Works » Music
Too often, in work that draws from multiple traditions, the composer sets up a schematic that sets a shallow interpretation of one genre against another. I am not interested in making “free jazz with a dance beat” or “ minimalist music with a Latin twist.” I do not want to place the repetition inherent in traditional rhythms like Bomba and Plena in opposition to the non-repetitive constructs of free improvisation. Instead, I want to demonstrate the organic connections in these various practices; the shared sense of exploration; the acknowledgement of the political, racial, and sexual histories that shaped the lives and music of the innovators past and present.
Postmodernist views that influenced multiculturalism by saying things can be “both/and” as well as modernist views that things are “either/or” in my belief are outdated concepts that whitewash nuance and much needed dialogue. Postmodern and modern terms such as the “new”, “interesting”, “complex” and “experimental” I question and their importance, weight and contemporary meaning I attempt to revisit.
I view my music as a series of refrains that can repeat or collide or oscillate with each other. Repetition, as defined by each different tradition, is always accessible by the refrain, but the refrains will only face their own history, and not be in reaction to “the other.” They may consist of groove-oriented momentum or free improvisation or a rhyming melody, or be whole compositions in and of themselves. They are moments plucked out of the cosmic chaos of our universe, constantly on the edge of dissolving back into the ether.
I view my music as nomadic. These refrains will state a place in time, defining where we are at in the moment. The idea of the refrain is both a means of marking territory and a tool for erasing borders, creating not a fixed map but an abstract trajectory that travels through the potential of one ensemble’s sound.
"Zemog is the new century's mad scientist, creating a musical hybrid so seemingly wrong it can be nothing but right." - Global Rhythm Magazine
"If you ve been hungering to hear Latin-based jazz in a new light, your prayers have been answered." - New York Press