Some years ago I realized I owe my life in music to my college days at the University of Buffalo. I was a rock/soul drummer-kid from Niagara Falls who quite by accident parachuted into a new music paradise: the world of Morton Feldman, John Cage and, most importantly for me, the percussionist Jan Williams. He simply said, “look,” and there it all was, an entire universe of music I never knew nor could ever have imagined existed – music for percussion: bold, forward-thinking, impossibly imaginative, crazy, exhilarating music.
After school I again parachuted down, but into quite a different new music paradise: New York City in the 1980s and the world of ‘Downtown Music.’
TERMINALS is a collision between and celebration of these two formative periods in my life, and the music that was made during them. In this work, the precise, unflappable, ‘classical’ percussion ensemble meets the wild, uncontrollable, ‘jazz’ master improviser in the forum best suited to such a meeting: the Concerto, a schizophrenic word which in Latin means to “come together” and in Italian means “to fight.”
Now SO Percussion and I want to record this piece – the final, definitive studio recording, and we are pulling out all the stops to get this done. You can help us with your pledge, and get some very cool stuff in return.
How about my original handwritten + computer generated first draft of this piece, written in a villa in Tuscany in the summer of 2010? This is a one-of-a-kind item, complete with paste-ups and cut-outs I had to get copied at the little stationery store in our small village by the owner guy who never smiled once in three months.
Or this: In TERMINAL 4, the drum set concerto, the percussion players must bring in and play “10 small items that are very personal to you and that have never been played in a percussion piece before.” Would you like to have either Jason, Eric, Josh, or Adam’s 10 pieces they chose to play at the New York City première and on the record? You can.
And who wouldn’t like to spend some hours in the studio with us as we record Nels Cline, Zeena Parkins, and John Medeski?
TERMINALS, five concertos for percussion ensemble and soloist. My attempt to reconcile a comic book conundrum that fascinated me as a child: “What happens when an irresistible force meets an immoveable object?”
If you can, help me find the answer.