. It’s a tragic situation. You just can’t do it, and you have to guard against it as well.

Have you had any teachers for electronic music?

No, I’m an autodidact. But pretty much everybody is. You can study electronic music, but the people who really are doing it, generally speaking, didn’t get a degree.  Electronic music is modern folk music. It’s something that everybody has ready access to.

What do you listen to?

I’m not a big music listener, but I recently bought a turntable. I have a lot of records, a lot of classical music. I’m pretty eclectic in my listening habits, when I do listen. Like everybody. That’s the most common thing in the world these days.

You’ve often said that your music with The Bad Plus is “part of the jazz tradition.” Does your electronic music belong to a particular tradition?

I really don’t think so. I have to admit I’m a total outsider in this world. I’m not part of the community of people making electronic music. I’m just at this lonely outpost, trying to do something that is personal and trying to find a way to do it. I don’t know if I would choose that option, but I have to admit that’s kind of what it is.

In an interview with Duke, you described “Rough Mixes” as “basically a chamber music piece – two violins, cello, drums – with electronics and video.” Why that particular configuration?

Since this is my first foray into this, I really wanted to keep it simple and contained. Just balancing those elements is enough.

Drums aren’t usually associated with chamber music.

Electronics aren’t, either. Jeff Ballard is going to be an important bridge between the strings and the electronics. He’s a great soulful musician, a great improviser.

Now that you’re working with strings, would you ever write for full orchestra? It seems a lot of jazz musicians are doing that lately.

Having come this far [with “The Rough Mixes”], I think it might have been easier conceptually to write for full orchestra. When you’re dealing with two violins and a cello, there are certain practical considerations. It’s not the sound of a full orchestra, it’s an intimate sound, and when you add electronics and drum set, it’s easy to overwhelm. I’m very conscious of that.

Have you felt any pressure to write certain things or in certain ways because you’re composing for classical musicians? Compositions for classical and jazz musicians can sometimes sound more like bits of music on parallel tracks than true collaborations.

That’s been my entire existence for the past year. It’s a tricky thing. I’ve come to this:  I’m not thinking of myself as an electronic musician, I’m thinking of myself as an improviser, a musician who’s very interested in electronics and how to incorporate that into live music-making. Because I know a little about the classical world, I want those musicians to feel very comfortable.

Are you asking the classical musicians to improvise?

Not per se. Some things are going to have to be sussed out in rehearsal, to see what everyone’s comfortable with. I’m not going to put anyone in a position that’s out of their comfort zone. It won’t be improvisation per se, but the way the music is set up … I mentioned “congruence” earlier. There are independent elements that aren’t concerned necessarily with the other elements around them, but their coexistence makes something. As a composer, your job is to set up the right conditions so it’s not chaos.

What do you want from the classical musicians?

I really only want people to play their hearts out. That’s all I require. I hope they’re challenged in an enjoyable way.

What has been the most challenging part of working on “Rough Mixes”?

This is all such new territory for me. Even though I feel the integration of electronics with live musicians is very much a part of the music-making quest these days, trying to come up with a personal solution from scratch has been … engaging. It’s all very abstract up until the point of performance. There are all these abstractions in the air. I’m trying to tether them down with whatever I can.

I see a lot of people out there trying to develop ways of performing electronic music live. One criticism of electronic music as a live art form – and it’s a valid criticism – is you just hit “play” and [the computer] plays a song, like a deejay playing records. That’s an oversimplification, but to some extent it’s true. The technology has reached a point where it’s now possible to be more interactive. There are a lot of people putting their energy and thought into how to do that. It’s still the Wild West, but it's full of potential.

Does it feel like you’re making live music?

Yeah, it does, because basically everything I’m using is something I built myself to do things I want them to do. Even though there’s so much incredibly capable commercial software out there, sometimes, oddly enough, there’s no easy or obvious way to do things that seem easy or obvious. I approach the whole process of making electronic music from my experience of being a live musician and improvising. I think, “What do I want to have happen here, and how can I make it happen?”

It’s not like putting your fingers on the strings of your bass – or is it?

It feels like that to me. Of course, the physical sensation, the tactile sensation is very different. But there’s still an emotional sensation.

I’ve heard people say that electronic music is cold.

It can be, but a lot of music is cold, not just electronic music.

What kinds of equipment are you using?

I have a computer, a couple of controllers, and a synthesizer with knobs and buttons. The computer controls everything. There’s a lot of stuff going on in the computer.

What can we in the audience expect to hear on Tuesday and Wednesday?

Generally speaking, this is music that unfolds at a fairly leisurely pace. There’s a certain amount of minimalism involved. I feel connected to the idea of minimalism, not in any dogmatic sense, but I once heard John Cage say, “Familiarity can breed love.” I like the idea of becoming familiar with something, of melodies you want to hear again, things you like better when you hear them again and again. Not to say this is a minimalist piece, because it’s not, but it certainly engages that concept. It’s definitely part of myself as a composer that I don’t attempt to deny.

Any closing words?

I’m realizing I don’t quite have my spiel together about this. But that’s what happens when you’re entering a new realm. I’m not someone who puts the words first and then does the work. I would rather do it in the other order. I guess that in a way explains my lack of web presence, too. It’s really important for me that the work speaks for itself.

There is one thing I will say about “The Rough Mixes”: Electronics is a part of this music. It’s not electronic music.


Reid Anderson’s “The Rough Mixes” will have its world premiere at the Music Room at SPCO Center at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, June 18-19. Tickets ($10 adults, $5 children) are available online or by phone at 651-291-1144.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Reid Anderson prepares a 'high risk' project

Reid Anderson by Cristina Guadalupe
Originally published in the Minneapolis StarTribune
June 20, 2013

Reid Anderson, the Twin Cities-bred bassist of the jazz trio the Bad Plus, will appear twice this week in St. Paul, but he won’t be playing bass, jazz or with the Bad Plus. He’ll perform music no one has heard, in concerts that almost didn’t happen.

Anderson’s “The Rough Mixes” is an evening-length work for chamber ensemble, electronics and video, featuring musicians of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Originally set last December as part of the SPCO’s Liquid Music series, the world premiere was rescheduled because of the orchestra’s lockout, with fingers crossed that the labor dispute would be over by the end of the 2012-13 season.
The gamble paid off, and Anderson had a few extra months to work on what he calls his “high-risk” project.
“As we speak, I’m madly trying to whirl this thing into being and into shape,” he said earlier this month from his home in Brooklyn.
Electronic music is Anderson’s “other life” outside the Bad Plus, his in-demand band with Twin Cities drummer Dave King and New York pianist Ethan Iverson that spends much of each year touring.
“I love the potential of what you can do with those kinds of sounds,” he said. “It’s still such new territory, and it’s something I find myself turning to when I choose to engage in music these days.”
The Copes connection
For “The Rough Mixes,” Anderson will be joined by SPCO violinists Steven Copes and Sunmi Chang, Minnesota Orchestra cellist Anthony Ross and percussionist Jeff Ballard, a member of pianist Brad Mehldau’s jazz trio. Brooklyn-based architect Cristina Guadalupe created the video and will be there to control it live.
“The video will be quite minimal and abstract,” Anderson said. “I wanted the piece to be an immersive experience.”
Copes, the SPCO’s concertmaster, met Anderson when they were students at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. They took different paths but have stayed in touch. It was Copes who first suggested to Kate Nordstrum, Liquid Music’s curator, that she contact Anderson.
“He had this intense classical training, and he’s just a very smart guy,” Copes said. “I knew he would do something interesting.”
Anderson is responsible for some of the Bad Plus’ most memorable tunes, including the achingly beautiful “Prehensile Dream” and “Silence Is the Question,” music full of classically Romantic longing.
Liquid Music is all about bending genres and crossing boundaries, so when he told Nordstrum, “I want to do something with electronic music and strings and video, I’ve never done it before, I don’t know how to do it, but that’s what I’d like to do,” she said, “That sounds like a great idea.”
“Kate’s my hero,” he said. “When someone places that kind of trust in you, it’s a big responsibility, and a big gift.”
Nordstrum said she took her cue from Copes: “Steve is a traditional classical musician, but he really respects Reid and thought a project with him would be cool. Reid’s work as a composer made Steve believe that he could write well for a chamber ensemble. ... The heart of ‘The Rough Mixes’ is a collaboration between Reid and Steve.”
Ballard’s involvement also traces back to Copes.
“It wasn’t my initial intention to have drums,” Anderson said, “but Steve mentioned that [the SPCO musicians] really enjoyed playing with Jeff on the ‘Highway Rider’ project,” a work by Mehldau for jazz ensemble and chamber orchestra that had its world premiere with the SPCO in 2010.
Copes recalled, “We were all hypnotized by Ballard.”
When worlds collide
Projects that mix jazz and classical musicians can be challenging. Jazz musicians improvise; most classical musicians don’t. Often, the classical musicians end up with too little to do while the jazz musicians go on too long — at least, for those who have come to hear the classical musicians.
“This is not an uncommon experience when these worlds collide,” Anderson said. “I’m trying to strike a balance. One of my concerns is that the strings sound great and get to play at the level that they deserve to be. ... I’m trying to make music that shines a light on everybody. That is the central consideration.
“Fundamentally, I’m a very practical composer. I like my music to be playable. I like people to feel they don’t have to make some big conceptual stretch to understand what’s happening and get fulfillment from playing the music. The core aesthetic hurdle might be that this music involves a certain amount of not listening to everybody.”
What can the audience expect? Those who have only seen Anderson with his big double bass — meaning anyone who has seen him before — will be surprised by what he brings to the SPCO Center.
“I’ll be on stage controlling various synthesizers and samplers and directing traffic,” he explained. “I will be an instrumentalist like everyone else, just playing the computer.”
Have a little faith.“My music is very melodic,” he said. “I believe in melody.”
What: World premiere of composition by Reid Anderson, performed by Anderson, Steven Copes, Sunmi Chang, Anthony Ross and Jeff Ballard, with video by Cristina Guadalupe.
When: 7:30 p.m. Tue.-Wed.
Where: The Music Room at SPCO Center, 408 St. Peter St., third "oor, St. Paul.

Tickets: $10 adults, $5 children. or 651-291-1144.