DAPP THE­ORY

DIF­FER­EN­TIAL

Pasatiempo - - NEWS -

The mu­sic pro­duced by Andy Milne’s band Dapp The­ory is unique in one sense be­cause of the po­etic lines breath­lessly spo­ken by John Moon. “He’s not a trained mu­si­cian like the rest of us, who can look at a chart [ar­range­ment with chord changes],” Milne said. And yet Moon’s role is ba­si­cally not that dif­fer­ent from the band’s four mu­si­cians: Milne calls on him to ex­press var­i­ous moods — mys­te­ri­ous, en­er­getic, or very dra­matic — de­pend­ing on the spirit of the song at hand. Pian­ist-com­poser Milne, who brings Dapp The­ory to Gig Per­for­mance Space on Fri­day, April 3, is a na­tive of Toronto and counts Art Ta­tum, Th­elo­nious Monk, Her­bie Ni­chols, Béla Bartók, and Joni Mitchell among his mu­si­cal in­flu­ences. He stud­ied with pi­anist Os­car Peter­son at York Univer­sity in Toronto, where he com­pleted an hon­ors de­gree in mu­sic. Then he re­ceived a Canada Coun­cil grant to study at The Banff Cen­tre in Al­berta. It was there that he met alto sax­o­phon­ist Steve Cole­man, in whose Five Ele­ments band he worked from 1992 to 1997.

Milne has worked as a side­man with Archie Shepp, Ravi Coltrane, Cas­san­dra Wil­son, Joe Lo­vano, Carla Cook, and Geri Allen. His 2003 al­bum, Y’all Just Don’t Know , fea­tures the re­sults of a song­writ­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion with Bruce Cock­burn. Milne’s port­fo­lio also in­cludes duo al­bums with French pi­anist Benoît Del­becq and har­mon­ica vir­tu­oso Gré­goire Maret.

Milne formed Dapp The­ory 17 years ago to “tell pas­sion­ate sto­ries, pro­mote peace, and in­spire col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity to­ward up­lift­ing the hu­man spir­i­tual con­di­tion.” What is Dapp? “It’s a re­ally dif­fer­ent way of say­ing con­nect to the give-and-take in the uni­verse,” he told Pasatiempo in 2003. “You’ll get good en­ergy if you put good en­ergy into it.” The group’s third al­bum is For­ward in All Direc­tions , re­leased last fall. Guests Ben Mon­der, Jean Bay­lor, and Gretchen Par­lato join the band for the out­ing on the Whirl­wind la­bel.

Pasatiempo: Who are you bring­ing to Santa Fe? Andy Milne : It’s my cur­rent edi­tion of Dapp The­ory, with Aaron Kruziki on winds. He’s been a re­ally nice ad­di­tion be­cause of his in­stincts and open­ness. His sen­si­bil­i­ties are re­ally liq­uid and flex­i­ble, play­ing both clar­inet and sax­o­phones. I wish he could bring his bass clar­inet with him, but it’s pretty big to take on the road. And the rhythm sec­tion is the same. It’s Kenny Gro­howski on drums and Chris Tor­dini on bass, and vo­cal­ist John Moon. Pasa: How long has John been with the group? Milne: A lit­tle over 10 years. Pasa: Do you write the words John speaks? Milne: No, I never have. The most I’ve ever done is I’ve said, “This is what it’s about for me,” and then he freestyles it. On most of the songs on this new record, he sort of found the sub­ject a lit­tle more than me say­ing what it’s about. Right now I’m writ­ing the mu­sic

for a big project for the group for this fall. It’s a Cham­ber Mu­sic Amer­ica com­mis­sion for 10-piece en­sem­ble. And for this, there are more pointed di­rec­tives that I need to give him for each piece he will im­pro­vise on.

Pasa: Your bi­og­ra­phy men­tions film scores for Wil­liam Shat­ner. Let’s talk about that.

Milne: I had the for­tune of writ­ing, pro­duc­ing, and per­form­ing scores for a se­ries of doc­u­men­taries that Bill did. That work started for me in 2011 first with The Cap­tains , where he pro­filed all the peo­ple who played the cap­tain af­ter him in the Star Trek fran­chise, both on tele­vi­sion and in the films. I was asked to do the mu­sic through Avery Brooks, who was the cap­tain on Deep

Space Nine and who is also a singer. Bill wanted the score to be im­pro­vised. I flew to L.A. I showed up in the stu­dio, and af­ter some quick greet­ings I sat down and played for over two hours, but the film wasn’t yet com­pleted. It was ex­haust­ing, an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. It was a strange way to do the score. But then Shat­ner said, “OK, this guy, Andy Milne, knows what he’s do­ing.”

WHAT IS DAPP?

“It’s a re­ally dif­fer­ent way of say­ing con­nect to the give-and-take in the uni­verse.”

Pasa: Kate Mul­grew played the only woman cap­tain. How did you treat that piece?

Milne: She is a woman, but she’s a very strong per­son­al­ity. I think I used more cello for her mu­sic, ver­sus Scott Bakula, for ex­am­ple, where I used har­mon­ica, more of a play­ful idea. I did the mu­sic in two days and that spawned six more films, five in the se­ries The Cap­tains Close Up , and an­other that’s a re­ally mar­velous lit­tle thing that got no at­ten­tion at all: Still

Kick­ing , which is a con­ver­sa­tion with Shat­ner and Christo­pher Plum­mer. I was a fan, so I en­joyed it all very much. Hope­fully we’ll be able to do a cou­ple more. Bill’s al­ways on the go with some­thing.

Pasa: You have a project with Benoît Del­becq and the koto duo Ai Ka­jigano and Tsug­umi Ya­mamoto.

Milne: Strings and Ser­pents. I was work­ing on a rough mix of one of the pieces just be­fore you called. That all came about when I saw this koto duo, and I was blown away by these two women play­ing very large ko­tos. I thought of Benoît and told him about it, and he was very ex­cited. Then even­tu­ally we brought in Saki Murotani, an an­i­ma­tor col­league from Ja­pan.

The project took four years to get up and run­ning. There’s a film that was a com­pan­ion to the mu­sic and ba­si­cally tells the cre­ation-myth story of the Rain­bow Ser­pent. We did a se­ries of dates last fall and we recorded. It was a very in­ter­est­ing shift, be­cause there are a lot of strings on the four in­stru­ments. What struck me was the amaz­ing com­ple­men­tary na­ture be­tween the koto and the pi­ano. Pasa: Are you teach­ing at The New School or NYU?

Milne: Both, and at Columbia Univer­sity. Pasa: Are you go­ing to pre­pare a pi­ano here, or play Fen­der Rhodes or a syn­the­sizer?

Milne: I’ve al­ways played some key­boards, but now I play mostly pi­ano. Early on, I did more key­boards if there was no pi­ano or if it was a bad pi­ano. Now I play key­boards some­times, when I want to, rather than be­cause I have to. If we play some­thing from a cou­ple of al­bums ago, there are key­board el­e­ments that are more es­sen­tial, but still I think all the mu­sic can ex­ist in ei­ther do­main, and what I like about this ver­sion of the band is that they get that and can sup­port that kind of on a dime.

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