|JL Were both playing Caribbean jazz but were almost at opposite ends of the spectrum in a lot of ways, even though the music is coming from the same roots. When theyre playing with Andy Narell, the band has to find a whole other side of themselves as a group. Andys music is a lot quieter a lot more settled, it breathes and has a lot more space than the CaneFire stuff. In its esthetics, Andy Narells music is closer to what you traditionally think of jazz.
RH David Rudder, who had been sitting in the audience, was called to the stage during that set. You work with Rudder I believe
JL I started working with David just before I left Trinidad. I played for about six months with his group Charlies Roots. Then I came back to Toronto to finish school and he moved here three months later. Ive been working with David for about five or six years now, as his musical director and arranger, playing and travelling with him. David and Andy go way back, so thats why Andy was able to ambush him like that and bring him up on stage.
RH What's next with CaneFire?
JL Were working hard on new material right now, preparing for a new recording, thats the focus.
RH We heard three new tunes during your set at Lula.
JL Yeah, we premiered one that I dont have a name for yet and one called Coconuts And Doubles written by our trumpet player, Alexis Baro, and then the killer, the burner (laughs), I always have to write one insane tune. Its patterned after a gospelypso but we crank the tempo to about triple what it would normally be, its called Baptism By Fire. Thats the big insane closer.
RH This was controlled chaos.
JL Yeah, bordering on complete chaos. I love this period when were playing new music for the second or third time, its all fresh and its the best its ever gonna sound. It might not be completely tight; the older stuff now is very very tight but there is a magic in the new stuff. I love it, I wish I could write faster so we could be always playing new stuff, but Im just really slow.
Ive done some travelling lately to Asia, to Venezuela and most recently to the Amazon so there are a lot of new sounds, new instruments and rhythms that Im trying to see if they can be incorporated into the Caribbean jazz framework. So well see how that goes.
RH You might have to start another band.
JL Yeah exactly, there might be another band but Id really like to do it with this band, I really like where weve gotten to after playing together for two and a half, almost three years. Music is about expression and about connecting to the music and yourself and to the audience. You wont necessarily achieve that connection playing someone elses music, but over the course of playing my music for the past few years the other guys in the band are inside it. Weve come together and defined our sound enough that they can feel the music is theirs as well so everybody is connecting and everybody is expressing now when we play together. This wasnt happening before. Before, we were playing my music but now it feels more like our music. Weve jelled as a band
I guess thats what thats called.
RH So where are your travels going to take you next?
JL Well, Ive never been to Africa and Im trying to get there. You see its difficult for me to travel because I dont like to go anywhere for a short period of time. I wouldnt go to somewhere like Africa for less than six months. Its about clearing the schedule
and the bank account. Im trying to get back to Burma as well and see whats been happening there.