Kirk Knovsky, Exploring Friendship – On Citizen Jazz

It’s hard, for many years, to miss Kirk Knovke’s trumpet. From his collaboration with James Brandon Lewis tremendously Jessup Wagon Right down to his collaborations with the best jazz in the world, the musician is omnipresent, with a rare delicacy. In his discography, some names seem essential on every side of the Atlantic, such as double bass players Michael Pesio and Tommy Anderson. With the first, it makes him appear gravity without air, trio with Matthew Ship, one of the most beautiful albums of the year. With the second, he was dedicated as a singer. As we discover on the occasion of this naturally assertive interview, Knuffke is a sensitive and gentle musician for whom friendship and closeness is a tremendous creative engine. An interview with a musician with a color-changing talent.

Kirk, can you introduce yourself in a few words?

My name is Kirk KnovkeI am a trumpeter, singer and composer. I live in Brooklyn, New York. She grew up in Colorado and moved from Denver to New York in 2005.

Kirk Knovke (c) Dago Uluwa

– In your impressive discography, there’s a taste of the duo, whether it’s with Mike Pryde, Jesse Stakin, Michael Pesio or Witt Dickey. What tempts you like this?

I love the binary format. I have also made records with Carl BergerAnd the Ben GoldbergAnd the Steve Sowell And the Harold Danko. Michael Pesio It released a new record this month on the Lithuanian label No Business. I also recently recorded a duet with Matthew ShipAnd the Christoph KnoushAnd the Kenny Wilson And the John Medskywhich is under release.

Playing in duos for me is a very precious way to explore and study. There’s also a fun side to calling a friend and saying “let’s meet and play” and nothing more. As a way to study, you can really focus on one instrument and one character: in the traditional jazz rhythm section for piano, bass, and drums, you get a lot of information about rhythmic level, harmonies, and temporality! Obviously, it’s a machine that I love, too. It can be very helpful to tackle one thing at a time and then group them together into every conceivable combination. Playing as a duo also gives you plenty of space and freedom to explore. It’s quite a challenge because you are so exposed and have less room to work, you also need the stamina to do it on the trumpet.

Playing in duos for me is a very precious way to explore and study.

– She recorded for a triple album this time for Tao Forms, with Michael Pesio and Matthew Ship; Can you tell us about this meeting and the origin of the minutes?

Michael and I have been close friends for many years; We played duos, trebles, quartet and quintet with different groups of people. We scored acortite As a tetramer in relative width registers, as binary class for william o triples with spirit of art And the Requiem for the New York Slice. We played in a trio with Wet Dicky And the Tani drummer She works a lot with her Joe McVeigh in different groups. Michael played for years with Matthew Ship Which I have always been a huge fan of. It was written that the three of us would form a squad. Michael told us about it. As I had the idea before, just like Witt Dickey, it was written!

Kirk Knovke (c) Dago Uluwa

– Michael Pesio himself knows Chip: Do you consider this trio as a kind of artistic family? I scored a trio with Fred Lüneberg Holm with Bisio: What are the differences in approach?

It’s clearly a family and I’m very happy to be a part of it. Not only do we play music together, we hang out together, talk on the phone, go out to dinner, whatever friends and family are doing.

I am so lucky to have these guys in my life. I wouldn’t say there is a different style with Fred: for example, sometimes in this trio we play Michael’s compositions, which changes things from a completely free improv approach, but his compositions are also very open. Starting from a place where there are no preconceived notions can change things. That’s why we take both approaches: free, and with a composite.

The whole picture should be in your head, whether you're on your own or in a large orchestra.

– We note that many of your orchestras do not have drums. Is it a conscious choice?

Some have it, some don’t: it’s not a deliberate choice to dismiss a tool. I love drums. I work a lot with Wett Dickey, Kenny WilsonAnd the Bill GoodwinAnd the Matt WilsonAnd the Alison MillerTani drummer Chad Taylor And the Jeff Davis, For example, but not limited. For me, building an orchestra is about sounds and characters, not necessarily types of musical instruments. The cool thing about the music I want to make is that there’s nothing required: you don’t have to have a drummer, a guitarist, or a pianist. When you’re a musician, you don’t need anything specific, or rely on anything specific to make it work. The whole picture should be in your head, whether you’re on your own or in a large orchestra.

Kirk Knovsky (c) Ken Weiss

– At Tao Forms, you participated in Red Lily Quintet by James Brandon Lewis, What is your style of saxophonist music? How do you see your role as an assistant man?

James is also a close friend; We spend a lot of time studying together and talking about music. He lives near me in Brooklyn, and we meet often. Red Lily Quintet also recently recorded a new album. Reaction to our recording Jessup Wagon She was very positive and motivating. We were named “Record of the Year” by Downbeat Magazine and other publications [1].

I work a lot as an assistant and I love it. My goal is to learn and work on all kinds of music. I think if a lot of people ask me to play their music, it means something. It means that they trust and respect me, and it means a lot to me. I mainly play original music for my host, with a few criteria: it requires a lot of study and preparation.

– I signed up a few years ago ChiricoTriple album with Jay Anderson and Adam Nussbaum. What is your relationship with Don Cherry? In general, what are your effects?

Ranked #1 by National Public Radio in the US, this recording was a pleasant surprise. They also played the music of Ornette Coleman, which I knew well personally. But I can never meet Don Sherry. He died when I was 15 and I still live in Colorado. But I feel a strong connection with Don: I’ve worked a lot with the people he’s worked with, like Carl Berger, Mark Helias and others, and I asked them a lot of questions about him personally and musically.

Karl was generous in sharing the music he learned without me. I have always been drawn to his great versatility and freedom, and the audacity he showed in incorporating all the influences he loved into his music.

I have many influences, not just trumpet players or trumpeters. There is a lot to name them all, but to start, I would say Henry Reed Allen, Rex Stewart, Coty Williams, Louis Armstrong, Ron Miles, Bobby Bradford, Ulu Dara, Butch Morris, Chet Baker, Ornette Coleman, Steve Lacey, Roswell Rudd and Ray Anderson . It’s only a few puffs, I can go on!

Kirk Knovke (c) Laurent Puigt

– Some time ago, we found out that you’re involved in the Scandinavian scene, with Per Møllehøj or Josefine Cronholm. How do you approach this scene?

yes also with Peter Dorjeoften with a guitarist Thomas Anderson, which is found in these records with Per and Josefine. It all started with recordings on Steeplechase Records in Copenhagen, then met Pierre and Tommy at the recording session. blue Pierre: We immediately became very good friends. I went to set two more records with Pierre, a hexa group, and toured and recorded with the New Forest Orchestra titled Ubizaa.

Tommy and I are very close. We will be touring Spain and Denmark in November and already have tours planned for March and April 2023. Scandinavia has a high concentration of great musicians for everyone and an audience who knows how to appreciate them. I love going there: it happens to me at least two or three times a year, sometimes twice a month! I am fortunate to have found many great friends there. I love this scene.

I try to make the trumpet sing as much as possible

– In these Nordic albums, and in particular the files Fabulous By Per Møllehøj, we discover that you sing particularly well. Is it another profession?

I love to sing, I do it all the time during my parties but not much at all. I haven’t sung in public for a long time, but I always sing at rehearsals. My wife Madeleine supported me saying “That sounds good, why don’t you do it more?”

To play the trumpet well, you need to have a sense of tone and control like a good singer: it is no accident that brass sings because the two are so closely related, you need the same level of prior listening. I try to make the trumpet sound as explicit as possible and I think that is the goal of many instrumentalists. Singing is fun too

Kirk Knovke (c) Laurent Puigt

– What are your future plans?

There’s a lot in the works: the duo you mentioned, as well as a new triple recording with Bill Goodwin And the Stomo Takeshi. I will soon be releasing a quartet titled Karl Berger, Matt Wilson and Jay Anderson heart melody In stunt records. I’ve recorded a quartet/quintet with Joe McPhee, Christoph Nock, Michael Pesio and Jay Rosen, which will be on FSR Records next year.

My next tours will be with Tommy Anderson and James Brandon Lewis Cecil Maclaurin SalvantMatt Wilson and others. I have gigs coming up for the trio with Matthew and Michael as well as other bands: there’s a lot to look forward to.

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