Jazz is a pretty small niche in the music industry and free improvisation and new music, often considered as jazz in this country is a very small subset indeed. Damon Smith has found a way to excel and thrive in a very small puddle. As well as being a virtuoso bassist, his Balance Point Acoustics label features a who’s who of musicians play in that genre.
Although I’ve been listening to improvised music for years my conversation with Damon opened up a whole new avenues for appreciation a whole new ways to think about sound and composition.
We talked about:
His recent move to the Boston area via Houston and San Francisco
Prehistoric Jazz is what Eric Hofbauer calls his deconstructions of modern classical music as he transmogrifies it into jazz. He is not content to simply reharmonize and jazzify the pieces that he chooses he reassembles them from their DNA as he likes to put it. He is also a member of the free improvisation group Bolt.
This interview was recorded in April 2015 in a practice room in Fine Arts Building at the University of Rhode Island. It was wonderful to be able to interview someone in person and to be able to respond and develop a dialogue. Because I was able to record with mics in a controlled environment this is also the best sounding interview that I’ve ever done.
We talked about the Prehistoric Jazz series, the spiritual in jazz, humor in jazz and how he gets a sound that is an extension of himself.