5.5 Questions for Dan Clucas

Dan Clucas, photo by Dave Travis

1. What led you to the work you’re making now?

Most of my work is still rooted in improvisation from a group perspective using conventional group settings (i.e. “jazz” instrumentation) but I have always been interested in spatial performance, ever since attending the Los Angeles premiere of Boulez’ Répons in 1985. So this is a great opportunity for me to investigate that part of my musical psyche, and hopefully it will lead to more.

2. What was your very first gig?

My first real gig was with the Richard Wood Quartet in Pasadena Memorial Park in 1986. It left an indelible impression on me in that we were playing music that was really free in a lot of ways and yet there were people grooving on it, mainly homeless people who happened to be there anyway. That was the first time that it really hit me that music is for the people, period.

3. What are you listening to these days?

My answer to this would have been the same twenty years ago: lots of Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra, Art Ensemble of Chicago, traffic noise, birds, people in the park doing their thing. Part of the reason I like practicing my horn in parks is playing off of the sounds of people being active; the ritual aspect of human activity also informs my practice.

4. How does location influence your approach to a performance?

Well in this case the location has a direct impact on the performance because I chose the amphitheater for it’s potential for all kinds of flow of motion. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens between the players and between players and listeners, especially in the last section, which will be a kind of energy release after the more tightly-controlled nature of the other sections.

5. What is next for you?

As I stated above I’d like to keep doing more spatially-oriented projects, but my main focus is to just keep developing as an improviser and composer.

5.5 Please choose a track from our archive, and tell us why you chose it (in as few or many words as you like).

I chose Carole Kim with DJ’s Katie Byron and Ale at the Santa Monica Pier.

Carole is one of my favorite artists in any medium; the opportunities I’ve had to work with her have always been rewarding, and have definitely helped shape the way I think of space in terms of performance.

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