Ahead of his MIJF appearence, the jazz composer and Brooklyn-based ‘steampunk big band’-leader tells us about the scene in his home borough
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“The scene in Brooklyn is incredibly varied. There’s no money because tourists don’t go to Brooklyn, and so the music you’re making is primarily for locals and other musicians. There aren’t the same kind of pressures to pull in the tourist crowds that you may have in the big-name Manhattan jazz establishments, and that’s a double-edged sword: people are just playing what they want to play and following their creative vision, but because there is no money it’s really hard and there’s a lot of competition for pass-the-hat gigs.
"Still, it’s an incredibly exciting and vibrant creative community. People who move to Brooklyn come here because they’re serious about music and really want to take advantage of all the opportunities afforded to them to stretch their musical horizons and play different kinds of music – there are Mexican jazz bands, hybrid classical groups…
"There’s a really rich cross-fertilisation happening with musical communities bleeding into each other on the fringes. It makes it an exciting place to be, especially for someone like me who likes to see those boundaries blurred.”