improvising across cultures

Last week on the Open ears Music Series, we had the pleasure of hosting the fabulous Dutch trombonist, Wolter Wierbos. The musicians for the night were all trombonists. In addition to Wolter, there was Big Sam Williams (Big Sam’s Funky Nation, former Dirty Dozen), Mark McGrain, Rick Trolsen (Neslort, Gringo do Choro, former Bonerama), and me. Wolter played a solo set, then we played each possible duo combination, then a grand finale with all five of us. It was all freely improvised music.

There were a couple of things about the evening that were interesting to me. None of these things should be surprising, but I marvel at them every time anyway. The first marvelous aspect of the evening was how 5 trombonists from rather different musical and cultural backgrounds can find common musical space so quickly and easily. I guess aspect 1a would be how we each can pretty readily leave our comfort zones in search of good music. Secondly, I was pleasantly surprised that 40-50 people hung all night and listened to the five trombonists. This shouldn’t surprise me, because I thought the music was good, so it should follow that people would want to hear the good music. That number of people willing to stretch their ears (in New Orleans) is very encouraging.

You can hear what happened here, and see some of it here.

2 thoughts on “improvising across cultures”

  1. Oh, man, that sounds like a fun gig. Wolter played with my group when we were in the Netherlands — he brought out a whole new dimension to the music, I’ll never forget it…

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