Ingrid Laubrock, who can be heard playing in groups led by herself and in collaborative projects with musicians like Kris Davis, Mary Halvorson, Ralph Alessi, Tyshawn Sorey, and Tom Rainey, among others, has assembled a quintet for this Saturday that features a distinctive configuration of four horns with drums. We caught up with her by phone to talk about the music that she’ll be performing this weekend.
The Jazz Gallery: You’ve played with all of these musicians before—could you say a few words about why you’ve assembled them in this particular configuration?
Ingrid Laubrock: I’ve always wanted a band without piano, guitar, or a harmony instrument. I wanted to blend winds and brass, and although I’ve done similar projects in the past, I never quite did it like this. For this ensemble, I was really interested in the “breath factor”—you know, the fact that you have to use your breath to create a certain sustain and blend.
TJG: Compositionally, how did you negotiate the chord-less setup?
IL: Well, I don’t really use a lot of chord symbols anymore. Most of my writing is linear, so I don’t usually need an instrument to play more than two notes at a time.
TJG: Can you give some commentary about a particular song you’ll be performing—anything with an especially interesting inspiration or background?
IL: We’re still rehearsing, since I wrote almost all new music for this specific gig. I’m most excited about 3 new long tunes that are kind of like a suite–we’ll probably play them all together, and I’m excited about making a kind of movie out of it. There’s no particular inspiration, but I’ve been playing with these musicians a great deal and so I’m trying to write tailor-made music for them.
TJG: If you could only use 3 words to describe the music you’ll be performing, which would they be?
IL: It’s contrapuntal, polyrhythmic, and has lots of open improvisation.
TJG: The bands you play in have such great names: “Paradoxical Frog,” “Anti-House.” Do you have a name for this band?
IL: Not yet. Usually the name crystallizes by itself after a while, you know? I had a name originally but dropped it.
TJG: Could I ask what that name was?
IL: …No! *laughter* I think we’ll name it after we play.
TJG: Lastly, for those unfamiliar with your music, could you recommend an album or track to check out?
IL: Of my own music, I’d go for the last one, since that’s the freshest [Strong Place (2013), by Ingrid Laubrock’s Anti-House]. In terms of inspirations, there are so many, but definitely Anthony Braxton, whom I’ve worked with a fair amount this past year, and also the new Kris Davis record from this year [Capricorn Climber (2013)].
Ingrid Laubrock performs at The Jazz Gallery this Saturday, July 27th, with Tim Berne (alto saxophone), Ben Gerstein (trombone), Dan Peck (tuba), and Tom Rainey (drums). Sets at 9 and 10:30 p.m., $20 general admission and FREE for Members and SummerPass holders. Purchase tickets here.