How did the DB3 come about?
I first heard Guillermo with his group Beat Kids; they were using a computer and a poet and it was very hip-hop-oriented. Then I played with him in William Parker’s Curtis Mayfield Project and I heard another side of him. I was introduced to Michael at An Die Musik by a friend and we started working in Philly doing duets.
How did you become interested in mixing free playing and earlier kinds of jazz?
When I moved to New York in 1965 all the gigs I was handed were avant-garde gigs, but the Archie Shepp groups, for example, were quoting Ellington. And I always felt that I needed more bebop/post-bop knowledge. Over the next 20 years I kept learning pieces, sometimes out of curiosity, other times because they were assigned to me. I was on the NPR Jelly Roll Morton centennial with Dick Hyman and Wynton Marsalis; I realised afterwards it had changed my feeling and technique for the better and I wanted to really get those pieces mastered. I like to mix things up; if I have to be screaming all the time it becomes very unpleasant. As I’ve aged I’ve found it a lot easier to see the music as one. Even popular music like hip-hop — the improvisational process is one and the same.
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