II think the first major shock I experienced came ~2000, in a hair salon of all places. This place was my mom’s salon of choice, run by a truly amazing guy named Tony. He was erudite in a way that was inviting, infectious even, and his passion for culture made him very different to the other adults I had to put up with in my life on a regular basis.
I was getting my hair cut by Tony, and seeing his salon was not only empty but quiet (god forbid), he smiled and said “There’s this strange record I think you’ll like, and we can turn it up loud.” A minute later, Coltrane’s Interstellar Space blasts its way through the room. Not Giant Steps. Not A Love Supreme or Blue Train or My Favorite Things. Interstellar Space.
I feel like it wasn’t just my musical compass that shifted after that moment — it was my whole life. Art was suddenly something that you could live by. A vast, vast country that bore almost no similarity to what I’d been previously shown or taught. I took a detour through Mingus, Miles, Dolphy and Monk in high school before diving into free jazz and improv while I was in University (Montréal had the advantage of being home to Cheap Thrills, a spectacular record shop downtown), and things just exploded after that.
More recently, I’ve been creatively motivated by what I hear in the music of Henning Christiansen and Graham Lambkin. It’s hard to put my finger on the effect it has on me…there’s something - the logic of their compositions, the narrative treatment of their source materials, who knows - that feels completely mysterious to me.