Among the other projects I've been involved with is as a sideman for J.A. Deane's Out Of Context, MJane, Nacha Mendez, and others.
A closer collaboration happened some time back with drummer Ramon Lopez. A percussionist/drummer from Spain but based in Paris, Ramon contacted me out of the blue via the internet. As it turns out, here was someone else - in fact the only one else I know to my knowledge - who was also equally well-grounded and passionate for both the flamenco and free traditions. We exchanged CDs and vowed to somehow get together for a recording project.
In November 2002, I had an offer for a guitar concert in Erlbach Germany and supplemented the trip with a few gigs in Holland. In between, there was just enough time - two days - to meet with Ramon and do the project.
It was intense. We had never met before, much less played together, but being familiar with each others recorded work gave us a sense of what was possible - and neither of us were disappointed.
It is flamenco like its never been heard before - freed from strict compas but with a rhythmic vitality and groove that is as hard and earthy as anything you'd care to find.
Sadly, we haven't been able to get the CD released, but we're still hoping to do so.
As coincidence would have it, when I went to Paris again in 2009, I tired to get in contact with Ramon, but couldn't raise him. I had, however, met via the internet an interesting woodwind player named Etienne Brunet, so we got together for a session. I happened to mention Ramon, and he knew him well and also had an updated number for him, so I got to chat with him again.
Etienne and I let the tape roll during our session, and the results are pretty good -- so that's two French based partnerships I'd like to pursue and get these sessions released!
I also have been doing pairings with poetess Yasmeen Najmi, an extraordinary talent. We've done a couple of things together, and it's always magical. We plan to do a full fledged evening at some point. Here's a sample:
Other ideas in the pipeline include an electric quartet (with bass, drums, trumpet) that will undertake a radical reworking of some classical and classic rock repertoire, as well as some original material.
The band will draw primarily from Led Zeppelin material and Stravinsky's "Rite Of Spring" as a springboard for further exploration. Led Zeppelin's live work brought the band close to some of the better free jazz output. This project aims to explore that connection and take that trajectory further and at the same time make the material relevant and fresh for our time, rather than a tribute or revisitation. Similarly, the motivic composition in the "Rite of Spring" lends itself particularly well to a collective improvisatory springboard.
I've also been thinking of an ultra intense Sufi metal jazz project, if the right vocalist surfaces; more solo work; and whatever else lies on the path ahead.