Q: What has happened since the release of ‘Universal Syncopations’ in September of 2003?
From about October of 2003, I performed many solo concerts in the United States. I would play my bass, then play my orchestra samples in various ways. I would try to creatively juxtapose them into my piece rather than playing to the sequences. For the last several months, I have been performing concerts in Europe. Prior to Universal Syncopations, I needed to take time off from traveling and playing. But now that I’m fully recharged, I’m enjoying performing again.
Q: Tell us a little bit about the making of ‘Universal Syncopations’.
Jack DeJohnette came to my St. Maarten (the Carribean) studio in 2000, and we spent four days recording bass and drum tracks which laid the foundation work for the album. Since Chick Corea and I had played together several times, I thought that he would be great in playing this new music with me. We did the takes in Florida, and it was exactly what I needed. Then after we recording Corea, I went to Switzerland to get some big band sounds from a brass ensemble. I got the artistry of Wayne Bergeron (on trombone), Valerie Ponomarev (on trumpet and flugelhorn) and Issac Smith (on trombone). It didn’t end there. Then I went to Monaco and called on John McLaughlin to be part of this project. He was part of the Miles Davis sound of the seventies and I wanted that kind of input for a couple of the songs. Lastly, there was Jan Garbarek who I really click with in an awesome way, both musically and intuitively. We have similar cultural roots, and he seems to understand my music so extremely well. In fact, he did such an awesome job contributing to just the bass line, that I gave him credit for being a co-composer to ‘Beethoven’ and ‘Brazil Waves’. I had the foundation work all laid out, so I knew how it was going to go – but it was from the contributions of these extremely talented musicians as well as from painstaking editing.