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Ingrid Laubrock INTERVIEW

Ingrid Laubrock INTERVIEW

Ingrid Laubrock



In the evening of November 21 st, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the most creative musicians of her generation. The German saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock.  

The interview was done one day before her live performance with, Andy Milne, the Canadian pianist, at the Fernán Gómez Theater, within the Madrid International Jazz Festival 2022

In&Outjazz: Hello Ingrid, welcome to the interview, thank you for coming.The interview is for In&OutJazz Magazine.  So very excited for having you and sending you these following questions. So I should start with the first one. I saw that during the pandemic you recorded duo series. Is that what you’re going to bring here to Madrid tomorrow with Andy Milne. Is that how it’s said? I think so. 

Ingrid Laubrock: Actually I started the duo series I think in 2017 o 2018. So it’s a series I’m recording for Intakt Records over maybe…, spaced out over a decade. So the first record was with Aki Takase, the second one with Kris Davis and Andy Milne was the third installment. So, you know, hopefully we keep going, yeah, over another like five or six years, spread out. But yeah, Andy is the person I’m bringing…

Tomorrow right? And like, on the different series of duets that you just said and you have recorded, what does Andy Milne…, like what’s his contribution, like his personal contribution?

I think for every player is very different and I’m deliberately trying to pick people who I, who have a really…have a personality and are great pianists and composers. To me, Andy was

the person…, like I didn’t know Aki Takase really well before I played, before I recorded, but I had played a concert with her already. With Kris Davis I have a long long relationship, and with Andy I did not have this relationship, I knew him personally but not as a…, I had never played with him. So it wasn’t much more…, you know? I trusted my instict…


…That this was going to work well because I knew him as a person, he’s a really great guy, I like his music and I like his thoughtfulness. He to me is more steeped maybe in the jazz tradition

Okay, nice!

Although Kris is too. And he just brings a really…, there’s a sense of adventure and also he has such beautiful ways of harmonizing melodies, of harmonizing improvisation which I really

love, and a great rhythmic proportion aswell


And on top of that he uses, he has a very subtle and beautiful way of using piano preparation which I’ve always really enjoyed


And one of the concerts that I saw him perform was with his quartet with Benoit Delbecq and two japanese koto players whose names I can’t remember right now. And it was just a, there was a subtlety to it that I really, I thought it was beautiful

Yeah, nice. So can you tell me something about the duos that you’ve recorded with Tom Rainey? He’s a drummer right? It’s different from recording with a pianist right? Like, the interaction is different…

Sure…I mean. You’re basically monophonic as an instrument, right? As a melodic instrument when you play with drums. So you have to come up with different solutions. We Recorded over the whole pandemic, what we tried to do is to include a lot of compositions by friends or by people that we knew, so it felt a little bit like…We would bring our friends into the room and rehearse with them because we were so cut off from everybody in New York. So there was a sense of…, like…, we’re working on our friends music or we’re working on composer’s music that we adore, but we’re trying to find adaptations for this unusual duo, because that was what we had. That was the only possibility of playing music that we had, and it was really fun and moving for us, moving kind of creative…excercise in a way you know? To adapt large scale pieces and just play them on drums and saxophone. It was a good creative endeavor in a way, not to try and find out solutions of making something different every week

Very nice, yeah sure. Well, I think I know a few more people that do this kind of format, this duo format. I’m thinking right now of Ben Wendel. I don’t know if you’ve seen those “Standards with friends” sessions, but he also does duos, but it’s a different concept for sure. So, personally, how would you describe the biggest challenges and difficulties when approaching your music in this format of a duo?

In the duo format in general?


Well, I mean, you have to generate a lot right? As a saxophone player, you’re basically playing a lot and the two duo partners have to be in an intense conversation. There’s no…, you

can’t really, I mean obviously you can leave space and not play but you have to be engaged at a very very high level of concentration, there’s a high level of concentration needed and in a way, creativity, and I love it because it’s so intimate and you can…, and also so open in a way, you have all these solutions because there’s just one…or all these paths that you can potentially go to because there’s only person to interact with

Yeah, sure.

So you’re not that fixed, you know? In terms of, we have to absolutely stick to this arrangement beacuase there’s twenty people that are following the same arrangement. You have a much more “effort-looseness” of the freedom with this kind of formation

Yeah, definitely. And in the other side you’ve also written a lot of music for large ensembles and big bands I think. So how’s that possible? How do you approach that other format?

Well, I haven’t really written for big band, like I maybe have one big band piece. But I have composed for orchestra and large new music ensembles. It’s something that I’ve been interested in for a while and just spent time devoloping over the last ten years. It’s just a sound I love being in, and there’s so much detail in this music. Like when you compose for musicians like that, it forces you to think a lot about detail. Where is the sound on in an instrument, dynamics, rhythm, you know? So to me it’s like a very, almost a spiritual…, spiritual is the wrong word I think, but almost a work where I collect myself, I’m with myself, I’m examining my own tastes, and my own rhythmic feel et cetera. And I can translate it into the more improvise music

Yeah, very nice. Actually according to improvisation, I read that Jason Moran has called you an improvisational visionary. What are your thoughts in such a…

That’s nice of him hahaha

What are your thoughts on that statement?

Well, you know?, it’s very nice of him. I have played with Jason a few times and I love playing with him. He’s a wonderful musician and conceptualist and, you know, fearless, and just super spirited and great guy. I’m honored that he said something like that about me hahaha

And how would you describe your musical evolution in these two decades, as an improviser?

As an improviser? I mean, it’s just like one of those things that I think you just grow gradually. Sometimes you grow and then you stay on a “plato” for a while, and then sometimes you grow faster, there is different rates of growth, but for me it’s always been like I’ve always seen myself as a sort of eternal student who’s hopefully getting better and learning the entire time. It has nothing to do with school or nothing to do with…, it’s just got to do with life.

And sometimes you learn life lessons that inform your expression, your musical expression. Sometimes you learn technical things, sometimes you learn about composition, there’s different strains of the whole music thing that eventually come together, or that come together throughout your life I think.

And that’s how I see myslef. I see sometimes I compose a lot, that informs my playing. Sometimes I’m put in a situation where I’m a side-person for somebody who writes some really amazing and challenging music, so I have to learn something, some new skills to be able to deal with that. And I’m, I like to be open and put myself into situations where I’m learning

And when you write, or you compose, what’s the method that you follow? Cause you were saying before that one of Andy Milne’s, let’s say highlights, is that he harmonizes in your improvisations in a very nice way. You have this improv situation going in your tunes, but you also have like a very detailed composition right?

Yeah, I write quite detailed

Yeah, so what’s your method? Do you write all by yourself and then bring it that to the rehearsal with the other guy or how do you work?

Usually yes. Like, usually that’s how I compose with…, for say like a project like this. I write at the piano mostly, specially if a piano player is involved. I write mostly on the piano. Sometimes on the saxophone if I feel, if the content is more melodic, like if it’s really coming from a melody, even if I write it on the piano, I play it on the saxophone, because that opens new possibilities or either avenues usually. But yeah, I usually bring the music in as, like finished, and then we work on it.

If something doesn’t work…, or I’ll send it to the musician in flagrante and say “please tell me if something is not working or something, or something could be easier or better in your instrument”, you know? I also work with some new music groups where I workshop the music.

So I’ll send them fragments and I ask them to play through them or I meet up with them and ask them to play through them. And they quite often…, just hearing it in the room gives you new ideas or gives you knew possibilities and…, so I personalize it for those musicians. You know I’m always wanting to change things…

Interesting, interesting, yeah, cause listening to your music I was shocked and wow, how does this person write this music? How does she approach it? Very nice, very nice!

Two last questions. Could you tell me something about your relationship with Arts for Art?

Arts for Art? Yeah, they’re really lovely hand hardworking organization. Based, led and runned by Patricia Nicholson Parker and William Parker. They are mostly there to promote free jazz, free improvised music, black free improvised music, and they have been around for a long time, they’re incredibly supportive, and really really active, and just great people

Yeah, sure! What are you into right now? Hearing, listening, what are the records your listening to right now?

Oh wow, to be honest, what’s happening right now is that I’m writing actually a classical piece for a piano trio, so piano, chello and violin. So I’ve been checking out a bunch of piano trios

Okay, wait, classical trios?

Yeah, like one by Ravel, one by Morton Feldman, Anthony Cheung, just, actually a lot of them, like…, the chellist send me a big footer of music to check out, and I’ve been sort of, just listening to that a lot

Very nice, that’s a surprise. Okay, one last question. How’s your experience being with Intakt Record Label?

Intakt Records? Oh great, they’ve been supporting me since 2008, they’re like one of the few record companies I think that have survived, in a kind of meaningful way, right, that they still create a lot of music, but they don’t overextend either, they know what they’re doing.

They have become friends, they have become like a family really, and, yeah, so, you know, they reléase music by artists that they trust, so they don’t mess with your music. They let you get on with it.

Yeah, it’s always greatful yeah!

I’m pretty happy to have them as a general support. They’re also very open to let you release on other labels, as long as it fits in with their programm and you’re not abusing

I’m thankful too for their job.

Yeah hahaha, I will tell them that!

And for being able to listen to artists like you are. Thank you very much.

Well I hope I get to see you there and it was nice to meet you

Yeah, I hope that too. Very nice. Thank you for being. It’s been awesome to have you and to meet you.

Written by Begoña Villalobos

Diciembre 05, 2022

Steve Coleman INTERVIEW

Steve Coleman INTERVIEW

Steve Coleman



In the evening of November 18 st, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the the basic development pivot of the M-Base Collective concept, and one of the most important pioneer artist that runs through contemporary black music. The Chicago alto saxo Steve  Coleman 

The interview was done moments before his live Steve Coleman & Five Elements “MDW NTR”, along with Kokayi , Jonathan Finlayson, Anthony Tidd, and Sean Rickman, at the Conde Duque Auditorium , within the Madrid International Jazz Festival 2022


In&Outjazz: Hi Steve, nice to meet you, great pleasure! Welcome to the interview!  Would be why are you more sympathetic to the term “spontaneous composition” rather than the term “jazz”?

Steve Coleman: I mean, there’s many many musicinas that don’t like the term “jazz”. It goes back to Duke Ellington, Max Roach and all those guys so it didn’t start with me. We just don’t feel like that word is representative of the music. What do you mean when you say “jazz”? Do you mean Louie Amstrong? Do you mean Kenny G? There’s so many music that’s so far appart and they call them all “jazz” that the term is useless. It just doesn’t mean anything.

What about the term “spontaneous composition”?

Because, the big part of our music, is that the “spontaneous composition” is a big…, is amajor element. The spontaneous part. And it is composition, you know? So it’s just a descriptive term.

According to this topic, we find that two main elements of your music are rhythmic structures and the energy. And you’re always seeking change and spontaneity through these elements. What is the meaning of energy and rhythmic structures for you?

Well I mean, in music of the african diaspora rhythm is one of the main elements, you know? So I’m just part of that tradition. It’s not something that I created, but it’s something that was happening before, before I came along. So all my mentors, all the people who taught me, who I admired, the older people, it was important for them, and so I just come into this tradition. Those things are not things that I created myself. They’re things that were already in existence before I was even born.

And so it’s just part of a culture, like flamenco, like japanese snow music, like indonesian music. These is all traditions, different traditions. And so the things that are important for the different people in different places happen beacuse of culture. It’s not really because of music, it’s beacuase of culture. Cause see, rhythm is important for us in basketball, in boxing, in all of these things, it’s not just music. So I happen to be a musician, so yeah, for me I express music, but Mohamed Ali expresses boxing and it’s the same principle, it’s the same thing. And many people think that it’s special on the music, but no, it’s everywhere.

It’s in the way that people walk, the way they talk. It’s in all of that. And the music comes from that. It’s not the other way around. It’s the culture first and then the music is coming out of it, of the culture.

And so, what’s the lesson that the culture gives music in terms of change? How do you take change into music?

Well, I mean, I think that change is the natural state of humans, I mean, just look at human society. Look at what’s happening in the last hundred years or the last two hundred years, it’s a lot of change you know.

Or the last couple of days

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I mean there’s a lot to happen, so change is happening all the time and we’re just expressing it in music. I prefer to express this music than war or some other destructive kind of thing, or fucking up the climate or the planet or something like that, but

change is happening there too. It’s happening in politics, it’s happening everywhere. So we just we express this in music. We happen to be musicians, so all these things are coming out of this music. But we’re still human, so the same things that happen with other humans happen with us. You know? Sometimes I go on stage, I have a stomachache or I have a problem with something…

That also takes and important role in how you play?

Sure, sure, because the music is coming from us.

Very nice

Yeah, yeah

And according to this, how important is the intuition?

Well, again, that’s again in human, you know? Quality for humans, intuition…It’s al important, intuition, dreams, what you inhert from the people who came before you, like you DNA and all this, all of this things play a role. But intuition…I don’t think of inuition and logic as really separate things, for me it’s like a holistic kind of thing. Because whatever created people gave you all of this ability. You have te ability for inuition, you hace the ability for logic, you have the ability to dream, so I think you’re supposed to use all of these, this is what was given to you, these abilities. I mean, your not a mosquito right? You’re a human so…

So intuition is not that it is different from the planned structure of the tune you guys are playing. Both things take an important role?

Ah, you ….how we play? Well the best analogy I can give for what the way we play is talking, because language is the thing that I model the music after. So just like we have a conversation and I’ve never had this conversation before with somebody else because you’re saying things to me that other people have never said, and I’m answering to you the other thing you know? But we’re using the same words, the same phrases, we have a language…etc. The music is kind of like this. Every night is like a different conversation but there is a language. If there’s no a language we would not be able to understand each other. If we just take a musician off the street and bring him on the stage is not gonna be the same, because he doesn’t speak the same language. He has his music, but it’s like saying Catalan, English, Urdu, these are different languages, they all sound, but they’re different languages, they have a different syntax, and what things mean and things like this. In one language “ah” might mean one thing and “ah” might mean something else in China, you know?

That’s also the beauty of languages

Yeah sure, it’s like you have all this variety and everything, so whenever you see a group of musicians that have been together for a long time, they usually develop a kind of language that they’re able to speak with each other. So I think of it as language a lot. For me it’s like

conversation. Each concert is like a different conversation.

How do you keep your creativeness going for three decades?

Three decades…, it’s been long in three decades, yeah. I started this group in 81, so it’sbeen fourty one years,

Four decades…

Yeah hahaha, and I’m going for Duke Ellington’s record. Duke Ellingon had his orchestra together for fifty years. I’m trying to…I have nine more years haahahaha.

And how do you keep your creativeness going? Your inspiration and all that kind ofstuff?

I mean, sometimes I don’t. I can’t say that for every moment it’s been like this, sometimes you get depressed, sometimes you get down, you have bad months, bad years even. I mean, this pandemic year, 2020, was very difficult for a lot of people. A lot of musicians you know. Some musicians even stopped playing.

And you understand that in terms of changes also?

You know what I’m saying, it’s the same question, either you do or you don’t. Either you don’t keep going, or you do keep going. And we’re all going to the same place. Everybody is gonna diesooner or later. But you just keep going until that point happens. Is the same thing to music. The music for me is not separate than life. Is a part of my life, it’s like eating, drinking, shitting, you know, it’s just a part of life. It’s become a part of me, I don’t think this separate. I don’t say “now I’m going to do some music”. All the time in my head, even when I’m eating is the going on. So, I don’t know, it’s not a separate thing, so it would be like me asking you “how do you keep going?”. Yo don’t think about not keep going, you just keep going you know?

And what meaning does MDW NTR have for you?

Oh that stuff’s…your talking about that from the record. That stuff’s egyptian. The words look like that because they didn’t use vowels when they wrote their language. I mean there were no vowels used. So for example if they were to write “heru”, if you write it “h-e-r-u” today, they would just write ir “h-r”, without the “e” and without the “u” and everything. So that’s why the words look like that. So this is “medu neter”.

Yeah, we found that the meaning of that is, that they were referring to they’re writing language and…

Exactly, sacred writing or beautiful writing or something like that

Or God’s Word

Words of God yeah

Or divine Word

That’s good you did your research hahahaha

Well, but it’s very interesting cause you were saying before that we’re all gonna die sometime

Sure, it’s definite

But there are different approaches to like, this reality actually. You can approach it in like a more spitirual way. So maybe you were like going through that way of thinking about…

Yeah, well, a lot of the way I think about the music, I’ve been into ancient egyptian stuff for a long time, since the late 80’s or 90’s or something like this, so for a long time. You’ll see this a lot in a lot of my albums and saying things like this you know? It’s a little more exagerated on this album but it’s there a lot. Even in the albums of the 90’s there was all these “heru” and “mayat” and all these terms of stuff like that. So it’s not a new thing, it’s something that’s been there for I would say thirty years, at least, since at least 91 or something like this. Because it’s on,

I mean Dimitri you know it’s on all these albums, I made those, in the 90’s, BMG albums.

Yeah, definitely, that’s also a big part of life.You are one of the most influential musicians for the new generations of jazz musician, what do you have to say about this?

I mean, I think a lot of this is, I won’t say accident, but it’s just a matter of when you wereborn. Because if you notice, the people who were influenced by Charlie Parker were all younger than him. Nobody older than him was really influenced by him. The people who are influenced by John Coltrane were younger than him. So, after you start getting ten years beyond when I wasborn that’s when you start to see the guys being influenced by me. Some of it I think, and it’s not just me, I mean, Mark Turner has people, he’s influenced people, there’s other people too you know, Geri Allen, is a great piano player, she had a lot of piano players were influenced by her. Me and Geri were born in a certain time, and so we influenced the certain generation who’s come behind us. And then those people will influence generations that come behind them. It’s a chain that keeps going you know. So it’s not…, when you say there are people influenced by me is usually because they were born after me. And yeah, you do have a choice, you could be influenced by me or you could be influenced by Wynton Marsalis and other guys like my contemporary. Of course you have a choice but we all have influenced a certain generation and then they will all influence a certain generation. You might see Joel Ross and guys like this influenced by us, that’s because they’re much younger. That’s all that there is. And also, most of these people we used to teach. You know? I mean when they were like…, I met the trumpet player here when he was thirteen years old, and he’s fourty now.

I think we’re done, thank you very much Steve. Have a great gig.

Written by Begoña Villalobos

Diciembre 04, 2022

Immanuel Wilkins Quartet. Gallery

Immanuel Wilkins Quartet. Gallery

Immanuel Wilkins Quartet



Festival Internacional de Jazz de Madrid 2022

 Immanuel Wilkins Quartet. Immanuel Wilkins, saxo alto/ Micah Thomas, piano/ Rick Rosato, contrabajo/ Kweku Sumbry, batería. Festival Internacional de Jazz de Madrid 2022. Teatro Fernán Gómez. Centro Cultural de la Villa.

8 de noviembre 2022, Madrid.

Fotos: Valentín Suárez

Immanuel Wilkins Quartet:

Immanuel Wilkins, saxo alto

Micah Thomas, piano

Rick Rosato, contrabajo

Kweku Sumbry, batería



Written by Valentín Suárez

Diciembre 01, 2022

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