477 page paperback. This wonderful new book is a captivating compilation of interviews with extraordinary New York City improvisational musicians on the values and practices that shape their art. Radhika asks them about composing, improvising, leading groups, and about the relationship between their art and the audience. The book is a resource on the creative process, and tells a story of jazz at this rich time and place.
Featured artists: Andy Bey, Ben Monder, Billy Hart, Bill Frisell, Brian Blade, Butch Morris, Chris Potter, Dafnis Prieto, David Binney, Dave Douglas, Gregoire Maret, Henry Threadgill, Jane Ira Bloom, Jason Moran, Kenny Wollesen, Maria Schneider, Mark Turner, Robert Glasper, Steve Coleman, Thomas Morgan, Vijay Iyer, William Parker.
So beautiful to hear artists describe inspiration, and so encouraging to young people to hear that we all have doubts and fears. Laurie Anderson
I am reading it in small bites because I don't want to finish it and then realize that there is no more of it to read! :) It is a beautiful, well-written, well-organized book and fills a void in the world of jazz literature that has existed for a long time. I learned so much from just the first two interviews (Bill and Kenny are two of my favorite guys and I have seen them many times!) and it just keeps getting better and better. Really addresses a lot of things that other books don't and I think it is fascinating reading for musicians like myself and non-musicians alike. I have tirelessly promoted it to anyone and everyone that would listen. Thank you so much for having the vision to put it together and share it with us! David Dodge, Ypsilanti, Michigan
It’s truly a fantastic opportunity to have all those great artists expressing themselves about their artistic & musical lives in the same book. I think they are not so many great books on the same subject (I can think of John Zorn’s "Arcana", Lee Konitz’s "Conversations on the Improvisers Art"…). I hope you’ll publish someday a volume 2. Serge Lazarevitch, Castelnau le Lez, France
I was sure that book would be great, but it exceeded my expectations. Amazing book. I'm looking forward for Volume 2. Plamen Rumenov, Ibishev, Bulgaria
I really appreciate how direct your questions are towards music making, improvisation, and band leading. These are questions that not very many, if any, interviewers address. Also, these interviews are so valuable to students because they rarely get to ask artists these questions, much less dig into such depth on topics like composing, et all. Thanks again for the great book, looking forward to the next! Greg Belisle-Chi, Seattle, Washington
Thank you for an excellent and inspiring book, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the interviews. I think your questions were great and really got the best out of the various musicians involved, and what a great spectrum of them too! There’s plenty of top rate instrumental tuition around but for growing musicians I’d say your content is vital to read and learn from. The various music colleges should all stock and distribute your book as part of their curriculum! Have you thought about that? I’ve recommended it to my friends and continue to do so. I look forward to whatever else you might have in the pipeline. Chris Gale, Kent, UK
The whole concept of the book is great, because it allows you come into contact with a wide range of musical ideas; you've interviewed some of my very favorite musicians, and each single chapter left me with a different state of mind. "Being Here" makes you think a lot. When I was reading the book I was constantly relating my thoughts to the answers of these great artists and this has helped me a lot in making a little step forward in the shaping of my artistic personality. This book can be such a great tool for young musicians who are trying to be creative! I especially loved Brain Blade's interview, now I read it when I feel like I'm in need of inspiration. My plan is to spend some time in New York as soon as I feel "ready". Thank you for this helpful and beautiful book. Rugerro Fornari, Parma, Italy
I have almost finished the book. Every interview is a valuable resource, as some different aspect of musicianship seems to be revealed in each one. The dialogue flows like a good conversation. I think you are contributing a great body of work that is essential reading for anybody doing academic research in music. It is equally necessary for the student of the music, to hear the perspectives of the current masters in their own words. It opens a door to possibilities. The interviews are like lessons you would take if you sat down with Robert Glasper, Bill Frisell, etc. The type of knowledge that, to me, seems more important than what notes to play. Shane Landry, Eleebana, Australia
I received your book and am thoroughly enjoying it! I've recommended it to many people! Lots of wisdom in there. You've written a book that shows the importance of "staying in your lane", regardless of what other musicians or critics might think. The people you interviewed stay true to their passion for music, avoid categorizing their music, and appear to share what it's all about - creating music and placing your own unique fingerprint on it! Your work has given me a new approach to how I tackle the challenges of becoming a better sax player…You've highlighted some keys to success here and amplified the voices of talented musicians whose voices seem muted in the loudness of those determined to disregard a particular style of music. Thanks for writing this book and looking forward to other books on this topic! Charles Chaz Pratt III, Glendale, Arizona
I’m really enjoying your Being Here book of interviews ("conversations"). You certainly have a talent for getting these people to open up to you about their art! I've had the pleasure of meeting quite a few musicians between or after sets at Firehouse 12 here in New Haven, which programs performances from the creative world you seem to be representing in your conversations. I'm always struck by the fact that the most creative and inspiring musicians tend to be the most humble and eager seekers. Many thanks for your fine book! Timothy Nelson, New Haven, Connecticut