Interview: Tom Taylor talking about the new trio; duck-rabbit

Joe Wright, James Opstad, Tom Taylor


We spoke to pianist Tom Taylor about the new trio, duck-rabbit

LondonJazz: You've called this duck-rabbit. Why?

Tom Taylor: duck-rabbit is an optical illusion in which the same image can be perceived as either a duck or a rabbit.  We felt this was particularly relevant to improvised music and how audiences interpret it. An improvised piece can carry strong imagery for one person who is then surprised that their friend, who was sat next to them, took it to mean something completely different. In this way we see the audience as the fourth member of the group, interacting by projecting their own context and meaning on to the performance. In addition, we are currently developing an electronic side to the band that will interact with the acoustic configuration. This split personality is also reflected in the band name.

LJ: Who is involved?

TT: duck-rabbit is a trio: Joe Wright (Saxophone), James Opstad (Double Bass) and myself (Piano).

LJ: And what's the idea?

TT: Having known and enjoyed each other’s playing for a long time, we came together to experiment with playing in a more open format. After an initial session it was clear that we had an understanding and were keen to work together. Since then we have been playing together on a regular basis and recently made our first recording, Path to Field. This recording is the first in a series of releases that will document performances in interesting and unusual locations.

LJ: Is it more than a bit of fun?

TT: It’s important that it is fun and our primary motivation for playing together is that we enjoy it. As a result, we are all willing to put a lot of time and energy into the project. Splitting the workload between us has made the organisation simpler and more enjoyable and it is very satisfying to feel the collective enthusiasm and know that we are all equally invested.

LJ: I can see what you get from it but what should an audience expect?

TT: Interaction is at the forefront of what we are doing, coupled with a mutual desire to explore the sonic potential of our instruments. An audience should expect to hear new sonorities and a rapid exchange of ideas. When we go to see freely improvised music, we enjoy seeing how ideas are treated, how they are developed and sometimes cast away. This is music that lives in the present and can produce moments of beauty unachievable by other means. Over the coming months we will be exploring another layer of interaction as we find new ways of engaging with our acoustic improvisations using electronics. We hope that above all, an audience will see three musicians who love playing together.

LondonJazz: When's the live date/ is there a tour planned?

Tom Taylor: We are currently putting together a tour for later in the year. In the meantime we will be making new recordings that will be available on our website.

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