Milford Graves Interview

Milford Graves

Source: Red Bull Music Academy Daily.

Milford Graves helped usher in the ‘60s free-jazz revolution through his groundbreaking work with Albert Ayler, the New York Art Quartet and others. But there’s nothing obscure or chaotic about what this 73-year-old plays. Graves is a scientist of sound, a master of manipulating vibration in space. Performing on a custom handpainted set – with all bottom drumheads removed, to allow for maximum resonance – Graves turns the instrument into an international percussion chorus, blending nimble ride-cymbal patterns adapted from his formative years playing Latin-jazz timbales with scurrying tom-tom work informed by Indian tabla studies and the proud, booming thump of African polyrhythms. This is percussion at its wisest and most elemental, an enlightened communion with wood, metal and skin.