Source: Jazz Right Now.
CB: What was your entry into the New York improvisational/experimental music scene?
SW: The summer before my freshman year of high school, my family moved from Los Angeles to Nassau County, Long Island. Fortunately for me, that summer, my mom enrolled me in a jazz program at Queens College which impacted my path enormously, or if nothing else, exposed me to a number of things that I likely wouldn’t have sought out for myself. The faculty was comprised of a number of people who have gone on to be quite successful in NYC in the intervening years, and they approached the education in a somewhat unique way which concurrently exposed us to canonical jazz records and younger musicians, mostly living in NYC, all of whom were writing their own material. This made me aware of a host of people who I then began checking out live most weekends in high school – Tony Malaby, Tim Berne, Jim Black, etc. The confluence of seeing my teachers at the time play us their original music, and seeing these shows outside of that, made me want to write my own music, which I began doing around that time too – mostly kind of bizarre chromatic heads with vamps. At the same time I was checking out tons of records by John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Albert Ayler, etc. all of which I was getting en masse from the library and ripping onto my computer.