Sunday, September 28, 2014

David Fiuczynski 13 questions

Iconoclastic and prolific jazz-rock guitarist David ‘Fuze’ Fiuczynski, a jazz player who “doesn’t want to play just jazz”, is an innovative musician that has released ten CD’s and a double live DVD under his own name, he is best known as the leader of the Screaming Headless Torsos.

In 1994 David, in collaboration with keyboardist John Medeski of Medeski Martin &Wood, woke up the sleeping jazz fusion world with a landmark CD, “Lunar Crush”, in Guitar Player’s estimation, one of the most influential albums of the last thirty years. A funky, freaky party, Lunar Crush was a wild 90’s tribute to Tony William’s groundbreaking early-fusion band “Lifetime”. In 1994 David became the original guitar player in Meshell NdegéOcello’s debut band . He has appeared on over 95 albums by other artists, toured extensively with many of them, and with his own and other groups has been featured at many of the world’s major jazz festivals

Just a year after, Fuze released another influential album as bandleader and primary writer, the cult hit by Screaming Headless Torsos “1995” for Warner/Discovery Records. In 1996, they recorded a cd, titled “Live!!” originally released in Japan on Video Arts Music. Screaming Headless Torsos returned to playing together in 2004, releasing a new studio CD,“2005”, a double live DVD “Live in NewYork & Paris” in early 2005, and a greatest hits complation “Chice Cuts” in 2006. The Torsos have featured many of the top New York and US musicians in their live performance lineups, but their recordings have all featured Dean Bowman, vocals, Freedom Bremner, vocals; Fima Ephron, bass; Daniel Sadownick, percussion; Gene Lake, drums and Jojo Mayer, drums (“1995”).They are now fronted by vocalists extraordinaire Freedom Bremner.

Jack DeJohnette-Sydney Opera House- 6 March 2011

Fuze’s solo recordings are an experimental mix of tradition with modern sounds and rhythms, a melange of funk-rock jazz, ambient textural improvisations, world-music elements, metal, reggae, house, dub, drum&bass and other new grooves topped with Fuze's unique writing, extraordinary soundscapes and passionate soloing. In response to the less than supportive environment for his unusual and uncompromising music in the corporate recording industry, David started a record label, FuzeLicious Morsels, to release his own recordings, with a current catalog of nine CD’s and the live DVD. The first CD,“JazzPunk”, was released in 1999. 

 Screaming Headless Torsos

A recording of standards and covers written by Fuze’s idols and mentors, each tune was reworked in his distinctive musical combinations. His 2000 CD, “Amandala” by Headless Torsos, is an instrumental continuation of Screaming Headless Torsos. David also bought back the rights to the first two Screaming Headless Torsos CD’s, which were re- released in 2001. Other recordings are “Black Cherry Acid Lab”, a mixture of funk-rock, rap and punk with vocalist Ahmed Best and saxophonist Mark Shim, and “KiF”, a world-funk-jazz group featuring electric five-string cellist Rufus Cappadocia, both released in June 2003. Fuze released another KiF CD in Fall 2007, which was a continuation of his interest in blending Eastern sounds with Western grooves; and a David Fiuczynski guitar instructional DVD.

David was born in Newark, NJ on March 5th, 1964, and moved with his family to Germany when he was eight years old. He returned to the United States for college, and was awarded a Bachelor of Music from the New England Conservatory in 1989, where he has recently returned to complete a Master’s Degree. He is a full-time faculty Professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston and lives with his wife, film director Madoka Raine, and 5 year old son Sky in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Photo Yunuen Velázquez

David "FuZe" Fiuczynski's music is often described as unclassifiable, challenging, and invigorating. Fiuczynski leads the underground cult band Screaming Headless Torsos and has toured and/or recorded with Jack DeJohnette, Stewart Copeland, Meshell Ndegeocello, Rudresh Mahanthappa, John Medeski, Hasidic New Wave, and many more and performed at festivals all over the world. His recent music melds traditional melodic elements from the Middle East, Asia, India, and Eastern Europe, with rock, funk, electronica, and other styles.

This concept started on a gig in Morocco in 1992. The Moroccan players noted that Hendrix visited the country and this gave Fiuczynski an idea—hard grooves with Eastern-inflected melodies putting the listener into a very colorful trance—could this be the music that Jimi would play today? Fiuczynski's band "KiF" celebrates a living Hendrix who’s kickin' it in Casablanca and rocks the Casbah every Saturday night!

David Fiuczynski performs at Moers Festival (2007)

Born in the U.S., David grew up in Germany where he was always interested in mixing and “fuzing” different music elements. FuZe studied with Dave Holland, George Russell, Bob Moses, Ran Blake, but equally important was the New York school of hard knocks with MeShell Ndegeocello, Bernie Worrell, Billy Hart, Ronald Shannon Jackson and the Black Rock Coalition. Returning to New England Conservatory, FuZe received a master’s degree (2008) with a focus on microtonality, studying with Joe Maneri, Indian sitarist Peter Row, Turkish music specialist Bob Labaree, and Chinese ghuzeng player Shin Yi Yang.

Buenos Aires, Teatro Vorterix 9.17.13 by Mariano Garcia

“Much of my musical inspiration comes from non-musical sources: paintings and East Asian and Arabic calligraphy and architecture. I love the colors of Matisse, Van Gogh, the Fauvists and German expressionists, the jagged explosions of Peter Voulkos’ pottery and the delicate restraint of Taoist poetry. I really admire musicians with a unique and fiery sound like Eric Dolphy, Nina Hagen and Don Pullen, for example.”

Fiuczynski is a 2009 Mass Arts Council Fellow in composition and also the director of the Planet MicroJam Institute at Berklee College of Music: "At the crossroads of new beats, microtonal harmonies, and eastern melodic inflections and improv concepts, new musical ideas are on the horizon. New possibilities emerge from the collision of sonic esthetics from our increasingly shrinking global village. The aim is to create music that sounds like a Gauguin painting—a raw, powerful, extremely colorful mix of Eastern and Western elements."

In 2012, the institute ensemble performed the Fiuczynski Guggenheim Fellowship piece, tentatively titled "Flam—Asian microJam for J Dilla and Olivier Messiaen." It breaks new ground by incorporating microtonal birdsong-based melodies, J Dilla-inspired hip-hop beats, Japanese court music, Chinese folk songs, Indian alaps, and Turkish invocations. At the concert, audience members will see various birds on a video screen and hear their birdcalls, then listen as those sounds are interwoven into the music.

"Olivier Messiaen, a French composer and ornithologist who used birdsongs in his music, was a major influence," says Fiuczynski. "Messiaen's birdsongs, Dilla's beats, and Eastern music, share a rhythmic device called a "flam". I thought this would be a very unusual way to combine all of these styles that I love." 

David Fiuczynski- guitar/composer, Alexander Bailey- drums, Dywane Thomas Jr. (Polyneon) - elatetrick bass

What do you remember about your first guitar?

=== first was a yamaha classical nylon string, then red ibanez elec semi acoustic

Why do you need music?

==== its a spiritual ritual that i need to survive

Why do you pick up the guitar as your tool?

=== my mother forced me!!  haha!!   she wanted me to play an instrument, i didnt want to but we made a deal that i pick the instrument and the teacher,
was lucky to have Markus Wienstroer as a teacher in germany, very inspiring, ONE great teacher can truly make a difference in your life!!!!!

Which work of your own are you most proud of?

==== lunar crush is kind of a dedication to Tony Williams' LifeTime

screaming headless torsos....there are colors in the music that i was looking for and couldnt find anywhere else

KiF and Planet MicroJam are ways for me to express my ideas of mixing ''non-western'' music with western grooves and improv concepts, PlanetMicroJam has new microtonal harmonies you really dont hear in the jazz/groove area of music. I often make music from the perspective of an audience member, I'm thinking what would i really want to see and what i want to hear often doesnt exist so i have to invent it myself

as sideman:
- Gamak with Rudresh Mahnathappa....this is a CD that has new ideas on it
- otherwise Jack DeJohnette....he sounds like nobody else, so many great colors and textures, what an amazing musician
- MeShell Ndegeocello, Bernie Worrell....amazing grooves, has spiritual impact  when they lay it down
- Ronald Shannon Jackson - melodic concepts
- Billy Hart - another great drummer!

What means rhythm for you?

=== i hinted at it above, but often it gives me an inexplicable feeling of hope!!

What was the first solo you learned from a record — and can you still play it? 

=== solo from "Something" by George Harrison, not sure if i can play it, havent tried in decades

What’s the difference between a good guitar and a bad guitar?

=== tone, i've haven't had great luck with this, but that's changing

What are the challenges and benefits of today's digital music scene? 

==== its a double edged sword. an independent musician can get world wide exposure and market their music, at the same time everyone can just take whats yours. Also in the current digital/online culture music sells everything.....except music.

And this is very perverse to me.

What quality do you admire most in a musician?

==== their ''itness'', the unique quality that can only come from ONE human being, can't be copied, imitated even....... that makes a piece of music sing, cry, dance.....

A valuable advice that someone has gifted to you in the past?

==== i should have listened to Mick Goodrick a looooooooong time ago:
" always record your sessions, jams and gigs and LISTEN BACK FOR THE GEMS  THAT HAPPENED"
in other words don't focus on mistakes, but build on the positive moments. This applies not only to music but LIFE itself.

Rudresh Mahanthappa / alto saxophone. David Fiuczynski / electric guitar, François Moutin / acoustic bass, Dan Weiss / drums

What's your fetish device in the sound chain? 

====    my Campbell American guitars !!! also, I need more Fryette amps in my life!!

What dead artist -any time, any genre- would you like to have collaborated with?

==== hard to say.....but there are some collaborations that i would like to have seen like Eric Dolphy with Thelonius Monk.
Hendrix with Miles Davis (more than the bootleg that has been circulated). This is in the past. In the future I'd like to see a middle eastern version of Nina Hagen with Planet MicroJam!

What’s your latest project about?

=== i have 2 things coming out, the new Screaming Headless Torsos CD: "Code Red". you can check it out now at
and a piece called FLAM! based on microtonal transcriptions of bird songs dedicated to Olivier Messiaen and JDilla. I'm currently editing the recordings

David Fiuczinsky (Guitar), Dean Bowman (Voice), Gene Lake (Drums), Daniel Sadownick (Percussion), Fima Ephron (Bass)

Selected Discography

Screaming Headless Torsos “Code Red” (2014)

Screaming Headless Torsos “Choice Cuts” (FuzeLicious Morsels 2006)
Screaming Headless Torsos “2005” (FuzeLicious Morsels 2005)

Screaming Headless Torsos "Live in New York & Paris" DVD (FuzeLicious Morsels 2005)
David Fiuczynski/Rufus Cappadocia “KiF” (FuzeLicious Morsels 2003)

David Fiuczynski’s Black Cherry Acid Lab (FuzeLicious Morsels 2002)
Screaming Headless Torsos "Live!" (Video Arts 1996 – Re2002, FuzeLicious Morsels)

Screaming Headless Torsos (Warner Discovery 1995 – Re 2002, FuzeLicious Morsels)
Fiuczynski’s Headless Torsos “Amandala” (FuzeLicious Morsels 2001)

David Fiuczynski “JazzPunk” (FuzeLicious Morsels 2000)

David Fiuczynski/John Medeski "Lunar Crush" (Gramavision 1994)
Meshell NdegéOcello "Plantation Lullabies" (Maverick Records 1993)

Meshell NdegéOcello "Peace Beyond Passion" (Maverick Records1996)

Mark Shim "Mind Over Matter" (Blue Note 1998)
Hasidic New Wave “From the Belly of Abraham” (Knitting Factory Works 2001)

Hasidic New Wave “Kabalogy” (Knitting Factory Works 1999)
Hasidic New Wave "Psycho Semitic" (Knitting Factory Works 1998)

Hasidic New Wave "Jews and the Abstract Truth" (Knitting Factory Works 1997)

Hiromi’s Sonicbloom “Time Control” (Telarc Records 2007)
Hiromi “Another Mind” (Telarc Records 2003)

Billy Hart "Oceans of Time" (Arabesque Records 1996)
Billy Hart "Arabesque" (Arabesque Records 1998)

Yerba Buena “President Alien” (Sony Music International 2004)

Sevara Nazarkhan "Yol Bolsin" (Real World Records 2003)
Gongzilla “East Village Sessions” (Lolo Records 2003)

Gongzilla “Live” (Lolo Records 1999)

Vic Stevens’ Mistaken Identities "No Curb Ahead" (Lolo Records 1998)

Bop City "Hip Strut" (Silva Screen Records 1996)
Chartbusters "Vol. I" (NYC Records 1995)

Chartbusters "Mating Call" (Prestige Records 1996)
Scritti Polliti “Anomie & Bonhomie” (World's Ends Records 1999)
Ronald Shannon Jackson "Raven Rock" (DIW Records 1992)

George Russell’s Living Time Orchestra "The London Concert" (Festival-Stash 1989)
Bob Moses "Mozamba" (Mozamba Records 1987)
Jazz Passengers "Live at the Knitting Factory" (Knitting Factory Works 1991)

Jack Walrath "Serious Hang" (Muse Records 1994)

Jack Walrath "HipGnosis" (TCB Records 1995)
Santi DeBriano and Cindy Blackman "Trio Two" (Freelance Records 1990)

Santi DeBriano "Soldiers of Fortune" (Evidence Records 1989)
Charles and Eddie "Duophonic" (Capitol Records 1992)

Charles and Eddie "Chocolate Milk" (Capitol Records 1995)

Michael Gibbs Orchestra "Big Music" (Caroline Records 1993)
Maggie's Dream (Capitol Records 1990)

The Mandala Octet "The Last Elephant" (Accurate Records 1993)

Timoria "Eta Beta" (Polydor Italy 1997)

Muhal Richard Abrams "Blu Blu Blu" (Black Saint 1991)