Saturday, January 9, 2021

Bumping into... Alex Fournier

Bumping Into... is a series of mini-chats with a variety of peeps that you might run into in some of our local music communities. (There's a bit of an intro and my thoughts behind the series here.)

How are you? Where are you?

I'm alright. Mostly just stirring around my apartment and keeping myself busy/amused however I can. I'm up at Eglinton W. just at the edge of the International Market neighborhood. The Caribbean food is fantastic up here. How are you?

What have you been up to since March or so?

It's been a mostly introspective time. Working on myself wherever I can. Lot of projects that have been started and sustained as well. Started with a list of exercises I put together to help with getting a better/more pliable grip on polyrhythms and that kind of language. Lot of exploring and understanding what I'm trying to do on my instrument in terms of improvising as well. Settled on the idea of a "cascading" or "tumbling" sound... whatever that means. Changed up my reading list to focus on a lot of critical theory and philosophy, so I've got a mountain of books on top of my dresser I want to get through. Released a trio album with some friends from Baltimore at the beginning of this. Been kinda hard to promote it and talk it up though. Haven't had the gusto for that kind of stuff lately.

Had an interlude in the early fall that kept me pretty busy with gigs actually. Triio played its first festival and I'm told we're invited back for next year! Lot of Jazz Manouche as well with Tak Arikushi. Recorded an album with Dan Pitt's Quintet. Started working on a theme-transcription project - namely Wayne Shorter's playing on Speak No Evil. Also been going over tunes friends have written - though I'm back to focusing on my own music for now. Got some good news from CCA that I'll likely announce soon too!

Have you found any new ways to do old things? How are you feeling about the shifts in how music is being made/shared/listened to?

Oh my gosh you should see my teaching from home setup. It gets pretty silly when you see what a double bass lesson looks like on my end. Had to learn a little about recording tech, which was no biggie. Truth be told I haven't been consuming a lot of new music. I feel like I had a lot on my shelf before all of this that I hadn't properly explored, so I've taken the time to listen more thoroughly to what I've picked up over the years. More reading than anything these days. Otherwise, not too many changes beyond remembering the mask when I go out.

Any works of art that have been a light for you in these times? Anything that's just been a good diversion?

Sam Rivers' "Fuchsia Swing Song" reminded me why I love jazz. Same with Jaki Byard's The Jaki Byard Experience, among a few other things that have been on the iPod (yes I still have one of those). The Ethics by Baruch Spinoza was a pretty incredible read. Been diving into philosophers that have come from his sphere of influence. Replaying Bloodborne and Doom Eternal too. The music/sound design for both are incredible.

How are you feeling about 2021?

Uuuuuhhhh... I get the feeling it's going to be another rocky year but at least it has a chance to have an upswing by the end, so at least we won't have to call it a trash-fire. Had a conversation with Michael Davidson that got me thinking about what we can contribute to our community/the world - quality over quantity and the like - and I get the feeling that that will be a focus for a lot of people, especially since everyone (and I'm saying this especially to myself) seemed stressed out from "the hustle" for such a long time. Still sorting that conversation out, but I feel like the year can end on a better note than expected if we're both engaged and checking in on each other. At very least I'm incredibly interested to hear everyone play again!

Anything else we'd chat about if we bumped into each other?

Always interested in hearing what shows you've been to/what else has been new. I'm terrible at remembering to talk to people when I'm at home but I suppose it has the benefit of giving you more to talk about in person, which I prefer anyway.

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