Tomeka Reid: On the Rise

by Troy Collins


Tomeka Reid                                                                                                      Courtesy of Tomeka Reid

Originally from the greater Washington DC area, Chicago-based AACM member Tomeka Reid has honed her improvisational skills for the past decade and a half as a sideperson to such luminaries as Anthony Braxton, George Lewis and Roscoe Mitchell, as well as contemporaries like Dee Alexander, Nicole Mitchell and Mike Reed. She also co-leads Hear in Now, a string trio with New York-based violinist Mazz Swift and Italian bassist Silvia Bolognesi. Reid is poised to become one of the preeminent improvising cellists of her generation with the eponymous release of Tomeka Reid Quartet, her first album as a bandleader. Adding to this auspicious occasion is Artifacts, a collaborative all-star recording with fellow AACM members Nicole Mitchell and Mike Reed celebrating the Association’s 50th anniversary.

 

Initially conceived for her working trio with guitarist Matt Schneider and bassist Josh Abrams, the quartet featured on Reid’s self-titled debut features both Chicago and New York-based musicians, as suggested by Reed, who served as the session’s producer. Reed proposed guitarist Mary Halvorson and drummer Tomas Fujiwara, whom the cellist had played with in Living By Lanterns, one of Reed’s recent collaborative projects combining musicians from the two cities. Reid sought out Chicago bassist Jason Roebke, completing the roster. The ensuing date showcases Reid’s improvisational mettle, memorable writing and keen arrangements, in addition to her magnanimous leadership abilities.

 

An impressive combination of ebullient swing and elegant deportment, Tomeka Reid Quartet is a phenomenal record. Reid and Halvorson’s contrapuntal soloing on a cover of Eric Dolphy’s angular “17 West” generates palpable excitement right from the start, while the folksy phrasing of “Billy Bang’s Bounce” recalls the inexorable joie de vivre of the late violinist’s own work. Though classically trained, Reid isn’t afraid to groove, as demonstrated by the slinky “Woodlawn,” with its serpentine contours and understated vibe. The entire session regales with a palpable sense of shared discovery; whether the foursome are engaged in the roiling post-bop of “Super Nova” or the melancholy deconstructed lyricism of “The Lone Wait,” their collective chemistry is remarkable.

 

Artifacts is an equally spirited endeavor whose roots lie in a concert conceived by Reid in early 2015. Composed of nine covers all written by AACM members, ranging from founders like Roscoe Mitchell and Muhal Richard Abrams to more recent colleagues like Jeff Parker and Ed Wilkerson, the varied collection spans the Association’s visionary legacy, encapsulating the entirety of its stylistic approach, from Braxton’s thorny “Composition 23B” and Abram’s equally knotty “Munkt Munk,” to Steve McCall’s lyrical “I’ll Be Right Here Waiting” and Wilkerson’s celebratory “Light On The Path.”

 

Coordinated with the release of these compelling albums, I interviewed Tomeka Reid in the autumn of 2015.

 

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Troy Collins: You’ve become a ubiquitous presence in the Windy City jazz scene since moving to Chicago in 2000, but some earlier biographical information might be of interest to readers unfamiliar with your background. Where are you from originally?

 

Tomeka Reid: I was born in DC and raised in Maryland. My mother grew up in southeast Washington and chose to raise my sister and I in Maryland where we’d have a shot at better public schools.

 

I was always drawn to music. My mom was a big Soul Train and Solid Gold watcher and I remember watching those shows with her and wishing I could sing and dance. I actually asked for a piano (and a brother) for Christmas every year. I didn’t get either but I think I nagged so much that I did get a mini Casio keyboard that I cherished for years. It only played one note at a time which was a little frustrating but I composed a bunch of songs on it ... didn’t really know that’s what I was doing at the time but somehow I even thought to write them down. Unfortunately, I didn’t actually know how to write music so the little bits and pieces of sheet music that I have left are full of numbers and dashes, indicating the scale degrees but not the rhythms.

 

In fourth grade my mom put me in a French immersion school where detention was the punishment for speaking English. I knew not a lick of French, I mean nothing. All the other students had started in kindergarten or were from Francophone countries so I was pretty much pulled out of class all the time, like an ESL student, to do some crazy catch up. Luckily, instrumental music was introduced that same year. A girl I had befriended on my school bus and I chose the cello based on the fact that all the girls were picking the flute and violin and we thought of ourselves as “tomboys.” I also thought, being new to the school, that maybe by playing this big instrument, kids would pick on me less. That kind of back-fired but I grew to really enjoy music class because my teacher was really awesome and ... we could speak English there! Being new to the school and not knowing French, made making friends a challenge. My self-confidence was also shot because I was put in the lowest of everything because of the language barrier. We took all of our subjects in French. So, I became less outgoing and super shy. As I was already drawn to music, music class was a huge comfort to me because it was a new activity for everyone and I didn’t have to feel like I was so behind, as I did every day in my regular class. My orchestra teacher noted my enthusiasm and got me a scholarship to take private Suzuki lessons but my mom was not one for parental involvement of that kind so that didn’t last long.

 

I didn’t take lessons again until I could afford them on my own in 10th grade. I attended the Levine School of Music in Georgetown and studied with Oliver Edel. I was fortunate enough to be a part of their PAL program that provided a substantial tuition reduction for low income students. I remember telling Mr. Edel that I wanted to study cello in college and he kind of laughed at me. Apparently he thought I was a lot younger than I was even though at that point I was a junior in high school. He did his best to prepare me and had me audition at the University of Maryland, College Park where his girlfriend, Evelyn Elsing was the cello professor. Thankfully she took me because I was once again super behind for an incoming freshman.

 

Attending Maryland was great but also traumatic. Traumatic because I felt like I was in 4th grade all over again. The cellists in my studio were mostly graduate students from conservatories like Manhattan, Juilliard and even Curtis, with super fancy cellos and there I was ... barely able to vibrate in 4th position and still borrowing a plywood cello from my high school. I had some major catching up to do! Ms. Elsing was extremely generous and went through all of the cellos used in the music education string classes and picked out the best one which she let me use throughout my time there. She actually gave me the cello to use in grad school and I played on that instrument until it met its demise just last year over the course of two flights. Going to Maryland was also great because I was surrounded by so many great cellists. Mr. Edel hardly played in my lessons during high school so I still didn’t have the sound of the cello in my ear. The work ethic of the cellists at Maryland was inspiring and most were encouraging to me.

 

Towards the end of my time at Maryland, I had a mentor who encouraged me to try improvising. He would drag me into a practice room and hand me lead sheets with symbols that I did not understand! But we kept at it and would play some cafe gigs here and there. I would say he was the first to really push me into improvising.

 

I made two visits to Chicago during my undergraduate year, one of which I stayed a summer and auditioned for a local orchestra that rehearsed downtown called the Classical Symphony where I met some other black musicians. That was something new for me because I always felt like the only one. That experience really cemented my desire to move to Chicago. I became really good friends with the flute player of that group, Nicole Mitchell, and once I finally moved to Chicago in 2000, she would ask me to join her band.

 

TC: Who was the mentor that first encouraged you to improvise?

 

TR: His name is Dr. Sais Kamalidiin. He was the “super tough” theory teacher at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts where I attended for a semester before the school found out that I actually lived in Maryland, which meant I’d have to pay $3,000 which we couldn’t afford, so they kicked me out. I tried to convince my grandma to let me use her address so that I could stay, but she said that it would be a lie and that the Lord would not approve! Ha! So I ended up finishing high school at Bethesda Chevy-Chase HS. I would run into Sais throughout high school as he worked at an amazing record and bookstore called Olsson’s when I would be in Georgetown hanging out before and after my lessons at Levine.

 

When I went to Maryland he was finishing up his doctoral degree and so we kind of reconnected. I was always a little afraid of him because he was “the super tough theory teacher from high school” and I was still this kind of weird, shy, nervous kid (it’s so funny to think about now) and still felt bad about having to leave the school. Anyway, whenever he would see me in the halls he would always mention someone’s ad about needing a cellist for a rock band or some other ensemble outside of my classes and that I should try. At that time I was not so open because I was really feeling the heat of being so behind in classical cello repertoire. I didn’t see how I would have time to fit in anything extra. I studied abroad in Salzburg the summer after I stayed in Chicago (and met Nicole) and when I came back I saw him again and for some reason, I think between living in Chicago and going away, the experiences opened me up a bit. I would now run into him all the time on the school shuttle as he also drove for them while he was finishing up his studies. This time he asked me specifically to play with him. We would meet in Tawes Hall practice rooms and he’d have some Rufus Reid bass lines and I would play them while he soloed. We did this a lot and he actually became more than my mentor. He learned a lot about my family life and kind of took me in and became a father to me. His wife even made my senior recital graduation dress. Whenever I’d come home from Chicago for the holidays or just to visit, I would stay with him and his family. I still go home and visit with him. He has treated me like a daughter and still does. Whenever I refer to my dad, it’s him that I mean.

 

TC: Were you aware of any other improvising cellists when you decided to become a musician?

 

TR: No, I was still very much thinking about the classical route. I had interned at a place called Strathmore Hall in Rockville, MD and got a chance to meet the Turtle Island String Quartet and remember thinking that that would be cool to play some other styles. A friend of mine also gave me a cassette of an all-women’s cello quartet ensemble called just “Cello” I think and I remember really loving that. But again, I was still learning cello and had this strict idea that I couldn’t do any other kinds of music until I could play sonatas and concertos and stuff like that. I remember a bass player at Maryland lending me what I think was Eric Dolphy’s Out There on CD, but I wasn’t ready and I couldn’t understand what the cello player was doing! Ha! And now “17 West” is the first track on my record!

 

I definitely became more aware of other improvising cellists once I moved to Chicago. I started seeking out recordings. I really fell in love with Abdul Wadud’s playing even though I still didn’t quite understand it. I had an Uptown String Quartet recording and I was introduced to some Deidre Murray/Fred Hopkins recordings by a great friend, CC James.

 

TC: How did you arrive at your particular sound? Were there any influential teachers, mentors or musicians that inspired your current direction?

 

TR: Well, it’s funny because coming to Chicago and the scene I fell into, it was all about finding your own voice. Nobody I was hanging with was really down with playing standards, in fact if you quoted something like a lick or pattern in your solo they would literally musically bomb you and squawk all over your solo! It was very much find your own sound, do your own thing. I think it was good, but sometimes it would make you freeze up, because sometimes you wish you had those licks or patterns or something to hold on to at least to get you started, you know? And for me, I didn’t grow up listening to jazz or in church so I didn’t have things to reference really. We listened to soul music up until about 2nd grade and then there was this drastic switch to what was called progressive or alternative rock. I was that weird kid who loved Elvis Costello and the Cure in elementary school. We hardly listened to any music by black artists except the rare black rock artist like Living Colour or Tracy Chapman. The closest thing to jazz in our house was maybe some Sade recordings. So, I didn’t have a lot to pull from in that way. I started listening to jazz more on my own in college because of friends and my mentor. I remember hearing Coltrane plays the Blues and Stuff Smith in college and being totally blown away, but again, I was thinking “I need to get this classical stuff together,” so much that I didn’t try to figure what he was doing.

 

One suggestion my mentor gave me was to transcribe some Oscar Pettiford solos on cello. From there I discovered Doug Watkins and Sam Jones and Calo Scott. Wadud’s style was hard to transcribe even though I have recently transcribed a couple things off of his solo record, By Myself.

 

I really love the mixture of out and in playing. I am always striving toward getting better at both. But I love mixing the textural sounds over changes and going back and forth. It’s more fun and interesting to me.

 

TC: In addition to memberships in numerous bands (Dee Alexander’s Evolution Ensemble, Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble, Mike Reed’s Loose Assembly, et al.) you lead a number of unique groups yourself, besides the new quartet: a trio with guitarist Matt Schneider and bassist Josh Abrams; and co-leading the string trio Hear in Now, with violinist Mazz Swift and bassist Silvia Bolognesi. What advantages and challenges do you find in contributing to so many different groups?

 

TR: Well the quartet is actually an expansion of the trio with Matt and Josh. Initially I was working off of the idea of the New York String Ensemble and that’s how I came up with the idea for the instrumentation. I’m a big Billy Bang fan! I wanted to add drums though.

 

The biggest challenge was finding time to play in all of them. It just seemed that all of these groups (the led, co-led and sideman groups) started to gain some traction around the same time and I used to work full-time as a teacher. Now that I have quit that, it makes it a little easier but the planning is still hard. I think a great advantage is that I get to play and learn from so many great people. Each one of the groups kind of calls on me to have a slightly different role so it keeps me musically on my toes ... I’m never bored! Being a part of so many things I have to really be conscious about setting aside time to write new music. That can be a challenge time-wise – for me at least. I still haven’t totally gotten the knack of writing on the road. I still like going into a practice room and hanging out all day singing and recording ideas and banging them out on the piano or plucking them out on my cello.

 

TC: How did Hear in Now come about?

 

TR: An Italian promoter by the name of Lalo Lafoco brought the three of us together for a one-off concert at a women’s jazz festival in Salsomaggiore-Terme, Italy. We flew in the day of, played the show and Mazz and I stayed up all night listening to the performance and really liked the result. The concert was on my birthday, so besides feeling like it was the best birthday present ever I felt like it was fate in a way. We all felt a chemistry between us and decided to keep the group going, albeit without any further assistance from Lalo. We pitched in and helped Silvia get a ticket to New York that following January and recorded many of the tracks that were on our debut record. It’s been a challenge keeping the group together mostly because of logistics, each of us living in different places but somehow we’ve made it work! We will enter our 6th year as a group this December 5th.

 

TC: How do you approach writing for each of your ensembles? Do you typically write parts specifically geared towards your band mates’ strengths, or do you embrace a more egalitarian approach, where the tunes themselves are more open to interpretation by different groups of players?

 

TR: I suppose I do a little bit of both. Much of the repertoire was written already for the quartet album before I enlisted Mary, Tomas and Jason. Usually I am inspired by a person, such as Billy Bang or my mother, for example, or maybe a place that leads me to write a composition. I know definitely moving forward with this quartet I will write more with their strengths in mind.

 

For Hear in Now it’s pretty much the same, as we had to play a concert of music before we even knew each other. Now I would say that I definitely think about their individual styles when I write.

 

TC: How do personal and stylistic dynamics shape the inner workings of your various groups?

 

TR: I think personal and stylistic dynamics definitely shape the inner workings of the groups I work with. I feel like we’re usually all on the same page musically or what we individually do compliments everyone else, so it’s like a love connection, usually! In my quartet for example, I like that there is a musical connection between Mary and Tomas and then between me and Jason and how we are able to join those two scenes together. I think there is an appreciation for playing out and in, everybody is just really open so it works. In Hear in Now we each come from our own different scenes: Mazz coming out of a lot of folk and rock music; Silvia being from Italy, heavily influenced by American jazz yet retaining her aria-like sensibilities; and myself coming from Chicago. I feel like we share a lot of similarities but our differences make for a really varied sonic experience.

 

TC: Let’s talk about Tomeka Reid Quartet, your leadership debut on Thirsty Ear. One can hear a real sense of joy in these performances (the album reminds me of early Black Saint and Soul Note recordings made by fellow AACM members). Something cornetist Kirk Knuffke said when I interviewed him recently seems apt here. He said:

 

“I often question whether some people I hear even like their own music. Love is the most important thing, loving the music. And I’m interested in the aspects of playing that I love from the entire history and the sound in my head ... I don’t think about moderation, moderation is boring. I think about elation and different kinds of it.”

 

I hear that elation in your work as well. Similarly, most of the projects you’re involved in feature both pre-written material and spontaneous improvisations. What are your thoughts regarding “pure” free improvisation compared to more traditional theme and variations-based strategies?

 

TR: I love both. I’m finding that I’m loving to perform purely free these days. That used to be such a source of anxiety for me ... to be so naked and create something from nothing in front of people and sometimes with people I’ve never improvised with! Used to totally make me feel uncomfortable, but now I really dig that experience because of the way it forces me to listen and explore my role as a cellist in that particular situation: Do I solo? Do I become a member of the rhythm section? What can I do to make something happen? Sometimes it comes out great and sometimes it’s so-so, but either way you learn something from it and I am definitely a lifetime learner. I like being pushed and even though I am sometimes stubborn, I like to be forced out of my comfort zone.

 

I also enjoy through-composed settings and pieces with structure that include improvisation. It’s nice to know where you’re going sometimes but it’s also really nice to know that if you end up somewhere else that’s ok too!

 

TC: You mentioned that you are usually inspired by a person (or place) to write a composition, such as “Billy Bang’s Bounce,” from your self-titled debut, for example. “Woodlawn,” from the same session, possesses an incredibly sinuous groove; what was the inspiration behind that particular piece?

 

TR: That is actually an “older” composition that I performed at my very first gig as a leader at Fred Anderson’s Velvet lounge. I wanted to write a blues for the set as a nod to Chicago, home of the blues, since I felt that that is where I really grew up as a person and a musician. Woodlawn is a neighborhood just south of Hyde Park and is kind of a slept on part of town, to me anyway ... well a lot of the south side is, but that’s a whole other story. It’s got some gritty parts but also it’s really nice. So I just wanted to show it some love. It’s also where I bought my first place.

 

TC: In a similar vein, “Glass Light” is incredibly evocative; its lyrical melody unfolds at a glacial pace that lends it a virtually film-noir ambience. What was the motivation for that number?

 

TR: That piece was originally written for the soundtrack to The Hairy Who, a film about the Chicago Imagists. I really liked the piece and thought about doing it with the quartet. The original version is me laying cello parts accompanied by drummer Adam Vida. It was an interesting process writing for the film. The production company just gave me words to write music for. I never actually saw the film until it was completed. In this case the word was “moody”. I just retitled it to “Glass Light.”

 

TC: Well it certainly is moody, but even more significantly, it has a memorable melody, which isn’t an essential component for atmospheric soundtrack music – or free improvisation, for that matter. Your approach on the other hand is very lyrical and engaging, seemingly less concerned with odd intervals and unusual time signatures than maintaining a strong melodic line, which is somewhat rare these days. Can you address how you balance basic foundations like melody, harmony and rhythm with more abstract concerns, such as texture, tone and timbre in your compositions and improvisations?

 

TR: I don’t think that I am actively trying to balance these ideas, I just really like the meshing of variances in texture/tone/timbre along with melodic ideas. I think the two areas can co-exist and that it provides, for me anyway, more interest. But I’m not thinking “OK I don’t want this to be too out for too long, or too in.” I like to just write out some ideas or a tune and if during the playing it goes into some other spaces that are more abstract then cool, if not, that’s cool too. The option is there. Definitely, with the people that I play with, I feel comfortable allowing the music to go where it does.

 

TC: The instrumentation of your quartet parallels cellist Diedre Murray and bassist Fred Hopkins group with drummer Newman Barker and either Brandon Ross or Marvin Sewell on guitars, which released Prophecy (About Time, 1991) and Stringology (Black Saint, 1994). You mentioned being familiar with those recordings, but I wonder if that band inspired the configuration of your current quartet?

 

TR: I am familiar with them, but as I mentioned, my group initially started as a trio and I was thinking more about the String Trio of New York. I wanted bass for sure and then I wanted a harmonic instrument. I like the idea of all strings so I chose guitar over piano. I decided to add drums so I guess that would make it closer to their group, but I wasn’t really thinking of that initially.

 

TC: I’m under the impression that Artifacts (482 Music) was initiated by you, primarily. The collection spans the AACM’s entire history, from Roscoe Mitchell’s pre-Art Ensemble “Jo Jar” to Jeff Parker’s “Days Fly By With Ruby,” which is based on Fred Anderson’s “Bernice.” I assume this was a conscious decision to address the AACM’s ongoing vitality? Can you give a little background on the project?

 

TR: Steven Peters of Good Shepard Chapel reached out to me about coming Seattle, Washington to perform. He shared with me a further backstory about him being in conversation with cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and Fred mentioned my name amongst others of the current generation of players trying to keep the music alive and so that’s when Peters reached out to me.

 

There was a thought for having my quartet, but I think there was a budget issue, so then I thought why don’t I do a sort of shout out to the AACM? It’s the organization’s 50th anniversary this year and many of the events they were scheduling I was not going to be able to take part in because of my own schedule, so I thought about trying to do my own celebrating by including AACM-themed programs on a few of the gigs I had this year. I thought about Nicole Mitchell and Mike Reed because as much as we have done within and outside of the organization, we hadn’t played together as a trio before and I love the both of them very much. They’ve been in my corner from the beginning and so it just felt like it could be good. Both of them were excited about the idea. For a student performance I was doing in Vancouver and in Chicago, I thought to arrange some AACM compositions to expose the students to the legacy of the AACM and Mike thought that maybe we should do that within this trio. Everyone liked that idea as well so we each chose songs we liked. I guess word got out about the band and we started getting asked to play festivals before we even really played any gigs yet, so we decided to record the tunes as well. We’ve played about seven gigs already and will do one more performance this year in Poland. We definitely want to keep the group going but will probably also include some of our own compositions for the next record.

 

TC: The arrangements featured on Artifacts are also unique, since almost none of the tunes that were selected had been performed (or at least recorded) before by this particular instrumental configuration. Were there any challenges in getting these tunes across the way you wanted using the instrumentation you had available?

 

TR: Not really. I feel really lucky to perform with such open, flexible and creative individuals. I’m basically playing the bass role in the ensemble which I really like doing. I would say a tune like “B.K.” is close to the original instrumentation. But I like that it’s different. It gives a fresh take on these great works and maybe it might inspire others to listen further or to think outside of the box regarding instrumentation. I know that Nicole is really excited to incorporate some of her electronics into the group.

 

TC: In addition to Nicole Mitchell’s use of electronics on Artifacts, you mentioned Fred Lonberg-Holm earlier, who is well-known for augmenting his cello with a wide variety of efx. Have you ever used or considered using efx with your instrument?

 

TR: I actually have. I’ve bought pedals throughout the years but have yet to incorporate them with any regularity into my performing style. I have one of those cool Line 6’s that I’ve used on occasion and I recently bought this pretty awesome loop station, but I still haven’t really gotten down with it. I actually really like the idea of making sounds acoustically that simulate what an effect could do. I’ve been really into using some preparations as of late like pencils and clips. They offer a really cool sound that’s super percussive so I really love that. I’d like to explore more though.

 

TC: How do you feel about studio recording compared to live performance and how does that affect your playing in each situation?

 

TR: I definitely enjoy live performance more. I’ve done it more often so I feel more comfortable there. This year however, I made a point to record in some capacity monthly. It was a good exercise because it’s nice to have this documentation and my level of comfort there has grown.

 

Actually, for my quartet record we initially recorded in February 2014 before the group had its first gig. The takes were good and the gig went great. As a result, we got asked to play the Chicago Jazz Fest later that year and played another gig that same night in Milwaukee at the Woodland Pattern. I set up another session date for the very next day. We went in and then played the whole set from start to finish. The energy was really great and those takes are actually what made the record. I think we just knew the repertoire more and having just rehearsed and played a bunch before I definitely felt more comfortable. I think I will do the same thing next time. It felt more live that way.

 

TC: What are your thoughts on the state of the recording industry at large, especially in regards to archival copies (CDs, vinyl) versus more ephemeral formats (downloads, streaming)?

 

TR: Hmm ... it seems like the older generation still enjoys buying CDs, getting them signed and reading the liner notes. I feel like people still buy them at shows. I don’t personally subscribe to any streaming services because I feel like it’s kind of a bad deal for musicians but I know that by having those services available people can have more access and learn about players they may not have been aware of before. I personally like having a vinyl record or CD in my hand, I like books too. But that could be because that’s what I grew up on. I like having the thing in my hand.

 

TC: Are there any artists you derive inspiration from, or that you currently enjoying listening to?

 

TR: Definitely my string heroes: Billy Bang, Abdul Wadud, Stuff Smith, Muneer Fennell, Calo Scott.

 

I’ve been running around quite a bit lately and haven’t been able to check out too much new stuff. I would say I’m still really digging Oliver Lake’s recent organ quartet album! So great! I kind of get stuck on something for a while and that’s definitely one of them. I’m also a big fan of AACM composers such as Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, Nicole Mitchell ... I definitely see more live music than I’ve been listening to records these days.

 

TC: What projects do you have planned for the future?

 

TR: I am about to start raising money to put on the second edition of the Chicago Jazz String Summit in 2016. The first one we did was really fun and well attended. I hope that it can be something that could happen annually.

 

I’m really excited about a duo recording I made back in April with a really great Chicago saxophone player, Nick Mazzarella and I’m hoping that can get released next year.

 

The quartet will be doing a string of shows in January and March and some other things that I am working to solidify for later in the year. I’m also planning to record new compositions with the group. I’m hoping to release a live string recording of a performance from the Hyde Park Jazz Festival of a commission that I was asked to compose in dedication to the residents of Dorchester, a block in south Chicago. So there’s quite a bit! There has been such great energy as of late. I’m really excited to see where it all goes. I want to keep growing, writing, playing, practicing and seeing where this journey takes me.

 

© 2015 Troy Collins

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