In these short interviews I ask musicians and composers, from various backgrounds, the same three simple questions about music.
- Why do you have music in your life?
- How do you make music?
- What excites you musically right now?
I will be presenting these once a week over the next few months with local, national and international musicians and composers.
In this episode I’m talking to multi-instrumentalistBrian Krock.
Known mainly as the brain behind the behemoth band Big Heart Machine, composer and multi-instrumentalist Brian Krock writes music that simultaneously embraces and transcends the diverse array of musical genres he works within.
A fierce and probing improviser on the alto saxophone, he has also had the opportunity to make creative music in New Yorks classical, theater, and pop music scenes playing all of the woodwind instruments.
Big Heart Machines 2018 self-titled release on Outside in Music has enjoyed both critical and commercial success. The New York Times said, The suspenseful, layered music can sound like migration in motion or a wisp of twisting smoke. And if youre looking for musical-historical references, there are plenty from progressive metal to Carnatic music to late-20th-century Western classical, while Downbeat Magazine raved, The invigorated 18-piece orchestra negotiated Krocks vibrant twists and turns with playful ease as the lush horn harmonies of classical and jazz converged with frenzied rhythms, avant-synthesizer stretches, idiosyncratic dissonances, pop grooves and blistering guitar blasts and awarded the album a coveted 4 1/2 stars. Media outlets around the globe have expressed admiration for the bands unique blend of jazz, classical, and heavy metal aesthetics, and BHM sold out performances in NYC, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.
Next year, BHM will be performing as part of Winter Jazz Fest in New York City, alongside jazzs international luminaries. A recipient of a Masters Degree in Composition from the Manhattan School of Music, Brian was a student of world-renowned jazz composer Jim McNeely and acclaimed opera composer Dr. J. Mark Stambaugh.
Highlights from his long list of awards and honors include the Aaron Copland Recording Grant, the Manhattan Prize in Composition for his ‘String Quartet No. 1,’ an ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award, a composer-residency at the Bloomingdale School of Music and most recently commissions from the New York Youth Symphony and the Metropole Orkest with Grammy-winning R&B vocalist Lalah Hathaway.
Krocks music is notable for its seamless incorporation of contemporary classical techniques, heavy metal aesthetics, and free group improvisation. In this way, he hopes to continue the tradition of saxophonist/composers such as Anthony Braxton, Steve Coleman, Tim Berne, and Henry Threadgill.
For Krock, composition is a daily practice that challenges him to continually rethink the norms of the jazz tradition whilst paying tribute to the daring iconoclasts who paved the way toward creative freedom.