Fish Love That

Neil Rolnick

With Todd Reynolds, violin; Andrew Sterman, woodwinds; Ron Horton, trumpet; Neil Rolnick, keyboards; Steve Rust, bass; Dean Sharp, drums

The core of this project has been the idea of letting a way of working develop over time. FISH LOVE THAT came together for a concert in New York City every month between September 1996 and June 1998, first at the Knitting Factory, and then at HERE. Since then, we have played several times a year. To keep the focus on freshness and improvisation, we don't rehearse a lot. We get together for an hour or two before each concert, and generally go over new material, but only enough to know how it's put together. We don't actually try to rehearse a full performance. Instead, we try to keep the focus sharply on the performance itself, with the audience listening while we explore the musical ideas.

Although I wrote all the music for the first concerts, other players started to bring in pieces for the band from very early on. Andrew Sterman, Steve Rust and Todd Reynolds all jumped right into the heart of the concept, putting together charts which challenge us to play freely and imaginatively together, but which give us a structure and focus which keep the individual pieces unique. When we're playing well, it seems to me that we find an exciting musical landscape -- one with coherent melodies, driving meters and harmonies, but with the ability to be transformed and shaped fluidly. It's not jazz. It's not "free" improvisation, but neither is it "composed music." It's somewhere in between.

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