What was the first concert you ever saw?
Al Di Meola at The Front Row in Cleveland. I was still quite young and believed that good music equaled fast music.
What CDs are in your changer right now?
I've never had a changer--I fancy myself a one-album-at-a-time kind of guy. Lately, I have been listening to Charles Lloyd Quartet, Rabo de Nube; violist Kim Kashkashian playing Berio, Bartok and Kurtag; the solo recordings of Milford Graves; The Innocence Mission, We Walked in Song; and Portishead, Third.
How many total albums do you own (CDs, vinyl, cassettes, 8-tracks)?
I'd say 3,000 or so CDs. ... A few hundred cassettes.
Do you download music, and if so, legally or illegally?
I consider myself an archivist, which means I need to own everything. No downloads.
What was the first album you owned?
An Elton John 45, "Crocodile Rock" on one side, and "Elderberry Wine" on the other. I was a big boyhood fan of Elton, before the glam.
What song would you like to have played at your funeral?
Something beautiful, solemn, spatial and hypnotic, but also extremely sad to help remind attendees about their major loss. ... Hilliard Ensemble singing Arvo Pârt's "Alina"?
Musically speaking, what do you love that your friends don't know about? What's your favorite guilty pleasure?
Karen Carpenter was a badass singer and drummer. Plus, when she wasn't aggressively dieting, she was quite lovely.
What band or artist changed your life, and how?
The saxophonist Steve Lacy helped me realize that space was important in music. The more I discovered in Lacy's geometric, spatial improvising, the less I listened to strictly fast and muscular jazz.
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?
Pull the figurative trigger: I have no favorite. An album I feel enduring love for: Joni Mitchell, Night Ride Home.