"Over all, I think the main thing a musician would like to do is give a picture to the listener of the many wonderful things that he knows of and senses in the universe. . . That’s what I would like to do. I think that’s one of the greatest things you can do in life and we all try to do it in some way. The musician’s is through his music." - John Coltrane
Some say music is the soundtrack to life. If that's true, I would have to say that Jazz is the soundtrack to my soul. Jazz is a genre of music that almost transcends definition. The technical prowess of the musicians and their instruments harmonizes to create an aural experience which truly soothes the soul. Colorado's rich cultural tapestry has been shaped and molded by many genres of music over the years, and although we're by no means the Jazz capital we have a very vibrant Jazz scene in and around the Denver area. At the heart of the scene here are popular Jazz clubs that have garnered national recognition like Jazz at Jacks, El-Chapultepec, and Dazzle Jazz. Dazzle houses some of Colorado's best jazz artists and features them daily.
Coming up at the end of this month (October 27th, 2016) Dazzle will feature a recently formed Denver based group of seasoned veterans called the Coexistence Trio. Made up of pianist Peter John Stoltzman, bassist John Grigby, and drummer Andreas Schmid, this trio's "characters unfold in collaboratively composed original pieces, creating a uniquely emotive and textural sound." In connection with the release of their debut album, "Momentum Forward," Coexistence Trio's show will also be adding world music percussionist Rich Stein and feature a guest appearance by Brazilian guitarist Gabriel Santiago. In anticipation of the show we had the chance to sit down with pianist Peter John Stoltzman to get a quick glimpse into the mind of excellence.
Colorado Culture (CC): What's your musical background?
Peter John Stoltzman (Peter): My parents are classical musicians (my father is a famous Grammy-winning clarinetist), and music always came naturally, especially jazz, funk, gospel and R&B.
CC: How'd you decide on which instrument to play?
Peter: I didn’t want to play my parents instruments—clarinet and violin—so piano is perfect for playing with them.
CC: How did you all meet?
Peter: Ironically, Andreas and I went to Berklee together in the late 90s, but never met until we both moved to Denver recently. John knows everyone, and everyone knows John…he was a top choice to play bass, and I’m so glad he said yes to jamming with us.
CC: What drew you to jazz?
Peter: I’ve been listening to jazz intently since I was 10 years old—it’s ingrained in my soul.
CC: What made you decide to form the group?
Peter: Andreas got us together to play. But the magic happened when we composed a song together spontaneously. We knew right then and there that this was a special collaboration, and that we should make it a band.
CC: Who would you consider to be your biggest musical influences?
Peter: Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett.
CC: What do you hope to accomplish when you play live?
Peter: The record is great to have, but the thing that’s always magic for us is the live show…because this is hybrid jazz-rock-soul-jam, but it’s still jazz, and there’s something different every time. The energy of live improvisation over structured song form is compelling—risky, exciting, expression that is true to the moment, feeding off the energy of an audience, cascading through peaks and valleys. Well-executed and emotionally vibrant live jazz makes for a great concert, both for the audience and the performers.
CC: What is your favorite thing about your particular instrument?
Peter: The piano can do everything, or nothing…and still be an important part of the music. I love both sides…playing just the right texture at the right time, or making the piano shake with ecstatic energy.
CC: What are your goals for the future?
Peter: This record reflects the beginning of a band that will (hopefully) have multiple records over many years. We foresee making future records with electric instruments, collaborating with other artists and possibly other media such as film and dance.
CC: What does the term culture mean to you, both as it applies to Colorado and in a general sense of the word?
Peter: (My favorite joke: What’s the difference between greek yogurt and Los Angeles? The yogurt has live culture.)
Denver has live culture, for sure. I spent four great years in Austin, TX, “The Live Music Capital of the World,” and I like Denver’s scene better—by far. That may seem crazy to say, but I’m convinced it’s true. This may be the best city in the U.S., aside from New York, for live music in general, including for jazz and jazz-influenced styles. Culture is something that is active, vibrant, and life-giving. Colorado is all of that. If you look at what is happening in Denver—from the visual arts scene to the performing arts center, the music venues, the great music schools (like Denver School of the Arts, Kent Denver, and CU Denver’s Music and Entertainment Industry Studies department in the College of Arts and Media), this region is on fire! Look at the new arts district going up in Fort Collins. Look at Red Rocks—the best outdoor music venue in the country. And there is a venue for every genre, and for every level of local musician to cultivate their audience.
COEXISTENCE TRIO LINKS
We'd like to thank Peter for taking the time to chat with us, and we're really looking forward to the album and show. If you're interested in attending or would like to know more please follow the link below. MORE INFO