The Jazz Composers Collective on Creating and Performing
Jazz Composers Collective: Clip #9
FRANK J. OTERI: And in terms of audiences, and people coming to your music? I mean, your music can be appreciated by musicians and non-musicians…
BEN ALLISON: My favorite audience is a non-musician, or a non-jazz-connoisseur, actually, for the simple reason that they usually come with the least preconceptions about what it’s supposed to be, but then, you know, over the years, I feel like it’s so many different people. I used to feel very strongly about that, now, there are so many musicians and connoisseurs that are coming by and checking it out with an open mind that, thankfully, we can develop an audience. I think it’s grass-roots, like one person at a time.
RON HORTON: I would just like to say I’m glad that they come. Very grateful. Because all of us have experienced situations where we play for only a few people. My worst experience was playing for one person, and it was a very long set, and I was very grateful that that one person showed up, but…
TED NASH: Did they like it?
RON HORTON: They loved it, and that was important, but I would have to say that for me, my biggest worry is whether people will even come, because there’s so much great music all the time, and there’s only so much that people can go see, that I’m always grateful that they come out to hear us, or come out to hear me, or whatever, and I just hope that it continues, because we anticipate playing, I’m certain, for the next 20 or 30 years, and I just hope that people will always want to come out and hear what we’re working on.
FRANK J. OTERI: I find it interesting that it’s motivated by music and you’re a non-profit entity, which is somewhat unusual in the club world. I mean, here we are sitting at the Jazz Standard, a wonderful space with great sound and great audiences. There’s a great feel here, but you know, this is a business, it’s not a non-profit…
BEN ALLISON: This is a little unusual for us, to take our series under the rubrick of the Collective, into a for-profit establishment, although our individual ongoing projects, bands and whatever, play all the time in clubs, in festivals, all over the world, routinely, as much as we can. But to present something that is a Jazz Composers Collective Festival and do it in a club is a little unusual, but the Standard, without seeming too ‘pluggy’, is a great place. It’s kind of a unique club in New York in that I think that among the higher-priced clubs in New York City, I think they’re probably the most open-minded in their programming policies.
FRANK J. OTERI: It’s interesting. I was here last week for Andrew Hill. And it was fantastic. The band played a 45-minute continuous piece of music. And the audience was listening! People weren’t talking…
BEN ALLISON: You’re not going to have that experience in most places.
FRANK J. OTERI: I went to a gig at Iridium that could potentially have been fantastic. It was Charlie Haden and Geri Allen and they decided to go unplugged which could have been great, but it turned out to be a big mistake. It was 4’33" superimposed on that gig. The ambient sounds, dishes clinking, people talking, were louder than they were.
FRANK KIMBROUGH: This club is musician-friendly and audience-friendly…
BEN ALLISON: There you go.
FRANK KIMBROUGH: …which I find to be a real rarity.
TED NASH: And good food.
FRANK J. OTERI: It’s a little pricy, but it it good. [laughs]
BEN ALLISON: Hey, man, you know, it’s worth paying for if it’s good. I don’t mind.
FRANK KIMBROUGH: And keep in mind we’re not profitting by this gig, either.
BEN ALLISON: We’re still very much a non-profit.