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Anaïs Tuerlinckx grand piano
Jean-Paul Jenkins guitar and electronics

Echo Mirror

I am sitting on a stage waiting to start the performance. This is the first time I have played with Anaïs Teurlinckx. I do not know what to expect. For the last 25 years of playing I almost always play with my friends, it's both a comfort zone and a philosophy.
My group of friends called it 'hobbyism'. A joke and a way of thinking about why we engage with music the way we do. Joe Foster used to say "Light-hearted but life-serious". I always thought that was ridiculous but also deep. I think for me it was a way of acknowledging that technical skill or novelty was always going to be secondary to the personal connection we made with each other.
It's my first time in Berlin, feels similar to the Brussels of my youth but maybe only in contrast to present-day Portland where I currently live. This venue, on the other hand, feels like late 1990s Portland where I first started playing music like this. The feeling of time and spatial displacement makes it all feel dreamlike. The last few days of playing with old friends Bryan Eubanks and Joe have reminded me of that 'hobbyism' feeling. Especially working on Don Brown and Dan Reynolds' Old Music.
Now Anaïs and I seem to be ready to play. Weirdly the second we start it's clear that I don't know what I am doing. As we move through time I am vacillating between making very conscious choices and surprising myself, almost watching what I do from outside myself. Every time my attention/awareness is drawn to Anaïs' sounds I find a happy companion or coincidence in our choices. Are her ears this fast? Are mine? How did I know what to play there? It seemed to work. The present moment feels like it is made of a momentum... like running down a hill, avoiding trees and rocks and holes, but feeling absolute joy in it. I feel so happy being in this experience... all the moments string together and feel inevitable.
I have played hundreds of improvisations with people for the first time. I usually don't like it. I like knowing what/who we are as a musical expression. I like playing with my friends. This was such a huge exception to that I may have to re-examine my preferences. Or maybe, to crib and butcher a thought from Leon Russell, "Listen to the music because the friendship is in there hiding".
[Jean-Paul Jenkins]



released February 12, 2024

recorded 17 November 2023 by Bryan Eubanks at PAS, Berlin as part of his Echo Mirror 2.3 event


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