Steven Bernstein (c) Michael Weintrob.
1. How was for you the experience to work with the OJM?
This was an incredible experience for me. My first opportunity to perform a full concert of my big band arrangements with a group that was not my own. The band is so full of life, and willing to try anything… They are music warriors. Learning two concerts of new music in one week is a challenge. It was also a great pleasure to meet Pierre Bertrand and hear his incredible compositions. He is a true master of harmony and it was enlightening and humbling speaking to him about music and listening in on his rehearsals. Last year was very full for me, lots of writing and travelling, and this week in Matosinhos was very memorable for its great spirit, music, and FOOD!
2. Can you define the piece you wrote for them, OJM?
All my compositions unfold from a few sets of intervals and rhythms that I use as a building blocks. Once these are set, I let the composition unfold, like an improvisation that is frozen in time. I try not to judge the process, just enjoy it and let the music take care of itself. It is very important to me that there is always some improvisation going on in my pieces. The mystery and sense of immediacy this brings allows me to be surprised by the music, and makes every performances unique. It was a pleasure to hear this recording. I have never heard anything like this!