09: John Schott

johnRoofFTR I talk with guitarist, composer, bandleader and musical polymath John Schott, whose work spans the genres of jazz, pop, folk and contemporary composition.

johnCapSQMost artists, either through their own natural inclination or following commercial considerations, limit their work, and thereby also their Musical Brand Image to a particular identifiable style or genre. My guest John Schott has not done this.
Instead he has followed his Hoover-esque appetite for music of all types and styles, and his own music has  incorporated these diverse influences, from traditional musics from every continent to American jazz, folk and pop traditions to 20th century serial and post-serial composition. If I seem to imply that this makes him a dilettante, you misunderstand me: he’s a deep and serious student of musical tradition, and of the culture and way of life of musicians. The result has been an array of recorded compositions, large and small, for ensembles large and small, in an unprecedently wide array of styles. Our hours-long conversation was a blast and ranged over a wide array of subjects – it took me weeks to figure out how to cut it down to size for this podcast! But I concentrated in the editing on his more philosophical insights about the place of music in culture and the lives of musicians.


schottSideSQFollowing are the tracks that appear in the Schott montage that appears in the show at minute 2’20” :

  • from John Schott’s Typical Orchestra (Smash The State! 2002). With Ben Goldberg, Devin Hoff, and Ches Smith on every track and guests Carla Kihlstedt on Stroh violin, Jon Raskin on jaw harp and alto sax, Lorin Benedict on vocals, Myles Boisen on guitar, Dan Plonsey on baritone saxophone, Joe Karten on trumpet, Rob Ewing on trombone, and Ward Spangler on percussion.
  • from John Schott and Ensemble Diglossia Shuffle Play: Elegies for the Recording Angel (New World Records, 2000). “My idea was to mix old recordings from the first decade of recorded sound with compositions and directed improvisations, recorded with a wide variety of techniques and strategies. ” A Bay Area all star cast: Ben Goldberg, Steve Adams, Gino Robair, Beth Custer, Mathew Brubeck, Jenny Scheinman, Carla Kihlstedt, Trevor Dunn, Scott Amendola, Dan Plonsey, Tom Yoder, Myles Boisen, Karen Stackpole, and Tara Flandreu.
  • from  In These Great Times (Tzadik, 1997). 1919. A song cycle. It received its only performance to date at Merkin Hall, New York City, at a concert of “Radical Jewish Culture” curated by John Zorn, and was performed by Schott, Trevor Dunn, Kenny Wollesen, and John Horton Murray.
  • Baguette Quartette Mon Paris.
  • another excerpt from Shuffle Play: Elegies for the Recording Angel.
  • Ark Ensemble Might Be (Jewish Music Festival Records)
  • T.J.Kirk Soul Power.
  • two more parts from Elegies.
  • Actual Theme, from the forthcoming (fall 2015) Actual Trio CD on Tzadik, with John Hanes, drums, and Dan Seamans, bass.