Author Archives: dantepfer

The question, when performing

The question, when performing, is: “Am I putting up with anything right now? Is there something that I’m unhappy with that I haven’t addressed?” For example, awkward posture, which looks uncomfortable, will make the audience uncomfortable too, because it shows … Continue reading

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A Container for Nothingness

Two of my favorite jokes rarely get any laughs. I learned them both as a kid growing up in France. The first goes: Why do Belgians sleep with two water glasses by their bed, one full and one empty? One … Continue reading

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Natural Machines interview

  The Natural Machines album is out today, Saturday October 27th. I’m bringing the project to Le Poisson Rouge in New York on October 30th. The fine folks there asked me some smart questions ahead of the gig. Thanks to John … Continue reading

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Short songs with absurdly long codas

Form-wise, the Beatles’ Hey Jude is unusual. For 3 minutes and 8 seconds, it’s a conventional song, with melody, varying harmony, A and B sections that repeat in a predictable pattern — what you’d expect from a pop song. Then, for … Continue reading

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The TRAPPIST-1 System: Listening to Planetary Orbits

(Cross-posted from WBGO.org. Thanks to Nate Chinen for inviting me to write this.) With most things, I’ve found, what’s most interesting isn’t the thing in itself, but rather how it relates to other things. In other words, everything is relative, … Continue reading

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Vancouver

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Interview: Improvisation, Mountain Climbing & the Meaning of Life

I’ve got a little time off from touring so I’m cleaning house. While sorting through old papers I came across the interview below. Most of these answers still ring true to me today. It’s fun to hear from past iterations of … Continue reading

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Birdman! Absurdity, theater, music & the importance of madness

I left the movie theater last night, post-Birdman, intensely moved. Rarely has a film gotten to me so directly. Birdman is a wacky movie that seems to be asking a serious question: why live? What keeps us trucking on and floundering and … Continue reading

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Doing It Bachwards: my unexpected Goldberg Variations

(Cross-posted from UCLA’s Ethnomusicological Review. Thanks to AJ Kluth for inviting me to write this piece for the journal.) As I look back over the last ten years and the peculiar journey with J.S. Bach that the time represents for me, … Continue reading

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Lee Konitz on Spontaneity, Originality, Drugs & Playing Sharp

Lee Konitz will be turning 87 in October, and his long and distinguished career as one of the most singular saxophonists in jazz needs no introduction (but if you need one, it’s here). He is known in particular for his … Continue reading

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